On developing a practice
Yeah, so so as I mentioned, I took refuge when I was eight years old, but it took me several years to actually get into the practice of meditating every single day. And I had I had when I was about 14, I had a few years when I wouldn’t go to any courses. I wouldn’t really meditate at all. And just because we were old enough with my brother to stay at home and my parents would be free to travel or go to meditation, and they wouldn’t have to take us with them anymore. And I was about 16 years old when I decided that I do want to kind of go back to the courses and meet with them all over again and. And then at that time, it was more maybe it was also a little bit more of a social connection and not necessarily social, but at a time I wasn’t really meditating yet on my own. So I would go to these courses maybe a couple of times a year. I would meet Le Mali because I always felt a very, very strong connection to him. And I was I was just simply very inspired by him. But then by the time I got home, that inspiration would somehow wear off. And then gradually I started going to the center as well and meditated together with the Sangha and the center. But it also gradually developed that I actually started meditating on my own and I was about, I think I was 17 or 18 when I decided that I want to start an NGO. And I think at the time, the main reason was that I knew that I want to be a Buddhist, and I knew that the time when the way is my way. But I always had this idea that I will. I will practice and I will meditate. What? I’m going to be an adult. And it’s kind of difficult to pinpoint when do you really exactly become an adult or an adult when you’re a teen or young adult, when you pay your own phone bills or when you live alone ? Or, you know, there’s always one further step and. So then after a while, I realized that I shouldn’t wait also, you know, we we are constantly reminded in our meditation practice about the impermanence. So it’s also a great push for you to start. You’re in the Adobe because we don’t also know how long we have this precious condition. So ultimately, I think. There wasn’t a big switch, I think it was just a gradual kind of idea that I should be starting my ninja and I always had it in the back of my mind that this is something I will have to do at some point. So. So I I think it was actually on a New Year’s course in Munich, I believe, were where I decided that I’m going to be doing my Nigel. And again, these courses are a very powerful experience and very inspiring as well. And you see all these people practicing and meditating and doing things together. So so that was that was, I think, the the big push for me, the big push for me. And but for me, it was quite challenging and we usually do something we call a short refuge. And this is really something. It’s almost like a practice then intro that you’re doing. It’s a smaller or shorter practice that you do before you jump into the full practice of the angel just to kind of dip your toes into the water and see if this is for you. And I finished that quite fast. But then and then I started frustrations and this is this was a practice that was personally challenging for me. And in the end, I didn’t know what at the time, but it took me six years to to finish. So it was it was a long time. But the reason why it took me such a long time is that because especially in the beginning, I didn’t really. I didn’t manage to develop the habit of meditating every single day, and now looking back, I did the numbers at some point, even if I had done 25 every single day, I would have finished, you know, much sooner than the six years. But I just, you know it. For me, it was challenging. I think part of the reason was maybe that I didn’t really. I didn’t really find anyone my age who was who was doing anything similar. And I definitely, you know, I went to college and I had a lot of studies to do and it was working at the same time and I didn’t really have anyone within my direct community who I would sit down to get married, sit down together to meditate with and add the Sangha at a time when I was living in Helsinki. Everyone seemed to be much older and I didn’t really quite find my place there. So actually, once once I moved to Spain when I was still in college, I did an exchange year over there. I found I found that the Sangha there, there was actually I had a stronger connection with them somehow. There were also people of my age and people going to college. So we we found a lot more similarities with them because we still had all of these things going on. But we also had this meditation practice. So this is when I really kind of dove deeper into meditation and actually started doing my daily practice. And and yeah, I have been doing it pretty much ever since on a on a daily basis. So I think finding finding these people who really inspired me was was really a key to to kind of follow up this practice for me. So I think the most noticeable difference that I have, I have noticed in my own practice is that is the way I set priorities around my practice. So whereas meditation with me maybe ten years ago would kind of be a bonus that I have if if I manage to do everything else on my own, my schedule or my daily agenda. And and I still had half an hour when I wasn’t too tired and then maybe I would meditate. Whereas right now, having meditated for so long, it’s it’s a priority. So so I structure my day in a different way. I say I now kind of make meditation the priority, so I make sure that this is something I get done. And then everything else kind of comes around it. So. So for example, now I usually make sure to meditate in the morning because I know that I tend to have sometimes very busy day. So if I don’t get it done in the morning, then it’s difficult to to squeeze it in at some other point during the day. Plus, I actually also notice that with so many distractions, especially with, you know, with work and relationships and going from one place to another, it’s that if I sit down to meditate during the night, I already have so many impressions in my mind that the quality of my meditation just doesn’t feel quite as good. So that’s why I also prefer to do it in the morning with a fresh mind and ideally without having looked at my phone. It doesn’t always happen because sometimes it just sucks me writing, but I also I definitely notice a big difference when I haven’t interacted with social media or I haven’t looked at my messages or emails before I meditated versus when I have. And and it’s really kind of like starting from a fresh, clean slate every morning and making that the way I serve my day, that that really makes a difference for me because you start with the four basic thoughts and then you build up your meditation and then you you wish that it to multiply infinitely for the benefit of all beings. And then having this start for your day is it makes a difference for sure, regardless of what type of meditation you do. I think if this is how you start your day, it’s definitely going to be beneficial for you.
