Finland first came under my radar twelve years ago when friend and fellow musician, Sidhamo, moved to the small city of Kokkola with his Finnish girlfriend. They have since married and have a lovely daughter, Iris. At that time to my American ears Kokkola sounded very much like Coca Cola. Perhaps it was my way of coming to terms with a new part of the world I was only just beginning to understand.
A few years later, I saw a photo of Sidhamo on one of his cd: him standing on a frozen lake surrounded by an endless landscape of ice. It reminded me of a remark another friend once made concerning Sidhamo’s fate: “Now he’s really
fin(n)ished!” Honestly, I wondered if I would ever see him again much less visit there. But alas, existence has its mysterious ways.
I met Pravasi, my girlfriend, two years ago. When I learned she was from Finland, the first thing I did was go out and get a map. Now two of my most-loved friends were connected to a part of the world I had almost no knowledge of. I had to do something!
As life would have it, on June 4 of this year Pravasi and I boarded the luxury liner, Silja Symphony, in Stockholm bound for Finland. The weather was splendid, clear and sunny in the late afternoon, as our ship slowly wove its way out among the thousands of islands comprising the Swedish archipelago.
The cruise was stunningly beautiful. Arriving the following morning to Helsinki, we made our way to the Unio Mystica Bookstore and met its owner, Manik. He also helps coordinate the nearby Tao-Tupa, also known as the Osho Leela Meditation Center: an informal space where people meet for meditation and special events such as mine later that evening.
Manik and I were chatting away when suddenly I heard Pravasi’s infectious laugh coming from outside. And there he was, Sidhamo, my long-lost friend, smiling through the window with little Iris in hand. It was a poignant moment, another of life’s many circles coming round, intersecting, manifesting like a Zen brushstroke. I smiled. I had made it to Finland at last.
We decided to go for cappuccino and along the way laughed as only close friends can — talking about life, love, and nothing much at all. When it was time for Pravasi and me to leave for the event, we all made plans to meet again the next day before our boat departed.
Later that afternoon at Tao-Tupa, my event began with Osho Kundalini followed by Heart Dance and a break for tea. Afterwards, I sang some celebration songs and we all enjoyed to our hearts’ content. I don’t remember the sun ever really setting that night. At least it never got fully dark. Such is the special ambience this time of year in these far-northern latitudes.
My travels are a great teacher and this trip was no exception. My visit confirmed what I have experienced time and again on the tours: The world is a vast and infinitely fascinating place, full of amazing people in all its nooks and corners. Making new friends along the way, such as the lovely Pura and Idar, who cared for our accommodation in Helsinki, or meeting old ones again like Sidhamo — it is one of the things that makes my work so rewarding, nourishing, and keeps it fresh. For example, eeting Manik and hearing his stories — how he started-up Unio Mystica twenty years ago at first selling only Osho’s books and to this day continues to publish Osho’s titles — provided me unique insight into Finland’s connection with Osho.
The next morning, Pravasi and I shopped for a few Finnish food delights at a local supermarket. Then we met Sidhamo and Iris one last time before boarding our boat back to Sweden. As we waved good-bye and sailed off, the fullness in my heart reminded me of a song from the previous night:
This life our celebration
Of the joy we’ve come to know
My love for you, Osho
Perhaps the sun never sets anywhere in the world for lovers and meditators. At least not in Finland!