Meditation is the journey from sound to silence. From movement to stillness. From a limited identity to unlimited space – Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
2023 marks the celebratory 40th anniversary of Pauline McKinnons’ internationally healing novel, In Stillness Conquer Fear. Located in Kew, Victoria, her lived wisdom, and defined ability to empathise has proved invaluable in guiding others with psychological dramas to walk through the labyrinthine paths in their pursuit of peace of mind. The book’s first release in 1983 marked a transformative moment in history. An act of courageous vulnerability that would ultimately shape many more lives than just her own in unforeseen and remarkable ways.
“It comes down to learning to let go and be still. Learning to trust that prolonged, physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual aspect. I think that is the key to peacefulness, but we’re not seeing that in the world right now.”
We, as humans, can struggle with the enormity of our intelligence. What is you, and not you must have a firm distinction, but simple aspects have become complicated due to the over-commercialisation of many teachings.
Pauline suffered a string of agonisingly stressful events that led her to sink into a panicked state of agoraphobia for nine years before discovering the work of Dr Ainslie Meares and his stillness meditation practice. She explains the circle of the condition,
“Leading up to that period of time, we’d had a lot of stress. There had been deaths in the family, life changes and having kids all in a very condensed space of time. The memories of that time really stayed with me, and my whole nervous system was on high alert. Even when I calmed down a bit over time, the memory remained firm, and the agoraphobic reaction was to protect yourself from that. This is what keeps people trapped in that circular thing. Tension, resistance, feeling negative feelings and then sort of relax at home. Then tension again, start again, and so this vicious circle continues indefinitely.”
Pauline continues with a victorious smile, re-recognising her accomplishments,
“I’d been down so many rabbit holes looking for peace of mind. I had seen numerus therapists, advisors in the medical fraternity along the way and wanted this fixed. I had mentioned meditation a couple of times to various therapists and it was dismissed as ‘that’s rubbish’ sort of thing. But something was drawing me there.”
Our bodies and everything around us are in a constant mode of vibration that echoes every movement of the universe until this point. It’s been known since the 10th century that different frequencies in nature can disrupt the current vibrations of our body, to heal, relieve and bring calm to our current state. Our day-to-day brain activity operates at roughly 14-30 Hertz. The Earth’s “heartbeat” vibrates at around 7.83hz. The brain of someone in a deep meditative state is 4-7 hertz, wonderfully harmonious with the Earth and its creations, which, when reached, can have effective healing outcomes.
“It ultimately helps us learn, to know our deeper selves. It takes a lifetime to really know oneself, perhaps with the exception of some very privileged people. As part of that experience we can hopefully amend some of our personal rules along the way.”
Get to know yourself deeper by diving into Pauline’s proven techniques, and draw from real-life experience below.
“This book saved my life when panic attacks and agoraphobia took over my life. I recommend this book to everyone. Even if you don’t struggle with these problems, you can understand other people’s problems. Thanks to that you can also give them the right help.” – Said one happy customer on GoodReads
“The author has done a remarkable job of maintaining a tone of gentle acceptance, calm awareness, and thoughtfulness. I’m not sure I’ve ever read anything written with such careful attention to the information itself, the way it is presented and the way it is likely to be perceived. The work as a whole seems to have been very carefully and thoughtfully designed. – All I do know is that my first experiences with this style of meditation practice have been positive ones, and I plan to continue exploring it” Quoted another happy 5 star customer on GoodReads. (Shortened)
Wealth does not bring goodness, but goodness does bring wealth – so the Greek philosopher Socrates would say.
After a slow yet liberating return to the freedoms of life, Pauline dedicated herself to teaching and augmenting the work of Dr Meares. Introspection, humility, perseverance and unwavering commitment to a level of excellence in health have grown from the compassion she feels from life experiences.
Her turnaround in experience is the largest testimonial for the benefits of SMT (Stillness Meditation Therapy) as she continues to revise and add her new learnings to the pages, which have been influenced by the wild journey and intimate connections made with her readers worldwide.
Now a qualified psychotherapist, Pauline is also a Clinical Member of AAFT (Australian Association of Family Therapy) and was the first to recognise the benefits of stillness meditation for children’s development and mental health by implementing the practice in schools across Australia, starting in 1983.
