“Meditate with a free mental attitude.” “Repeat the meditation sound with as little effort as possible.” “Go back to the sound as gently as you can at the time.” – You knew, that this is what the basic instruction for Acem Meditation says. And in the past it agreed with you. But not today, perhaps not for the past week, not the past month. Perhaps it never did, but you didn’t know. Read more…
In his recently published autobiography, the Indian psychoanalyst Sudhir Kakar reflects on the nature of the psyche, drawing on his own life and the lives of his clients:
‘The unconscious may be more like an elephant which you can’t really control and which is mostly good-natured. It is not the headstrong horse of Freudian imagery which can be controlled with difficulty by the rider, the conscious part of the mind. The elephant is much stronger than the mahout [the driver of the elephant] and goes where it will though the mahout can nudge it in certain directions. There is certainly no point in getting into a fight with the elephant, a fight the mahout is sure to lose.’
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.
Climbing in a constantly changing environment
When we meditate, our spontaneous activity is constantly changing. We can have lots of thoughts, feel the meditation is chaotic, be restless, or it can be calm, we may fall asleep. At times, we will be dissatisfied with what happens in our spontaneous activity.
When climbing it is a bit the same. You never really know how it is going to be like. The path you have chosen may be more difficult than you had anticipated, you may find grips you can hold on to or you may discover an exceptional view. All this just happens, there is nothing you can do with it.
By Turid Suzanne Berg-Nielsen
Sitting down and meditating may seem very straightforward: simply close your eyes and repeat a meaningless sound in your head. A natural question is how this uncomplicated act can lead to both deep reduction of stress and psychological growth. The answer, unfortunately, is rather more complex. Briefly, when you meditate, you activate both an ability to act and a sensitive receptiveness along with freedom of thought. These mental activities are normally regarded as difficult to combine. This article describes how they co-exist during Acem Meditation.
When you Acem Meditate, you develop the ability to perform an act irrespective of what is going on inside you. Admittedly the act is simple: merely the free repetition of a sound in the mind. However, after only a few minutes’ meditation you may discover that your head is full of potential distractions which draw your thoughts away from the sound. Such is the nature of meditation. Sooner or later, however, you usually find your way back to the sound and recover the ability to do what you are supposed to do without too much effort.
If you join a long meditation at the Acem centre in Berlin on a Sunday afternoon, you are likely to meet Daniel Roob, whose pleasant smile immediately makes you feel welcome. Daniel is 31 years old and a local organiser for Acem in Berlin. He is also a trained moderator, meaning he arranges M1 follow-up courses which give Berlin’s meditators the opportunity to meet, meditate and discuss their meditation. Lately he has joined the assistant instructor training course, with the aim of taking even more responsibility for Acem’s activities.
Theory meets practice
“It is fascinating to be part of courses like the M1. Each participant brings his or her experiences to the group, and tries to understand them in light of Acem’s psychology of meditation. Theory comes to life when it is linked to practice, and it is illuminating to compare individual ways of meditating with the general principles of Acem Meditation. Each group turns out to be very different.”
By Tor Hersoug
No event has been more predicted than September 11th 2001. So claims Peter Schwartz a well-known futurist and the author of the book Inevitable Surprises. The whole world was shocked by this act of terrorism, and most people found what happened unthinkable. Nevertheless, the event was actually predicted. In his book, Schwartz says, “The act of terrorism which took place that day was probably one of the most predicted events in history. Over the last twenty years, half a dozen respected commissions have stated that an event similar to this one would occur. Most of them pointed to the World Trade Centre (partly because it had already been attacked once), mentioned the use of aircraft as weapons, or referred specifically to Osama bin Laden. No one knew when the event would take place – it could have happened next week or in two years – but the details were predicted.” Schwartz’s views were largely corroborated by the 9-11 Commission report last summer.
Can be predicted
After the end of the Cold War, the American president and Congress established a commission headed by Gary Hart and Warren Rudman which was to advise the authorities on the formation of a new fundamental strategy on national security. Schwartz headed the scenario team of the Hart-Rudman commission. In its report, which was published in 2000, the scenario team warned that acts of terrorism represented the largest threat against the USA. One of the scenarios even suggested that terrorists would destroy the World Trade Centre by crashing aircraft into it. However, the authorities did not regard this threat as credible until it was too late. According to Schwartz, great surprises – events that diverge from what we are accustomed to on a political, economical and social level – will always occur, and completely alter the rules of the game. However, they can to a large extent be foreseen. The forces working behind the surprises can be observed. We have only to become aware of them and to connect them together. Sooner or later, these forces will bring about large events or upheavals.