Author Archive

Berry Delight Cake

Posted on: July 1st, 2020 by rachana

We like to treat our guests to delicious desserts. These are of course also healthy and very tasty. What a delight! Find here the recipe of our Berry Delight Cake.

 

Ingredients (for 8 good size slices or 12 smaller ones)

 

Base:

-115 g almonds

-25 g sunflower seeds

-180 g fresh dates, pitted

-15 ml coconut oil

-pinch of salt

 

Filling:

-125 g cashew nuts, soaked for a couple of hours

-50 ml coconut oil

-75 g honey or maple syrup

-1/2 lemon, zest and juice

 

Topping:

-50 g frozen raspberries

-50 g frozen strawberries

-50 g frozen blueberries

 

Instructions

 

To make the base:

place almonds and sunflower seeds in a food processor and run it for 1 minute or 2. Add dates, coconut oil and salt and process until it all comes together.

Evenly spread the base over the bottom of a cake tin (the best is to use a non-stick tin with removable bottom. If you don’t have one, use any tin available and line it with baking paper; this will help removing the cake from it afterwards).

Keep base in the fridge while you make the filling.

 

To make the filling:

place coconut oil and honey or maple syrup in a small saucepan and warm over low heat until they become liquid; stir to combine.

Drain cashews and place in a food processor. Add lemon juice, zest and the oil and honey/maple syrup mixture. Run the processor for a few minutes, until you obtain a very smooth mixture without any bits of cashew (it should have a creamy texture).

Remove tin from the fridge. Pour filling over the base of the cake and make it even with a spatula. Freeze for 30 minutes or so (until the filling is set).

 

To make the topping:

take berries out of the freezer some time in advance so that they thaw a little (you can do this before you start making the cake).

Place all berries in a food processor or blender and run till you obtain a smooth puree. Bring cake out of the freezer and pour topping over it, spreading it evenly over the cake with a spatula.

Place cake in the freezer again until the topping is set.

 

Remove the cake from the freezer 20 minutes before serving. The cake should be cold and firm, but not very hard.

If you want to decorate it, you can sprinkle some lemon zest over it just before serving. You can also add some fresh berries.

 

Enjoy!

With love from Satori Kitchen

Skogsbad – la naturen komme inn

Posted on: April 10th, 2020 by rachana

 (for English version scroll down)

 

Det er ikke alltid enkelt å ta seg tid til å meditere inne, til å sette seg ned å bli stille, midt i alt som skal gjøres i hverdagen. Hva med å prøve å gå ut i stedet? Her er tre enkle steg du kan følge om du vil prøve et skogsbad. 

 

Jeg blir alltid slått av hvor lett det er, å bli tilstede, ute i naturen. Enten det er ved havet, i skogen eller på fjellet. Hvor mye forandring som kan skje på så kort tid. Selv om det kjennes som jeg sitter fast i uro eller tanker, så skal det så lite til i skogen før alt det er borte, og tankene forsvinner og roen sprer seg i kroppen.

 

Naturen hjelper meg, om jeg åpner meg for den og tar den inn. Da er ikke meditasjon noe spesielt eller avansert. Da er ikke meditasjon en kamp med meg selv. Hver gang jeg kjenner det, lukta av havet mot fjeset, lyden av fuglene i trærne, så blir jeg slått av hvor tilgjengelig det er, hvor kort vei inn det er.

 

Det er verdens enkleste meditasjon. For trærne, gresset, blomstene og fjellet er allerede stille, er allerede i meditasjon. De er fortsatt i kontakt med det, som samfunnet og menneskene ikke er. Det er ingen trær som skynder seg.

 

Bruk en time ute i skogen og se selv. Og om du ikke har en skog i nærheten, bruk en park eller ei strand eller ei eng. Finn den naturen som er tilgjengelig.

 

1. Ikke skynd deg.

Begynn med å saktne farten. Si til deg selv at dette ikke er en en skogstur for å trene, for å få opp pulsen eller komme til et sted – men tvert i mot en tur uten mål eller formål. Senk tempoet. Det tar litt øvelse. Men når du får dreisen på det, vil du kjenne at å saktne farten gjør noe med deg. At det er noe kroppen liker. Det er noe som helt naturlig for den.

Om du merker at tankene er et annet sted, la sansene hente deg tilbake.

 

2. Åpne sansene dine en for en

Kjenn underlaget mot fotsålene, hvordan vekta av kroppen kjennes når du går. Legg merke til hva du kjenner mot huden og kroppen – vinden mot kinnene, den kalde eller varme lufta som kommer inn nesen.

 

La synet komme inn i stedet for å se direkte eller aktivt på noe, la heller alt få komme til deg. Legg merke til farger, former, linjer, teksturer, kontraster og bevegelse, uten å sette navn på noe.

 

Lytt etter lydene langt borte, og lydene som er helt nære, uten å sette merkelapper på hva det er du hører. La lydene komme inn.

 

Lukt Er det vår, er det sommer, er det høstlukt? Lukter det fuktig, eller av blomster? Kanskje det er noen sterke lukter som river, og noen vare lukter som nesten ikke kjennes? La luktene komme inn uten å mene noe om dem.

 

3. Bad i det

Slipp fokuset på hver enkelt sanseopplevelse, og la alle komme sammen til én. Som om du åpner vinduene i alle etasjene og lar skogslufta komme inn i alle rom. Eller som om du tar et bad i skogen, og lar alt få regne over deg og trekke inn i alle porer. Det japanerne kaller Shinrin yoku – skogsbad.

 

Om du vil kan du se om det er et sted du vil sitte ned, og bli stående, sette deg eller legge deg ned. Ta deg tid til å stilne helt. Kanskje det er en lysning, eller et tre, eller en stein som du vil sette deg på. La føttene lede deg dit du vil. Ta på et tre. Kjenn på mosen. Lukk øynene. La naturen komme inn. Bli en del av den.

 

Finn et sted å stilne helt. La naturen komme inn.

