Research Blogssecular-mindfulness

Secular mindfulness began in the clinical realm with Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), which was developed in the early 1980s by John Kabat-Zinn in the US for people experiencing chronic health conditions. This inspired the development of Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) in the mid-1990s by Mark Williams and others within the UK as an approach to prevent relapse into depression. MBSR and MBCT are short term courses which take place over eights weekly sessions.

Extensive research has been carried out into a range of mindfulness based approaches and has found many benefits for people with physical and mental health conditions. Such approaches are now approved for use within the NHS within the UK for a range of physical and mental health conditions.

The Mindfulness Association (MA) approach to mindfulness is based on the work of Rob Nairn, who has been teaching meditation to Western audiences for over forty years. Rob’s work draws on Tibetan Buddhism, but is presented as a practical systematic training drawing on Western psychological language and approaches. Over the last twelve years the MA have delivered long term mindfulness meditation training to thousands of people, building on the clinical approaches to mindfulness and on the work of Rob Nairn. Our courses are not specifically for clinical populations, but are for the general public.

Research evidence suggests that mindfulness meditation can improve physical and mental wellbeing, reducing anxiety and stress and improving health promoting behaviours. There is growing evidence that mindfulness meditation can help us to age well, reducing cognitive decline and Alzheimers and providing the tools to cope with some of the challenges of ageing such as chronic pain, isolation and (for women) menopause.

At the MA, we believe that mindfulness is a way to live all aspects of our lives well. Therefore, we offer long term training over months and years. Our systematic training is experiential and evidence based and draws on Tibetan Buddhism, neuroscience & evolutionary psychology. We work with the University of Aberdeen and the University of the West of Scotland in the delivery of two Masters degree programs and so remain in touch with the latest research evidence and theory.

Our long term meditation training pathway progresses from mindfulness and through compassion and insight to wisdom. The research evidence suggests that the deep path of practice embeds the benefits from states of mindfulness seen in the research so that they become life long personality traits.

We understand the importance of practicing with other meditators and a strength of our trainings is the community of practice that we build and support. Walking this path with fellow meditators liberates us from the conditioning that governs and limits our lives. It results in an unfolding of our innate human potential for happiness and wellbeing and the freedom to make choices about how we live.

From the research evidence one might start to think that mindfulness is a panacea, which is not the case. It can be challenging to familiarise ourselves with the contents and habits of our minds. This is why the Mindfulness Association provide long term systematic training and support in mindfulness meditation by experienced mindfulness teachers with over a decade of mindfulness and compassion meditation practice experience. The thousands of people that we have worked with over the years demonstrate again and again the myriad benefits of mindfulness for wellbeing and happiness. To hear what our course participants say, have a look .…HERE…. 

We are a not for profit organisation and keep our prices as low as we can with flexible payment options. In addition we have a …widening access scheme… for those who cannot afford to attend our courses.


Written by Heather Regan-Addis

Heather Regan-Addis is a Founder Member and Director of the Mindfulness Association.

Heather delivers training for the Mindfulness Association on our two Post Graduate Master’s degree courses as well as on our regular courses in Mindfulness, Compassion, Insight and on our Teacher training programmes.