Doing more by doing less

Merete HetlandI recently returned from 3 weeks’ retreat in Acem meditation. It was a retreat with very long meditations that allowed the meditators to explore new aspects of the mind. Periods where the mind wandered through thoughts and emotions regarding present and past life experiences were intermingled with more silent hours where the mind became quiet although awake and present.

The long duration of the retreat allowed the experienced meditators to meditate “around the clock” several times – here time mattered less because it was so affluent, allowing for even deeper reflections and dwelling on important life issues. Working with the repetition of the meditation sound during these long periods in silence, applying still less energy and including more of the peripheral consciousness was challenging and rewarding.


  1. carinah

    how is it to get back to normal life after such a retreat?

  2. mh

    Slightly overwhelming to get back to the fuss of everyday life. “Where have you been for so long?” was a common question from collegues, “you look refreshed and healthy”.

  3. Kaif

    It is nice to read about your experiences at the 3-week retreat. Periods where the mind is full of thoughts and emotions intermingling with periods where the stream of consciousness is quite and calm – I am sure many of us can relate to this experience.

  4. mh

    I agree. This is what makes me return to long meditations again and again.
    A couple of days ago, I taught a group of Danes Acem meditation, and they meditated for the first time. One of them, a young woman, exclaimed afterwards: Everybody should learn this technique!

  5. Kaif

    Nice! It is good for her to have such a positive start. Perhaps that signals that she will make meditation a part of her daily life.

  6. This is interesting. Where do you find such retreats. I am interested in mindfulness meditation, does anyone have any experience with this? Recent research has shown it to actually change brain structure, anyone aware of any research with Acem meditation?

  7. mh

    I also read the paper you refer to. Very interesting! Acem Meditation is also mindfulness meditation, and that is the technique that I have experience with. Acem has published research data that showed that Acem meditation leads to increased Theta and Alpha EEG activity in the brain (Lagopoulos, Journal of alternativ and complementary medicine 2009; 15: 1187-92). And two studies on MRI of the brain are under way, I have heard that the results are really exciting.
    What I really like about the research data is that they provide objective measures of a psychological technique. Nowadays nobody can claim that meditation does not work!
    Acem offers retreats of varying length to those who have learned Acem meditation. I do not know where you live, but there are courses in many countries.

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