 

~~~ English version ~~~

 

It is not always easy to find time to meditate inside, to find a silent space and sit in the middle of everyday life activity. What about going outside instead? Here are three easy steps you can follow if you want to try forest bathing for yourself.  

 

I am always struck by how easy it is to become present when I’m in nature. Whether it is by the sea, in the forest or in the mountains, so much change can happen in a short time. Even if it feels like I am stuck in my mind, in thoughts and worries, it just takes a little while before everything is gone, thoughts disappear and a relaxed feeling spreads in my body.

 

My experience is that nature helps me if I am open to receive it. Then meditation is not something special or advanced. It is not a fight with myself. Every time I feel the smell of the ocean, the sound of the birds in the trees, the wind in my face, I am surprised how available it is, what a short way it is to go inside.

 

For me it is the easiest meditation in the world. Because the trees, the flowers, the mountains are already silent, in meditation. They are still connected to what the society and human beings are not. There is no tree that hurries or worries.

 

Spend an hour in the forest and feel for yourself. If you don’t have a forest nearby, go to a park, a beach or a field. Find the nature that is available. And just let these three steps guide you:

 

1. Don’t hurry

Start by slowing down. Tell yourself that this is not an exercise, training, or a trip to reach somewhere. On the contrary, it is a walk without any goal or purpose. Walk slowly. Listen to your body. It takes some practise. But when you get the hang of it, you will feel that slowing down does something. That the body likes it.

 

When you notice your thoughts are taking you somewhere else, let the senses bring you back.

 

2. Open the senses

Feel the ground under your soles as you walk, and the weight of the body as pressure under the feet. Feel your breath as you walk. Be aware of all details. Notice what you sense on your skin, the wind on your cheek, the temperature of the air coming in through your nose.

 

Let the sights come in instead of looking directly or actively at something, let all the visual impressions come to you – receive them. Instead of interpreting what you see, just notice colours, forms, lines, textures, contrasts and movements.

 

Listen to the sounds far away, and the sounds nearby, without labelling what you hear. Just let the sounds come in.

 

Smells Is it a smell of spring, summer, autumn? Does it smell moist, dry or of flowers? Maybe there are strong smells, or very subtle scents. Let them be there, without liking or disliking. Find all the details.

 

3. Bathe in it

Let go of focusing on each sensing experience,  and let them all come together in one.  It is like you are opening all the windows of your house, to let the air come in everywhere. Or, like you are taking a bath, and just sinking into it. What the japanes call Shinrin yoku – forest bathing. Yoku means shower, and shinrin means forest. A forest shower.

If you want, you can find a place to sit, or lay down, or stand. Take time to let evertyhing become still, peaceful. Maybe there is a small grass field, or a tree you want to lean against, or a big rock to sit on. Let you feet lead you. Touch a tree, feel the moss. Close your eyes. Let nature in. Become part of it.

 

Text by Leena (Line) Nyborg

Photos by Lavanya Oda Eikås

 

 


LeenaNyborg Leena arbeider til daglig på Dharma Mountain, og er en av fasilitatorene på “Tilstede”, en helge-gruppe med innføring i meditasjon og skogsbad som blir holdt to ganger i året. Leena er også forfatter.

 

 

 

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What do you devote your life to?

Posted on: March 6th, 2020 by rachana

In the world we live, money – and everything it represents – is the greatest value. Isn’t it interesting that the dollar bill shows the saying “In God we trust“? Nobody asks people why they spend all their life energy on image and work, even “giving their souls” to serve the interests of a company. Our value is defined by what we do and how successful we are in our achievements. Most human beings devote their lives to the values defined by the mainstream, without questioning or reflecting on the harmful consequences for their own lives and their surroundings.

 

The word devotion is not frequently used in the western world, and it is very poorly understood. In my experience, being a devotee means putting your love, your life energy, at the service of something. One day my mother told me that she found it strange that I devote my life to my Master and always prioritize being in retreats with him; she thought it was too much. Without reacting, I managed to stop and think before answering: “yes mother, it is true that I devote my life to this, but if you think about it, everyone devotes their lives to something; to work, to a company, to a career, to family, to success, to money. I devote my life to find out who I am in the essence, to discover love, to live in awareness, in peace, and that is what my master represents to me; he teaches me how to live what I seek the most, that’s why I made this choice to devote my life to this path ”.

 

In 2018, I spent two months in Ladakh, northern India, and I had numerous opportunities to observe devotion as an intrinsic part of the culture and the way people from that area live. They are simple and extremely intelligent, fully connected with nature and its religious principles. I had an incredible chance to go to a meeting with the Dalai Lama and his 40,000 devotees. Entire families, from grandparents to babies, monks from different schools, and people who fled Tibet to be able to be there, in their master’s enlightened presence. It was impressive to feel the silence and harmony present in that intense atmosphere of love and devotion.

 

Throughout history, there have always been people who “chose” to follow their own path, devoting their lives to something untouchable, but very real – the most genuine longing of their hearts. In the east, these drop outs, in the sense of living “outside” of the values of the society, are known as sannyasins, or simply disciples, those who want to learn. They are highly respected in the society, as they leave the worldly values to devote themselves to the path of spiritual awakening. Contrarily to what many people think, this choice to follow the path of awakening is extremely challenging, since it is a narrow and often obscure journey. That’s why the master is necessary; he is like a lighthouse in the dark night. He points the way, the direction, and more than that, he is the real proof that this human existence is a gift and that it is possible to live as an “awakened being”. For me, devoting my life to this realization is in itself a grace.

 

And you, what do you devote your existence to?

 

 


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.

 

 

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Red Lentils Dhal

Posted on: January 17th, 2020 by rachana

Dhal (or Dal) is a tasty Indian stew made from lentils. We love to use red lentils as they are an excellent and healthy source of protein. So cozy to warm up from the inside with a bowl of our Red Lentils Dhal during a cold Norwegian winter.

Ingredients (serves 4):

320 gr red lentils

1 red onion

10 g fresh ginger (about 2 cm piece)

fresh coriander

110 gr canned tomatoes

2 bay leaves

1 tsp mustard seeds

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp coriander seeds grounded

14 ml olive oil

 

Instructions:

Cook the lentils.

Splatter the mustard seeds in oil.

Add bay leaves and cumin seeds until they smell good.

Add onion and saute until soft and glazed.

Add ginger and ground coriander.

Then add the tomatoes and cook until the oil comes up.

Add the cooked red* lentils and taste with chili powder and salt.

Serve with fresh coriander.

 

Enjoy & stay warm!

 


*red lentils are more orange in colour and when cooked almost yellow.

In The Fairyland Forest

Posted on: November 8th, 2019 by rachana

In the fairyland forest
I find my joy, my inner child.
I can’t stop smiling.

Such abundant beauty in all I see
With eyes of innocence.

With Ella puppy’s guidance we
find a comfortable home,
A place to rest and share.

The ground is soft and fragrant of the forest.
I find the most delightful piece of fungus, like seaweed,
such a beautiful specimen.

The wind waves in the trees and I am alerted to it through the sound.
We rest now acknowledging it and giving our thanks and love back
to this magical space.

 

Wind waves in the magical forest

 

Text by Jo Nandana Jones, written during a guided forest therapy walk at Dharma Mountain.

Photos and Video by Rachana Brand and Jo Nandana Jones.

 


Nandana loves being in the beautiful silent forests. They are her playground for all the senses, and only thinking about it makes her smile.

 

 

 

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Dancing Poetry

Posted on: October 11th, 2019 by rachana

Aishani shares that after the summer retreat this year, she felt something changed. More focus inward and a feeling that the heart will have more space. So she dares to express herself from the heart and has a longing to be more alive. In the last weeks three beautiful poems came:

 

Want to dance

Joy fills up the body

My feet are being dragged onto the dance floor

Want to dance

Wild and playful

 

Volume on full blast

Hands in the air

Bon Jovi is coming to help

Miracle

 

Where does the energy come from

From the wind outside

Maybe it is always there

Mystery of life

 

A new moment arrives

The body wants to rest

Awareness goes inside

Silence

 

 

Touched

I can have fun

Dance

Buy new clothes

Have desires

Satisfy the senses

But

Nothing

Nothing

Gives more

Satisfying

Than

Being deeply touched

In the heart

By Love

 

 

Dissatisfaction in the body

Dissatisfaction in the body

reflects

Go for a walk

Dance

Watch TV

There is something deeper

Tears are pressing

What’s missing

Heart contact

Love

Who I really am.

 

A yearning

I’m listening

Inwards

Come come

I hear

More tears

Feeling the chair

Supporting my back

Everything is perfectly okay

Embraced by Silence.

 

 

 

Poems by Aishani Nyheim.

Photo by Lavanya Oda Eikås.

 

 


Aishani is a lover of dance and playfulness. In that, she finds so much joy and happiness.

 

 

 

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What a Wonderful World

Posted on: August 23rd, 2019 by rachana

Mikael’s letter to the mystic Vasant Swaha (summer retreat 2019)

Beloved Swaha, I’ve never been much of a writer, but at Dharma Mountain I suddenly was writing every day. There is especially one story, about my grandfather, that I would like to share.

In his younger days he was highly respected and wise, with a good job in the construction industry, a loving wife, 3 sons, 7 grandchildren, a house and 2 cabins. He had made it, now it was time to relax and enjoy.

But as time went on he got sick and tired of life. He had no longer a purpose. He would just sit in front of the TV and wait to get served food by my grandmother. He got grumpy, rude, angry, stubborn and careless.

One day at the age of 87 he got sent to the hospital, the doctors said he would not survive the night. So we went to say goodbye. As he was squeezing my hand, I could sense he didn’t want to let go.

He survived that night and from the next day, it was like someone else had entered his body. He became happy, sensitive, funny and childish.

For the next five years the only things that mattered for him were ice cream, spending time with his grandchildren, breathing fresh air and listening to his favourite song, “What a Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong.

Eigil Hope (1926-2018)

Last year he passed away, sitting shoulder-to-shoulder with his wife, my grandmother, on a bus trip to celebrate their 60th year of marriage. And his last words were: “Der er det jeg som bestemmer!” – “That is my decision; that’s me who is in control.” Oddly enough, the church had finally given their approval of playing my grandfather’s favourite song in church, scheduled for the day after. And so they did.

 

Thank you, Swaha, for creating this amazing place and atmosphere at Dharma Mountain, I feel so at home.

Mikael

 

 

 

