Author Archive

Pure spelt bread magic

Posted on: March 28th, 2020 by leena

“The first thing I thought about when I woke up this morning,
was this bread. And I was so much looking forward to breakfast.”
Group participant 

We are many who love the bread Dharma Mountain serves for breakfast and for soup dinners. Take your time when making it.  Awareness is the secret ingredient.

About spelt 
Compared to ordinary wheat, spelt has a higher fat content. It has a higher percentage of unsaturated fatty acids, as well as higher a vitamin and mineral content. According to studies, spelt is more easily digestible than wheat. Because of the excellent water solubility of spelt, the vital components are more easily and more quickly absorbed by the body. This means that the digestive system does not have to work as hard, so that spelt is more easily tolerated by many people.

Spelt bread recipe
(this recipe makes 2 loaves)

500 g white spelt flour
250 g wholemeal spelt flour
100 g barley flour
100 g wholemeal rye flour
100 g cracked spelt grains, soaked over night
125 g oat flakes
50 g sesame seeds
1 tbsp sea salt
900 ml lukewarm water
2,5 g yeast (the size of a very small pea) or 2 tablespoons sourdough starter

Sift the flours into a big bowl. Mix in salt, sesame seeds and oats.
Drain and reserve the liquid from the cracked spelt grains (you can use this instead of water later). Add the grains to the dry ingredients and mix well.

Dissolve the yeast or sourdough starter in a little water. Add lukewarm water until you have 900 ml. Add this to the dry ingredients and mix well, until you have a homogeneous dough. There is no need to kneed.

Cover the dough with a cloth and let it rise overnight or for around 10 hours in room temperature.

Lightly grease the bottom of 2 bread tins and line them with with baking paper. Divide the dough in two and scoop it into the tins. Brush the top of the breads with a little water, and make a lengthwise cut with a sharp knife on the top of each bread.

Put breads into preheated oven at 50°C, leave for 15-25 minutes to rise. Then increase temperature to 180-180-200°C for around 60 minutes (time and temperature depend on your baking oven). When finished baking, the bread crust should be brown and crispy. Take breads out of the forms immediately, and leave to cool down without a cover, preferable on a wire rack. The breads can be frozen, but keep well in room temperature for 3–5 days.

Organic spelt flour
You can get both conventional and organic spelt flour. However we highly recommend the organic spelt flour, even though it is more expensive, because the conventional spelt has been crossbred with wheat to increase yields and hence lost many of the beneficial qualities of pure spelt. The organic spelt grown in Norway is from the Swiss spelt variety called ´Oberkulmer Rotkorn´ which is considered among the purest of the spelt varieties.

More about spelt

Saint Hildegard von Bingen (1098 – 1179) who was a mystic and abbess in medieval Germany, describes quite impressively the special health benefits of spelt as compared to other edible grains. In her book “Physika” she says: “Spelt is the best grain… It is rich and nourishing and more delicate than all other grains. It gives the one who eats it a strong body and healthy blood. It makes one happy and cheerful. Whenever people eat it, either as bread or in another form, it is delicious and easily digested.”

So now – are you ready to try it yourself?

With love from the bakers at Dharma Mountain

Tibetan beans

Posted on: December 29th, 2018 by leena

Finally, here it comes. Many of our guests have asked for the recipe for this daal that has become a staple food on our retreat and group menus.

You can throw in any kind of beans you have – it will be good any way!

Tibetan beans is best served with a good quality brown rice, some woked, roasted or steamed veggies like broccoli, carrot, squash or pumpkin, and a green salad on the side.

Tibetan beans recipe: 

Serves 8

300 g dried kidney beans (or other beans)
200 g dried yellow split peas (or other peas)
200-250 g organic canned tomato
2 onions
2 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
2 teaspoons coriander powder
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
50-100 ml cream
1/8 teaspoon or more chili powder or cayenne pepper


Soak beans overnight.
Cook beans and lentils separately.
Fry chopped onion with cumin seeds a long time until almost caramelized.
Add garlic and ginger, then the powdered spices, and cook some minutes, then add the tomato and cook until the oil comes up.
Mix in the beans.
It can cook/sit for a long time after this, adjust the taste with salt, pepper and cayenne until just hot enough.
Mix in the cream just before serving and bring to a boil.


With love from Satori kitchen

Photo by Raahi




Hot summer curry: Khadai Paneer + how to make your own paneer

Posted on: August 17th, 2018 by leena


In Dharma mountain we have just experienced a beautiful summer retreat with the Beloved Master Swaha. Participants from many countries have come to sit with the master, to come back to nature outside and inside. We have had the warmest summer anyone can remember in Norway, and enjoyed the sun, the river – and of course the tasty fresh food from our kitchen. One of our favourite retreat lunches is the Khadai Paneer – a spicy indian curry with the soft indian cheese paneer.


In Dharma kitchen we make our own paneer – with  fresh milk from a local farmer. Dhipani & Ashika made the paneer this summer. and Dhipani shares some secrets of how to do it so it really becomes soft and juicy:



Homemade paneer:

Makes +/- 750 g paneer

5 liters whole milk (preferably fresh, ecological and non-pasteurized)

100 ml white vinegar



How to do it:

Measure the vinegar. Heat up the milk in a thick-bottomed vessel. Bring the milk to almost boiling, but just before the bubbles come up, add the vinegar and turn off the heat.

This will give the cheese a softer consistency than if you wait until it boils. Stir in the vinegar with a wooden spoon, in a gentle way so you don’t break the curd.


