Column “Guru of the month” first interviewee – Ingvar Villido. Magazine Sensa, May 2017
By Marika Makarova
“ABSOLUTE peacefulness”. This is what Ingvar Villido answered to “What should one maintain in their consciousness?”
The founder of Lilleoru Education Hub, located in Harjumaa, Estonia talks about yoga, consciousness, the root causes of problems, the possibility of being permanently happy, being educated, suppressing initiative, gurus, and India. He gives tips for managing disturbing emotions and thoughts which don’t even let a person sleep.
Who is a Guru, and who are your Gurus?
It is known in yoga tradition that exists something which is all-knowing. That is the first guru. It is also known that he passed on his knowledge. Those who have achieved identity with that guru are called Siddha gurus. Those who have realized true or higher self are called yoga gurus. All the rest are disciples. That’s how the topic is defined in ancient scripts.
Guru teaches to know the reality, shape belief based on that. Translated directly, guru means “that, who brings you from darkness into the light.” I describe it like that: when someone lives in a dark forest, where there is no light, there could be someone else who knows how to make the light shine. Consequently, things can be understood which were not comprehensible before because of the darkness.
I have three gurus: the Primordial, Mahasiddha Agastyar and Siddha Kriya Babaji.
You use a concept Human 2.0. Who is s/he?
Everyone knows that sometimes we need to update a computer program to the next level. We meant upgrading a human being with knowledge, which gives them enhanced independence and freedom. Unlike a program, in people’s case, it means simplifying current complications. Only the person himself can do that; nobody is programming them with new knowledge independently from them.
There are three main complications, producing further endless connections, which people themselves have created. These three are: uncontrollably moving consciousness or inability to concentrate, thoughts which are unrelated to reality and different emotions. This observation gives us a list of complications which should be eliminated. Human 2.0 is the name of a teaching method based on a new human concept. Someone who has acquired it is a person who is free from anything redundant and is using consciousness to be in contact with reality.
How to become a better person?
People are willing to learn, practice, or travel somewhere for the experience to become better. It’s not helping much – the bad things that you have, don’t disappear. You can’t get rid of weed by planting wanted cultural plants next to it. It can only be achieved by plucking the grass out. As the bed is large, you have to weed continuously. Before that, you also have to learn how to differ and become aware. If you’re not used to becoming aware of what grows inside your inner world, everything looks the same color for you. Everyone is innately kind – it just doesn’t show because of the unwanted plants.
What does consciousness and becoming conscious mean? What kind of person is an aware person?
Those terms are inseparable for me. Becoming aware of something means using your attention actively, consciousness means “I know that I am using it.” It’s not thinking. Thinking starts after becoming aware of something. Conscious change means that I am consciously changing something, and I know what I am doing with something. Compared to subconscious reactions, consciousness is used seldom in life. Consciousness shows itself usually in new and unfamiliar situations – when I don’t know what is going on, or there’s no automatically rising explanation which has been recorded into your memory previously. In those situations, consciousness is used instead of thoughts or emotions. You can become more aware through the use of awareness. Becoming completely conscious takes much time and practice.
What advice would you give to parents, so that their offspring would become conscious and caring people?
Without learning to release mistakes inside yourself, it’s challenging to do. Children also learn while they seemingly don’t. They are already learning when they see or hear something. Playing puzzle and construction or other similar games is helping to increase the usage of consciousness. You can teach caring by being caring, but you shouldn’t use commanding. Instead, let your child develop their insights – independent understanding that kindness is good.
Ancient yoga wisdom says: Change yourself, and the world around you will change. How can one change oneself?
This statement is somewhat imprecise, which may have occurred because of translation. What is going on inside a person – thoughts and emotions – is what makes them do something. When someone changes these motivators, they start doing something else instead of those automatic fluctuations. In other words, when you release your complexes, you don’t have them anymore. Consequently, they can’t arise automatically anymore. Imagine, what would your life be without jealousy or depression. It’s possible to learn this skill, but it’s practically impossible without guidance.
You have been teaching yoga for 25 years. What is yoga?
The word yoga means uniting the true self with its source, a deeper operation for cleansing your inner world. Today there are all kinds of different meanings behind that word. The preparation system for yoga is divided into different stages, which are all internal activities because you can’t prepare anything else. I have been interested in that preparatory part, because the inner world as a system is typically unknown, even though it dictates the whole life.
When you started in 1992, you were teaching Raja– and Buddhi yoga. When and why did you choose Kriya yoga?