~~~~~

What a wonderful world, what a precious life, indeed.

Don’t waste the time that you have on this planet. Don’t wait until you are old or sick, start being grateful and playful now, today.

That is what is happening in Dharma Mountain, we celebrate the beauty of life, here and now … just by meditation, dance, creativity, nature and many more things.

When will you enjoy your next ice cream and some good music?

 

 

 

 


 

Photo credit:  Photos in video by Lavanya Oda Eikås; Ice cream by Valeria Boltneva (Pexels); Louis Armstrong by Herbert Behres/NationalArchive.
Video credit: Video making by Veena Sandring, Song “What a Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong, Album “I love Mom”, Songwriter Bob Thiele & Georg D. Weiss, Link to Original Song

Flowers of Gratitude, Freedom and Joy

Posted on: July 12th, 2019 by rachana

The first “Inn i naturen/ Into nature” weekend happened at Dharma Mountain end of June. It was an amazingly beautiful caleidoscope of different aspects of nature including wild plants, ecology, permaculture, meditation, creativity.

Rita Amundsen was among the workshop leaders – and her loving way to talk about the wild and eatable plants was fascinating to witness. Sitting around her in the high grass and listening to her stories was delightful. To taste all the different flowers and plants we felt nourished in body and soul.

Originally from Finland, Rita resides now in Norway. She started to use just a couple of wild plants in her food at the beginning, and over the years she added more and more plants. In 2016 she started “one wild year”: 365 days with wild plants in her meals, documented daily on her instagramm account.

That is also her main advice for us to start with just a few plants that we know and feel safe with, and then use them and use them and use them, and learn through it, follow the plant throughout the year and through different seasons. Become friends with them. When you feel ready then add some new ones to your menu.

