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British School of Meditation Blog

British School of Meditation Blog


Welcome to the British School of Meditation blog on Meditation Teacher Training

Highly Sensitive People

Highly Sensitive People

On Saturday I went to a talk at the Isbourne on Highly Sensitive People. The talk was given by mel Collins – see her bio below.

Mel talked about the defining characteristics of highly Sensitive People. I was interested to discover if I fitted into this category and also went out of interest in the subject. 15-20% of the population are in this category so a not insubstantial number.

These are some of the traits of HSP:

1.       Has difficulty letting go of negative thoughts and emotions

2.       Can experience physical symptoms such as stress or headaches when something unpleasant happens

3.       Often feels tense or anxious

4.       Fears rejection

5.       Worries about what others are thinking

6.       Self-conscious

7.       Feels uncomfortable in large crowded rooms, busy public places

8.       Feel judged by others

9.       Feels uncomfortable when exposed to bright lights, loud noises, strong smells

10.   Easily startled by sudden noises

11.   Dislikes and avoids violent and scary films, Tv shows

Elaine Aron in her book ‘The highly Sensitive Person’

Describes HSP’s as those who:
have a keen imagination; are labelled too shy or too sensitive; who perform poorly when being observed even though they are usually competent; have vivid dreams; for whom time alone each day is essential;
and find they are quickly overwhelmed by noise and confusion, crowded parties, hectic office life………….
this is the book to help them understand themselves and how best to cope in various situations.

Highly sensitive people are often very bright and creative but many suffer from low self esteem. They are not ‘neurotics’ as they have been labelled for so long. However, high sensitivity can lead them to cease to engage with the outside world.

 ‘Mel Collins is a qualified psychotherapeutic counsellor, spiritual healer and reiki master who runs regular workshops, courses and talks. Before her work as a counsellor, increasingly specialising in HSP, she worked in Her Majesty's Prison Service for two years counselling substance misuse prisoners, then eight years as a Prison Governor. Being innately sensitive in a challenging prison setting has given her an incredible learning experience and teaching base. She appeared on the Jeremy Vine Show on BBC Radio 2 in March 2018 and she has since received widespread interest in her work from both consumers and the press alike, including BBC Radio 5. For more information, go to’

Buy her book and see reviews here:

It was a useful talk, I discovered I do have many of the traits of HSP. I am particularly affected by bright lights, loud noises and strong smells. I struggle in crowded situations where people are talking loudly. However, as I have grown older I notice I have let go of a lot of the negative characteristics I had when younger, and cope much better with my thoughts and feeling. I believe meditation has helped enormously in this.

 Are you a HSP?


The hero's Journey

The Hero’s journey

This week I attended a talk at the Isbourne Centre given by Will Gethin on The Hero’s Journey.

I have known Will for a long time, and we worked together at the Isbourne for a while. Will was employed to do PR for the centre and also to promote the guest speaker programme. Some of the speakers include: Brandon Bays, Byron Katie, and Peter Owen Jones.

His talk last night was about the hero’s journey made famous by Joseph Campbell. 'Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there were only walls' Joseph Campbell. 

There are 12 steps in the journey – the journey begins when the hero receives a call to action which presents a challenge to his usual existence. At first there is normally resistance to the call (we’ve all been there!).

The resistance can be challenged by meeting a mentor, someone helps the hero overcome his doubts and fears and feel encouraged to begin his journey.

There are a series of tests and challenges on the way which our hero needs to overcome. By the way, I am using he/him but the journey also applies to women.

The hero now has to confront his biggest fears and darkest moments and come through the challenges, and being rewarded with new found confidence.

The hero now begins to work his way back, feeling empowered by his experiences and ready share with others the rewards of his journey.  and

YouTube vlog on silence


Whenever I tell friends I am going on a silent retreat most of them react by saying ‘I couldn’t do that’.

The idea of silence can be daunting, and I think for some people quite frightening. To be alone with your thoughts with no opportunity to chat with others about your day, the latest news, gossip etc.

We are social beings and most people enjoy a good chat. We can talk about our problems with friends and perhaps gain some insight and wisdom. So, why, then would anyone want to spend several days in complete silence?

We live in a noisy, 24/7 world, under pressure to respond almost instantly to texts and emails, to keep up to date with our Facebook postings, and join other social media such as Twitter and LinkedIn. There is a 24-hour news cycle with constant updates so that we can know what is going on anywhere in the world by looking at Google or at an app on our Smartphone.

For me the opportunity to get away from this has become really important. I work from home, so my work computer is in my home office. I have been to lots of different places on retreat and have come to appreciate deep silence while on away. Just getting away from home and the office gives me an opportunity to recharge my batteries and reconnect with my spirituality.

