How do you experience an unpleasant situation on the highest level — for example, if you are caught in smog and can’t breathe well?

Lama Ole’s answer:

Then I am aware of the inability to breathe for a moment and imagine how all those lead molecules find their way into my blood stream, where they go from there, and so on. Of course I try to leave the place, but it’s no tragedy.

We will all grow old, get sick, and die. The question is whether you make a problem out of it or not—here you can decide. You might also enjoy holding your breath. Instead of experiencing the breath in the throat, you experience it in the chest, and then comes pressure in the eyes. It’s possible to turn anything that happens into a party in the mind. In the same way one celebrates a beautiful lady, mind can celebrate itself.
And again, it’s about doing two things at the same time. On the one hand, one maintains the fresh moment of experiencing whatever is happening, and on the other, one considers what is worthwhile and what isn’t—how to manage to live a bit longer and to take better care of oneself.

Also remember that nobody will want to listen to you if you are caught in too many dramas and tragedies. The joyful view is better, where people say, “Ah, here there might be possibilities” and “here we can do something.” The way you act will influence people. If you can do something witty, joyful, and meaningful, then people will listen to you. You should always stay in a good mood.

If you lose the feeling of people’s buddha nature, of their potential, then you will become lonesome. Try to think instead, “OK, we made a little mistake there; maybe we can change it in this or that way,” and come in with surplus. Then you’re in a good position.

How can we keep the level of development we have reached?

Lama Ole’s answer:

On the level of cause and effect, we simply decide not to kill anymore, not to abuse others sexually, not to steal, not to lie, not to get “stupid drunk,” and so on. We find out where we made mistakes in the past and say to ourselves, “I am not going to do that anymore.”

On the second level, which is more psychological, disturbing feelings are dealt with. Here we try to remove our anger, attachment, jealousy, pride, and confusion. We recognize that those feelings don’t bring any benefit but only destroy a lot.

The third level is all about insight. It’s a matter of knowing that a higher level of joy means a higher level of truth and that enlightenment is the full unfolding of mind. This is a well-rounded state, at rest in itself and beyond hope and fear. We cannot grasp at or produce this state of mind, but only give space for it to appear.

There is a good joke about this. Enlightenment is like meeting a beautiful lady. If you chase her, she’ll call the police. Instead, you have to park your Porsche in front of her door, put your checkbook on top, and wait until she comes. So we can create the outer conditions for enlightenment, but we cannot grasp at it.