 

Pickled dandelion buds

 

Asked about how she experienced the weekend in Dharma Mountain, she summed it up in three words: Gratitude, Freedom, Joy.

 

Gratitude

 I am very grateful to have been invited to come to Dharma Mountain. It was my first time here, I had heard about it before, I have passed by and know some people connected to it. So finally I could come and enjoy this beautiful place.

The whole weekend was so dedicated to nature, and the whole package of all the people, all the workshops and the area and atmosphere here, it was just one big highlight to be here. Everything was so inspiring. I definitely would like to come back!

Nettle pesto with red clover

 

Freedom

The feeling of freedom was very strong. The whole weekend I walked barefoot, and I slept in my hammock here in this sweet little forest. I do not need so many things to be happy. I even forgot my suitcase at home and realized it was good to be free of so many things.

 Walking through the forest early this morning I placed my hand on my heart and the first feeling that came to me was that of freedom. This is truly a place here where you are free to be yourself. I hope this weekend has inspired many to be more free or more themselves.

Wild garlic aioli with spruce tips

 

Joy                                       

And of course joy, that just comes naturally when you feel grateful and free.

There are many things in life that bring me joy.

One moment during this weekend was at the end of my wild plants presentation. I can sense a change in energy when I go through nature. With wood sorrel the energy is always very light and fairylike. After my presentation we spontaneously visited a batch of wood sorrel nearby, and everyone in the group could feel some nice energy. That was a special moment of joy for me.

Another thing I always love is to decorate food, to make it look nice and beautiful, to create meals like mandalas, that is my meditation. It gives me a lot of joy, and also to see the smiles and happy faces of the participants at Saturday’s dinner. We had a wonderful time. Thank you very much. Also thank you to the people who helped forage and prepare some of the food in advance.

Pesto from Lady’s mantle, spruce tips and ground elder

 

Thank you Rita, and everyone who came! Welcome back into the nature!

 

Find some more impressions about the weekend “Inn i naturen” on our Facebook page.

 

 


 

More about Rita Amundsen: Rita lives in Bærum, Norway, and holds courses about wild eatable plants and fermentation. www.solskinnet.no

 

 

 

 

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Come closer

Posted on: May 31st, 2019 by rachana

Come. Come closer. Come closer to nature – that is what is happening in Dharma Mountain. The forest begins right at our front door and invites you immediately to unwind. During groups, workshops or retreats our guests love to stroll around in the breaks and explore the many places to relax, to meditate and take in all the beautiful nature around.

In this blog post we take you on a little photo safari and show you some of our favourite spots. Up close!

See if you can guess at which places (see map) the pictures were taken!

Write your answers here in the comments, or in our comments section on facebook or instagram. On June 28, 2019 we will randomly draw the winner from among all correct entries.

As the lucky winner you will receive a surprise package, made by Love & Nature, sent to you directly from Dharma Mountain. What we can unveil so far, is that it will contain a gift coupon for you!

On June 30, 2019 we have announced the lucky winner!

For all other ones, thank you for joining the challenge! We are happy to see you again! Come closer to nature – come and visit us!

 

Spot 1.

Dancing high

 

Spot 2.

Climbing up

 

Spot 3.

Wood vs. wood

 

Spot 4.

Stand by me

 

Spot 5.

Eternal spiral

 

Here is the correct solution:

1 = D
2 = A
3 = C
4 = E
5 = B

Good luck – the winner was drawn June 30, 2019. 🙂 It is Surati! Congratulations!

 

 

More nature-related events happening soon at Dharma Mountain:

Tilstede – Helg med skogsbad og meditasjon

 


Illustration by Deva Dasi / Photos by Rachana

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Khao Soi Soup

Posted on: May 17th, 2019 by rachana

This soup is from the Chiang Mai area, north in Thailand. It is so delicious that it quickly became a favorite of mine when I visited Chiang Mai.


We prefer, however, to serve the soup with rice noodles instead of deepfried ones. Many friends and guests in our retreats and groups now really love this taste of Thailand.

 

 

 

Ingredients (serves 4):

1-2 tbsp roasted sesame oil

2-3 tbsp Red Curry paste

150 g cashew nuts

400 g green squash

170 g carrots

400 g champignons

1 tbsp tomato puree

400 ml coconut milk

1 tsp curry powder

2-3 tbsp tamari or soya sauce

2 tsp brown sugar

160 g rice noodles

50 g bean sprouts

a handful fresh coriander

4 stems spring onion

2 limes

 

Instructions:

Heat up the sesame oil in a pan and add the red curry paste. Stir for a minute or two until the fragrance from the curry paste comes out. Add then tomatopuree and stir again to mix it together. Add curry powder, brown sugar and coconut milk. Mix it all together and let it come to a boil, then let it simmer on low heat for 20 minutes.

Cook the rice noodles according to the instructions on the package.

Cut squash in half-moon pieces, a little on the thick side. Carrots you can cut the same way or in sticks. Mushrooms you can divide in 4. For the easy version you can simply add the vegetables straight to the soup and cook them there. Or you can steam the carrots separately – fry the mushrooms with some salt and pepper – and then add these vegetables 5 minutes before serving – just so they get heated through again.
The squash you add straight in the soup.
Chop fine the spring onions and the coriander – keep them ready for serving.

Add tamari/soya sauce and taste. Adjust with salt/sour/sweet to your liking. Then you add the bean sprouts.

Find a nice, big bowl – add a handful of rice noodles and ladle the soup on top. Sprinkle with spring onion and fresh coriander, and a piece of lime. Bon Appétit!

    With love from Satori kitchen!

 

 

Recipe by Modini

 

 

 

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In The Moment

Posted on: April 19th, 2019 by rachana

Meditation is at the heart of Dharma Mountain. Meditation is widely acknowledged as being a helpful tool for stress-relieving and body-mind balance in general. You can find different courses for all kinds of meditation techniques. Yet meditation is much more than just sitting with closed eyes in Lotus position and doing nothing.  So we have asked some of our friends at Dharma Mountain how they meditate and what their favourite technique is. Here we share a few answers to inspire and broaden your notion of meditation.

