All posts tagged sound

The silent sounds of Acem Meditation

By Halvor Eifring

Wang LishaSound plays a central role in many forms of meditation, including Acem Meditation. What is it about sound that stimulates relaxation as well as psychological and existential processes? Read more…

Meditative music in Paris

Notre Dame de Paris is a majestic cathedral, with an extraordinary organ. The number of organ pipes is impressive – 7800, with 900 classified as historical. It has 111 stops, five 56-key manuals and a 32-key pedalboard. It is a special event to experience an organ concert in this magnificent place, with an organ player who is among the best in the world, obviously talented from early on in his life – Olivier Latry. I was fortunate enough to have the experience a few weeks ago. Listening to Bach in these surroundings was special. It was a meditative experience, to be absorbed in the variations of the themes, following the flow of the melodies, moment-to moment, with the mind open to the richness and the subtleties of the sound produced by the organ-pipes. During meditation, there are sometimes moments with strong impressions from the spontaneous activities of the mind which are more demanding to deal with than the mild, subtle spontaneous activities. As a parallel, during the concert, the sounds of the organ pipes were at times more demanding to follow, too.

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Doing more by doing less

Merete HetlandI 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.

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Sound or breath

After an interview with Acem’s founder Dr Are Holen in the Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia, one of the several hundred readers who went ahead and learned the technique asked for the advice of a local yoga teacher who writes for the paper:

I joined a beginner’s course and found it very stimulating. Years ago I practised meditation based on maintaining the right attitude towards the world and oneself, as well as visualisations. In contrast, the Acem method places no importance on any of this, but is simply based on repeating a sound mentally for half an hour twice a day. Nor is there any emphasis on the breath. And instead of the classic lotus position, you sit in a chair with support in your lower back. … What do you think?

The yoga teacher appears to be open-minded:

As I often tell my students: “If you’re ok with it, then it’s ok.” Let each person take advantage of whatever can help him become more mature, more balanced and more wise.

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Meditation and the sea of life

By Monika Wirkkala

“The sextant helped me determine my position at sea. I was at an unidentified position in the Pacific, with no captain, and still I could find my way. But I had no map of my inner self, nor any course through life.”

It is easy to identify with the main character in Carsten Jensen’s novel We, the Drowned. He navigates unknown waters with ease, but experiences great uncertainty when it comes to his own life. What does he wish for – from everyday life, his career, relationships and the private realm?

Meditation is not about wishing. The repetition of a meditation sound, effortlessly and with an open mind, does not mean choosing a specific direction for ourselves. Meditation does not involve pursuing an objective or a goal. Rather, it brings us closer to the ongoing spontaneous activities in our mind, and to the resonances they generate.

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Wheels and corkscrews

by Halvor Eifring

Driving a foreign visitor around Oslo, he gets lost, and all of a sudden they are back where they started. “It seems we have been here before,” he says, slightly embarrassed. “Well, isn’t that also the way it often is in life?”, his guest says with a smile. “We think we’re moving forwards, but we keep discovering that we’re back where we came from. The wheel of life!”

But at a recent meditation retreat at Lundsholm it dawned on him that the notion of a wheel is only one side of the story. The other side is more like a corkscrew: it goes round and round, but each rotation takes it deeper. It may feel as if we are back where we began, but in the meantime we ourselves have changed, and what initially feels like the same old place is actually a door into something new and untried.

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Thought goblins and the longing for nirvana

by Øyvind Ellingsen, MD PhD

Do you remember your first meditation? The gratifying feeling of being calm, relaxed and restful. We bring it with us when we sit down to meditate – a longing for peace of mind and liberation from stress. No wonder the advertising industry uses the image of the meditating Buddha. Nirvana is not only global shorthand for inner peace and well-being; it is also the brand name of the perfect mattress. But when the longing for nirvana becomes too strong, we sometimes encounter the thought goblin…

Longing for nirvana

Who does not wish for a breather from stressful routines and incessant demands – a little everyday-life nirvana? You sit down, close your eyes and repeat the meditation sound. And then the miracle happens. The tightness in your shoulders relaxes, your breathing slows down, your thoughts flow almost imperceptibly by. After half an hour you open your eyes, take a deep breath and are – completely rested! Ready to meet the day with renewed energy. Experiences like this create an expectation that good meditation will produce a pleasant feeling. Often this is the case, but not always.

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No event has been more predicted than September 11th 2001

 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.

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There was a time by Rune Belsvik

There was a time when I thought that I ought to go out and save the world. I knew that the world was somewhere else, a place out there from which the journalists sent their reports. It seemed to me in those days that the world was a sick place filled with evil and injustice.

But I forgot about all that one day when a girl with sunlight in her hair walked across the schoolyard. I forgot about everything that day because of her, and my schoolwork meant nothing to me any more. I only hoped that some day we would have a lesson about what had happened, but we never had that lesson.

One evening I was out walking under an umbrella with that same girl. If we only had been out there in the world, I thought, this moment would have had a deeper meaning. Surely, love would have found the right words, and I never would have fumbled the way I did, trying to undo her buttons.

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Centre and periphery: Awareness in Acem Meditation

by Tor Hersoug

Our field of vision normally has a focal area in which visual awareness is concentrated. Around this lies a border area, the periphery, in which we register certain objects but do not see them as clearly as what is in focus. So it is, too, with inner awareness. Some things are in the centre of awareness while others are peripheral. In this article we consider how various inner situations in meditation can be understood in these terms.

Before we discuss the principles of correct meditation, we shall first observe that thoughts arise in meditation, and that they may arise in either the centre or the border area of our awareness. Correspondingly, the meditation sound can be repeated in the centre or the periphery.

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