Raja and Buddhi yoga were exciting because I faced what I did not know before. Not only did I get different experiences and quality changes, but I also developed some questions while practicing. What is that? Where is it coming from? What was before that? How are these things connected? I stopped teaching Raja and Buddhi yoga when I couldn’t answer the questions of those students who came to my classes because I didn’t know the answers. I was honest about myself as well as others.
At the same time, I had acquired a piece of land – in Lilleoru, where I was planning to build a house for my family. There was much work to do because most of that land along with trees were bulldozed together into house-sized piles. It stated on the map – uneven ground. I told my students that if they want to practice something, that’s where I will be. Around ten of them came to help, and we also practiced there together – Castaneda-teachings, Buddhism, Dzogchen, and everything else which I studied to find answers.
One day 3 Estonian Buddhists came to help; they were also working in construction. We had also been visited by a follower of Haidhakand Babaji, who left behind Hinduistic traditions which we also started using. The Buddhists, who had been working in Russia, brought us a Russian translated book about Babaji and the 18 Siddha Tradition. Today we also have that book in Estonian. I read it, and the book described the system of 5 bodies briefly. I instantly understood, all my experiences and knowledge became structured. The pieces came together.
There was the author’s contact address behind the book. I asked one student to see if that teacher could visit Lilleoru and teach us Babaji Kriya Yoga. He came in about a year. We got the first initiation. I recognized all the techniques. I understood them formally as well as essentially and was able to use them practically. Later I also got other initiations, and today I have the right to teach others those techniques because I am Babaji Kriya Yoga Acharya, in other words – the Initiated. It can be said that Kriya Yoga chose me, not the other way round.
You call yourself a practitioner and have said that you use different techniques on yourself. What would you suggest from your experience?
Yes, I am always the first lab rat. At the same time, I don’t think that everyone should invent the wheel when someone has already done that. It could take much time – sometimes a lifetime is not enough. When a person has a practical experience – you should delve deeper into that. Quit searching, stop, and dig deeper. There’s no use of traveling the world searching for answers. They already exist, but inaccessible for you. The only way to access them – probe your own experience, examine it. Not where it’s from or what it’s related with.
After that, make an effort to achieve the ability to concentrate. It’s not possible to attain without effort. Effort is like a muscle which won’t grow unless you use it.
When you start becoming aware of and discovering new things, you’ll understand that you don’t understand what they are. You don’t know what you experience. It might take much time before you find out. It’s best to meet someone who has already been through those processes. You should listen to him – he knows what is wrong and what is not.
When you think back on yourself, what has been the main change?
Everything has changed. My body has changed the least; only time changes it. Most significant for myself are practical knowledge about nature and myself. Most important of them has been the discovery of true Me and becoming rooted in it about 12-13 years ago.
I have found out much about the world. Most important is what I have discovered about being a human. The picture is not pretty as almost 8 billion people live automatic and subconscious life, where they are not even participating. They don’t even know who they are. It is not known that nobody else is responsible for your suffering, because you experience the world outside with your inner world. It is not known how to get rid of misery and other problems, even though it’s possible to do permanently. People believe that you can’t change your character. Yes, it is! I have found out how many beliefs there are about what is going on in the world and justification that this is how it has to be. There is much prejudice and convinced assumptions which are based on the recordings of the memory, even though there is no substantial evidence. There is so much critique and opinions from so-called chair-sportsmen who never get on the field of life themselves.
What are the root causes of people’s problems?
Education. Children have been taught to be the way they are as adults. We all have been trained into our troubles. That’s why I suggested not to suppress a child’s initiative and wish to do something themselves. An adult, whose security or decisiveness was spoiled as a child, is lacking independence and courage.
The teaching is a historical heritage which is rarely put into doubt, and the mistakes are invisible. If you look at what is going on in the world because of those that’s-how-we-have-been-taught things, you can see the error.
The other root cause is that we have not been taught how to get rid of errors. There are many views, but none of those roots out the mistakes. Without releasing faults from within, it’s challenging to become conscious.
One error that people do because they have been taught so is identifying themselves with their experiences and thoughts. Let’s use logic. If you know that you have an emotion or a thought, you surely must be aware of them. Now ask: can I notice the feelings as well as thoughts? The answer is yes. Is that part which sees the same with the objects which I notice? When you discover the answer, you’ll understand that you have never been your emotion, neither your thought. You are something else. You may look at your emotions and thoughts as things which activate in different situations without your request. This automatism is leading your life continuously unless you release it. That’s the main topic of the ACC courses.
