FAQ Meares' method of Meditation

How many types of meditation did Ainslie Meares' teach?

Only one. However, this evolved and became further refined over time.

Meares also taught techniques for making the stillness more general and letting it carry over into daily living. Meares' whole system is explained in the first book. The first book provides instructions in how to learn and practice Meares' method.

What are diferences between Stillness and mindfulness?

Meares categorised the types of meditation and explained why Stillness lies beyond mindfulness. For a bit more information see here.

How did Ainslie Meares develop his method of meditation?

Ainslie Meares method was derived from his study of hypnosis. He invented and developed his method in which the meditator themselves learns to voluntarily relax into a deep mentally relaxing experience. His travels to meet with yogis and mystics helped him to verify and fine tune his method that he had already developed from first principles and clinical experience. He concluded that his method had extracted the essence of eastern mysticism.

This is discussed in the first book.

Did Meares use visualisation?

Meares used visualisation (and many other methods) during his early work in medical hypnosis but he abandoned its use around the time he began to teach patients to meditate instead of using conventional hypnosis. On the internet , it is sometimes stated that Meares used visualisation to help cancer patients. This is incorrect. For some reason, people have got Meares' recommendation backwards. In fact, he used the simplicity of stillness and did not teach visualisation to any of his cancer patients. He raised concerns that visualisation might not be beneficial and could be harmful under some circumstances. The first book has some more about this topic.

What meditation posture did Ainslie Meares teach or recommend?

In class, sitting is used. The progressive role of posture in meditation is discussed in the first book.

What can be said about Meares' poetry?

A quick look will tell you that Meares wrote 11 poetry books. The poetry formed part of his method as is explained in the first book. In addition, the first book has a couple of poems from each of the 11 poetry books to a total of 33. These samples give you some poems to read in the way Meares intended. You will likely decide that the poetry is helpful. The samples will also help you to decide which of Meares' poetry books to get.

The second book has a first line index of each of Meares' poetry books. Again, the idea is that the reader forms an impression and then chooses one or two they like the sound of. Of course, the second book does not have samples of complete poems - it only lists first lines. From point of view of the poetry, you would be better off getting the first book and then getting the second book if you can't decide which of Meares' poetry books to get.

Why don't more people mention Ainslie Meares work?

Unaware. Not very good at literature searching. A few are biased. Take your pick.

The simple facts are that much of the modern literature on hypnosis and meditation fails to mention the contribution made by Ainslie Meares. Many modern meditation (and hypnosis) researchers and teachers do not mention Ainslie Meares' work. This is a pity as a reading of his work shows that he had already drawn conclusions of great clarity regarding various topics still under discussion today.

Meares' work is outlined in 35 books, journal articles and conference papers.

What about Ainslie Meares' work on cancer?

During the Stillness Meditation period, Meares helped patients with cancer. Over 40 years ago, Meares' believed that Stillness Meditation could help with pain management and by reducing anxiety\stress. Further, identification and killing of cancer cells would be reduced by high cortisol levels in anxious cancer patients. These processes would work better if anxiety was substantially reduced. Meares' published many articles on his work with cancer patients in the peer reviewed literature.

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