Helen has just created a blog on silence:


On our YouTube channel Helen has posted a vlog on using positive affirmations:

As Helen explains positive affirmations can be very useful to change our mindset. We can often grumble and mutter away to ourselves in a negative way. We all do it, we can grumble about the weather, the lack of any decent programmes on TV, the deterioration of the clothes in Mark and Spencer (this is one of mine, but I don’t think I’m alone!), and if I dare mention it: Brexit!!

Using positive affirmations can help to change your life for the better. One of mine is ‘I am happy, healthy, wealthy and wise’ – it’s a work in progress, but it does help me feel much more positive about every area of my life.

You can use cards as Helen suggests too, the pack she recommends by Louise Hay can be found here:

Give affirmations a go and notice the changes happening in your life.




In August I went on a silent retreat, something I do at least once a year. This year I was particularly pleased to be going so I could get away from the news!

I went to St Bueno’s in North Wales. It is a spirituality centre set in the most beautiful grounds and with amazing views of the Welsh countryside. It is a haven of peace in a noisy world.

Your time there is spent in silence. Everyone moves into silence on their first evening there and remains in silence until breakfast on their final morning.

Once a day you have the opportunity to meet with a spiritual director for half an hour. This is the only time when you speak, it would otherwise be a bit pointless if you just looked at one another!

My spiritual director this year was quite young, and at first, I wondered if she had the experience to be doing the job. I was proved wrong and it showed me I was being ageist! She was encouraging and enthusiastic and I came away from the sessions feeling happy with my retreat.

I took a book with me ‘A Book of Silence’ by Sara Maitland. It is a wonderful book and I highly recommend it to you. She looks at the history of silence and also delves into her own desire for more and more silence.

When I told a friend I was taking a book on silence with me on a silent retreat she was flabbergasted and wanted to know why I wasn’t taking a novel with me. however, I really enjoyed the book and found out a lot about the history of silence and the power it can have in our lives.

I also switched off my mobile phone while I was there and found that it was so restful not to be in contact with the rest of the world. I spent a lot of time in the grounds and walking in the beautiful countryside. Being out in the gardens and walking in the country was therapeutic as was stroking the lovely little black cat that lives on the site.

The retreat provided me with some peace and quiet to recharge my batteries. I came away feeling thoroughly refreshed.

Success - what does it mean?

Success – what does it mean?

The only real failure in life is not to be true to the best one knows’. Buddha

I became a teacher because I believed that I had a vocation to teach. I studied history at university with the intention of becoming a History teacher when I graduated. I was fortunate to get the first job I applied for, so my teaching career took off successfully. For a long time, I enjoyed my job and was successful. I was promoted several times and was soon running a big department. I also saw my students do well in exams. Before I was 30, I had been appointed as a Senior Teacher – now called Assistant Deputy Head.

However, in 1997, my world fell apart and all my success in my career began to seem totally pointless. The first chapter of my book tells the story of how difficult that year of my life was. I lost my head teacher, who was also my mentor and a close friend. Very soon after his sudden death lost my Mum and reeling from these losses had to then try and cope with the breakdown of my marriage.

I turned to alcohol to try and get me through the day and noticed I was drinking more and more.

I was rescued by meditation. I met someone who was a regular meditator and speaking to him led me to view my life differently. I went and learned how to meditate properly and will be forever indebted to him for the priceless gift he gave me.

Once started on a daily meditation practice my outlook on life began to change. Firstly, I started to drink less and noticed that I became a nicer person! Meditation helps me to be less reactive, so I think first instead of saying the first thing that comes into my head. It made me less irritable and much more patient. However, the thing that changed most and ultimately had the biggest effect on me was that I began to question my ‘successful’ career. I was successful but at what cost?

I went to work, came home, did more work, went to bed and then got up and did it all again the next day. I was permanently exhausted and too tired to have any life outside of work. If you know any teachers, you will be familiar with this story.

Meditation gives you a chance to step back and look at things more clearly, it gives perspective. What is the point of success if you are unhappy?

So learning to meditate helped me reflect on what was important to me. I realised that my successful career in teaching left me drained and exhausted and didn’t make me happy.

Training as a therapist and meditation teacher transformed my life. I began to feel that what I was doing had real benefits both for the people I worked with and for myself. I began to feel fulfilled by my work and at the end of a working day feel as though I had made a real contribution in the world. I began to feel happy. My vocation to teach has remained steadily with me throughout, I am just a different type of teacher now. One who is happy and inspired by her work.

 As the Dalai Lama says: ‘Happiness is not something ready-made. It comes from your own actions’.

We all have within us the capacity to be happy and to share that happiness with others.

