When a book is published in Norwegian, a language spoken by only five million people, it is usually expected to stay well within the borders of this small Scandinavian country. However, Are Holen and Torbjørn Hobbel’s book Meditative Yoga: Integrating Body, Breath and Mind has beaten the expectations.
A free mental attitude – repeating the meditation sound gently and effortlessly in the mind and letting the stream of spontaneous thoughts come and go - is the basic principle of Acem Meditation. This attitude is essential to meditation. What about yoga? What is a free, open attitude on a bodily level?
I recently returned from 3 weeks’ retreat in Acem meditation. It was a retreat with very long meditations that allowed the meditators to explore new aspects of the mind. Periods where the mind wandered through thoughts and emotions regarding present and past life experiences were intermingled with more silent hours where the mind became quiet although awake and present. The long duration of the retreat allowed the experienced meditators to meditate “around the clock”
Meditation is a means of creating an inner space, where thoughts, experiences and impressions have room to expand, and where memories, impulses and dreams can circulate. Monika Wirkkala discusses how to navigate the stream of consciousness with a free mental attitude.
A Norwegian going to India to teach meditation? It sounds almost as absurd as if an Indian travelled to Norway to teach Norwegians how to ski. Yet Torbjorn Hobbel has travelled to New Delhi many times to teach Indians Acem Meditation. In this article he reflects on one of his experiences there.