Elia Camacho, Spain, on Acem Meditation

Elia Camacho Acem MeditationFor Elia Camacho, it took time before she finally decided to learn to meditate. “I had heard about meditation, but did not start before I moved from Mexico to Spain, after talking with a friend who had some experience. I chose Acem Meditation because it is non-religious.”

Once she had started, however, things went really fast: beginners’ course in June, and then the international retreat at Halvorsbøle, Norway, the next month. “Within a few weeks I saw positive changes and understood that this was a good method. I could see the effects both in myself and others. Those who meditated seemed to have something genuine in common that I truly liked. It made me more interested, and I was certain: this is for me.”

Easier to live

“I have noticed that there was something I liked every step of the way. After four years with
Acem Meditation, I have participated in a number of regular summer retreats, deepening retreats, and two communication courses.”

Elia Camacho Acem Meditation

Elia completed her medical studies at the age of 23, then started her specialization in pediatrics and pediatric dermatology. After 12 years of medical education, she felt ready for a change and went to Europe, where she has now been working for several years, currently at a hospital in Reus, south of Barcelona. In her free time, she teaches Acem Meditation.

After years of training, Elia is now an assistant instructor. “For me, teaching Acem Meditation enhances my own process – simply speeds it up. In this process I have learned a lot about myself – e.g. my tendency to rush things. From having lots of stress, I now hurry less. With morning meditations, my days have a smooth start. Due to increased energy I am more present and enjoy every step of my activities. My head is ready to solve the problems I meet and to enjoy the nice things the day brings.”

Psychological changes

Elia also feels more balanced, and has become aware of some deeply ingrained personal patterns, such as a tendency to avoid difficult situations and emotions. “The process has made me more confident, and it is easier to be who I am. I can also plan for new challenges.” For Elia, it is a milestone to be able to become more accepting and patient with herself, instead of having to rush to the next goal.

I have learned a lot from listening

“In my first communication course, there were participants from seven countries in my group. My first thought was that we had nothing in common, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. It turned out that we had a lot in common – which was an important discovery in a process of sharing and exploring. Although we were new to each other, we developed a deep connection, which I think will always be there. It was an amazing discovery; it is possible for us to connect with everyone. I have noticed that I learn a lot from listening.”

Elia Camacho Acem MeditationElia’s relationships to her family members have improved. “I have become more patient with them and don’t try to change them any more. Now, other family members also practice meditation and yoga, so we can share the experience.”

Elia has become the first teacher of Acem Yoga in Spain. “I enjoy practicing yoga. It makes me more aware of my body.” Parallel to her training as a yoga teacher, she has also translated Acem’s book about Meditative Yoga into Spanish.

Open to trying new things

“After finishing medical school, I started my professional training in pediatrics, followed by specialization in pediatric dermatology (skin diseases) – actually 12 years of training. It was like something else in my life had stopped and it was time to seek exploration and excitement again – almost like a teenager: scuba diving, hiking, having fun, and I love to travel. I had spent my first 29 years in Mexico, and felt an urge to meet other cultures and see different people. I am generally open to trying new things.”

New hobby?

You have a new hobby? “Yes, my cello lessons – even though I am not among the best, I enjoy playing.” If this sounds busy, Elia claims she is used to being active, but adds, “Now, I can also feel I need some rest in between. Besides, long meditations are part of my life, and I haven’t missed any of the Spanish weekend retreats. My next step is the three-week deepening retreat – I am ready for it. There are some existential issues that trigger my curiosity and interest.”

Interviewed by Anne Grete Hersoug
Photos: Torbjørn Hobbel
Copy editor: Ann Kunish