Baha'i News -- Escaping the rate race

Escaping the rate race

It is reassuring to know that in a corner of Swindon there is a place to escape the hustle and bustle of life. Reporter SARAH HEATHCOTE entered the Tranquillity Zone.

TV'S Changing Rooms team could learn a lot from the organisers of Swindon's Tranquillity Zone.

Every fortnight a cold empty room at the Health Hydro in Milton Road is transformed into a warm and fragrant oasis of calm and well-being ­ thanks to the efforts of the local Baha'is.

Increasing numbers of stressed Swindonians have been searching for inner peace and serenity and are discovering it in the Tranquillity Zone.

The initiative was started three years ago to help people cope with their stress. But it has become more than that, as Fidelma Meehan, Baha'i projects co-ordinator explained.

"Beyond the stress relief the Tranquillity Zone offers, we are finding that people who come along are becoming more aware of the need for spirituality in life," she said.

When you step into the Tranquillity Zone you find yourself in a mystical tent, lit with candles and strewn with cushions, fresh flowers and oriental rugs.

"Within this meditative setting guests can sit back for 40 minutes and enjoy a restful, spiritually enriching experience of inspiring words and soothing music," said Fidelma. "The Tranquillity Zone is nourishment for the soul and responds to a real void in our lives. In many UK towns and cities, people are enjoying relative material prosperity and well-being through economic development. But this cannot respond to all the needs of people today.

"The Tranquillity Zone is a significant community service project which started in Swindon and has grown nationally and internationally.

"One of the criticisms of Swindon when it did not win city status was that it lacked community spirit and was too much of a materialistic bid. Hopefully, through the Tranquillity Zone and other initiatives we can contribute to strengthening the spirit of Swindon.

"Our ultimate goal is to have a tranquillity centre in the town."

Thousands of people have already attended sessions in Swindon, sometimes in their own working environment, as the Tranquillity Zone is mobile.

Staff at Princess Margaret Hospital and workers at Swindon Borough Council are among those who have had their workplaces transformed.

Councillor Derique Montaut (Lab, Moredon) experienced the Zone for himself. He said: "My experience of the Tranquillity Zone was more than just peace and calm. It took me to a different world away from political conflicts and hostility to reflect on the kind of society I would like to live in."

The Swindon Baha'is are members of the worldwide Baha'i faith who organise the tranquillity zones which are free and open to people of any denomination.

The next weekend of tranquillity is set for February 22­25 at the Health Hydro. Sessions run on Thursday at 7.30pm, Friday at 1pm and 7.30pm, Saturday at 1pm and 7.30pm and Sunday at 11am and 1pm.

Call Swindon 465715, or send an e­mail to swindon9@dialstart.net


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