So with my with my now husband, we actually met in in Spain, in southern Spain, in a retreat center that we call Carmageddon. It’s up in the mountains. And we met there in a meditation course were all that was also present. Then about two or 3000 that are people participating in this course. So we were we were both there, didn’t know each other at the time, and we were introduced to each other by chance, by by a common friend and very, very quickly. We we all of a sudden basically became a couple from from one night to the other. So it was a it was an instant connection. And we. It was interesting because, as I mentioned, these courses can be very, very powerful and intense experiences because so much is happening even just in one day and you have so many impressions and so many people and so much activity. So we spent at a time about ten days together, but these ten days really felt like we were already in a six month relationship. So we were at the time, we were already comfortable with each other. And, you know, it didn’t it didn’t really feel like when you had just met someone ten days ago, it felt like there’s something more to it. And I remember at a time we kind of had this idea that we would we would multiply the garment together and we just came up with this random place and it actually never happened. But but for a while, we were doing long distance and he was in Guatemala at a time and I was living in Hungary. So after after, I would visit him a few times in Guatemala and spend some time spent some months there living together and there. And then he ended up proposing and we decided to get married. And now we have been married a little over a year and living in the US and. And he’s been a really great experience overall, and I think having this foundation of being Diamond Way practitioner, it said that being a priority in our life, definitely. Helped create this connection, obviously, we met on a meditation course, so we we knew that we have similar priorities and similar ideas about life, so that definitely be helped. And on top of that, we had we had chemistry and we had a good connection and and it felt very, very natural. And and it’s been a very nice experience to have someone in my life that we can meditate with and someone who who understands that this is a priority. And also someone who we can. Well, then we can inspire each other, so. So it’s been it’s been really nice to have someone to also to meditate together with and who understands that these are my priorities because I have been in relationships before, when my order, when my partner wasn’t necessarily a Buddhist and it was it could be challenging. I had a I had a boyfriend who who didn’t quite understand it, and he was he was relatively open to it. But but it was difficult for him, and we always needed to balance the time between me going to meditation, retreat, retreats and also time for us to let’s go to this thing. So I usually because I had this wish to spend my summers traveling and going to courses and spending as much time with my mother as I could, but him not being as into it, the interested, even though he was open, he wanted to also have dedicated time when we don’t spend time with Buddhism. This was really a struggle for me because because I felt like it’s a precious opportunity and I didn’t want to waste it, so. So it was definitely a challenge in their relationship. And also in this time, I definitely meditated much less because. Because obviously had other activities in mind, then maybe we would have meditated, but we would watch a movie instead, which which is obviously totally fine, and it’s also not his fault Adobe because at the time I also still was figuring out to to create this practice of meditating every single day. But. I mean, obviously, it’s it’s my responsibility, and I’m not trying to blame it on him, but now having. But maybe it’s better to look at it in a way than what I have now, my husband as a fellow practitioner acts as a source of inspiration. So, so meditating together, sitting down together is also a very powerful experience, and having this common priority is definitely a very important foundation for our relationship and something that I really think it will help our marriage last because I just think having this foundation in your relationship is. I have to say, having it’s it’s important to have this foundation in your relationship because I also I see a lot of couples after a while growing apart. Because to a certain extent, they might not have a similar foundation. And I think it can be anything in relationships, maybe it’s your love of photography or a common hobby that you have, but for us it happens to be Buddhism. And, you know, we’re very different people. He’s more technical and a very creative guy. He’s he studied to be an architect and he’s extremely smart. And I’m I’m a little more free spirited and I like traveling and painting and a little bit of this and that. So we’re we might that actually get this well along if we didn’t have Buddhism as a foundation? But I think the fact that this is something we both intend to do for for basically the rest of our lives is also a big part of what’s keeping us to get around what. And what makes us really want to stay in this relationship because we understand that this is also something that you know, us being together also kind of ensures that we stay on the paths because when I go home, he’s he’s also he’s not only my husband, but he’s also my son. And and that’s a beautiful experience.