 

Dancing

Dancing is my favourite meditation. Because it is for me all about just following myself, my own body, it is not about a technique or about ending up somewhere. It is just following what happens in that moment. It has no rules, and I love to do things that have no rules.

The effect of dancing is always different, sometimes it can calm my mind and my body, giving me peace and stillness. Or it is very playful and gives me energy.

It can make me feel full or empty. Sometimes it is everything in the same dance.

How I do it?

Just dance, move my body as it wants. With or without music, at home, in a group, outside, in the car, in the toilet on the plane or at the airport. It can be everywhere and it can last 1 minute or many hours. It has no rules.

-Pracheeta

 

Breathing

I love breathing meditation. It is the most simple technique: increase the intensity of the breath, i.e. to take longer, deeper breaths – or just witness your breathing as it is.

To witness it, is not as easy as it sounds. The thoughts will try to distract you, so the practice is to  again and again come back to watching the breath. The breath is in the moment, the thoughts are past or future. Meditation is to be present in the moment and the breath is always happening only in the moment. So simple, so beautiful. You can do it everywhere.

Conscious breathing can open new doors inside you, or help deep relaxation to happen.

And as long as I have this body, the breath is with me. It is like a precious gift!

-Anurati

 

Crochet & Knitting

My favourite meditation technique is crochet and knitting, because it is like a sitting in meditation.

I just close my eyes and relax,

and then there is a crack:

Breathing is like a needle,

It connects and repairs

And suddenly, I am just here.

-Svamini

 

No technique

I stopped with doing any method or technique for meditation. And then I was totally amazed that it happened so often: every action that is carried out by awareness  I experience as meditation.

I didn’t do anything about it, and still it happens to me. Often I cry or laugh as a result of it. It is such a gift.

The only “technique” that may help prepare me, is setting an intention and focusing on the breath as it goes in and out.

-Prem Madhu

 

Life

Meditation for me is in everything: Laughing, working, being physical, dancing, of course, relaxing in bed. Stopping the time. Digesting the silence all around, cooking some food.

Eating alone or together. Sitting still at a cafe.

Citylife passing by on the surface.

When all this flows naturally, life itself is bliss. Or better said: Bliss is, and life itself is the best meditation.

-Asmani

 

 

If you would like to get started with meditation or deepen your meditation practice, check out the groups happening at Dharma Mountain.  We also share once in a while a Live Vipassana Meditation on facebook with you. Welcome!

 


Title photo: private

Photos from Unsplash: dancing girl by Laura Fuhrman; knitting woman by fancycrave; man in cafe by Simon Sun

 

 

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Singing to the Goddesses

Posted on: March 8th, 2019 by rachana

It is women’s day. At Dharma Mountain we would like to celebrate the feminine qualities today by sharing a rare glimpse into one of our “Singing from the Heart” sessions with you!

Experience the beautiful and joyful energy. Singing from the heart is not about hitting the right tunes, it is about opening your heart and let the happiness flow through your whole body. It is like a meditation. Let the vibrations of the ancient mantras do the healing while you just sit back, relax and sing along!

 

In the first mantra we will be singing “Jay Durga, Jay Kali”. Jay means victory. So we will be singing “Victory to Durga, victory to Kali.” In Hindu mythology, both Durga and Kali are representations of the same feminine power called ‘Shakti’.

Although they represent different aspects, both Durga and Kali are symbolizing that the good defeats the evil. Or put differently: that the consciousness wins over the unconsciousness.

Durga is the aspect of giving birth and feeding. She is like a mother, very protective, willing to fight against anything wrong. Kali does not look like the beautiful feminine woman, with a necklace of chopped heads around her neck. She is, though, the destroyer of negativity, of the mind, destroyer of any illusion. So both have a lot of strength.

 

When we sing this mantra it is giving support to our own inner strength. Meaning the strength to defeat the unconsciousness, the strength to trust our heart, to not go with our mind.

 

In the second mantra we will sing to the Ancient Mother. We will be honouring her different female expressions throughout time and across many cultures and religions. It is also an opportunity to connect to the calling of your own heart. Because your own heart is the Ancient Mother. Because your own heart belongs to the eternal. Where everything came from and where everything will return to. And that is the Ancient Mother.

Happy Women’s Day! 🙂

 

Lyrics „Jay Durga, Jay Kali“

Durge Durge Durge jay jay ma,

Maaaaaaa Jagadambe,

Hey ma Kali ma, Hey ma Kali ma,

Durga Durga Jay Jay Jay

Kali Kali Jay Jay Jay

Durga Durga Jay Jay Jay

Ma Ma Ma Ma.

 

Lyrics „Ancient Mother“:

Ancient mother I hear you calling,

Ancient mother I hear your song,

Ishtar, Ceredwin, Hecate, Inanna, Isis, Artemis, Sjophia, Athena, Coatilicue, Aphrodithe, Mielikki, Astarte, Gaia, Saraswati, Kali

Pele, Paso Wee, Demeter, Parvati, Hera, Akewa, Diana, Nidaba, Chicomecoatl, Lilith, Shkina, Morgana, Maya, Izanami, Shakti

 


Dakini Dakini is a lover of flowers and music. With her voice she has a gift to express pure softness and touch the hearts of everyone around her. Dakini holds concerts and workshops in different places in Norway.  More info: Dakini-Retreats, Workshops, Mantra Singing.

Read a previous interview with Dakini.

 

 

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Now or Never – Biodanza New Year 2019

Posted on: January 18th, 2019 by rachana

Seeing my old friends gave me a high
With the new ones, I’ve been a bit shy

With “Tunnel of Love” I felt a shift
In the evening, I received a gift

I broke down, so my room mates held me
They are the sweetest souls that can be

In the first days, I had so much pain
But then I chose to not use my cane

I just knew, I had to go “all in”
Leave the pain, and feel what was within

I have some stuff I have to let go
“It’s Now or Never” to let things flow

The teachers encouraged me to strive
With dances that made me feel alive

My shaking started and set me free
Freeleasing some of that energy

Energy of what I mostly fear
It fades away when I have you near

Seeing kindness in all your faces
I thank you for all your embraces

With seeing Orion up above
I got the vision to “rise in love”

And on my journey in the new year
The memories from this, I’ll keep dear

 

Poem by Kikki Sommerfelt

Photo: Biodanza with Unni Heim, Mukti Gathering 2014

 

In Dharma Mountain we started the New Year 2019 with our traditional Biodanza New Years Retreat that Unni Heim facilitated for the 8th time! The dancing and the rituals created a loving atmosphere and a great frame to let go, to heal and to start afresh into the New. Like the journey of these things began for our participant Kikki who wrote this beautiful poem on New Year’s Eve, and shared it with us on the last morning of the retreat.