In the Art of Conscious Change (AoCC) courses, you teach techniques which you have created yourself. How, when, and why did you get the idea for AoCC?
I never had an idea as such for ACC. The course series have developed naturally to what it is now based on people’s needs. I noticed that practitioners that I teach were not advancing in their yoga practices. On further investigation, I found out that they had developed a habit to do those techniques. In other words – yoga had become automatic activity. Babaji Kriya Yoga’s significance is that one should never do it automatically, but always consciously – being aware of their actions. It’s the only way to achieve the desired outcome.
Ancient yoga knowledge has been reachable only for those who do it in deep practices. They step out of the so-called regular life and, guided by their teacher, dedicate their lives to yoga. By yoga, I don’t mean physical exercises, but more in-depth activity in cleansing one’s inner world. I taught this knowledge to ordinary contemporary people, who were continuing their everyday lives, at the same time searching for the answers to the essential questions – who am I, why am I here, etc. Yoga gives answers. How to solve the contradiction between continuing regular life and communicating the ancient wisdom was now my new task.
While trying to help my students, I started to investigate in-depth the mechanism of automatism. I tried to understand how it develops and works, how to get rid of and prevent it in overall. Delving into the topic, I found the real causes of the problems. Synthesizing the ancient knowledge of the human concept and modern world human’s way of thinking, I created the description and methods accordingly. Testing the technique, it proved to be working 100%. I taught this to kriya yoga practitioners for many years, until one of them asked if I would teach it to others as well. Because it worked and students saw the same unsolvable problems in their family, friends, and others. I told them to arrange the courses.
That happened about ten years ago. By today, this method has become simpler. For example, I had to give up many activities, because they were not understandable for the mind of ordinary people. I continuously had to lower the requirements, until what I taught became comprehensible for a modern person with their current knowledge and attitudes.
By today, it’s adapted in a way that any person without any previous yogic preparation is capable of understanding and using the method.
The core of the 5 AoCC courses is the system of 5 bodies, releasing disturbing emotions and thoughts, learning to use consciousness, inspiration, intuition, and else. Is it possible for everyone?
Making the core of AoCC, a yogic high-tech in-depth knowledge into something that an unprepared person would understand has been one of the most challenging tasks. I use many so-called beyond the mind things. Beyond mind doesn’t mean some spiritual voodoo. It means that becoming in contact with the phenomena existing in reality only happens without using the mind which is pre-determined or full of learned patterns. Today, AoCC is comprehensible and usable for everyone.
The topics of all 5 AoCC courses cover the whole palette of human problems. Starting from getting rid of the issues and ending with a completely new basis for activities in everyday life, which are based on underused abilities, opening practically endless possibilities for the users. Babaji Kriya Yoga, which I still teach to those who want to probe deeper, is a step further.
Please give a few tips on how to control one’s emotions and thoughts.
The practices given here will not release you entirely from your problems. They will alleviate some of them, however, and you can use them everywhere and at any time. Happiness, the way people usually understand it, is transient. Nobody so far has been able to make it persistent. Nevertheless, there is happiness, which is permanent. Everyone already has that state. It’s where your True Self is. As 8 billion people don’t know who they truly are – which seems strange – they don’t know anything about permanent bliss. I talked about being aware of the emotions and thoughts above. I’ll give you another hint: when you experience that which is aware, you will find your True Self. When you are yourself, you’re happy. As soon as you forget yourself, your bliss will disappear. It’s possible to experience that state by yourself a few times, perhaps. Without proper guidance stabilizing this condition is relatively challenging.
Is it possible to be permanently blissful?
I have been to India many times. Nothing enchants me there, to be honest. I am not amazed by their culture, poverty, or traditions. They are usually people, with their problems and faith, their history. I go there because ancient knowledge about human being, nature, the universe, and universal laws have been maintained there. The heritage of expertise has not been interrupted. You can’t find the complete knowledge in one place, but you can pick it up piece by piece when you know what you’re looking for. You can – seldom – find real teachers and wise men, who are practicing this ancient information.
It is not a widely known fact, but in India, there is a single god religion. You can find different natural forces in the temples represented as deities. In that way, temples are like the maps for the universe or human potential. A tourist would look at the architecture and not even understand what is going on. Unfortunately, also the Hindu’s themselves sometimes don’t understand it anymore. Practical knowledge has lost the relation to life, have become formal rituals. You don’t have to be a Hindu to understand the reality behind the information.
