Sitting in the Stillness
What if there is, fundamentally, nothing to change or fix in ourselves?
Sitting in the Stillness is a collection of stories from the therapy room. Each one invites the reader to go beyond these personal accounts to the universal, beyond the agitations of the mind to an infinite stillness of being. The stories include examples from group therapy, mindfulness groups, family and couples’ therapy and demonstrate our fundamental interconnectedness.
'Insightful, practically useful, even enlightening. We are led along a less ‘self-centred’ path with a delightfully light touch.'
Nigel Wellings, author of Why Can’t I Meditate?
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We all have our stories, good and bad. Sometimes, we rely too heavily on those stories to tell others and ourselves who we are. No One Playing and Sitting in the Stillness by Martin Wells talks about mindfulness, stillness, and release from those stories. The first uses the game of golf to explore the deepest secrets of life. He tells us to notice and accept what is, and remember that search and restlessness are not stillness. In the second, the author integrates his psychotherapy practice with the principles of mindfulness, stillness and presence. The book has some poignant case studies that point to the stillness of being available in every moment. He encourages readers to encounter this for themselves. Both are very short, but remarkable books. ~ BuNEKE Magazine, Review
5 Star Rating: I loved this book of therapy room case studies, all essentially telling the same story from different angles; the story of finding the courage to let go of self improvement and instead embrace the breakthrough possibilities of radical self acceptance. What makes the book special is that the author opens by describing his own "ah-ha" moment of release: a letting go of striving, after a lifetime of trying to perfect himself and overcome his sense of being an outsider. This is a refreshing and ultimately hopeful read from a skilled and humble wounded healer. You'll maybe recognise in some of the case studies, characters from your own life ... you may even spot a version of yourself. ~ Roberto, Amazon
5 Star Rating: When the story of 'the Ego and the I' is left behind this wise guide is there holding the still vastness steady and ready for us to step into. This is where No Story and Freedom exist. It's not often you are able to go inside the therapy room and witness the bravery and delicacy of the journey a therapist and his client makes from being in the centre of a bewildering turmoil to being in a spacious Now. It is only possible to move from the Story to a vast, quiet Stillness and No Story if the therapeutic space is held by someone who has that spaciousness in them. As an experienced meditator but with psychotherapeutic skills, models and language to explain the journey clearly and respectfully this book gently shows that it is possible to move from the Healing of the Ego, which is the province of psychotherapy, to the domain of Spiritual Awakening which is the province of the Stillness. An inspiring read for any therapist or client who has wondered what might lie beyond.... and if there is a connection between healing and enlightenment. There is! ~ Elizabeth Morris, Amazon
5 Star Rating: Exhausted by the endless and futile quest to ‘make myself a better person’ I found this book a revelation. Authentic, wise, compassionate and very readable, I found it a wonderful invitation to a radically different perspective on life. The concept that we are already completely whole, just as we are right now, feels both exciting and liberating. Thank you Martin! ~ Nick McNamara, Amazon
5 Star Rating: This book takes us in to the inner worlds of some of Martins' clients, and describes the healing journey that is available to each of us when we are held in the loving presence of another. There is a deep connection of the essence of the therapist and the client, and in this process there no longer is a client or therapist, just a meeting of their healing energy. ~ Jane Hawkes, Amazon
5 Star Rating: Through a series of stories from meetings with people in psychotherapy, this book gradually yet powerfully shows us how we are more than the stories we have come to believe about ourselves. I found this a truly transformative book; reading it left me with a profound sense of peace and freedom and I can't recommend it highly enough. ~ Nicholas Malcolm, Amazon
5 Star Rating: This book came at a perfect time for me and felt like a precious gift. It is so beautifully crafted with short stories of hope and freedom from internal tyranny. Even the cover brings peace. If you want a break from oppression I can thoroughly recommend this book. ~ Sheila Halliday, Amazon