Drain in a colander covered with a cheese cloth. (You can use any clean, loosely woven white fabric. ) Spread the curd evenly. Cover with a plate, and a weight (a stone for example) on top. Leave for 10 minutes with the weight (if you leave it longer, the cheese will become harder), then put in the fridge until it’s completely cold and firm. Cut in pieces, and keep in the fridge.


171124_BR_Raahi_101Khadai Paneer

Don’t be stingy with the spices on this one.

4 persons

500 g paneer cheese

15 g garlic, finely chopped

20 g ginger, finely chopped

200 g onion, chopped

400 g canned tomatoes or fresh tomatoes, if using fresh tomatoes blend them or cut in small cubes

7 g salt

7,5 g turmeric

13 g ground coriander

3 g ground cumin or whole seeds

2 g chili powder or cayenne

3 g garam masala

1 g fenugreek leaves

40 g fresh coriander, pluck the leaves

45 ml cream

150 ml water

65 g red paprika, cut in cubes

65 g green paprika, cut in cubes



Cut the paneer and paprika in 2,5 cm cubes.

Fry onion until golden, or even better, if you have the time, until the onion is caramelized. Add garlic and ginger – and fry some more.

Add cumin seeds or powder and stir around a bit before you add the other spices (except for garam masala) and then the tomatoes.

Let simmer for a little while. Meanwhile you fry the paneer in a frying pan with ghee or butter until golden on each side. Quickly fry the paprika too, just so it loses the raw feeling, but it should still be crispy.

Add the garam masala and cream to the sauce and taste for salt. You might need to add a little sugar to balance it out. Add more spices if you feel it’s needed.

Mix the paneer and the paprika into the sauce. Serve with basmati rice, brown rice, green salad and chutneys.

With love from Satori kitchen

 Photos by Ram and Raahi




Rhubarb drink

Posted on: May 31st, 2018 by leena

Refreshing repost IMG_2455

In Dharma Mountains garden the rhubarb and the strawberries are stretching out in the sun. Time to share this fresh rhubarb post again – with one way to enjoy rhubarb!

Colorful, tangy and fresh:

Rhubarb drink

1 kg rhubarb
250g sugar in the raw
2 liters water
3 organic lemons, quartered
3 stalks of mint
25g ginger

Chop the rhubarb into small pieces and rinse it with cold water. Heat the water and add the rhubarb, sugar, mint and lemons. Boil it for 3-4 minutes, removing any foam that forms on the surface. Remove from heat. Let mixture sit for 15-20 minutes, then strain the liquid and discard the rest. Serve chilled.

With love from the summer Satori Kitchen!




The Wings of Trust

Posted on: May 4th, 2018 by leena

Copenhagen Airport. No, I do not get on that plane. I do not know how I survived that flight from Estonia to Copenhagen just now. An overall sensation of being imprisoned, suffocated, stressed, too much adrenaline, too much heart beat, not enough air to breath, cold sweat and a shaking body. There is no way how I am going to go through this again. I did not get on that plane. I left the transit area. I abandoned my luggage. Sending it all alone further on to Germany.

Only my little black bag is with me. Enough to survive. It is summer anyway. I have some food, a book, music and my little pillow. I made my way to the railway station, got some Danish money from the ATM, queued in front of the ticket counter with some 100 other travellers. Are they stranded like me? At that time there was no smartphone, no apps, no mobile internet to check train connections. An international train connection, that is what I need now. The memories of taking this night train are sweet and warm, adventurous and relaxing. A feeling of an unknown but very cosy freedom. In a gentle way I am happy and at ease. Young backpackers from all over the world are on the train, partying all night long, but my compartment is quiet. I crouch up in my upper berth. Noises from the train mix with the music in my headphones. Only my little black bag is with me, but I have everything I need.

It was only later that it dawned on me that I had lost something that night. I lost my ability to trust. For the following years I led the life of a secretly disabled person. Almost no one knew about my fear of flying, I bypassed easily all situations that would make me board a plane. Our camper van was the perfect excuse why all holidays were spent on four wheels instead of two wings. Prices for flight tickets had risen immeasurably, you know. And, of course, flying is considered harmful to the environment. So I rather do not fly. I rather hide my anxiety behind morally and socially acceptable arguments.

Flying was not part of my life anymore, so most of the time I could ignore my shame and helplessness with what happened that day in Copenhagen. Yet deep inside, I was desperate because I lost my light-heartedness together with my old Me that had frequently travelled back and forth in Europe, and that had regularly taken long-distance flights to almost all the continents ever since I was a child, sleeping through turbulences and thunderstorms wrapped in confidence.

However, the more I avoided the aerial turbulences, the more I got shaken up here on earth. Having two feet on the ground is no guarantee to be safe and sound. Life taught me that I cannot control its swings and turns. In the course of a few years life took away my loved ones and many illusions. I felt literally shaken and stirred. It hurts to get ripped off things that one considered to be stable and secure. While I avoided to board an aircraft, I could – luckily – not refuse to be on board of life. I was weary but slowly something new was born. I started to open up for this, I dared to follow my calling to the North. And my life unfolded in a miraculously way. Then, exactly six years after Copenhagen, I got this knowing that now is the time. I bought my flight ticket.

Gate A36. Boarding time. Destination: Norway. I am home-bound. Some sensations of excitement shower through my body. Yet I still feel comfortable. In a couple of minutes we are about to take off. I realize that I have wings of trust. I realize I can fly.

Some tools and techniques help me to calm myself. The plane is vibrating, the engine is loud, some trembles can be felt where the skin touches the seat. In that moment the words ‘shaken and stirred’ pop up in my mind, reminding me of the time when everything was collapsing in and around me. Now I deeply understand the truth of how this desperation and depression was actually something very positive, something very healing and badly needed to propel me onwards and into my life in Norway. All of a sudden my synapses click in into this new connection. Disturbances do not mean danger. Disturbances promote development.

