Jane Li-chuan Han on meditation, poetry and silence
I used to be a high school teacher here in Taiwan, teaching Chinese language and literature. Now I lead a study group and a dream group. I write poems, and enjoy that very much. I also enjoy practicing a kind of traditional Chi-kung called I-ching-ching, and exploring the inner world.
Better sleep, better poetry, better stomach
What Acem Meditation brings to me? About one month after I had learned the technique, I found that I could write poetry again, an ability that I had lost for years. Meditation helps me to relax, both physically and mentally. Because of that my sleep has also improved. Sometimes when I cannot sleep because something bothers me or because I have jetlag, I just get up and meditate for 45 minutes, and then I can fall asleep again. The relaxation I get from meditation is deep, and affects not only my muscles but also my inner organs. Once when I had had several days of stomach problems, I happened to register for a weekend retreat. When I returned home after the retreat, I suddenly noticed that my stomach problems had disappeared.
Adjusting to New York
To me, the best part of Acem Meditation is that it helps me come back to the center of myself, and then I can calm down more easily. This center has two different levels. One is physical. I often spend too much energy taking care of my family and friends. Then I become restless, and I usually keep doing meaningless stuff, though I feel very tired. When I notice that, I meditate. My whole body settles down, and I won’t so easily become occupied by unimportant things. My regular meditation helps me adjust to new environments or to other forms of pressure. At the beginning of this year, I flew to New York to see my son, who is studying there, and I stayed there for a month. I kept up my meditation habit during my stay there, and this helped me relate better to a place that is very different from Taiwan.
Center of silence
At another level, my center is spiritual. The silence I experience in my meditation has become part of my daily awareness. With this silence I can make decisions in my life with greater ease. I am willing to spend more of my time in inner peace, rather than looking for the meaning of my life in the external world. I have experienced lots of changes and uneasiness in my body and mind during menopause. I am very happy to have learned Acem Meditation. Through this method, I am able to come back to my center of silence from time to time. It is like a ship of tranquility ferrying me through the winds and waves of life.
The meditation sound like starlight leading through the dark
Joy and sorrow
The memories of yesterday and the hardships of now
You, this little universe, with your entire body, mind and soul
All at once become a single sound in this emptiness
That is your pure wish in this life
The splintering scar has vanished
Even the uncured pain turns into secret smiles on your face
Interview by Joy Lu
Poem by Jane Li-chuan Han, translated by Joy Lu
Language editor: Ann Kunish