– interview with Côme Ledésert

“It was important for me to learn how to meditate when I was working on my master’s thesis four years ago, and I wanted to find a way for myself. When I discovered Acem Meditation on themeditationblog.com, I liked that it was nondirective and nonreligious. I am a filmmaker, and interested in the use of silence. One artist, Marina Abramovic, uses a lot of silence in her art-performance and inspires me to think about documentary filmmaking in a new way. This corresponds well with my interest in silence during meditation.”

The inward pull of meditation

“I often feel that there is too much to do; my meditation practice allows me to cope with stress and digest residue from my daily life. I am happy about the role meditation plays in my life – just by allowing me to do less. From the beginning, I meditated every day and participated in weekly group meditations. I soon felt less stressed and noticed that my concentration had improved. My usual resistance to go to bed in the evening disappeared too and the quality of my sleep improved. For me, the next step was to participate in a weekend retreat to see how meditation worked on deeper levels – I was fascinated by the inward pull.”

From pleasure to pain

At the age of 28, Côme can look back on 10 years of moving back and forth between France and Germany. “I left Paris when I was 16 to attend the French high school in Berlin. Afterwards, I stayed in Berlin for another year, to learn the German language better, before I returned to France to pursue a bachelor’s degree in European studies. I have also enjoyed internships at Sasha Waltz & Guests and at the French Music Export Office at the French Embassy in Berlin during my Erasmus year, and later one year at the Short Film Department at Cannes Film Festival. It has been an active period, including two master’s degrees – one in urban studies and one in visual anthropology, using film – where my short documentary ‘Persisting Dreams’ was on the migration issue in Lampedusa. How to deal with pain became a central theme.”

Space for intuition

“I am currently working with ideas about how to use meditation in my documentary film that is part of my practice-based PhD project. The main focus is on recovery from drug addiction. This will include a written thesis as well as a film with two protagonists. How to develop a safe filmic space for my protagonists to tell their stories? It is a challenge to make a documentary on the never-ending process of drug addiction recovery, on how to stabilize and recognize triggers – e.g. what is too big to cope with. My PhD project gives me a lot of space for creativity and intuition but requires at the same time a strong academic training and self discipline.”

How to meditate in a deepening process

Last year, Côme underwent training to become a moderator in Acem Meditation which he applies in follow-up courses in Berlin. To go deeper into his own process with meditation, he has monthly meditation guidance via Skype. The World Retreat last year was exciting, and this year, his choice was a two-week deepening retreat.

“I am glad I went to the deepening retreat. It is tougher; it involves work on deeper levels.

I appreciate the experience of silence, which came faster than I expected. Besides, there is systematic work on how to meditate in the deepening context, which is different from daily meditations. I felt that I could trace how well the process worked. It felt like a further step, which gave me new insight. Things that had been pushed away emerged, and it already feels easier to accept and include these things in my life.”

Interviewed by Anne Grete Hersoug

Language editor: Ann Kunish