Relaxation spreads through my whole system as this conscious shift of my mindset happens. That’s it. The wobbly movements of the aircraft do not frighten me anymore. The pressure of acceleration is taking its seat on my chest, but I can bear it without panicking. My heart rate is within a tolerable range. I even dare to take a glimpse out of the window. I have cut through the curtain. I am able to fly again. When the pilot then announces the landing, I am eager to watch the landscape far down and fearlessly enjoy being so high up in the air.

May all have the courage to fly. (Vasant Swaha, Satsang March 5, 2018)


Text & Photo by Rachana


Rachana150HRachana loves trees and snow and dogs. After long travels she now lives not far away from Hedalen. Being a sannyasin gives her the love and the energy to start being creative and make life more beautiful.







Shanti shanti lentil and apple soup

Posted on: April 6th, 2018 by leena

by Leena

Photo: Lavanya Eikås

This soup is just as relaxing to make as it is to eat. It has been served as dinner in a few groups in Dharma this winter, latest in the Biodanza group that we were lucky to host during Easter holiday. It has been a long winter in the mountains, and even though we read the 1st of April, the degrees were many below zero. What is better then, than to come in to Dharma living room with the nice fireplace, and enjoy a warm, spicy soup served with our homemade spelt bread?

The first time I had this soup was in the Osho-center BaraVara in Sweden some years ago, and the recipe was so easy I didn’t even need to write it down, and I’ve made it many times since then. They called it the Shanti shanti soup, and its just as easy to make as it sounds. Serve with a spoon of yoghurt or créme fraiche if you like, and even some pieces of dried fruit, like apricots or mango,  go well on top. Enjoy and take it shanti!

Serves 4

The Shanti shanti lentil and apple soup

1 apple, cut in cubes

1 onion, chopped

200 ml of dry red lentils, rinsed

1 tablespoon good quality curry powder (you can also make you own curry blend, with turmeric, cardamom, ginger, cumin, coriander and cayenne)

1 bay leaf

1,2 litres of vegetable stock

Lemon to taste

Parsley or coriander (optional)


Fry the onion, apple and curry on low heat until it becomes soft and smells good.

Add the bay leaf, lentils and stock. Cover and let simmer for ca 10 minutes.

Season with salt, pepper, juice of lemon, and sprinkle some parsley or coriander on top.


See also the recipe for our spelt bread here!




Inside my breath

Posted on: February 2nd, 2018 by leena

I keep asking for you
under the night sky
I’ll ask every star
and then
I’ll ask them all, once more
I will never stop
until you answer me
over and over
And I will ask
again and again
“Are you still here?”
and you will answer
“Yes my love, always”
I will keep asking
under this endless starry sky
Until every particle of my being knows
without a shadow of a doubt
that you are here, beloved
inside my breath

Poem by Veena

Photo by Raahi


IMG_1632Veena is living in Hedalen. She loves to go into the forest and watch the river, and sit very quietly, waiting for the animals to come out. She also likes to come up with ideas, and kittens.



Tonight it came to me

Posted on: December 8th, 2017 by leena

by Samara


Tonight it came to me

A bolt of light striking in the eternal emptiness that is my consciousness

Sun shining on the feet of the first man walking earth

Breathing wind spreading the leaves of the green jungle,
to a symphony with birdsongs, coconuts and delicious fruit

The lion’s roar, orange as the sunrise and red power, I am here and this is my kingdom

Shining with calm steps or running for pleasure

My head is the sun, growing and burning

Water screams against magma

I am both, and both is needed

Forging you, the ants building labyrinths, entwined patterns in your skin with other bugs
carrying the tiniest twig all the way across the world
Before I blow it away

I grab a handful of soil
falling in love as it transforms to jewels
Drop it
to bite an apple

And watch the spider forming a web, mechanical and yet with vast passion
As the morning fog meets sunlight shaping water drops to stars in patterns
And there, here it is
for a moment the web of the galaxy
And there are you, little blue
Aligned with the other planets in waltz with the sun
Spinning mass in nothingness being somethingness beyond expression
Perfectly calculated blowing a gentle breeze to my skin

Emptiness is within

A flower grows from it

The pleasure too overwhelming

I sprout

A wish to share who I am


Last retreat at Dharma Mountain Leena asked me if I wanted to write some words, expressing what my decision to come out with my sannyas meant to me. For a long time I carried the question with me, unable to answer. Now and then different answers came, but soon after they wouldn’t feel truthful. It was like I was expressing something superficial, not being able to touch the substance of it. Like the substance of it was not something I could not express with explanatory sentences. I was about to give up the idea, knowing I couldn’t force it.

One night I was unable to sleep, feeling like the lights were switched on inside whenever I closed my eyes.
I jumped out of bed. I had no idea what to write; the mood I was in was too energetic and spontaneous to even want to think about explaining. Instead it felt more natural for me to write in a way, similar to painting images, with the same feeling as I felt in that moment. Finally it was as if I could touch the core of what i really wanted to share, my excitement of life.

“…letting something go is just as significant as picking something up, perhaps even more. And the habit of holding on is stopping flow and connection with life.”


It was the first time I felt this much in tune with my own words and flow, like I had been screaming gibberish for hours and what was left was clear as ice, reflecting images of my subconscious. As if I finally understood something I had been missing, in writing and everything. That letting something go is just as significant as picking something up, perhaps even more so. And the habit of holding on is stopping flow and connection with life. I feel that an opening is happening, and the wish to share.

Thank you Vasant Swaha.

