Benjamin Kartal talks to Christopher Grøndahl about Acem retreats
“The structure of these retreats is really well designed.”
As an air traffic controller in Karlsruhe, Germany, Benjamin Kartal has a stressful job. “I always have to think plan a, b, c and d. I need to be flexible. If I’m not, I’ll build up anger and frustration. My daily meditations help me reduce stress levels a lot. At work, interactions with other people are usually quite brief. Training my free mental attitude in meditation enhances my ability to tune in and adapt to new situations, and to better manage options. Meditation reduces the emotional energy drain my work would otherwise have led to.”
Benjamin traveled to Norway last year to attend Acem’s international summer retreat. The experience was good, and this winter he returned for his first deepening retreat.
What is it about these retreats that you find so fascinating?
“At the retreats, I have experienced feelings along the complete scale of my comfort zone, even extending it. On the one hand, there have been periods of deep calm and joy; on the other, I have also had intense periods of less pleasant feelings, like anxiety. Thanks to the guidance and the discussions, along with all the other social activities, these deep emotions were transformed into something meaningful, something that I could relate to my life in a constructive way. The structure of these retreats is really well designed.”
“I have experienced feelings along the complete scale of my comfort zone.”
Benjamin enjoys the way the international retreats allow him to explore meditation along with interesting people from various parts of the world, different age groups, with diverse perspectives, and from all social layers.
“I have returned home with greater trust in my body and increased self-confidence. My curiosity about the meditation process, and where it leads to, has been stimulated. I’m looking forward to the World Retreat in the Pyrenees.”
Adapted by Halvor Eifring