Hilary McMichael on Transformative Mindfulness Methods, stepping into the mud and letting go of heavy luggage

In her talk on the self-healing tools of TMM at FDCW’s Big Love Festival in November 2020, Hilary guided over 100 participants through a taster of TMM. One participant mentioned Hilary’s session as their highlight of the festival: “ The profound simplicity of the technique when I applied it and the astonishing result which was revealed through it!”

FDCW spoke to Hilary to find out more about her journey from participant to facilitator of TMM and the 16 Guidelines for Life programmes and about the differences between TMM and mindfulness meditation as offered widely today.

FDCW: Please, tell us a bit about yourself and your journey with Transformative Mindfulness Methods.

Hilary: I first heard about it when I visited Institut Vajra Yogini (in France) in 2010. I saw TMM on their programme and was immediately attracted to it. I went to the courses taught by Dekyi-Lee at least two years running and then I also discovered the 16 Guidelines.

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FDCW: What was it about Transformative Mindfulness Methods that grabbed you?

Hilary: Well, I’d say that I’m not a very disciplined person so meditation is a little bit hard for me, especially something that’s daily. Transformative Mindfulness, I’d say, is the same in the path of awakening but I can do it when I need it and the results sort of ripple out and ripple out and ripple out. I’ve benefitted from it every day!

FDCW: At what point did you decide to become a TMM facilitator?

Hilary: I know I took a long time over it! Every time there was a course, I signed up, level 1, level 2 and then level 3 were available and once I did that, I was certified to teach but it was like a big leap to actually go in and have to give a class. I can’t really remember what got me going but I think that it was just so important for me to transmit to other people what I learned that it was like a mission.

FDCW: What would you say are the biggest differences between TMM and mindfulness as many people know it?

Hilary: TMM is, in a way, a quick fix. When things are going badly, you can use TMM to transform problems. It can really take you through a difficult period. It did for me, and you dare to step right into the mud because it’s a very safe procedure. When you follow the process and come to the end, there is this feeling of having let go of lots of heavy luggage. And so I’d say TMM is like being equipped with a tool that’s very, very empowering and allows you to have clarity on how the mind works.

“When you follow the process and come to the end, there is this feeling of having let go of lots of heavy luggage.”

FDCW: So it’s not necessary for people to build up a daily practice?

Hilary: No, not at all! It really is body based. There’s a lot of inner dialogue. There’s no sort of quieting the mind, trying to be stable. It’s rather the opposite. One really allows oneself to listen and dialogue with the turmoil and the pain and find wisdom. And sometimes we explore the energy centers and qualities. All these different levels mean that, really, it’s very adaptable to wherever you are at. That’s one thing. It’s also very short! You can do a session in 10 or up to 45 minutes right when you need it.

FDCW: It feels like TMM is a very active approach, very engaged.

Hilary: Yes, that’s right. It’s very active and practical because it has clear steps. At the beginning, you’re just aware of sensations or feelings and then the underlying causes may reveal themselves but without looking for them. The final step is asking for help, and letting this help happen. Journaling is used as an optional part of the exercises, which gives the opportunity to take what was retained inside and put it outside of oneself. The whole process allows people to see that they are more than their suffering and some of it is maybe a story they have been identifying with or a blocked energy, and through TMM it becomes integrated and harmonized.

FDCW: Like a process of becoming more whole as a person again?

Hilary: Yes, but we are whole already. I really believe in Buddha nature, this good heartfulness, but we often just don’t realize we have it. Through the TMM process we allow ourselves to be all that we are, the dark and the light.

FDCW: Is there anything that people should bring or prepare when they come to the first session?

Hilary: Nothing at all! No matter where you are at in your life, you will find something that’s useful or positive. We’re often involved in helping other people and this course can really be time for ourselves – two hours a week for six weeks. It’s a new and unusual experience. It’s creative but you don’t have to have any talents or skills or know anything about meditation, Buddhism, art, or therapy – you don’t have to have any prerequisites. You really just come as you are and you’ll find something that’s a tool for life.

“You really just come as you are and you’ll find something that’s a tool for life.”

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You can watch Hilary’s talk at the Big Love Festival at https://compassionandwisdom.org/big-love-festival-hilary-mcmichael.

To find out more about her course starting in April visit our calendar or email Hilary directly.

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