Pauline McKinnon, Owner and Founding Director of the Stillness Meditation Therapy Centre, sees a lot to be stressed about when it comes to the growing popularity of mindfulness meditation Apps.
“The huge promotion and swell of interest surrounding mindfulness leads the public to generally believe that mindfulness is the best or only form of meditation,” Pauline said today.
“The proliferation of readily available online meditation, often in free Apps, means that people are often undertaking meditation with no real basis, and ultimately being disappointed in their result.”
McKinnon is a pioneer of Stillness Meditation, a form of meditation founded by psychiatrist Dr Ainslie Meares. Stillness Meditation is distinct from other forms of meditation in its foundation of physiology and health practice. It is of modern origin, and created specifically to deal with psychological and physical health. It is non-sectarian, and is unrelated to traditional meditation concepts and ideals.
“People are increasingly believing that teaching by underqualified practitioners or ‘fast track’ Apps is an adequate method of learning meditation,” Pauline added.
“Many are undertaking one or two or even a weekend of rapid sessions and getting no result and forming a negative or confused opinion of meditation.
“It’s a worrying trend; it leaves many suffering from the same issues they began with, and it undermines researched meditation practices and qualified professionals.
McKinnon says “the power of Stillness Meditation is that it does not require any specialised technique. Dr Meares’ intention was for the body to rest completely, to a point of ‘atavistic regression’. This is a deep and profound experience that requires the support of the therapist and takes time and repetition to learn and benefit from.”
“Our sessions are extremely personalised with support commencing via an individual consultation.
“Stillness Meditation Therapy (SMT) is unique within the market place, it is health based as its foundation is based in physiology, its therapeutic aim being that of mental rest as opposed to meditation techniques that use the mind to direct the process.
“Another point of difference in SMT is the very special role of the therapist and the use of non-verbal communication via calming touch as well as personalised individual de-briefing after each session.”
McKinnon wants to stop the rise of meditation practices that can be misleading in their lack of expertise and the promises made that aren’t based on recognised disciplines. She emphasises too, the value of SMT and its medical basis as distinct from traditional meditation techniques.
“There’s definitely a big rise in stress and anxiety these days,” Pauline added.
“I’ve seen it in parents, children, workers, even in the sports arena. I regularly treat war veterans and members of the police service and emergency services to help them work through job related stress. This requires a high level of expertise in the field of meditation. This is not meditation that can be delivered through an App, this is meditation that requires delivery through a highly trained expert.
“The rise in use of meditation Apps and of practices that seem appealing or flashy but which have no basis in reality or science is worrying, and I think it’s ultimately harmful.”
Pauline McKinnon is a highly respected stillness meditation therapist, founder and CEO of the Stillness Meditation Therapy Centre and author of 'In stillness conquer fear'.