With love Samara




Samara-bylineMy name is Samara. I enjoy to express myself in many ways, both in arts, music and sports. Venturing into the unknown excites me, and I love when I am able to surprise myself. Arts support me to fall in tune with my own body, flow and creativity. And most importantly to be in tune with the moment and have fun!

Tyttebær & Pear Autumn Tart

Posted on: October 13th, 2017 by leena

Tyttebaer_1The lingonberries (tyttebær) were offering themselves to us for this cake, lots of them juicy, ripe and red in the forests of the valley. I love these berries because they are so easy to pick, firm and growing in clusters, so they practically fall into my hand. With their beautiful, deep red colour and bitter-sweet taste, they are among my favourites for an autumn dessert. And if you pair up the Lingonberry with the Pear, you get the perfect, harmonious relationship!

Minal took the berries, some pears, a tart recipe, and what we had in store in Dharma kitchen, and turned them into this mouth-watering, eye-pleasing, healthy autumn tart.

The tart is dairy-free and only sweetened with honey. It and can easily be made gluten-free by replacing the spelt flour with buckwheat.

photos by Raahi

Tyttebær & Pear Autumn Tart

Serves 10


For the crust:

1 cup rolled oats

1/2 cup walnuts

1/4 cup honey

1/4 cup coconut oil, melted

1 tsp vanilla essence (optional)

1/2 tsp salt

75 g wholemeal spelt flour

For the filling:

2 medium pears, thinly sliced

2 cups fresh tyttebær (lingonberries)

1/2 cup honey

2 tbsp. chia seeds

6 tbsp warm water

1/4 cup coconut oil, melted

1 tsp vanilla essence (optional)

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground cardamom

zest of 1 lemon (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 175ºC.
  2.  Combine the chia seeds with the water and set aside until it becomes a gel.
  3. Combine all of the crust ingredients in a food processor and pulse to mix.
  4. Grease the bottom of a 22 cm tart pan with a little coconut oil. Press the crust evenly all over the bottom of the pan.
  5. Place pear slices in a layer on top of the crust.
  6. Mix the tyttebær with the remaining ingredients (honey, coconut oil, spices, vanilla and lemon zest, if using) and stir until well combined. Fold in the chia seed gel mix.
  7. Pour the filling on top of the crust and pear layer and spread evenly. Bake for 35-40 minutes. Allow the tart to cool completely before removing it from the tart pan.
  8. Slice and serve on its own or with a dollop of crème fraîche.

With love, Leena



leena_blogLeena is a writer. She also works in the kitchen in Dharma Mountain. 

Come out of writers block in 3 steps

Posted on: September 1st, 2017 by leena

by Leena

Are you stopping yourself from being creative? Either with a small voice that lures you into avoidance and postponing, or with self-judgements that you are not talented, funny, original or smart enough? Find out what it is that stops you, how to let go and be more compassionate with yourself and come into the creative flow again, with these three simple steps.

This is a simple technique that I use in my writing groups, but it can be applied to any kind of creative work. All you need is a piece of paper and a pen!

1. Connect with a state of blockage and self-criticism that you tend to go into, and feel it in your body – body position, body sensation.

blueladyLet this state have a voice and character as if it was a person or an animal, and write it down. Give it shape and color and qualities and even a name if you want.

Let the images come without thinking so much. Your kind of block may be different from others. Maybe it is like a wet big dog lying on top of you. Maybe it is a nagging old lady. Or maybe it is a grey cloud that makes everything foggy. Let it speak and shout and say what it wants. Exaggerate it. Stop after 3 minutes.

2. Stop, breathe, and change your body position. Let go of the character, visualize it walking away from you, out of the door or window, and disappear in the forest or field or mountains or city.

111008_Norway_112-1-300x3003. Feel who you are without this character, give it space and breath inside you. Write down a message to yourself from this space.

You can of course also find your own way into this technique. The whole idea is to give space to it, to allow the troll to come into the light and be less serious. So writing it is one option, but you can also paint or draw or in other ways give it a figure and have FUN with it!


leena_blogLeena is a writer. She also works in the kitchen in Dharma Mountain. Her next writing weekend group is happening March 10-11. 2018. 



A morning of love

Posted on: March 24th, 2017 by leena

text and photo by Savini Aspholt


“What I have understood as love my whole life,
is merely the grasping for another, the clinging to another.”


It is Monday morning. My grandmother’s old coffee cup, with golden edges and hand-painted flowers, is warm between my hands. I sit by the table in front of the window, with my pen and notebook. Breathing in the morning. Breathing in the freshly brewed coffee. Some lazy, low clouds are resting on the snowy mountain sides.

In this moment, I suddenly realize, I don´t know what love is.

What I have understood as love my whole life, is merely the grasping for another, the clinging to another. This empty space, this vacuum inside of me, which make me believe that I need someone else to fulfill me.

The «need» for a boyfriend. The clinging to my children. The fear of losing someone. The need for some recognition from others; for acceptance, being liked, being «loved».

The fear of not being loved.

The very idea that love needs something outside of me to fulfill itself.

I don´t know what happened on this monday morning of freshly brewed coffee and lazy clouds.

I closed my eyes. I rested, inside myself. Felt the stillness under my own eyelids. The soft embrace of my own skin. The warm, cozy fire of my heart. The forest, whispering inside of me; «come, Savini, come».

I realized how many times I have «in the name of love» escaped from this space of self trust and self love. How many times I have grasped for someone on the outside, thinking it is love, while it in reality has been nothing but an avoidance of being alone, of being naked – with me.

How I have searched for someone else to fulfill me, or support me, because I haven´t really trusted, and rested in, my own presence and my own two feet.

I sat down by the mirror, tears running down. «Forgive me», I said.

