International gathering for young moderators and assistant instructors in Acem
By Carina Heimdal
From 9th to 11th November, 2012, young Acem leaders from all over Europe gathered in Berlin. We had meetings in Acem´s premises in Berlin in Friedrichsgein, in the former eastern part of the city.
The main purpose of the weekend was to get to know and inspire each other! There were 12 participants from a total of five countries: Elia from Catalonia, Ina from Heidelberg, Daniel from Berlin, Jan and Olga from Hamburg, Andreas from Zurich, Jan-Egil from Bergen, Petter, Carina, and Grunde from Oslo, and Elisabeth and Stian from Copenhagen. We started both days by practicing yoga together. Read more…
Margaret Garcia-Moraga Koch on moderator training in Spain
Acem’s intensive activities in Spain are possible thanks to considerable local efforts and the local Acem center (Casa Acem) in Alicante. Acem Spain has two assistant instructors and five moderators. Below, one of the moderators from Alicante shares her thoughts about her new role.
“I have now been living almost 30 years in Spain, the last 20 of them in Alicante. (The Spanish name is a legacy of my ex-husband). As a nurse, I work with cancer patients in terminal phases, so I often have to confront heavy emotional burdens and stressful situations. Read more…
Ingrid Rentel interviewed by Carina Heimdal
Ingrid Rentel lives in Hamburg, and works in Human Resources in a large company. She has also trained as a teacher. Last autumn she became Germany’s second assistant instructor.
Acem runs courses in nine cities in Germany. In total 12 moderators and two assistant instructors, helped by instructors in Norway, are responsible for Acem’s activities in the country. More than 400 Germans learn to meditate every year, and with a new assistant instructor, Acem Germany is better equipped for arranging beginner’s courses and other activities.
A friend of mine recently sent me a link to an article from the business magazine Inc., with the title “Sit. Breathe. Be a better leader.” Since she knows that I am a meditator, she asked me: you probably already know this, right?
The article explains how meditation has helped some American leaders to improve life quality and relax, but also deliver more at work. Ray Dalio, the founder of Bridgewater Associates, the world’s biggest hedge fund, meditates. Steve Jobs was also often associated with meditation. According to the article:
Among entrepreneurs and business leaders, meditation is an increasingly popular seated practice that encourages alertness in the present moment, a pause to relax and focus, and, ultimately, a recentering to lead better.
At a recent rehearsal, my saxophone teacher told me:
Play a tone, and then you just observe how the sound is: weak, strong, bad, etc., but don´t do anything about it. Just let it be as it is.
This is a very tolerant and open way of playing – very good for those of us who are quite new to playing an instrument. Her approach reminded me of the free mental attitude in Acem meditation. You repeat the sound as effortlessly as possible, and let thoughts and feelings come and go freely. There is no spontaneous activity in the meditation that is wrong; she seemed to say that there was no tone that was wrong. (I am not sure if my neighbor is very happy when I use this approach when I rehearse at home).
Two days ago, Friday 22 July, Norway was hit by a tragic series of events. At around 15.26 a bomb exploded in front of the government´s building in central Oslo. I work in a building nearby and heard the explosion, and felt the building shaking. Few hours later, a man started shooting young people at the Labour party´s summer camp, on the island Utøya.
I would like to share some words on what I experienced. Shortly after the explosion, the alarm in my building went off, we all ran outside. We did not understand what had happened, but several thought it was a bomb. We saw many windows that had blown out. People talked about wounded people and we saw smoke. I was horrified and sad, with lots of thoughts running through my head. What if I had went out that afternoon to buy a cup of tea? What If I had left work early that day, around 15.30, going out the main entrance? The windows near the entrance of the building, where I walk every day, were all broken.
Old news? Yes, if you have learnt to practice a technique like Acem-meditation. But not if you have no experience with such relaxation techniques.
In the 29 April issue, the Norwegian women´s magazine Kamille writes about how to reduce everyday stress by using different relaxation techniques. The magazine includes a brief description of mindfulness meditation and almost an entire article on Acem-meditation. In an article about insomnia, the magazine interviews Cathrine Pedersen, who says that meditation has helped her with insomnia. She has practiced Acem-meditation for many years and describes her personal experience. Cathrine says that her daily 30-minute meditations are “30 minutes when I don´t have to perform at all.” Read more…
At meditation retreats, vegetarian food is served because it facilitates the meditative process. Establishing optimal conditions for meditation may be one motivation for being a vegetarian. There are many others.
French women´s magazine Madame Figaro in March printed an article with the title “Vegetarian or carnivore – should we resist the appeal of the flesh?”. The introduction to the article said:
Vital for some, criminal for others (…), meat is the object of an intense debate.”
In his documentary movie “David wants to fly”, the German film maker David Sieveking investigates the Transcendetal Meditation (TM) movement, and explores transcendental meditation. The movement was founded by Marishi Mahesh Yogi, who claims that “through transcendental meditation, the human brain can experience that level of intelligence which is an ocean of all knowledge, energy, intelligence, and bliss.” David Sieveking´s movie is a solid criticism against the TM movement.
Sieveking started his project as a curious film student, after he heard his idol David Lynchpromote transcendental meditation. David Sieveking says to Norwegian newspaper Dagsavisen that “It was new and fascinating. At that point in time, I had an emptiness in my life, and was attracted by yoga and meditation.” He decided to make a film about TM after he met David Lynch during a TM-conference in the US.