In meditation, as in dance, we can be in a free flow, allowing our impulses to be expressed lightly and freely. But the more the free flow is allowed expression, the more clearly we notice the friction that makes it challenging for us. More training and practice may then help us get past the obstacles. Besides, to reflect over, share, and exchange our experiences of obstacles may give us the necessary motivation to go on when we encounter friction.
Dag Spilde and Maria Gjems-Onstad answer questions about meditation. Dag is a chief advisor and project manager at EDB ErgoGroup ASA, while Maria is a clinical psychologist in Oslo. Both have more than 30 years of experience in teaching Acem Meditation.
In meditation, the free mental attitude is both a means and a goal. It is somewhat of a paradox, but at times I simply get tired of “pursuing” the free mental attitude. It is much easier to forget the whole thing and just sit there and relax. I need help to motivate myself to find the free mental attitude.
Wandering inside our area of mental freedom
By Carl Henrik Grøndahl
The free mental attitude is a central concept in Acem Meditation. But what is it? Let us wander along a few paths and see what we meet.
The free mental attitude is not a feeling – neither of wellbeing nor of complete calm. Not a state, either. The free mental attitude is related to action, the way we do something: sense, think, speak, act.
The first time we take the wheel of a car, we probably do not drive with a free mental attitude. We are unable to conduct a lively or thoughtful conversation at the same time. The requisite mental resources are not yet available. Inexperience, a lack of confidence and a consciousness of lurking dangers all serve to close off the mind. It takes training and practice to master the technicalities sufficiently well to navigate the traffic effortlessly while simultaneously talking about the riddles of existence. Only then are we able to perform the act of driving with a free mental attitude. Of course new situations may still arise that are beyond our control, in which case we are drawn outside the area where we can act with a free mental attitude. We become irrational and may do stupid things.
– finding the flow with Rune Grønn
“I find I often press down too hard on a string when I play the guitar. It doesn’t sound good. I get too excited and want too much.” He bows his head over the guitar again. After four new attempts, a soft, beautiful blues tone emerges to fill the newly renovated study. His face lights up and he smiles, satisfied. He practises 15-20 minutes every day. Trying to find the flow.
With the guitar on his lap, Rune Grønn looks around. Everything has been redecorated. The whole house has been made over – with his own hands. He is a carpenter and builder, and has spent a lot of time and money on reconstructing his father’s childhood home, originally a 1920s cabin and now a small house where Rune lives. If you didn’t know, you would think everything was brand new. He speaks about the work enthusiastically, with professional pride and ambition, and a concern for the traditions of earlier generations. On our way out of the study, we notice another guitar. A double-decker model airplane and half of a miniature boat are also prominently displayed. The image of the toy boat and the model airplane, in the study of a grown man, literally hangs in the air.