She smiled at me, as she has smiled since before time began.
She laughed at me, so freely, so untouched by my tears and guilt.

«Welcome», she said, «I am happy you see me again».

 untitled_027Savini has been involved in the work around Swaha’s retreats for many years. She enjoys writing and photography, and loves to dive into the depths of her own soul and of the forest.



Natural Deodorant Recipe, the Facts and the Test

Posted on: March 9th, 2017 by leena

Ordinary deodorants are bad for you – but does a natural deodorant really work?

We tested it out!

It all began with both of us wanting to try out a more natural choice of deodorant. But are the normal deodorants that you buy in the shop really that bad?

A closer investigation of the ingredients in traditional deodorants, showed that they contain aluminum, which inhibits the sweat glands and their functions. Various types of salt are also used to prevent the body from breaking down the other chemicals to fast. And then, even more chemicals are added to prevent the skin from reacting to the alcohol and perfume used.

We decided to give a more natural, chemical-free deodorant a try.


Natural deodorant – The recipe:

2 Tbs baking soda

5 Tbs Coconut oil

2 Tbs Corn or potato flour

10 Drops of Ethereal scent oil (or more).







Try out what scent you like best – men will often like the smell of bergamot and sandalwood, while women will fall for the soft scent of rose, lily or lavender.

Mix until everything is well blended. Place in a suitable container with a lid, for instance a glass jar.

The Test!

As we all know, natural solutions doesn’t always work as well as intended. We had to put it to the ultimate norwegian test: Cross country skiing!


We hit the slopes with skis covered in blue Swix and our armpits covered in natural deodorant.

The sun was shining, the snow was like powder, the slopes fresh and the oranges had never tasted better after some kilometers of steady skiing.

Three hours later we returned to the cabin, very much ready for a warm shower.

But, we decided to push the test even further by waiting two more hours.

After a thorough examination of both test-subjects, the conclusion was clear:

Natural deodorant works! And it seems, even better than traditional deodorants. We have never smelled better after skiing.

From that day on, we have only used natural, homemade deodorant.

It is heartily recommended.

Ordinary DEO – The chemical facts

As mentioned, most ordinary deodorants contain the three following subtances.

Aluminum, Disodium / Trisodium(EDTA) and Polupropylene Glycol(PPG)

Aluminum as a chemical, is a neurotoxin inhibiting the sweat glands functions, sweating.

Several tests have shown remains of this chemical in the tissue surrounding the armpits.

Disoduim or Trisodium, is a salt added to prevent the body from breaking down other chemicals used in the deodorant. This is promoted as Antiperspirant.

Polupropylene Glycol acts as a lubricator or moisturizer, to avoid reactions in the skin from the other chemicals used. Such as, perfumes and alcohol.


leena-hamid-smallLeena and Hamid are probably the most professional skiers in the sangha.






Silence falling as snowflakes

Posted on: February 25th, 2017 by leena

by Sana

It’s winter retreat at Dharma Mountain. Sitting quietly in my cabin, watching the white scene outside the window. Everything is soft and pure, fresh and fluffy.

Nature is quiet. Time stops.

We are invited by the Master to sink into this stillness inside, to find the treasure, the purity, the softness of our own beings. Isn’t it a miracle?

150115_NO_Sujan_004Every human being is searching for peace, for happiness, but somehow it seems we forgot where to look.

There is a story that God didn’t know where to go to not be bothered and then he decided to hide himself inside the human heart as nobody looks there. We have so many treasures inside, we are the whole universe in a nutshell, so many miracles are happening each second inside of us of which we are not aware. Isn’t that crazy?

When I take this conscious decision to stop it does not mean that this will happen in a split second. It needs patience, and clear focus. It needs understanding that this is what I want. The habit of getting lost in thoughts, dreams, plans and stories is so old. We have been practicing unconciousness, insensitivity and not being present for so long, that it takes time, clarity and strength to come back to ourselves. That’s why it is almost impossible to do it alone. That’s why a Master is needed to remind us what we are doing here, what we are longing for the most. We have forgotten our own treasure. The Master is a living proof that the most valuable gift is inside our own heart.

Outside my window I can see the snow flakes gently falling with no effort, no fuss. Like this I just close my eyes and allow the thoughts to fall gently into emptiness, disappearing without any effort.

Thank you Master.

Sana_blogSana is a devotee of Vasant Swaha, enjoying and exploring the way back to her true nature. She loves to share herself through Integration Craniossacral sessions and workshops of meditations. Living closer to nature is her biggest joy.


From Hønefoss with love

Posted on: February 10th, 2017 by leena

by Prasad Johannesen

Driving towards the city centre of Hønefoss, one will see on the right hand side, the local wiener factory, Leiv Vidar. There one can see their factory slogan, “From Hønefoss with love”.

Although one might wonder what sausages has to do with love, especially all the poor pigs and horses that has to be sacrificed to create this strangely enough, tasty food, love has somehow entered the mind and heart of the local processed meat factory.

sufi02For people attending the countless Satsangs that has been given each summer and many a winter at Dharma Mountain, the mystery is less enigmatic.

Love is the climate at this mountain pearl of consciousness and love. Grateful seekers receive what they in their hearts never dreamed of receiving. Insights into reality of the mundane and the reality of the divine is given effortlessly, and the ambience can be felt even when there are not Satsangs there.

Group meditations has proven to reduce crime when they have happened in areas prone to such behavious. This was scientifically proven in a study in Washington, where trancendental meditation was performed during the summer of 1993, and crime dropped by 23.3%.

In Russia, an experiment was done with letting inmates spending time in pyramids, resulting in very few of them returning to a life of crime after they had served their sentence.

