PS086: The value of silent assembly with the support of themed artwork and guided meditation to the spiritual wellbeing of young people

The underlying drive for this research in our increasingly secular and divided society, is the growing concern for the mental health and well-being of our young people, reflected in the notion that with the large-scale withdrawal of the population from organised religion, there is much of value beyond faith itself which is being lost.

My Farmington Scholarship has explored the impact of offering opportunities for art mediated silent assemblies and meditative practice on spiritual well-being. The greatest obstacle to this action research was finding a meaningful mechanism for attempting to measure spiritual well-being. The basis used was the spiritual well-being model constructed by John Fisher known as the SHALOM model. This has four dimensions, the personal, the communal, the environmental & the transcendental. The model was cross-referenced with Paul MacLean’s Triune Brain model of brain functioning to create a new ‘research instrument’ or questionnaire. The research across two schools with year 9 and year 12 students in each, offered some interesting perspectives on the impact of two quite different practices.