Jane Kuei-chen Chou interviewed by Joy Lu
Jane Kuei-chen Chou was one of nine Taiwanese meditators who attended the first World Retreat of Acem Meditation in Norway in 2003. She decided to stay on for another week of deepening at Acem’s new international retreat center Halvorsbøle. Since then, she has missed a similar opportunity. Ten years later – last year – she finally came back for a two-week deepening retreat, also at Halvorsbøle.
When she learned Acem Meditation in 2003, Jane had negative thoughts about her life, especially her marriage and her job.
“I felt I didn’t get any particular benefits from meditation, and thought I wasted my time doing it. I also had problems establishing good meditation habits. But after the World Retreat, the situation changed. I experienced deep relaxation, something I had wanted for a long time.”
Inspired by good guidance
“I got inspiration through the guidance during the retreat. I felt free and more relaxed when I came back to Taiwan. I wrote an article about my experience for the Acem Taiwan Newsletter, where I described myself as ‘a person with a clear mind and a heart without knots’. Since then, I have practiced meditation regularly. These ten years with Acem Meditation have of course had their ups and downs. At times I have been depressed and wanted to give up, but I have come through such periods, thanks to my regular meditation practice and good guidance.”
Jane has a varied job background. She has worked in the Ministry of Defense, run a restaurant, and worked as a housekeeper for one of the richest families in Taiwan.
More satisfied with life
“I was rarely satisfied with my life,” she says, “but now I am working in a well-known restaurant in a tourist area, Alishan, and feel that my quality of life becomes better and better. My boss gave me a month’s holiday without pay, which is rare in private companies in Taiwan. A while ago, I had a thought during meditation: ‘I am a happy person.’ I was thinking of my husband and his generosity towards me. Yes, I am sure meditation helps me to see that I actually am a happy person.”
“I had learned other methods before Acem Meditation, but had given up all of them because of my restlessness, and because I was uncomfortable sitting cross-legged. When I learned Acem Meditation, the instructor asked me about my motivation. I don’t know why my tears started running right away, but I felt I had been searching for a home, without finding a real one. My marriage and my job aren’t actually all that different now, compared to ten years ago, but now I feel like a happy person with peace in my mind. This is the inner strength Acem Meditation gives me.”
Translation: Anne Grete Hersoug
Photos: Joy Lu
Copy editor: Ann Kunish