All posts by folkeg

The difficult past: The TV series “Generation War”

By Folke Gravklev 

The second world war has loomed over Germany since 1945. Rightly so: The Nazi government inflicted suffering  on peoples in eastern Europe, the Jewish population etc. on an unprecedented scale. The criminal regime used the full force of  German industrial capacity to attack, destroy, torture and exterminate innocent people everywhere.

This war has been described to the minutest details down to Hitler´s dog. But what about the common man in these extraordinary times? Read more…

Meditation goes mainstream

Der SpiegelAn increasing body of medical evidence confirms that meditation has a wide range of positive effects for the practitioner. The probably most influential and respected print media in Germany, der Spiegel, recently ran  the article: Der heilende Geist: Gesund durch Meditation und Entspannung (The healing spirit: Healthy through meditation and relaxation) on its front page.

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Coming to grips with life in the city

Jerome (20) on Acem Meditation

GetAttachment-1.aspx_‘Acem Meditation makes me more grounded and easygoing,’ says Jerome, a 20-year-old sporty young German living in Hamburg. ‘And there is something very authentic about the method and the way it is taught.’

Jerome is not originally from Hamburg. He spent his first 18 years in the North German countryside far from any city. After high school, he left his parents and the small community where he grew up and headed for Hamburg with its population of 1.9 million. Here he found himself immersed in the hustle and bustle of the big city. He had a challenging time keeping up with new ways of living, quite on his own. After a year or so he had built a network of good friends, and is now enjoying himself in his new situation. Like many young Germans, he has his own room in a flat where he shares a kitchen and bathroom with other students. Instead of academic studies, he chose to attend a sports school where he is studying to be a coach and a sports salesman.

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“The Breathing God” – film about the rise of modern yoga

How old are the practice and ideas of yoga? Hindu traditionalists would say yoga dates back to mythological times and the god Shiva himself. Not quite so, according to the German documentary film “Der atmende Gott”. The film describes the rise of modern yoga through the famous yoga teacher Tirumalai Krishnamacharya and his pupils and children, around the middle of the last century. Krishnamacharya was taken under the wings of the Maharaja of Mysore, who was interested in yoga, and he set up a yoga school by the Maharaja´s court in the middle of the 1930s. Later he moved on to Chennai. Read more…

Meditation enthusiast in West Africa has passed away

Alhagy Jagne, local organiser in Acem Gambia, died last October while on a visit to family in Oslo, Norway. He was 63 years old.

Mr Jagne learnt Acem Meditation while studying education in Norway in the 1970s. He returned to his native country with an equivalent to a Master´s degree and made a career in the Trust Bank in the capital Banjul. He served as a manager, and he was involved in educating young employees in the crafts of banking. All the while he was a dedicated practitioner of yoga and Acem Meditation.  In October 2000, he read to his surprise in the local newspaper that Acem planned to hold beginner´s courses in his home town Serrekunda. He arranged to meet the instructor from Norway, and he immediately became the leading local figure in the efforts to teach Acem Meditation to Gambians. Mr Jagne contributed with lots of enthusiasm, knowledge and network. He arranged for interviews on the most popular television talk show and courtesy visits to top politicians and leading figures in culture and education.

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Film: On Freud, Jung and attractive female patients

A-Dangerous-Method-PosterThe movie  “A Dangerous Method” describes the founding father of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud, his then “crown prince” Carl Jung, their famous female patient Sabina Spielrein and the relationship between the three. It is a highly interesting movie. The script writer Christopher Hampton has pulled the  trick of condensing these very interesting times on the eve of the 1st World War, when so many  fantastical and eccentric persons flowed through Vienna and the salons where Freud and his pupils  hung out, into five distinct characters in the movie. They play out a fascinating drama  between them, uncovering dark forces and strong desires in the human mind in the process.

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Is there a free will?

This question doesn´t quite leave me after having seen the brilliant movie Winter´s Bone, about a  young girl´s predicament in poor and deprived circumstances in a backward community in  Missouri, USA. The  17 year old girl, Ree Dolly, carries her whole family. The father has left them to  ”cook” metampethamine and hide from the police, and her mother has withdrawn into  herself. So Ree has to fend for her two smaller siblings and her mother and at the same time keep  creditors and  the law at bay.

Ree´s upbringing, her network and family, the hard times – everything points towards a sad end to the story, with Ree, her siblings and mother being evicted from their property and the family scattered for the winds.

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Contemplation where you didn´t expect it

Hadrian´s Villa, a gigantic structure of buildings dating back to early 2nd century AD, situated some 28 km north of Rome at the foot of the Appenine mountain range, is in many ways  a truly remarkable place. It served as the summer residence for the emperors in this phase of Rome´s history. What struck me in particular was the so-called Maritime Theatre, which seems to have been a place for contemplation. Grandious, with daring and sophisticated architecture and so on, but what really set it out was a sense of familiarity. I had to go back to the place twice during my afternoon stay in the enormous villa complex.

You get the feeling, over the millennia, that here must have been people who were  interested in contemplative practice. It may of course be that my phantasy ran away with me, but the place sort of invited to meditate and reflect. What it was I don´t know, but I felt that I could easily spend hours on the spot, meditating or just sitting there.

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The Sex Guru. When did it go wrong?

Sex guru

I am still somewhat shocked after seeing the movie documentary “Guru – Shree Rajneesh, his bodyguard and his secretary” some days ago. The Indian Shree Rajneesh was a celebrity in the 70’s and 80’s, gathering a huge following for his (quasi)spiritual movement based on therapy and meditation. He became notorious for arranging wild, daily  orgies in the name of tantric exercises, steamrolling over normal human emotions such as jealousy, shame, and longing for mature, lasting relationships.

The documentary tells the story of Shree Rajneesh’s rise and fall through the stories of his bodyguard and his secretary. Rajneesh was carismathic, smart and cunning, with a hypnotic pull on people. As it turned out, he was also deeply narcissistic, dangerous and willing to exploit vulnerable persons to satisfy his desires. Thousands of persons flocked to his utopian commune (have we heard this before? messianic sects, political movements…) hoping to be unloaded of their Weltschmerz. And the guru promised them the moon.

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