Martin Wells has worked, possibly is still working, for the NHS. If so, his approach certainly seems to have a better end in view than reinforcing the idea that there must be something wrong with us. The form of counselling he describes here sounds at the outset somewhat Rogerian - non-judgemental listening - but this goes further and into territory that is deeply mystical. For the basic premise Martin sets out here is that the people who come to him, whether or not traumatised, depressed or anxious or lost, at core are not broken, nor need fixing, No need to follow any path to completeness. These, according to Martin, are all functions of the ego, the part of us that has ideas about itself. This ego creates 'stories,' a narrative that comes to define us well beyond the periods of trauma or loss that might have led to the need for these fictions. This book follows the conversations and life histories of some of Martin's patients, or clients. One of the most interesting of these studies was that of the psychopath, of whom Martin admits to having been terrified of in the beginning. This individual does begin to thaw during his sessions with Martin, finally able to relinquish this stance upon recognition that his psychopathy was simply a way of coping with a brutal and vicious upbringing. In the second part of the book, Martin describes his work with group sessions, which show how interconnected most of us really are. He relates how sharing and describing dreams can demonstrate this, dreams somehow speaking to each participant beyond any need to be right or discriminatory. The basic premise that there is nothing wrong with us at base is an attractive one indeed, possibly one that is normally one very difficult to put into practice. Martin makes it all seem easy, though it probably isn't. An interesting and hopeful read, though. ~ Lynda Stevens (Reviewer) , NetGalley
This is my favourite book of the year so far and as Editor of Psychologies I read a lot of books! Martin is a wise and compassionate guide through the stories of our minds. What happens if we drop the story? This book helps you stop gripping so tightly and to allow a new way of being and seeing to catch you as you fall. A profound life-changing book. ~ Suzy Walker. , Editor-in-Chief Psychologies magazine
......If you're interested in finding freedom within and the practise of mindfulness then this can certainly help and guide you. Definitely worth a read if you feel drawn to it. ~ Trudie Moore (Reviewer) , NetGalley
This has an excellent premise -- finding freedom within, partly by realizing that you are not your story....... I'm sure these stories and session summaries will resonate with many readers, and hopefully be helpful or inspirational. The author is on to something, and I wish him huge success in helping as many people as possible. ~ Paul V (Reviewer), NetGalley
Overall this is a wise and enlightening book. The writing is open and sincere and carries an inner authority born of Martin’s personal and professional experience. He explores profound issues about who we are with a light touch and writes in an accessible and non-technical style. The text is liberally sprinkled with inspiring quotes from poets and mystics through the ages. Many people could enjoy and be inspired by this book – not just those interested in mindfulness, but anyone who is curious about their story and what lies beyond. ~ Dr Andrew Clark, Consultant psychotherapist (NHS - retired)
I feel a deep gratitude for this book which has been a joy for me to read and will be invaluable to students and qualified therapists alike who want to bring another more spiritual dimension to their work. I have quoted aspects of the book to supervisees particularly those who are tortured by the ‘change model’ . On every page there are jewels. I have recommended this book to many people because it is both simple and profound. ~ Geoff Hopping, Psychotherapist, trainer and supervisor
After years of soul searching and battling depression, I feel like I have found the light I can follow. Sitting in the Stillness is the best book that I have read to help me to reconcile my being with reality, observe the resolution of my ego, clear my illusions and heal my wounds. It is the best self help I have ever come across. ~ Hong Zou, Retreat member
I am on the second reading already. I found it fascinating and extremely powerful – it has also reawakened a very active dreamlife! It is certainly a book I will return to many times. ~ Dr Jan Cribb , Consultant psychiatrist and life coach
Sitting in the Stillness is an important addition to therapeutic literature. It is explained with ease, compassion and purpose. I am grateful to Martin in providing such a pathway and will recommend the text. ~ Robin Hobbes, Psychotherapist, supervisor and trainer
