Last week we started an M-1 course at the Acem House in New Delhi. The course is an advanced course for those who have done the Beginners’ Course (M-0) and would like to understand the psychology of meditation further. It is the 3rd time I am part of such a course, and the 1st time as a co-leader. Each time the main challenge that the course leaders have faced is to make the participants reflect on their own experience of meditation rather than only discuss what is theoretically correct or incorrect. In the first M-1 course I attended, I found that it was one of the first times I deeply thought about what I really do when I meditate. Many others in such courses have the same experience, being able to see that there can be many different ways of repeating the meditation sound, many different ways of coming back to it and many different responses to the times when the stream of consciousness is uncomfortable. A fact that becomes clear to the group very soon is that there is more to the meditation than telling ourselves “just repeat the sound and let all thoughts come and go.”
by Torbjørn Hobbel
Everyone who meditates – whether with Acem Meditation or another technique – has to deal with thoughts. People who have tried unsuccessfully to meditate often say, ”It was too difficult. I was unable to get rid of my thoughts.” This article offers some reflections on thoughts in meditation from an Acem perspective and compares them with Buddhist views of meditation. The manner in which thoughts are dealt with during meditation – and the understanding of their importance – makes Acem Meditation different from most other meditation methods.
“How do you do, which one of you is my father?” A young Yoruba girl sent off by her rich Nigerian family to a posh English boarding school at six meets her father and uncle five years later and can’t recognise them anymore. She has succeeded in becoming properly English. Her black skin, however, will forever reveal her background and ensure that the British will continue to regard her as coming from the “darkest Africa”.
Simi Bedford’s novel Yoruba girl dancing was an immediate success when it was published in 1992. “She captures you early and doesn’t let go,” says one reviewer. There is little doubt that the novel partly reflects the author’s own life. Like her main protagonist, she spent her early childhood in Nigeria, but was sent to boarding school in England at six. She later went back to Africa searching for her roots, only to discover that she was no longer a Yoruba girl dancing. Simi returned to England, became Mrs. Bedford, and raised three children. In 1998, she learnt Acem Meditation in London, on the recommendation of a friend. It was a remarkable experience.
by Maria Gjems-Onstad
Contemporary culture has a tendency to idealize demands and strong expressions of emotion. It is as if the stronger the expression, the more justified the demand or the emotion. Acem Meditation counteracts this tendency and helps us to find better compromises between our own needs and the needs of our surroundings.
In Acem Meditation, as in everyday life, we have a tendency to treat feelings of need or want as though they were justified demands. Emotions that appear are often given a ring of absolute truth. However, both the meditation technique itself and the framework within which the technique is taught contain elements that counteract this tendency to treat our demands and strong emotions as though they were absolute and justified.
Groups or individuals that are seen as weak — because they have no power, little money or low prestige — are often encouraged to press their demands. They are less often encouraged to increase their own efforts to make personal changes.