“That was really the pioneering moment because those children in those classes were just absolutely gorgeous. They felt better when they were learning and produced better quality work; they were kind when they went home to their parents and were getting to experience their lives in a new way.”
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Dr Rob Moodie, Professor of Public Health, University of Melbourne and Former CEO of VicHealth said, ‘Read this delightful parable to your parents, read it to your children… be at peace and enjoy real happiness.’
As quoted from Simon & Schuster.
“A lot of schools these days have introduced mindfulness, and that’s good and it’s useful, but for example, I saw this young boy who was very energetic to the point of probably having ADHD. I could see just a glimpse of the simplicity that was so different from what he’s learning periodically at school, which is the mindful approach, where there’s still activity being produced in mind. We taught him a little bit about stillness, and he got it quite nicely. It’s very gratifying to see.”
The art of being still remains a mysterious task to most. This meditation technique calls for no music, no mantras, no chanting, and no stimulation of the senses at all.
That same year, Pauline released In Stillness Conquer Fear, a book that drives for solutions, not solace, for its readers. The book reverberates across the map to this day and stands symbolic of a necessitated shift in perspective and skill amongst the public handling of their own mental health.
“Meditation, as we know has been practiced in Eastern countries or other cultures for 1000s of years, and very likely, that simplicity belongs here, I think we need to
further draw that out for our busy, fast paced Western culture.”
An original thinker, from careful research and many travels to distant places, Dr Meares brought together something of the history of the East to the needs of the West.
Reflecting back in this interview, she adds:
“It took courage to go out there and tell that story and write the book in the first place. That in itself was a big step.”
The advent of interviews, opportunity and her willingness and care to listen to others’ stories became a large gift in itself. Once trapped in the confines of her very own mind and home, Pauline has travelled extensively following the publication of In Stillness Conquer Fear. Her determination to pursue the resources to overcome the immense shame surrounding her condition and wearing that experience as a learning badge for others has pioneered incredible steps towards a collective better quality of life for those whose lives she’s touched.
“From as early as I can remember, I’ve felt a pull to be somehow caring for people. But I knew I didn’t want to be a nurse, and I didn’t want to be a doctor. There were those sorts of things in early life prompting me, and I sort of had to go off the rails to come back on track.”
Her clients consist of people experiencing all levels of anxiety and depression, as well as other health ailments that prove poison to a full life.
“When someone experiences a massive panic attack, people literally think they’re dying. It’s a very, very scary experience. For sensitive people who are under pressure or are concerned about their health, I think that’s all they can sometimes succumb to, that experience of panic. And I’ve seen clients over the years who literally ended up in hospital emergency. People think they’re having a heart attack or worse.
So I do a lot of mentoring with my clients. I have a lot of empathy with people. And I think that people do need that sense of communion with somebody who knows how they feel.”
Pauline is an example that all of us are capable of attaining inner peace to allow us to be functional throughout our days. But we need to be willful enough to go and get it. Maybe this thought sheds light on the idea that peace is not a goal but a fundamental part of existing to live fruitfully.
Anxiety, depression, panic disorder, and related conditions are in epidemic proportions in the world today. There has never been a more important time to encourage compassion and understanding within yourself and to discover the ability to expand that out to the world. A fine place to begin is with this long-standing book, In Stillness Conquer Fear, which teaches calm without the commercialisation of some meditation techniques.
There is nothing else in this world that we grip onto as tightly as our own thoughts.
How we hold a flower is different to how we hold a pen, which is different from how we hold a glass of water, which is different from how we hold onto a loved one’s hand. In each one of these cases, we can loosen or tighten the grip however we wish.
We can do the same inside our minds, with the thoughts we create for ourselves and grip onto so tightly. Loosening the grip allows us to stop being a spectator and to fully dissolve into the wonders of being alive with exuberance. Pauline’s generous and sweet character shines through the effectiveness of her work, warming the souls that had deemed themselves unfixable, now back with vitality.
Online, you can also explore and access her other books, such as;
Living Calm in a busy world and her Let’s Be Still teaching manual. Audio recordings are also available online, as well as group sessions and meditations to download. There truly is a consideration for all audiences.