This brings us to a tentative conclusion that human beings are not just flesh and blood.

We are humans (flesh) and beings (spirit). If we only focus on the human part and forget about the spirit, something within us will be repressed and misaligned. One needs to water the soul as much as the body. More and more people in the West are starting to realize this, taking up ancient practises like yoga, and a rebranded version of Buddha’s teachings about awareness, called Mindfulness. Curiously enough, stores selling various knickknakk are now offering Buddha statues to their customers. It is nice with a little counter balance to the pokemon madness.

Humanity have in the last 100 years shown a complete disregard for Nature. We are treating our Mother, Gaia, as a simpe street girl. But even though we have lost our way, she still loves us and cares for us. Since we have forgotten our own inner nature, it is not surprising that we forgot the outer nature too.

Dharma Mountain is a healing resort where our own connection to Mother Gaia can be restored.


prasadPrasad Johannesen is a cook, songwriter and poet, living in Hedalen. 


Death and a flooding sun

Posted on: January 15th, 2017 by leena

by Savini Aspholt

On the 8th of March, my mother died. It was the first sunny day in weeks.

She had hoped to live another spring. She loved her garden – the fragrance of the soil in the spring time. The rusty statue of a deer by the pond, with one of the antlers missing. The birch trees. The stone wall flower beds. The big rocks leaning on each other, making a natural fireplace. The mighty mountains framing the garden and the houses in the small neighborhood.

This day in early March, the snow still embraced the mountains and the garden, like a thick winter blanket. Still covering the one-antlered deer, as it did that winter many years ago, when the antler broke.

My mother didn’t get to experience another spring. She got one last sunny day; The sound of the melting ice dripping from the roof. The shiny mountains outside the windows, like silent angel wings. Embracing everything. Untouched by everything.


One moment it’s
I had been with her night and day those last two weeks.

Eight months earlier my mother was a healthy 72 year old. In August she got to know that she had cancer, but most probably with many good years still to live. Only two weeks ago, they found out that the bone marrow cancer had evolved into blood plasma leukemia.

The sun felt almost brutally beautiful that day, shining so bright into the living room and into our breaking open hearts.

When mom woke up from her rest that afternoon, the connection in her eyes was slipping. She looked at me, without really seeing me. Disappearing into a space where I could not reach.

For some short moments she was back, meeting my eyes – with a little smile on her face, and a helpless acceptance in her eyes.

Shade for  the dying
The low afternoon sun was flowing into her bedroom. I don´t know if she  was aware of it any longer. I don´t know how much she was still in touch with this world of her family, of the shining sun and the melting snow, of my father’s tears wetting her blanket. We hung bedsheets to give shade for her dying body. Two warmhearted nurses and friends came to help us, taking care of her with loving, trained hands.

The sun went down. Slowly, slowly everything dissolved into darkness. The forest disappeared. Her beloved garden disappeared. Only the starry night sky and the angel-wing shining mountains could still be seen outside the windows. The dimmed bedside lamp was the only light in the room.

Her body was still breathing. Breathing. Breathing.

I sat by her feet, held my hands on her ankles.

The loving nurses removed some sweaty clothes from her skin. Then. Suddenly. My mothers eyes changed, like a release of flowing emptiness. Her breath stopped.

What is left
I sat with her empty body, while silence and her soul filled the room and the universe. We opened the windows, and she was – in the angel-wing mountains, in the starry sky, in our hearts.

In the bed lay the dead body of the woman that has carried me in her belly, who has raised me and taken care of me. Who I have longed for nearness with, and avoided to be close to. Who I have sought to be accepted and seen by, and many times have hidden my true face from. Who I have been bitter with and been hurt by – and who I myself have hurt and rejected. Who had pushed all my buttons, and triggered all my human dramas.

The bottom line; in bed lay the dead body of my mother, this woman I have loved – that I love – so much deeper than all this. That I am grateful for, so much deeper than all this.

Many times those last two weeks of her life, when I was with her and took care of her, when I sat by her and knew she was dying, I asked myself; is there anything I need to talk with her about before she dies?

I could not remember anything. I could not even remember what it should have been. In this space of death and love, none of our stories mattered. None of our hurts, dramas or differences, mattered. There was only love left.

I could feel her in the emptiness of the sky, in the fresh air I inhaled by this open window – in the peace that embraced me through this sacred night. And the morning after, she softly caressed me in the rays of the morning sun.

Not one single cloud entered the sky in the ten days from she died, until after her funeral.

“In this space of death and love, none of our stories mattered. None of our hurts, dramas or differences, mattered. There was only love left.”

My gratefulness to you
My farewell with my mother, my gratefulness to her – was through holding her hand these sleepless nights when I helped her to the bathroom. Through wrapping her in with the duvet, and making her pillows right. Through letting her rest in my eyes in the gap in the middle of a sentence, when she had forgotten where the sentence had started and where it was supposed to go. By making her porridge in the morning, the way her mother had made it for her when she was sick as a child. To wet her dry lips that evening she died.

The funeral I looked at more as something «I just had to go through».

But the sun just wouldn’t stop shining. Even in the dark stave church the sun flooded in through the small windows, flowing over the golden chandelier and the cobwebs, her coffin and the flowers and the tears. My father’s shivering hands.

The funeral became a precious gift.

Where we can meet
Something magical happened in those days around my mother’s death. In my family, and in the meetings with friends and strangers too. In this space of death and honesty and helplessness – We could meet naked. We could meet real, from the heart, from vulnerability.

Outside the local grocery shop, I met a close friend of my mother. We embraced each other for a long time there in the warmth of the sun, in the sound of melting snow dripping, and in the tears that ran down her cheeks.