“Sitting in the Stillness” is a treasure to keep among the writings of Rumi, Krishnamurti, Lao Tzu and the likes of such enlightened beings. It is a very human, contemporary and understandable guide through the various characters we play, and has in every chapter the potential to clear the path to something deeper within. Wells largely uses the dialogue format to explore various archetypes we adopt, and in doing so, draws the reader in, almost as if they are talking to Wells directly, or perhaps are Wells talking to the other. It is not cloying nor hyperbolic conversations; it revels in simplicity and directness. And because much of it stems from the author’s personal experiences, it is grounded and sincere. There is little technical jargon, and Wells is not ostentatious or sanctimonious to place himself above the reader in an exclusive bubble. Exploring various archetypes and mindfulness approaches enables Wells to touch on the multifaceted nature of humans. As you read more, new parts of the stale story we carry are highlighted, and through the chapter are often cleared. Even chapters that you think may not apply to you or be valuable to your experience have a profundity that awakens you to parts of a story you may have missed, but can now recognise and clear. It is not a book to be read in one go; there is no manic reading. It is not heavy, but it is powerful, and so I found myself pausing and coming back to it when it felt like I was called back. Wells himself speaks of synchronicity and being the flute rather than the flautist, and the experience of reading this book aligned with that. Wells’ thoughtful use of quotes and anecdotes enhances the message of the book, and are delightful and memorable gems for the reader. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is searching for understanding, a clearing away of the old stories, and a reminder of the Stillness that we are. ~ Siddharthiya Pillay LLM Medical Law (UKZN) MSc Management of Bioeconomy, Innovation and Governance (University of Edinburgh), Review
In this touching, inspiring and enlightening collection of stories we meet brave individuals journeying from breakdown to breakthrough and rediscovering who they really are. Through Martin’s gentle and wise guidance, we are invited to rediscover our own true selves, prior to fear-based conditioning, beyond our personal stories. Filled with compassion and deep non-dual wisdom, this book is a friendly invitation to the place where therapy, mindfulness and authentic spirituality meet: The present moment, our true home. We are encouraged to be a little less afraid of our own thoughts and feelings, a little more trusting in this strange process called Living. I think this wonderful book will help many people. ~ Jeff Foster, author of The Way of Rest
An interesting story of human consciousness written with an intelligent, clear view of our essential nature. An entertaining thought provoking read, the author has created a helpful tool for those seeking to understand the mysterious nature of consciousness and the oneness of life itself. ~ J.M.Harrison, award winning author
Martin’s approach is revolutionary, since it uses the therapeutic process to break the habit of seeking a solution to suffering in the past, opening the intuition to an understanding of a timeless vertical dimension, the source of true healing. We should therefore pay tribute to Martin's work which contributes significantly to dissolving the illusions of the mind, and brings clarity, lucidity and discernment to the daily life of patients, and in fact anyone, who embraces such an approach. Discovering who and what we are beyond the dimension of mind and body is the greatest of all gifts. At the moment that we transcend our ego-driven tendencies life reveals itself in all its love, truth, and beauty. It is life which is the true therapist as it guides the mind back to its source. Thank you life, and thank you Martin for awakening the essence of being in the hearts of so many people. ~ Dr Jean-Marc Mantel, Psychiatrist, Founder of the Former International Association of Spiritual Psychiatry, author of A Scent of Oneness
Explored through the lens of a series of fascinating clinical vignettes, we see how Martin and those he worked with, time and time again, are released from suffocating personal narratives that no longer serve them. Insightful, practically useful, even enlightening, we are lead along a less ‘self-centred’ path with a delightfully light touch. Or, as Martin intriguingly says, “No longer striving to become a better person but instead realising the perfection we already are”. ~ Nigel Wellings, Psychoanalytic Psychotherapist, author of Why Can’t I Meditate? How To Get Your Mindfulness Practice on Track
I'm absolutely fascinated by it - I can see echoes of many writers here that I likewise admire, and yet you have a wonderfully accessible tone and voice that is very much your own. This book feels current and necessary to me, and I like how you have weaved in the experience of NHS and private clients. It reminds me of the work of Stephen Cope, and I love how much everyday wisdom there is here. It's really lovely. ~ Anna Hogarty, Literary agent, Madeleine Milburn agency
These remarkable stories bring to life the essence of psychotherapy and the everyday living wisdom of non-duality. The deep wisdom in this book shows us how we can find freedom by fully embracing and ultimately transcending life’s challenges. Martin’s practice of non-dual psychotherapy in the National Health Service is unique. His work is an inspirational reminder that however traumatic the personal story, freedom and stillness remain ever-present and undisturbed. ~ Dr. Peter Fenner, author of Radiant Mind and Natural Awakening