‘Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared’ Buddha

Meditation, the stress solution  Mary Pearson 

YouTube channel


Our YouTube Channel:

Just in case you haven’t noticed we have set up a YouTube Channel.  As we develop the channel, we will have lots of chats about Meditation and also share meditations together.

In our first Vlog which you can see if you click onto our web site.  I am talking about how the school was founded, and this is a really interesting story; and also telling you all about our Meditation Teacher qualification.

In the following Vlogs we practise a couple of meditations together and chat about how you can set up your own meditation practise, as well as dealing with some very common questions.

Some of these are: -

‘I can’t stop my thoughts’

‘I don’t have time to meditate.’

‘How long should I meditate for’

‘Do I need to sit in the Lotus position’

‘Where should I meditate?’

I also give details of how to find a BSoMeditation teacher.   You do this by going to our website and click on the tab label ‘Find a BSoM teacher’.  This will take you to a list of registered teachers in your area.

Keep an eye on the channel as I am trying to produce a Vlog every week.

When you have watched one of the Vlogs, please do click on like and the subscribe button.  This will help us to reach a wider audience allowing more people to access the benefits of meditation.

Thanks for reading.


Impossible is not a fact.
It's an opinion. 
Impossible is not a declaration.
It's a dare. 
Impossible is potential.
Impossible is temporary.
Impossible is NOTHING. 

 Muhammad Ali   

Recently I watched Andy Murray make a return to competitive tennis, something that had seemed impossible after he limped out of the Australian Open and it looked like his career was over.

He held a press conference and he was in tears contemplating the end of the career he loves and has done so well in. I have followed his career from its early days, and I, too, was in tears listening to him. Andy has been an inspiration in what he has achieved in terms of his tennis career, but also in other ways too. He raises huge amounts of money for charity – Unicef – is just one example.

He has also championed women, appointing a female coach, and taking interviewers, such as John Inverdale to task for casual sexism.  

If anyone exemplifies the above quote from Muhammad Ali, it is Andy Murray. Faced with the end of his illustrious career he had a second hip replacement operation and is now back playing doubles and winning. For Andy impossible was NOTHING.

In 1997 my life fell apart and for a time it seemed impossible that I could change it. But slowly and surely, I began to rebuild my life and, in fact, change it for the better. I began to train in different disciplines, including teaching meditation and looked at an exit strategy from school teaching. I sold my house and moved from Manchester to Cheltenham and set myself up as self-employed. It was a struggle at first but gradually and with determination I began to build my new business.

In 2011 I got together with Helen and together we created something out of nothing: The British School of Meditation. Here we are in 2019 with a wonderful team and a Register of members.

So, remember: ‘Impossible is not a fact -------’ 

See our latest vlog about starting to meditate- tips from Helen on how to start your meditation practice.


 In 2010 my first book:  ‘Meditation, the stress solution’ was published and together with my good friend Carol Green,( I organised a book signing combined with a Christmas Fair.

We had a raffle as part of the Open Day to raise money for ‘Help for Heroes’, a charity close to our hearts. I donated a 1-2-1 session with me as a raffle prize. Helen, my now business partner in the School, won the prize.

Helen and I had been acquaintances for several years, but we didn’t really know one another. We arranged the 1-2-1 session in February 2011.

Out of that meeting came the idea for The British School of Meditation. We chatted away and discovered we had a great deal in common. One of us mentioned that more and more people were now turning to meditation for a whole variety of reasons and wouldn’t it be good if there were more meditation teachers to meet that need. Well, one thing led to another and by the end of the meeting we had both decided to go away and explore the idea.

Helen went home and mentioned the idea to her husband, and he said it seemed like it was worth pursuing. We met up again and looked seriously at the concept and at the idea of working together. From the very beginning we have got on really well and from being acquaintances have become very close friends.

We spent most of 2011 putting in all the groundwork. We talked about the format of the course and decided the best way was to have face-to-face training and that we would offer that training in Cheltenham at the Isbourne Centre.

One very important point we decided on from the beginning was that we needed to get proper external accreditation for the course.  This took time and effort but eventually we teamed up with the Open College Network and obtained accreditation for our teacher training course. Ascentis has now taken over as our accrediting body.  

The success of the School led us to expand and we now have centres in different parts of the country.

See Helen’s vlog about the setting up of the School.


A blog about vlogs

 A blog about vlogs

Helen, the co-founder of the British School of Meditation has made a blog on our YouTube page.

Do have a look and find out more about the Meditation School. If you are considering becoming a meditation teacher Helen explains why the British School of Meditation is the best choice.

Happy watching!


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The British School of Meditation has been established to train teachers in meditation techniques to meet the growing demand for highly trained and accredited meditation teachers throughout the UK including: the Midlands, South West, Wales, North West, North East, London and the South East.