Pearls of Wisdom

August 2013 marks the 30th anniversary of the release of In Stillness Conquer Fear and my foray into practice as a Stillness Meditation therapist specializing in anxiety relief and stress management.   My book was launched on ‘The Mike Walsh Show’ and lots of other publicity followed.  For someone who had experienced life crippling anxiety to recover, write her story and go public was very unusual and something the press devoured.  I feel proud to have set in motion the recognition that anxiety, depression and related disorders own today.   But better than that: that the practice of SMT greatly enhances life!

However, my teaching began when a range of people gathered in a local church hall for the first step in their journey of change. Though a relatively Spartan environment, this was the ideal space in which to ‘test the water’.  And, despite there being no carpet or adequate heating or cooling, little in the way of curtaining, definitely uncomfortable chairs and quite a noisy environment – still people’s lives were changing.

I remember being a little concerned that this response was all a fluke.  Yes, people had read In Stillness Conquer Fear and no doubt I was providing for many a sense of stability and the hope they craved.  But in actually helping people, thirty years ago I was a beginner, too.  Supervision with Dr Ainslie Meares, the father of ‘stillness meditation’, was a gift and a blessing.

Numbers were growing and clients were happy; so I began to look for ‘real’ premises, somewhere I could call my own and be proud to have people from all walks of life visit and benefit from what I offered.

At Willsmere Road, a tiny space became a haven of stillness and SMT flourishing truly began.  That was around the time of Dr Meares’ passing and so, with a sense of responsibility to adhere to, my counseling qualification and later my Family Therapy certificate led me to expand again – this time to Harp Road – the place we occupy today.  It delights me that some of my earliest clients have kept in touch and so I know that they were well rewarded for their attendance and commitment to the practice of Stillness Meditation Therapy as a skill for a better life.

In 30 years many changes in the recognition and treatment of anxiety related conditions have occurred.  Among those changes, an increased interest in meditation across the board has encouraged others to begin to focus on the importance of ‘what happens in our mind’.  Our results at the SMT Centre are consistently remarkable with people’s discomforts reducing by as much as 54% in a relatively short period of time.  However, the way we work remains unique and I wouldn’t guarantee that other styles of meditation could bring the same results.

And so for the next twelve months we celebrate!  We celebrate hope, change, the power of SMT and the courage it sometimes takes for people to commit to that process.  In celebrating, we continue to move forward in a positive way where Ainslie Meares’ genius insight can assist a greater majority toward calm and lasting confidence – and from that, a better, happier life.

Since medieval times, anniversaries have been celebrated through gemstones or jewellery.  It feels fitting that the number 30 is traditionally linked to that miracle of nature, – the pearl.  There are beautiful myths about the pearl.  In Persia, a pearl is a symbol of hope and also represents the tears of the gods.  Ancient Indians saw the pearl as a gift from the gods, turned into dew, while other early cultures believe the pearl to be the moon falling from the night sky.  The pearl reflects happiness, elegance and beneficence.  Traditionally it is seen as the stone of health, wealth, love and longevity and the white pearl especially relates to wisdom.

Maybe wisdom – especially from years of living – is the greatest gift life can offer. Here’s one pearl of wisdom from me that directly relates to the practice of Stillness Meditation Therapy:

To gain from it we must commit to it.  Without commitment we cannot integrate it.  When we integrate it we own it.  When we own it, it transforms us – at which time, perhaps, we may help to transform the lives of others.

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