Early mindfulness training?
It was 1985 and I visited Mainland China for the first time in my life. I was at Yonghegong, the main Tibetan temple in Beijing, known for its close relations to Chinese authorities, and just reopened after the Cultural Revolution. It was widely rumoured and probably true that monks here were just government employees, and that as soon as the tourists went home, the monks would return to their wives and life outside the temple ground. In other words, this was not the place you would expect spiritual achievement.
In one room an elderly monk stood in the corner mumbling mantras or sutras (I couldn’t tell the difference) while his fingers went over the rosary. Then a group of noisy Chinese visitors entered, and I remember in particular a small and plump Chinese woman, who pointed to some device in the ceiling, turned to the monk and asked loudly “What’s that?” I was wondering whether the monk in his deep absorption would notice her at all, or maybe would be suddenly pulled out of his meditative state and lose his track. Instead, he just lifted his head slightly, told her softly what the device in the ceiling was, and returned to his recitation. Read more…
By Duane Hendricks, Vancouver
Life passes by in a blurr. Experience of the present is ever fleeting. No sooner am I waking up cursing my alarm clock than has the day passed – again I am going to bed too late with little accomplished and even less actually experienced. Did I gain any pleasure during my walk to the bus stop? I saw the fluffy yellow bee land on the flowers, but somehow I did not experience the moment. I see life as through a window pane. I cannot quite touch what I see; I cannot feel the air fluttering from the bee’s wings.
I took advantage of free introductory classes offered by a number of meditation groups. Not being religious or very inclined toward mysticism, I did not find the experience or results I was looking for.
by Are Holen MD PhD, founder of Acem
This text is from the book Acem Meditation – an Introductory Companion.
‘Meditation’ is a generic term as broad as, say, ‘sports’, covering a diverse range of practices using different methods and aiming at a variety of objectives.
Central aspects of the meditation phenomenon are outlined below, with the purpose of identifying the shared and differing characteristics of various meditation practices and putting Acem Meditation into perspective.
Twenty-one-year-old twins Elisabeth and Carina Heimdal feel that Acem Meditation has improved their relationships with other people.
They learned Acem Meditation in Norway four years ago, and daily meditations have been part of their life ever since. Both agree that Carina has become more self-assertive and articulate about her feelings, while Elisabeth has become less susceptible to fits of temper.
Carina says: “I have become more aware of my wish to communicate more personally and clearly in my relationships to others. Rather than holding back, I am now expressing more of what I feel in my daily life. Instead of thinking about what I should or shouldn’t do without finding an answer easily, I have learned to admit that certain things are a bit complex. Sometimes, though, I think it is better for me to think less and give more room for spontaneity. I particularly like the web-based guidance chats after retreats: at appointed times, we have a guidance chat, which works fine. Studying abroad for several years, I am alone with meditation most of the year, and the regular contact with others who meditate is very stimulating.”