You can read a well-translated book and understand what is written theoretically. Nonetheless, would you be able to use what you read in reality, in life? It’s where the missing link is between ancient wisdom and the capability of the modern person to understand. It is most likely that quite a few Estonians use the knowledge from India. When you’re missing the connection to practicality, there is no outcome. You can put as much effort in as you want. Faith will not help you, either.
I go to India to get those useful links, and one must get them personally. It has become my duty to find the missing links and restore the actual use of theoretical knowledge. To make it usable for every modern person. It means I have been able to adapt the information which is from somewhere else into our cultural context. I am not a Hindu – faith in whatever is most often a waste of time; the candle of life burns out in minutes.
How was Lilleoru born?
Estonia had become an independent country; the farmlands were returned to the rightful owners. Nobody wanted to give their land away; it was of great value. After searching for a long time and thanks to the owner’s kind heart, I got a 15ha cut of some farmland which was historically named Lilleoru. After WWII there was a cutout piece of land from the farmlands. Before I became the owner, I was helping that person to receive his lands, helped him make trenches and other things. He gave me the land as a gift for help. It was a surprise for me.
My children were small back then, my wife and I were both working, and we went there as much as we could, with the help of friends and later the people from Raja and Buddhi yoga. Often we also helped our neighbor who gave us that land. As years passed, we started building a house from our materials. To earn money for the roof and insulation, we were helping other people with their construction. We made the first house with our own forces, for our second house, we hired some help for certain parts.
Throughout all this time, people came helping us during the weekends, and after work, we were also practicing. Some things that we did together brought some odd reputation – people always tend to use prejudice and cliche when they don’t understand something. Therefore some rumors spread which are still active at certain places. I have never felt that the buildings built together, and everything else in Lilleoru belong to me. Juridically yes, but not ethically or morally.
When Haidhakand Babaji arrived and all the traditions with him, it became essential to get the formal right to carry out fire ceremonies or havans. For that we had to travel to India, it was my first journey there. I got the permission, with the conditions that I will learn the meaning of the ceremony and that the land where the ceremonies will be held, is for public use. We formally made the land property of an NGO, which is managed to this date by the board where I don’t belong.
Besides location, what connects Lilleoru Hub, the School of Practical Awareness and the conference of “The Wisdom of Conscious Communities”?
Considering increasing interest in the Art of Conscious Change courses in Estonia as well as abroad, it became a task for the students to build the School of Practical Awareness to expand their current options for learning. AoCC is a unique method created in Estonia. Since 2010 I have also been asked to teach in foreign countries. The buildings in Lilleoru has far ceased to accommodate everyone. Hence, the need for the new building came from the current conditions, the lack of space. For students, who are working voluntarily, it’s a practical activity through which to develop what they have learned and practice conscious cooperation.
The function of the school is to be a complex learning center, where one can, besides curious disciplines, learn the content of AoCC and develop qualities needed for life. This kind of knowledge is not taught in other schools.
As many people have noticed the balance, work capabilities, kindness, constructiveness and other positive traits of the representatives of Lilleoru during conferences held before in other countries, it has been awaited for a long time now for us to organize the conference. Moreover, they have been asking where those qualities originate from. People are interested to learn more, and next year they will come here to see what is this place, people and teachings.
Ingvar Villido (55)
The founder of Lilleoru, member of NGO Lilleoru, in charge of the teaching activities, member of the board in Human OÜ, Acharya of Babaji Kriya Yoga and the creator of Art of Conscious Change (AoCC) found the path to spiritual topics during his service for the Russian military. “In the military, I found my first teacher, who was practicing Chinese Martial Arts. I started with those as well. He had much knowledge and experience, also in acupuncture and Agni-yoga. I was drawing schemes, meditating, and practicing. It gave me good momentum. When I returned home, I got some forbidden literature – at that time underground Buddhist and Christian Mystical writings. I was practicing the whole time because it was interesting, and as I progressed, there was an increasing need to go further. In this way, I went through all the materials along with practices I could find back then,” Ingvar reminisces.
Lilleoru center was founded in Estonia, Harjumaa more than 20 years ago. Ingvar Villido was planning to build a family house on the land of perished Lilleoru farm. It went another way – together with volunteers two buildings for the center were built. As these didn’t accommodate all the interested people anymore, a new school building is built by volunteers. It’s the largest straw-based public building in Estonia, and the first of its kind in the world – opening its doors in 2018. There will also be an international conference held in Lilleoru, the largest and oldest community in Estonia – “The Wisdom of Conscious Communities.”