On every single question, the score of the Acem courses is way above the average score of all the other courses organized by the hospital. This average is calculated on the basis of nearly 80,000 evaluation forms from different courses over several years. Not only is the Acem score higher than the average; it is higher than any other course organized at the hospital. The evaluation form also asks about the performance of each instructor, and the scores for all three Acem instructors are way above the average.
"Which is better for your body: meditation or exercise?" asks The Telegraph journalist Jonathan Wells on 23 March 2016. "On the surface, it seems like an obvious decision - physical exercise can strengthen our muscles, bones and heart, and has been proven to promote the production of oxytonin and other 'feel-good' chemicals. Whilst meditation is, well, a fad. Right? Wrong. Or, at least, possibly wrong."
"Here are three novel techniques to help you de-stress," writes MORE, an American magazine "for women of style and substance". One of the techniques they recommend for those who want to "chill out" is Acem Meditation, because it does not ask you to empty your mind, but allows thoughts and impressions to come and go freely. This "makes this Norwegian verson much easier for some people."
The course venue was Cuatre Camins, a prison outside Barcelona, with prisoners convicted of drug crimes, violence and murder. Those who go through a rehabilitation programme may be rewarded with leaves and possibly even earlier release. The programme includes learning Acem Meditation and practising the techinque for at least two months, after which continued meditation practice is optional.
If I hadn’t meditated, I wouldn’t have had the necessary self-confidence, but last autumn I applied for a promotion at work. I didn’t have the courage to do such things before, but have developed more trust in myself.
When we meditate, we sometimes drift into worry and ruminations. The stream of thoughts can bring about various inner dialogues. At times we get into negative evaluations about how we meditate: “Am I doing it right now? Is this a free mental attitude? Am I repeating the meditation sound properly?” There is often a critical inner voice that speaks to us and governs our inner action during meditation.
In yoga exercises, one stretches the muscles gently and without force. One maintains the stretch for some seconds without incurring strain or pain. In this way, the muscle fibers and tendons will slowly yield; their tonus is changed, and over time they become somewhat elongated. This kind of cautious stretching is easily combined with a calm and unrestrained breathing.
About one month after I had learned Acem Meditation, I found that I could write poetry again, an ability that I had lost for years. Meditation helps me to relax, both physically and mentally. Because of that my sleep has also improved.
This year's international summer retreat at Acem International Retreat Centre Halvorsbøle is a great opportunity to recharge your batteries and modify your direction. Non-Scandinavians enjoy discounted course fees until 1 June.