I think overall, it’s interesting that meditation maybe tends to be something that you might enter into later in your life, where maybe your late twenties or 30 is because I personally think that it’s also really something that younger people can benefit from. And the reason why I say that is because having these experiences with meditation and with traveling and being a part of this community that we call Sangha, it has definitely been a very powerful experience and something that really helped me kind of like shape. My ideas and form helped me figure out how I want to live my life. And, you know, especially as, you know, as a young person or a young adult, you might be faced with so many challenges and so many choices that you need to make in your life. It actually can be an incredibly powerful and helpful tool. As well as as I said, you know what? You can think of Buddhism almost like a toolbox where, you know, whenever you’re faced with a challenge, you, you kind of look into your toolbox and you find the right solution almost. And. And I think in this age, it can be extremely helpful actually. And. And also, maybe with age, it’s I’m not sure that’s that’s true, but maybe with age, it’s also difficult to switch of mindset. So maybe it’s more difficult to kind of like jump into something like this in your forties or fifties as it would be in your early twenties, let’s say. And also, this is when you’re a young adult. This is when you have really the time and the energy to deeply dedicate yourself and also form habits. So, so I think actually for me, it’s better for young adults. It can be incredibly helpful. And it’s also something that could really help you supplement your life at that age and kind of create balance when maybe also as a teenager, you know, we can be incredibly volatile and we are dealing with such strong emotions. So actually, meditation in that age can be very helpful, but obviously it has to come from from your inner desire, and that’s something that you’re forced upon, because that also doesn’t work. So, so so I actually I moved to the US a couple officially a couple of weeks before before the lockdown started. So most of the time I spent here was actually dealing with all of this. But but overall, I would say that for me, it’s been and I’m really fortunate to say this, but for me, it’s been a very good experience overall. I before moving here, I had been traveling like crazy and, you know, just doing so many things and going from one place to another. And I had actually been craving to to kind of have this one place and kind of deepening my practice as well, and not just the meditation practice, but overall to stay a little bit more stable and routine because I just feel like there’s there’s a little more depth and value almost in it. So so to a certain extent. I so so to a certain extent, it has been it has been a very good experience for me because I really I had the time to really sit down and deepen my practice and it’s been I’m very grateful for it and I’m very grateful that I I actually had this time and I have had the chance to do this because I know a lot of people lost their jobs. And obviously that’s what a lot of friends and family who are on, you know, dealing with certain aspects of it one way or another. And. And overall, I would say that probably 11 of my favorite teachings is probably the four basic thoughts, and it’s something so foundational, but I think almost any situation that you’re dealing with, the four basic thoughts probably has some sort of lesson in it. So what if it’s impermanence that we know that, you know, whatever is going to happen, it’s it’s going to be over at some point. So, you know, if if it’s going to be over, them might as well enjoy it and make the most of it. And and I think I mean, obviously, it’s also true for the precious opportunity that now we we still had the center and we had the methods and we had access to to do meditation and we had our precious human body and we had the karma and we wanted to have also the good karma to meditate in the future and do this for the benefit of our being. So we really took this past year to to deepen our practice and spend time with the Sun as much as we could and meditate together. So it has been actually a very, very powerful experience as well. And regarding my career, I think again, going back to the four basic thoughts overall, I think I was never the kind of person who would take refuge in my career, and it was never the most important aspect of my life because I knew that is just one part, but it is going to pass. And so I always, the way I always looked at my career was something that enables me to do something more important than something more important is, you know, not necessarily for more meditation, but I just didn’t want the meaning of my life to be my career. Obviously, it’s great, you know, if you can be a doctor or anyone else who helps people as their profession, but I think you don’t need to be, say, a doctor or anything like that if you want to help people. But whatever you are doing in your life, if you if you are practicing meditation, then you the way you are interacting with people and the way you are touching people’s lives, regardless of whether you are an engineer or a doctor, it it really can influence. I know people based on how you approach different situations, so. So what I took into account when I was kind of figuring out what I do is that I always wanted to have the freedom and the mobility, basically. So actually being a freelancer in digital marketing was somehow very fitting because I would when we when we still could, I would be able to travel a lot and I would be able to meet my teachers. And I had some days when I spent almost two months with traveling with family and with other friends on the way . And that has been a very, very amazing experience. And a big part of that is that because I had the mobility and I had the kind of job where I could afford this, but I also had the flexibility to work from anywhere. I just grabbed my laptop and go. So. So overall, I think my career choices were definitely and also even the, you know, the place where I would apply to to go to college and all of these that they were influenced by. By me wanting to keep on with this practice, because I I see also people in the, you know, a lot of my friendships, obviously I have a lot of friends in different places. I have friends who are extremely dedicated to their career, and I also have friends who are more into, you know, smoking weed and watching movies . And, you know, in a way, they are both extremes that wouldn’t fit with the kind of lifestyle I want. So I always wanted to have this kind of freedom to to go wherever I want to go and to also have time for my practice and not take refuge in things that are not as important for me.
