On 4 April, Jon Kabat-Zinn - recognised as one of the founding fathers of modern-day mindfulness as we know it in the West - spoke at the European Associations for Mindfulness (EAMBA) conference about the current needs and demands for mindfulness teaching in society.

The conversation attended to a topic that mindfulness teachers are facing worldwide - how to respond to a decline of opportunities in the teaching market. The dialogue sought to uncover lessons that can be learned and what can be done in the face of current developments.

We know that this topic is real for many of our teachers and has been at the top of our teaching community’s mind; it has likewise been on ours too.

Jon Kabat-Zinn was full of insight and helpful direction for the ways that mindfulness can adapt to the climate. His full 3-hour interview can be watched here. For those interested in key takeaways, we have written up a summary below.

Key Takeaways 

Mindfulness teachers are facing challenges finding work in the current climate:

However, despite these challenges, there was a sense of hope and optimism that mindfulness practice can still be shared in innovative and effective ways.

There are many innovative ways to take mindfulness teaching out into the world:

Despite the challenges, there were many examples of innovative ways that mindfulness teachers are taking their practice out into the world. Some are building communities and networks of practitioners, while others are approaching organizations such as schools, hospitals, or corporations. There are also funding opportunities available, such as those provided by the European Union, which can support mindfulness-based interventions.

New technologies, such as virtual reality therapies, are being used to reach out to younger people and provide mindfulness-based interventions:

One interesting example of innovation in mindfulness teaching is the use of virtual reality (VR) therapies, such as those developed by Sid Desai, co-founder, and CEO of Rocket VR Health. These technologies can help to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, and may be particularly appealing to younger people who are comfortable with digital formats. VR can also provide a safe and immersive environment for mindfulness practice, and there is already evidence of the effectiveness of VR-based mindfulness interventions.

Mindfulness could be one part of a multi-disciplinary approach to develop or heal in a holistic way:

Although mindfulness practice can be transformative on its own, it is also increasingly being integrated into a broader range of approaches to support health and well-being. For example, mindfulness-based interventions may be combined with other therapies such as cognitive-behavioral therapy or yoga. This can help to create a more comprehensive and holistic approach to health and healing.

The most important thing in any mindfulness community is ongoing practice and learning from each other and from other teachers:

Kabat-Zinn, emphasized the importance of ongoing practice and learning within mindfulness communities. He suggested that everything and everybody can be a teacher, even challenging circumstances. By engaging in ongoing practice and learning from each other, mindfulness teachers can deepen their understanding of mindfulness practice and continue to share it with others.

Challenging circumstances can be opportunities for deep inquiry:

Related to the previous point, there was a sense that challenging circumstances can be opportunities for deep inquiry and growth within mindfulness practice. By cultivating awareness and non-judgmental acceptance, mindfulness practitioners can develop a more resilient and flexible approach to challenges, which can ultimately lead to greater well-being.

New technologies are opening up new possibilities for teaching and sharing wisdom and compassion:

As mentioned earlier, new technologies such as VR are opening up new possibilities for teaching and sharing mindfulness practice. This can help to reach more people and create more accessible and effective interventions. However, it is important to use these technologies in a mindful and ethical way, ensuring that they are not used in ways that may harm others.

Mindfulness can help us serve in a profoundly ethical way, recognising the beauty in the world and minimizing harm while optimizing well-being:

Finally, there was a sense that mindfulness practice can help us serve in a profoundly ethical way, by recognising the interconnectedness of all beings and striving to minimise harm while optimising well-being. By cultivating compassion, wisdom, and ethical awareness, mindfulness practitioners can become agents of positive change in the world.


If you are a mindfulness teacher with experiences or ideas to share, we would be interested to hear your thoughts. Our Teachers & Trainees group on our Community of Practice is a space where  collective insights and helpful suggestions are often shared - we encourage you to join if you haven't yet done so.