 

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River Symphony No. 4

Posted on: November 9th, 2018 by rachana

Line (Leena) Nyborg held her 8th writing course “Skriv nå” in Dharma Mountain last month. Once again it was a popular event for creative souls to gather and dive into the realm of words and language.

Under Leenas guidance and with the help of nature many beautiful and inspiring texts and anecdotes were born into existence and shared among the participants. We would like to present one example here on our blog.

 

River Symphony No. 4

Text and Photo by Rachana

The river’s melody ties a warm ribbon round my waist. Made of dark fur, a soft and steady presence. Almost unnoticable, yet it is there all the time like the cozy sofa in the living room. A sofa that is standing there, innocent and hospitable, and that is just waiting for you to sit down and relax. My feet are being pulled towards it like a magnet and my body finally can sink down into the fluffy cushions of moss. That way I settle back into the river’s song and start to unwind. I am enjoying the concert that the wind presents today. Is this Mozart or Bach? A few boisterous sounds from the thick maple branches remind me of contrabasses. The choir of tall and slim poplar trees tells a story about the dark and sad times in life. Rustlings and swishings of all the little leaves are tickling in my ears: fortissimo, the violins are skipping away with the melody… the tension in the air rises. My heart is beating faster. Which instrument is next? – I get up from the sofa. I remember why I never really liked classical music.

 

 

Would you like to get started with writing, too?

Follow Leena’s instructions for an outdoor writing exercise that prepared the ground for Rachanas River Symphony No. 4.

Go out in nature and connect with all senses. Instead of going somewhere, doing something, see if you can receive and take in whatever is there.

Instead of looking out, don’t focus on anything in particular, but let the view come into your eyes.

Feel your feet when you walk, the air against your chin. Sounds, close and far away. Smells.

Find a place to sit down. Write down with as many details as possible:

  1. Smell
  2. Sound
  3. Feeling in your body
  4. Sight
  5. Add a thought, a feeling, something impossible or absurd, a crazy idea. Whatever comes without censorship.
  6. Give the text a title.

 

Would you like to go deeper through writing?

Come and join Leena’s and Savini’s next course from 4 – 7 april 2019: “Self-discovery through writing”

 


LeenaNyborg Leena is a writer. She also works in the kitchen in Dharma Mountain. More about Line (Leena) Nyborg: www.linenyborg.no  

 

 

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The smile of a dragonfly

Posted on: October 26th, 2018 by rachana

The trees were naked. The sky a soft, woolen blanket grey and lazy over the mountain tops. I was walking on the gravel road down to the river. 

Yesterday afternoon it had been raining heavily. In the night there was frost. Now the forest floor was full of frozen water droplets, like jewels of diamonds and pearls.

light

The cold, crispy air on my face. The sound of my shoes on the gravel. The silence, that expands when I listen to it. I love this time of year.

I almost stepped on him. He was laying there, in the middle of the road, with his wings dressed in shining diamonds. Frozen. Dead, I assumed.

I stopped by his beauty. Kneeled down to see him close. To study the drawings of his wings, the color of his body.

Carefully I put my fingers underneath him, to lift him up. His feet grabbed my finger. I saw them, they were designed almost like these axes climbers are using, when they climb ice or mountains. I didn´t know if it was a sign of life, or if it was just the form of his feet that gave the impression that he grabbed my finger.

I carried him home, to study his beauty with my camera. I brought a rock from the forest, and placed him on the rock on the table in my room.

For hours I immersed myself in photographing him his delicate wings, the intense blue color while his frozen jewels slowly melted into water.

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Outside the window, just above the Ganesha mountain top a crack appeared in the grey. A ray of shining. Suddenly he moved, he stretched his front legs, lifted his upper body.

I stopped. Saw him as a being. Sat down, and looked into his face.

I have always been fascinated by the beauty of dragonflies, their fine wings and strong colors. But never before have I looked into the face of one, and never would I have thought I would see what I saw; the smile of a dragonfly.

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He placed one foot in front of the other, lifted first his upper body. Then the back part, like he was stretching and bowing down.

I asked google, if dragonflies are dying or hibernating when the autumn comes. I didn´t find a clear answer. There are many types of dragonflies.

But carefully I carried my new friend outside, found a safe place for him, where no cats or cars would come. I laid a hand on my heart, touched by the mystery of an autumn morning with nature stripped naked, dressed only in jewels of diamonds and pearls and the smile of a dragonfly.

 

Text & Photos by Savini Aspholt

 

 


 

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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. More about Savini: www.aspholt.no

 

 

 

 

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Did I tell you? – I love Kimchi!

Posted on: October 5th, 2018 by rachana

Our cook Chanda reminded us constantly during the last weeks about her passion for this fermented food Kimchi, originally from Korea.

And we all just fell in love with it, too, including our guests in the group that was held at Dharma Mountain in September. They asked for Kimchi even when it was not part of the day’s menu.

It is easy to make your own Kimchi. What most people don’t know however, is that during the fermentation process it is rather smelly! So best you find a separate fridge or storeroom, otherwise you will lose your friends.

But in the end you will be rewarded with a very tasty Kimchi that you – and your friends – will LOVE.

 

Ingredients (make for 1 quart):

1 medium head (2 pounds) napa china-cabbage

1/4 cup sea salt or kosher salt – Note: Use salt that is free of iodine and anti-caking agents, which can inhibit fermentation.

