'I Spent Months in Europe With 5 Euros in My Pocket, but I Never Needed Them'

Arrivals / Departures: What it's like to 'get lost in the now,' according to Kostantin from Jerusalem.

Konstantin Lukashev.
Tomer Appelbaum

Konstantin (Kosta) LukashEv, 25, from Jerusalem; arriving from Malaga, Spain

Tomer (the photographer): Let me guess – you were at a festival?

Festivals. I arrived in Porto, Portugal, on August 8. A friend bought a van and picked me up and we went to Boom, then we drove and drove and at some stage we reached utopia.

What is utopia?

The after-party festival of Boom.

Also in Portugal?

I guess so, but who cares where?

Ah, so Boom is a festival?

My friend says that Boom is the mecca of potheads. 

And is he right?

I don’t know – I haven’t been to Mecca yet.

But you were at Boom.

It was a gathering of around 33,333 people from all over the world. I don’t know what their goals are, exactly, but they love trance and wanted to take part.

And what did you want?

I wanted to get lost in the now.

And did you?

Yes.

What’s it like?

Mostly tranquil and all-encompassing. There’s no need for anything else.

Are you still there? In the now?

At the moment I’m in an ongoing situation, and it just gets deeper and deeper. Until I manage to emerge again.

Who did you travel with?

A friend who’s a brother, a Dutchman with foreign roots. I met him last year at a festival in Croatia. I made mushrooms there and it was the first time it worked for me the way it’s supposed to. That was an experience.

A good experience?

“Good” doesn’t cover it. At some point I went out for a walk, I was on a trail, and the friend, whom I hadn’t yet met, was walking on a trail that met the one I was on. He suddenly appeared and said, “Ask and you shall receive.” That’s the way he started a conversation with me. After that our paths parted, because the trails split, and then we met again at a bonfire. There were tons of boards lying by the side, but no one did anything with them. So we both designed spectacular architecture and built a bonfire, we smoked together, and since then we’ve been like brothers. Months can go by in which we don’t speak, but the closeness doesn’t change.

What creates the closeness?

We live in the moment, that’s why we connected. It’s not so easy to explain our way of life, but you can say that we don’t come with an ideology of “this is how it should be.” We’re pretty rooted in the moment and in its wholeness, and we don’t lug around the weight. Conflicts don’t exist.

Well, you’re a young guy; things might change when you have worries.

There are no worries, worry is over-thinking about what you have no control over. If you can, you do it, and if not, what difference does it make? And even if something bad happens, it’s always for our good. It’s a type of realism, the moment you don’t have a past Hold on, let me think how to explain it.

(A minute later) You’re the first person we’ve interviewed who’s allowed himself to think before answering.

There’s the moment that’s not connected to the past, and we are free to be different. It doesn’t matter what happens, in the new minute we choose what to be now.

Is being in the moment difficult?

It’s the most difficult thing I’ve done, it takes a lot of faith and you also have to practice all the time.

How did you get into it?

At the very, very beginning it was the acid.

What did the acid do?

Acid is a means of forcing you – me, at least – to be in the moment. Most psychedelic drugs create an effect of the moment – you see better, you hear better, and suddenly there’s this awareness of everything. Over time I dismantled it, I looked at it as a project.

You dismantled the effect of acid?

I did meditation on acid, trying to understand: Why do I feel this way? What do I think? When I came out of the acid, I would write everything down and think about how I could train my brain to think like that in regular situations: to be in the moment.

How do you train the brain?

Mostly by meditation, though not only by sitting around all the time. I try constantly to be in a state of awareness of something in the body, like breathing.

How long have you been working on this?

I leapt into the water in 2013. A teacher I had at the time said that if at every moment you do what most thrills you, without expectations of where it will lead, and you choose the thing in which you possess the greatest ability to act – the whole universe will work on your behalf.

And does it work?

When I started to apply that format, the most thrilling thing I discovered is that life is like a fairy tale. I was in Europe for months with 5 euros in my pocket, only so I’d have money if I were starving, but I never needed it, I got along. My goal in life is to be free and not be dependent on emotional attachments involving fear or jealousy, and also not to be bound to material things, not even food and water. It’s not that I don’t experience what you call difficulty, I just don’t interpret it as difficulty. I have no worries now.

And before, you did?

Definitely.

You’re young and healthy, as I’ve already said.

Most of the young people I meet think like you, and most of them don’t live like me. You have to sacrifice certain things to live as I do, and I think most people find that hard to do. It’s important for me to say that I’m not here to tell anyone how to live, it’s not the way for everyone, otherwise society wouldn’t exist, but in society there’s room for people like me, too.

Where do you go from here?

I am constantly learning, just now I’m learning Falun Dafa. It’s a method of therapy for advanced levels  – also called Falun Gong, an advanced method for self-cultivation, from the school of Buddhism. But I don’t want to talk about it too much, there’s a site and a teacher, and you can read the precise words. I read the book and I’m learning.

I meant where you are headed at the earthly level.

Ah, I don’t know. I wanted to go to the forest, but it’s raining, so it won’t be the forest, maybe the Dead Sea.

What’s in your backpack?

Too much, it’s over-equipped. Besides the knapsack I also have a laptop, which isn’t all that important, because I got along without it now, and a longboard, which is like a skateboard and is important, and boots. That’s it, I think.

What do you live from?

Abundance is when you have everything you need, when you need it. The moment you practice, you discover that abundance is the default of existence. As soon as you stop being judgmental about what abundance is, and just let it be, money stops being relevant.

Did you pay for the Boom ticket?

Money exists. I was traveling now, and that cost money, and in this life you sometimes need money, but abundance isn’t only about money. I have what I need. How does it get to you? I don’t think that’s relevant, I prefer not to say, because people will judge.

What do your parents think about the way you’ve chosen?

They express worries occasionally, but with the years, they’ve learned to be trusting. They see that things are good for me, so they don’t really intervene, they try more to understand than to change things. Maybe because very early on, when I was younger than 8 years old, I dreamed of being in a Shaolin monastery, far from humanity. I don’t know what I planned to do there, but that was the dream, maybe because I had seen a Bruce Lee movie.

What’s the dream now?

I want to learn, to go on learning everything, all the time. I want to develop myself in every sense. I have a girlfriend now for the first time, and I’m learning that.

How does a relationship square with not being attached to things?

My attachment is not one of dependence, it embodies a choice. And I choose to see her now.