On Diamond Way
Well, overall, I think in Diamond, the way we would say that what really kind of ties us together and that what our main motivation in them in a way is the desire. And usually with that also comes joy because we constantly desire, you know, travel and friendships and different things. And it’s usually it’s a very joyful experience, one when you all this through meditation and when you do this together with a Sangha. So I think the strongest pulling force that we have is really this desire and the joy that comes with it. So I think that’s part of the reason why your activity is so widespread because it’s also very easy as a person to once you once you get a taste of it to to want to become a member of it because it’s really it’s it’s a very, very strong feeling and it’s a it’s a very joyful community overall . Yeah, joy is just the probably the best word for it. So we do have so so our community, you know, we have people of all, really all ages and so many different professions. We have plumbers and astrophysicists and neuroscientists and engineers and so all kinds of people and it’s very, very diverse. But ultimately, what really is? The main common factor is this desire to get better, so this is really what what what keeps us longer to get together and you can really see this reflect in the way we interact with each other and how friendships are formed and, you know, a very big part of our activities. Spending time together and not just in formal with meditation when you sit together in the garden, premeditated, which is also very powerful, but it’s also just as powerful to spend time together as a single form. These bond, because this is also what’s going to pull you and inspire you to do that next meditation session and learn from each other and mutually inspiring each other to meditate. So I think this is a very big part for us in in our strong guys as well the way Lamar also. So maybe I can start by saying that overall in Tibetan Buddhism, the role of Delamar is highly important. And if you look at some of the lineage holders like Dilip are in the group or any of these guys from the from our history, then you know, many times they only met their teacher. A few times are only spent very short amount of time with them, and they kind of carry the inspiration and the meditation practice they were given from then onwards. And we’re actually in a very lucky position where not only does our LAMA travel most of the time, but twice a year around the world. So he’s a very, very accessible. But we are also able to travel to him. So we really have the chance to to see him fairly often. And and for me personally, this was always something fairly natural because I also I grew up in this environment. But overall, I think I think what really drew me to these experiences is that there is just so much joy in these events when all I’m always there and when the sun go getters, it’s. It’s really I think there’s no better for better word for it than joy is just extremely joyful and it’s almost it’s almost like you’re. I don’t want to say addiction, because it’s kind of a negative word, but the. Yeah, you just you just want to experience this joy, and it’s incredibly empowering. It’s an incredibly inspiring thing to be so close there, a teacher and you can you can really feel it in every single bone of your body that these llamas are present. And and this is really also what what has fueled me to keep you want to keep on with my practice and what I have noticed is that. You know, one I remember I was talking with Tomek, who was who was a good friend of morale and also his secretary. And they were traveling together for four, I think, about 20 years, and Tomek really spent a lot of time with family. And so he also has a lot of insight to his work and how, you know, being with llamada for so long. And and he really had this great insight that. I think we were talking about how we were telling him that he’s so lucky that he gets to spend so much time with the llama, and then he said that no, actually you’re the lucky one because you get to spend this precious time with the llama, but then go home and try to practice keeping this feeling. And that’s that’s a real challenge because it it’s easy to be joyful and it’s easy to do have this amazing atmosphere when you are with the llama. But but it’s. It’s almost like but it’s different once you go home, and it’s very easy to let it fade away. But actually with with practice, this is something you can’t maintain. And I think this is really the goal that once you go home for one of these events and your sole charge, then the full of energy, then you go home and you spread it with your friends and you spend it with your song people around you and you try to maintain it with meditation and. And this was very inspiring for me as well. And this is what I had been, sometimes consciously, sometimes not subconsciously trying to practice. You know, you go to these courses and then you go home and and then it’s such a contrast, sometimes because because usually you dedicate maybe a week or maybe a long weekend to these events and then it’s really dedicated to dharma. And all of a sudden you go home and you have to take the trash out and you have to pay the bills and you have to go to work and do all of these things. But you can try to carry this understanding with you that that it’s so joyful and it’s not separated and. You know, because regardless of whether you’re actually physically meditating, doing your formal meditation on you or the outside world, which I do really have this understanding that everything is still vibrating with joy and kept together by love. So so that that has been very inspiring, man. This is something I’m also still trying to practice. And now that we don’t necessarily have direct access to them all as often anymore because of the pandemic, it’s it’s also different. But what has been very, very nice to notice is that we kind of have these courses that we somehow