Water – Note: Chlorinated water can inhibit fermentation, so use spring, distilled, or filtered water if you can.

1 tablespoon grated garlic – corresponding 5 to 6 cloves

1 teaspoon grated ginger

1 teaspoon sugar

1 to 5 tablespoons Korean red pepper flakes “gochugaru”

8 ounces Korean radish or daikon – peeled and cut into matchsticks

4 scallions – trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces

Optional: 2 to 3 tablespoons seafood flavor. Seafood gives kimchi an umami flavor. Different regions and families may use fish sauce, salted shrimp paste, oysters, and other seafood. Use about 2 tablespoons of fish sauce, salted shrimp paste, or a combination of the two. For vegetarian kimchi, I like using 3/4 teaspoon kelp powder mixed with 3 tablespoons water, or simply 3 tablespoons of water.

 

Equipment:

Cutting board and knife

Large bowl

Gloves (optional but highly recommended)

Plate and something to weigh the kimchi down, like a jar or can of beans

Colander

Small bowl

Clean 1-quart jar with canning lid or plastic lid

Bowl or plate to place under jar during fermentation

 

Instructions:

Slice the cabbage: Cut the cabbage lengthwise into quarters and remove the cores. Cut each quarter crosswise into 2-inch-wide strips.

Salt the cabbage: Place the cabbage and salt in a large bowl. Using your hands (gloves optional), massage the salt into the cabbage until it starts to soften a bit, then add water to cover the cabbage. Put a plate on top and weigh it down with something heavy, like a jar or can of beans. Let stand for 1 to 2 hours.

Rinse and drain the cabbage: Rinse the cabbage under cold water 3 times and drain in a colander for 15 to 20 minutes. Rinse and dry the bowl you used for salting, and set it aside to use in step 5.

Make the paste: Meanwhile, combine the garlic, ginger, sugar, and seafood flavor (or 3 tablespoons water) in a small bowl and mix to form a smooth paste. Mix in the gochugaru, using 1 tablespoon for mild and up to 5 tablespoons for spicy (I like about 3 1/2 tablespoons).

Combine the vegetables and paste: Gently squeeze any remaining water from the cabbage and return it to the bowl along with the radish, scallions, and seasoning paste.

Mix thoroughly: Using your hands, gently work the paste into the vegetables until they are thoroughly coated. The gloves are optional here but highly recommended to protect your hands from stings, stains, and smells!

Pack the kimchi into the jar: Pack the kimchi into the jar, pressing down on it until the brine rises to cover the vegetables. Leave at least 1 inch of headspace. Seal the jar with the lid.

Let it ferment: Let the jar stand at room temperature for 1 to 5 days. You may see bubbles inside the jar and brine may seep out of the lid; place a bowl or plate under the jar to help catch any overflow.

Check it daily and refrigerate when ready: Check the kimchi once a day, pressing down on the vegetables with a clean finger or spoon to keep them submerged under the brine. (This also releases gases produced during fermentation.) Taste a little at this point, too! When the kimchi tastes ripe enough for your liking, transfer the jar to the refrigerator.

Eating the kimchi: You may eat it right away, before putting it into the refrigerator, but it’s best after another week or two. Dedicated kimchi lovers like our cook Chanda eat it at all times of the day, at all occasions and share it with their friends!

With love from Satori Kitchen.

Picture by Leena

India calling

Posted on: August 31st, 2018 by rachana

Who has not dreamed of going to India and experience the country of colours, spices, crazy driving and a thousand different Gods? As soon as you start following the path of meditation, India will pop up in one way or the other.

India is a fascination in itself. It is life in its totality, combining all the contrasts from breath-taking beauty to shocking poverty and crime. This is perhaps the very reason why it is the land of meditation. There have been so many enlightened beings in India, it is said that in some places the air is dense with energy, almost thick like honey.

Through the presence of Vasant Swaha in Dharma Mountain we already got a taste of these vibes and perceive the breeze of silence and celebration. And we learn that dreams can come true. Many of us are at the moment travelling to India to dive deeper into meditation. An adventure on many levels no one will ever forget.

Our friend Puja who has already spent a lot of time in India was helping some of us in planning the practical side of travelling to India for the first time. We captured a few travel tips to share with our readers.

 

The body is the temple – What to wear

 

Women  Cover your knees, preferably all the way down to your ankles. Wear loose-fitting clothing, if you’re wearing tights, you need to wear a long shirt that covers your butt. Don’t show any cleavage, nothing too tight, definitely wear a bra. No spaghetti straps – you need to cover the tops of your shoulders.
Men  Cover your knees and shoulders. Collared shirts are a good way to go.

 

General Appearance You should comb your hair. As a woman you might tie it up, although modern Indian women have it loose. Be clean in appearance.

Of course you can wear whatever you want, but people will stare, they won’t respect you, and they might treat you accordingly. There are a lot of hippies going there so they’re used to it, but they find it weird if you come to a country and dress like a bum, because they take a lot of pride in cleaning their temple – their body is their temple as well.

 

Hands, Feet and Mouth – Some words about Hygiene

 

Street food is the best  You can see them making it, it is very transparent, and  how many people are waiting in line outside. If you go to a restaurant it’s actually more dirty because it’s a closed area, nobody sees it and god knows what happens exactly.

 

The left hand is only for the backside business  Don’t pay with your left hand, don’t touch people with your left hand – it’s dirty. At meals, you can hold the plate and serve with the left hand with the spoon, but you never put that left hand onto food or against your hand. Be also aware not to touch your face or bite your nails especially with your left hand.

 

Eating with your hands  When you eat, always break off a piece using only your right hand, and then you use that morsel to mop up the curries. You don’t need a spoon to eat the food, you use the bread or rice.

 

Your feet are ‘dirty’ Don’t point the soles of your foot to anyone. If you accidentally touch somebody’s body with your foot, they will turn around and you have to apologize properly. Apologizing the Indian way is that they touch their hand to the same place where their foot just touched, and then they touch their hand to their heart, and that is like  “I’m sorry.”

