LIFE BEFORE YOGA
Jesper grew up in Östermalm, Stockholm. In his youth he played ice hockey everyday and the dream was then to make it as a hockey player and to one day play in the NHL.
When Jesper was 16 he decided to quit ice hockey. He was still not in puberty and the constant “shame” he felt of not being developed and spending time with friends who was almost already full size was finally too much for him. He cried to his mom about his length for many years and she took him to doctors that could ease his mind by saying that sometimes people reach puberty in a later state and that he had nothing to worry about. As he quit playing hockey all his long term goals were gone, the only thing he ever thought about becoming was no longer a part of him. With no real interest in school he instead became more interested in hanging out with friends and learning about girls. This brought him in to an era of drinking, sex and drugs.
His lifestyle changed from active kid to a partying young adult. Life became a rollercoaster of emotional ups and downs. With no long term visions, or goals, the impulses of getting the next “kick” was dictating his life.
He ended up doing things that brought police and justice system into play. He entered a dark period in his life with a lot of anxiety and fear. He had two loving parents that never stopped showing love and support. He didn’t spend much time with them during this time because he had no pride in his lifestyle or his “choices”. There wasn’t much awareness or will power available these years, nothing really mattered but the now, and how to get high.
THE NEW JOURNEY BEGINS
In 2010, Jesper was now 24, he had had enough. He had been kicked out from his apartment in the city and his parents forced him out to live in their country house an hour outside of Stockholm. There he found a book in an old bookshelf, it was called “learn how to meditate”. He read the book in a few hours (it was only 80 something pages) and after finishing the book he sat down to do his first meditation. In the book the following were recommended:
- Sit down comfortably and keep a straight spine
- Put the alarm on your clock for 20 minutes.
- Close your eyes (if possible) and start observing your breath.
- Have a mantra (a word or a sentence) that you repeat quietly for yourself.
- If your mind wonder, try to be aware of this and bring the attention back to the breath.
This was the practical information he could apply from the book he read. The first session lasted somewhere around 90 seconds. In his memory, this was probably the hardest thing he had ever done. The mind was racing and trying to keep it still and focused was impossible. The 90 seconds felt like at least 10 minutes. Fortunately this didn’t stop him from continuing. The next day he decided to sit for 120 seconds. Knowing that two minutes anyone could do, and he was right.
The day after that, three minutes was the goal; the day after that four minutes. Every day he prolonged the amount of time sitting still and watching the breath a little bit more. About two weeks later he could sit for 20 minutes. The progress was exponential and the results of the practice were, to him, life changing. He had found a practice that was enabling him to be aware of his thoughts and that could help him stir his life in a new direction. No longer a victim of his mind and its longing for instant gratification. At this point he started to challenge himself even more. Every addiction he could think of, he stopped. No more drinking, no more smoking weed, no more porn, no more sugar, no more coffee, no more of anything that could be a craving of the mind. The long sightedness of life finally received some long sought after space in mind and heart.
At the same time Jesper started working in a school. He became a teacher and he saw this as an opportunity to apply all his new found teachings about life and the workings of the mind to the teaching of the kids that was put in front of him each day. Meditation became a practice for everyone to try and learn about. He spoke about buddhist philosophy, something that he studied himself at this time. Jesper used his students to pass on wisdom that he found in teacher through books or other media. This was the beginning of a nine year long career as a school teacher.