Differences disappeared. We met in what we all have in common.

Love is love – No matter which religion you belong to. No matter which political opinion you have. No matter how you have chosen to live, if you are rich or poor, if you are educated or not.

– And death comes to us all.

A tumor in my breast
Five months after my mother died, I found a big lump inside my right breast.

The doctor looked at me with serious eyes; «It is big», she said. «Yes», I answered, «it must have grown very fast».

«Do you have any cancer in the family?», she wondered.

«My mother died in March», I replied.

A few days later I was in the hospital for mammography, ultrasound and biopsy. The next weeks, the only thing I could do was to wait for the test results to be ready.

How can I share these days with you? How can I share the silence and the depth that followed? How can I share the helplessness in being reminded; my life is not in my hands, it can end at any moment?

I cried in seeing that I  would maybe have to tell my children that I had cancer, just after they lost their grandmother so suddenly. I cried, till it really sunk in; it is not in my hands. There is absolutely nothing I can do for or against it.

Then, a relaxation, a landing – in trust.

Not the trust that « everything will be fine». Not the trust that «nothing will go wrong, I am not sick, I will not die».

Just trust.

Trust, no matter what comes. Trust, no matter what happens.

A seeing; there is a point, where life is not in my hands. My children’s lives are not in my hands. I can accept it – or I can suffer.


Die before you die
One morning, close to the day I was supposed to receive the test results, by chance I looked at a picture of Swaha. Before any thought had the time to appear, tears started to flow down my face.

The questions arose: What if this is it? What if my life ends here, now? What if this is as long as I got the chance to serve the master? What if I have shared what I got the time to share this life, with my loved ones, with strangers, with the world?

What if I have seen Swaha’s face for the last time?

Soon we will start the winter retreat «Sacred Silence – from Death to Deathlessness» with Swaha in Dharma Mountain. We will have a 6-day meditation process called «Never Born, Never Died». A part of a process like this is that we are  guided on an imaginary journey, closer and closer to our own death. Through facing our own mortality, we become more aware about how we are living. In inquiring into what is dying, we may  glimpse  what is not dying.

In life, many times we do not get this chance to prepare ourselves for death. Many times death comes unexpected.

«Die before you die», is the invitation from the mystics.


“How lucky I am, to have loved so much, to have danced so much, laughed so much, cried so much – and dived so deep.”


What if this is it?
What if there are no six months left to live, no one month left to live? What if there is no time to finish what I would like to finish? What if this is it?

I cried the whole day. First in a flood – this life is so beautiful, it is so precious – there is so much beauty still to be shared, so much aliveness, tears and laughter still to burst. So much love to shower. And I felt this urge; I don´t want to lose it, I don´t want to lose this chance.

Then, more and more, the tears came in gratitude, in awe. In seeing; if this life ends here – how lucky I have been!

How lucky I am to have lived this life, to have flowed with a living master, to have surrendered to love, to him. How lucky I am, to have loved so much, to have danced so much, laughed so much, cried so much – and dived so deep.

Life has already given me so much more than I could ever have dreamt about. How can I ask for more?

The gift
I don´t have cancer. The tumor was removed, studied and analyzed. It was no cancer.

Many times, when someone dies or gets sick, I hear people saying; «It is so unfair». As if life and health is a «right» we have. So often we are taking life for granted.

What if we turn it around?

I have done nothing to «deserve» life. There is nothing I have accomplished that makes life a «right» of mine. And there is nothing I could have done.

Every breath – every single breath I inhale – is a bonus.

Instead of asking for more, instead of begging for more or demanding  more – let me be thankful for every moment I am blessed with, every sun ray that touches my face, every breeze that caresses me. And every storm that shakes me too.

Let me not forget, for one single moment, the mortality of this body.

That reminds me how lucky I am – how lucky I am to dance in this sacred body on this sacred earth! For a short moment of time.


Savini has been involved in the work around Swaha’s retreats for many years. She enjoys writing and photography, and loves to dive into the depths of her own soul and of the forest.

Whispering heart

Posted on: December 3rd, 2016 by leena

Sadhna shares how her song “White Swan” came to be, and how it lead her to her master, Vasant Swaha.

“Hvite Svane” – or “White Swan” in English, is a song of great significance to me. 

It came together with a deep longing for my master. I didn’t know about him yet, I had been searching in many ways and I was confused. But my heart was whispering something, and it came into this song. Singing it made it clear to me that I had to be honest and true to myself, I was not satisfied where I was at.

After meeting with a dear friend who had been around Swahaji for many years, it was set, my heart was clearly telling me to just go, go, go.

It was simply amazing how this love gave me the courage to just pack my bag and leave everything, that which had felt so difficult.  I went to Brasil for the first retreat with Swaha, and it changed my life completely. Completely. It is a blessing impossible to put into words.

“You have to understand that when you are on earth, then you are already in heaven. No other place exists” , the angel said to the human. 

In the time after the retreat I was inspired to pick up and rewrite the song. It was a winter night, after having watched the movie  “I et speil, i en gåte”, based on the novel by Jostein Gaarder. The theme, the characters and what they were experiencing and expressing really touched me. Again I felt the vulnerability, beauty and magic of life and death. With the serenity of the winter night embracing me. With Babaji (another name for Swaha, ed. note) in my heart. I had to grab the pen and paper and wrote and wept. Beauty tears. Those tears that feel like nectar to the soul.

“An offering of songs”

In the next retreat in Brasil, we were invited to share something from our hearts in the Gitanjali day. Gitanjali can be translated to “an offering of songs”, and this gathering was a way of expressing and giving thanks to all the beauty we received from our master, from existence and our hearts.