 

Drinking Water  They have a very nice culture around water, where they’ll drink it from this huge jug. They don’t drink from glasses. It’s actually rude if you’re drinking from a water bottle, to touch your lips on the bottle, because then it means that you cannot share it with other people. So the way they drink it is they hold it up over their head, and let the water flow straight down into their mouth. So a water bottle is considered communal. A stranger might ask you, “Do you have some water?” and then you can give them the water because they’re not gonna touch it, and they assume that you’re not touching it with your lips either.

 

Face to Face – Interacting with people

 

Men & Women  Physical contact is private business. If you’re two different sexes and you start touching each other, everyone is going to start staring at you. If you’re the same sex no problem, touch as much as you want.

 

Beggars  If you want to give money, 10 rupees is a good amount. If you want to give coins to beggars it’s okay, but don’t feel like you have to.

You could also give them food, for kids especially it’s better to give food, because a lot of the kids are “hired,” or they give their money to some adult at the end. If you give food they might just eat it. There’s a business where they injure street children on purpose so that people feel sorry for them and give them more money.

 

Salesmen  It’s normal in the culture to barter, so if they ask for 500 rupees for a shirt and you say “okay,” they’re going to be disappointed! They want you to haggle with them. It’s part of the communication, it’s fun. So if they say 500 then you say 150, and they might laugh at you but it’s part of the game. Always go super low first – depending what you’re buying, if it’s diamonds you don’t go that low. They might have signs saying, “no bartering.” Ignore those.

 

Taxi Drivers What might happen a lot in cities if you take a tukk-tukk is they can straight up lie to you to take you to a friend’s place and get a commission. Be aware that there also exist fake pre-paid taxis and fake tourist office! However, some of the nicest people I find are the poor people doing the bicycle rickshaws, they have almost no money at all, but if you’re going short-distance you can support them instead. You don’t need to give hundreds of rupees, but have some small money at hand because they might claim they don’t have any change. Ten-rupee notes are always good to save.

Uber works very well, and they also have Pick-me and some other apps for rickshaws. For that you need to have an Indian SIM, a wifi spot or some kind of roaming. Or just ask a person there to share their wifi with you. People are really nice, they treat foreigners really well, foreigners are guests, so they’re equal to god in their eyes culturally. They go out of their way to help you if you’re foreign.

 

Happy ending – The burning ghats

 

When someone dies, they celebrate a ritual called “Stairway to Heaven.” They are cremating the body publicly. You can go there and stand around just like the Indians do, they drink tea and talk, it’s not like a funeral, there’s nothing sad about it, it’s like a celebration actually. You see lots of burning bodies in India, it’s no problem. And if you see a body floating down the river Ghangha, it’s a holy body. But: Don’t drink the water of the river Ghangha!:)

 

Have a safe journey to the homeland of Meditation: Namaste!

 

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Dynamic saves my life.

Posted on: August 8th, 2018 by rachana

A glimpse into the Summer Retreat 2018

 

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“When I first came to the retreats with Swaha, I hated Dynamic Meditation. Swaha asked me if I was doing Dynamic Meditation and I said no! Because – what the f** are we doing here? All the jumping was so much effort. So it was a struggle to attend. But then I found out and experienced myself the difference that Dynamic makes in my life and I totally learned to like it.”

 

 

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“After 10 or 11 days of doing Dynamic in the retreat, something crazy happened. I was going into my childhood and a strong and painful feeling of missing the love and affection from my mother came up. After the Dynamic had finished that morning, maybe 5 minutes later, the ice broke inside me. I questioned myself: what is this past experience? And I understood: That past is not here. It is only in my imagination. I can let go off it. Then, after 21 days of Dynamic, there was really nothing left of that past, I had washed it out.”

 

Dynamic5

 

“When you start the process of self-investigation, of getting to know yourself, you need tools to empty out and unburden yourself from all the ideas and illusions. How else do you get rid of your mind, the old emotions and pains? Then you desperately long for active meditations like Dynamic.”

 

 

 

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“This summer I surprisingly enjoyed the third stage of Dynamic, when you jump and say the mantra ‘Hoo’. Each time I landed on my feet, I felt I really was present at that moment. There was no past, no future. Just this one jump existed. And in this jump was everything, the whole world. Because, you know, when jumping with eyes closed, I spin and turn, so I felt like Planet Earth rotating. That was so nice!”

 

 

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“Normally when you stop, in the fourth stage, and everybody is still, you listen to something outside, like the water of the fountain or the birds singing. But one day while doing Dynamic this summer retreat I suddenly found a silent place inside myself, a hollow space more or less in the belly, where I have never been before. An awareness, an energy inside me, and I stayed there throughout the whole fourth stage. My god, it was very beautiful.”

 

 

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“I feel that Dynamic saves my life. Again and again. I did the 21 day process already many times and it is such a great meditation. Only with the help of Dynamic can I be open and able to receive the beauty and love that Swaha has to give.”

 

 

 

~ ~ ~

The summer retreat just ended and we had Dynamic Meditation every morning at 7 a.m. for 21 days. Although it was not mandatory, the number of participants increased steadily and by the end the room was packed with wild and sweaty people. The energy was contagious and buzzing, a lot of old tensions could be released and many happy smiles left the room after 1 hour of maybe the most powerful meditation to be found in this world.

 

For those who joined the 21-Day Process, getting out of bed early every single morning was hard at times, for sure. You have to be very alert because the mind easily finds excuses. “However”, as one participant puts it, “it was me who made the clear decision before the retreat to go for 21 Days, so there was nowhere to escape.”

 

(Quotes by Janani, Nasheema, Tukaram, Wadi, Yogendra; Images from vasantswaha.net)

 

Dynamic Meditation in a Nutshell:

Dynamic Meditation is an active 60-minute meditation created by Osho. The first stage: breathing; the second stage: catharsis; the third stage: jumping and the mantra Hoo; the fourth stage: stillness; the last stage: celebration.

 

There is no excuse – you can do Dynamic Meditation everywhere, even at home with kids – as Leena shares in this post about her Dynamic experience.

Curious to experience the magic of Dynamic Meditation yourself? You are welcome to join one of Swaha’s retreats.

 

 

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