call or we kind of jokingly say that the amazing the heart. But but the great thing about them is that you can really feel it. And you know, when I get together and we we spend time together and meditate together, you can really feel this this same level of power and joy that you feel when when your teacher is there. And that that’s something that we’re actually aiming for overall with Lamela especially tends to teach nowadays is Mohammadu teachings. And and he doesn’t tend to give these formal empowerments, if you might say something better lamas do with the drums and the bells and the mantras. I. I don’t think it’s because he can’t, it’s just it’s not really our style, and he really his main focus and his life work really has been to bring Buddhism to the West, kind of stripping down everything that’s unnecessary and kind of cultural and just keeping the essence of the teachings. So especially in the past year, he has been focusing on giving Muhammad your teachings. For a while, I believe, up until 2000, 14 or so. He also used to give Pova practices courses about the country’s death. But some of the lamas actually advised him not to do that anymore because it was quite straining for him as well on his health. But. Yeah, I think. So what’s usually tends to happen is that we invite certain uttering prayers from Tibet, or we have an imam who lives in France and then they give these more formally empowerments or also sometimes the Karmapa Malama Allah himself than to focus on Muhammad’s teachings. And then, you know, questions and answers if if that ever, which also tends to come up quite a bit.
So overall, I would say that I think my brands had a very good approach to Buddhism and us growing up surrounding it, I I’m not entirely sure how conscious they were about it. I think they just did also what felt natural to them. But the. But I think overall, it was a very nice experience to have it in our life and growing up, we did see our parents meditate every single day and it was it was natural and it was normal to us and they never they never really lectured us about Buddhism. They never gave really direct advice about like, Well, this is what Buddha said, or this is what Lama always says it. But it would usually, obviously also how they behave and the advice they give to us. It would be infused by Adobe because this was also their practice. This was their experience, but they never really forcefully tried to grow up and try to have us grow up as Buddhists. So we were never forced to meditate. If we would have said that we don’t want to meditate or we don’t want to go to a course, we wouldn’t have gone so. So it was, I think, many times regarding maybe courses because it was part of traveling and part of our life. It wasn’t particularly maybe as if we want to go. But even when we got to when we were there these courses, we would not be forced to go into the sessions or not be forced to listen to lectures or listen to meditations. So I think a curiosity also naturally developed. So I remember when when I was growing up, we had all these Buddhist books and sometimes I would read. Miller refers life story as a as a bedtime story, which is maybe not the most kid friendly book, but but what I was curious and I saw my parents read it then I think children naturally just follow what their parents are doing, and especially over the course of the years, I saw this as a very positive influence in their life. I see giant improvements in both of my mother and father compared to how they were 20 years ago and how they’re in that . So that was also always a big source of inspiration because these improvements are usually very gradual. It’s not something you see from one month to the other, necessarily. But but it’s a very positive reinforcement to to see this in them. And overall, I think just any life advice that they would give us, it was it was probably also from them, inspired by Dharma and inspired by the experiences that they had. But it was never it wasn’t an interesting experience as a child to, you know, we grew up in a Christian country. Still, though, and kids always tend to pick on whatever is different. So it was it was slightly strange to do grow up. We would experience in death as like we would have friends come over and we would have Buddhas on our walls instead of Jesus or, you know, our other pictures. So it was we were always a little bit the odd one out, all the ones out. So I actually remember there were some there were some kids who told me in school that I would go to hell because because I’m not a Christian and yeah, there were there were always funny things I did. But kids always find what’s different. So I think that was that was the bigger cultural shock. Maybe because whatever was going on inside of our family was normal. It was surprising, however, to see kind of other people react to it. And this these experiences kind of like followed us, I think throughout. When you’re a kid, kids tend to find what’s different about you. And I remember being a teenager, I started being more interested in Buddhism overall and meditation, but I noticed that not so many of my friends are interested in this. So I so it was also difficult sometimes to connect with other people because I had this curiosity to talk about these things. But I didn’t seem to find a community of people my age who were interested in similar things and. Yeah, there was some balancing thing to do because a song so at a time was much older than me, and I also had this experience of growing up with a lot of practitioners from Finland. So I always had this idea that they see me as my parents’ child and and I also saw them as like someone much older, and it was difficult to kind of be on the same page with them or just kind of like, have a, let’s say, have a friendship because for such a long time, I thought they see me as a kid. But, you know, after a while, I was trying to be a practitioner myself. So it was it was challenging to kind of grow out of that.