Andy Chang is from New Taipei City, Taiwan. He met Acem meditators from all over the world.
– Men in Asia rarely talk about their feelings and weaknesses, he says. According to a Mandarin proverb, ‘Men should never show emotional weakness around others’. Perhaps this attitude is the reason why I have met several male meditators in Taiwan. During my first retreat in Europe, there were as many men as women. It was inspiring.
What was the international meditation community like?
– English is not my native language and it is sometimes difficult for me to share things in an English-speaking group. Nevertheless, it was powerful to experience how meditation brought us together. Despite using different languages and coming from different countries, we had similar resistances during meditation, questions about the meditation sound, and were in the same process. It was very nice!
Andy is a computer engineer and has been practicing Acem Meditation for fourteen years. He started meditating during a stressful time in his life. He was in his early thirties, had three young children, and was under constant pressure from his employer to work overtime. He says this is very common in Asia, especially in technology companies. You have to work hard.
Therefore, he needed something to calm down in everyday life. She signed up for the course after her then-wife recommended Acem Meditation.
“Learning to meditate first was a good experience,” he says. My mind became calm and peaceful and the time passed quickly.
But eventually, Andy experienced something that most people who meditate regularly experience: actualization and resistance.
– I felt that meditation could not do me any good, he says. Fortunately, I went on a retreat in Taiwan with Are Holen and Thor Udenæs. Time passed very slowly, unpleasant feelings surfaced, and I felt a strong need to stop meditating. But in the guidance group, I realized what it’s like to have an unpleasant feeling about something in myself. During the resistance, there were unresolved issues in the way I understood myself. This really piqued my interest as to what the meditation process has to offer.
As he explores this, Andy becomes more and more familiar with his perfectionist side.
– There are only 0’s and 1’s in computer programming. Right and wrong. There are no gray areas. I recognize it in myself. I set a goal and make a plan, and if it doesn’t work, I quickly consider everything a failure. A results-oriented attitude often helps me at work, but becomes difficult in processes that require a more open attitude.
– For example, I tend to unconsciously perceive the emptiness of a free mental attitude in meditation as a bad thing. When emotions come up, there are often many gray areas and few clear answers. Then I start to make an effort, and as a result, time passes slowly.
– Outside of meditation, I understand more and more how my high demands are directed not only at myself, but also at other people. For example, I tell my children that my work is better, and then I get angry if they don’t do what I say. By practicing a free-spirited attitude in meditation, I’ve happily become more accepting of other people doing things their own way. As a result, I have become more accepting of the fact that my children almost always choose the opposite of what I suggest. And it usually goes very well.
How does Acem Meditation affect your daily life in other ways?
– Meditation is like an energy booster without the side effects of rapid pulse, headaches or insomnia. When I feel tired, instead of sleeping or drinking coffee, I meditate. I often work from home and I like to meditate during work hours to refresh my mind after working on hard tasks or before making a critical decision.
– Before returning to family life, meditation is also my daily routine to switch mental modes between concentration and relaxation, efficiency and endurance, exclusive and inclusive attention.
Acem is a volunteer in an international organization
You are an instructor at Acem Taiwan. Why spend your free time meditating?
– As an Acem volunteer, I am trained to guide meditators as clearly and precisely as possible. In doing so, I improve my listening, management and communication skills in ways that I also enjoy at work.
– But first of all, I myself have gained a lot from meditation and I want to give something back. There are many meditation organizations in Taiwan, but most are religious. Only Acem is process-oriented with a psychological orientation. I am happy to help keep Acem Meditation as an option for Taiwan’s younger generation.
– Everyone has their own process. I enjoy seeing Acem Meditation benefit other people’s lives and contribute to their personal exploration and growth, says Andy Chang.
-> International summer vacation with the founder of Acem.
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