I felt that I had to share “Hvite Svane”, even if I was very nervous. I had never shared any of my own writings, and just to share my voice with others was an utterly vulnerable case. I was so shy, sensitive and insecure. But I had to share it, my heart said so.

Little did I know that this song was to be sung in Satsang, to my beloved master. In that moment I felt so much support to go on singing, Swaha really helped me to move through the barriers I had, that insecurity that had held me away from doing what I truly love.

And with this support, the inspiration expanded into more poems and songs. It expanded into my first concert, in the Mukti Gathering, where this video is from.

Singing in the forest temple was such a gift, such a gift to be there doing what I love in the place where my master is sharing himself. I am so grateful that I was granted this opportunity to come out from my hiding place and feel how it is when we share our gift in a loving environment with sweet friends.

Now I am continuing this offering of songs. With so much gratitude and respect to my master and all those friends that supported my in the unfolding – and it is till unfolding- of the Song.

Sadhna lives in Hedalen, Norway.  She loves arts and beauty and enjoys exploring different ways of flowing and expressing it.

NEXT MUKTI: Check out the next Mukti – Music & Mantra weekend at Dharma Mountain 13-15 January.


LIGHT AS THE SKY – meditation on piano

Posted on: October 22nd, 2016 by leena

Interview with Ojas Jon Martin Grøn

By Leena

Ojas is a pianist, a music therapist and has for a long time been part of the sangha of the mystic Swaha. He has written a masters assignment about integrating mindfulness into music therapy, and now works as a pianist as well as arranging events and workshops with music, meditation and mantra singing.

This summer his album ”Light as the Sky ” came out. I asked him how he sees the music that comes, how it is created and how meditation and his relationship with Swaha has influenced him.

I had so many beautiful experiences with the piano as a child. It was wonderful that it was possible to create such beautiful music. So I wanted to learn myself. The piano has a large variety of sound and harmonies which awaken different emotions and sensations. The richness of the sound has an almost hypnotic effect, that draws you into the music. It can also be rhythmic and powerful. You can express many sides of yourself through the piano.

I don’t think about what I play. But I try to be in touch with what is there and wants to come. What comes out can be connected to my state in that moment, how I feel. It can be vulnerability, joy, wonder, or just silence. It can also change while playing, and flow in different directions.

Piano playing is a way to express different emotions which are held inside of me, and playing them is a way to let them go. Sometimes playing can put me in touch with feelings that were not so easy for me to connect with, some kind of underlying disquiet. Then the music can have a melancholic feeling, just as if the music makes me look and explore the vulnerability that is there, and feel that it is ok. But I seldom think about what I do and why, it is something intuitive, the music gives sound to what is there.

 “When I have a meditative approach , it is easier to let go
of ideas of what is right and wrong, beautiful or ugly.”

When I meditate, I come in touch with silence. When I sit down and play from this space of silence, it feels like the music is clearer and lighter. When I have a meditative approach and improvise, it is easier to let go of ideas of what is right and wrong, beautiful or ugly.

Swaha helps me to come back to myself, to find peace and quiet and to be more of an instrument for creativity. To be with him, cleansing myself, helps me to find more joy and harmony, which inspires me to be even more creative. Swaha helps me to see the beauty in life, and then I can express it though music. He also challenges me to come out more, and I need that. Music is such a great way to come out and share oneself.

MEET OJAS IN MUKTI: You can listen to Ojas playing during Mukti – Music & Mantra weekend at Dharma Mountain 13-15 January.

The forest paparazzi

Posted on: September 23rd, 2016 by leena

Dare to share: Lavanya 

Det skjer så plutselig. Jeg er ute i naturen og har kameraet med meg. Så legger jeg merke til noe. Noe som snakker til meg. Noe som vil vise meg noe. Så for et øyeblikk forsvinner alle tanker. Det oppleves som om tiden står stille. Motivene, vinklene, lyset tar over. Alt annet blir uvesentlig. Nye positurer. Nye detaljer. Nye øyeblikk. Øyeblikk hvor jeg kjenner gleden bre seg innover. Gleden over å se og kjenne på det vakre. Det sårbare. Det forgjengelige. Det mystiske. Alt som naturen speiler, i meg.

Først etter en stund med fotografering kan jeg merke at klærne er våte fra skogbunnen. I håret har det festet seg blåbærlyng. Magen min begynner å romle etter mat. Og alle tankene er tilbake. Tankene om mat, meninger og menn. Og først da innser jeg hvor vakkert øyeblikket har vært. Hvor mye fokus. Tilstedeværelse.

Tilfreds går jeg hjem. Og jeg kjenner meg rikere. Rikere på nærende opplevelser. Hvor det føles som jeg har blitt fylt av noe større. Noe mer evig. Og i det kjenner jeg meg veldig takknemlig. Takknemlig for livet. Livet som fyller meg. Når jeg er tilgjengelig.



IMG_6181 kopi-2





IMG_3100Lavanya lives in Hedalen, in a barn. She enjoys watching the view, making up her own songs, being in nature and dancing when she is home alone. 

I am

Posted on: August 14th, 2016 by leena

This poem came to me after a session in the Who Am I-process in the summer-retreat with Vasant Swaha. During this session I saw myself in front of a pond covered by leaves, and the leaves were answers to the question Who Am I.

I am

Standing in front of a pond
Surrounded by nature

The pond is covered by fallen leaves

One by one
The leaves are lifted
Only to join the wind

Looking in
Seeing my own reflection

I find it contains nothing but emptiness



Hamid-1Hamid lives in Tønsberg, and in Hedalen every now & then, both in Norway! He likes to arrange and make things happen around him. But sometimes, he enjoys doing absolutely nothing, while eating chocolate!

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