MY EXPERIENCE WITH THE TEACHINGS…
My experience with the teachings and community of Igor Kufayev began in a surprising way. Meeting him at one of his lectures, I was delighted to find that Igor’s knowledge of sacred tradition was enriched by the Perennial Philosophy that I had assimilated from Ananda Coomaraswamy, that Igor’s vision of human potential was grounded in the teachings of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (whose meditation techniques I had been practicing for years), and that Igor’s presence was utterly magnetic. Igor invited me to be his guest for a day at a retreat he was conducting. Arriving at the retreat which had been ongoing for several days and entering an empty room where a group practice had ended earlier, I was startled to find a woman lying on the floor kicking and screaming and two others sitting on a sofa weeping and lamenting. My surprising spontaneous reaction to this perplexing scene was that I had finally, at long last, come home. I knew in an instant I had stumbled into a radiant field of enlivened awareness. My unexpected response was an immediate recognition of the active presence of Holy Spirit filling the space with an embrace of wholeness that I had been seeking all my life, and would never want to leave.
As it developed, my involvement with Igor and his community (sangha) is first and foremost based on my heartfelt relationship with him: I love and honor Igor as an exalted realizer of the highest order, as well as a brilliant aesthete and artist, a glorious human being, and a dear friend. I love the way he does his work as a spiritual teacher and am most grateful to be a member of the sangha of devotees that has arisen around him.
During retreats, which he calls Immersions, Igor conducts group meditations that begin with focus on the breath, and that open up into collective exultations of involuntary vocalizations and movements which Igor calls kriyas. During these meditations participants relax to enable spontaneous unintended actions, including shouting, weeping, laughing, singing, glossolalia (speaking in tongues), asanas (yoga postures), mudras, grimaces, trembling, rhythmic movements, as well as inner sensations, emotions, visions, sounds, flows of energy, trances, transcendent states of silence, and even catatonic samadhi (inner absorption). These activities and inner experiences release accumulated stresses, including, I believe, deep early life traumas, balance the physiology, and expand awareness.
I was fortunate to happen to have attended the first Immersion in which Igor offered meditation in November of 2014. From what I have personally experienced and have seen in others so far after having practiced this relatively new technique with groups for less than 45 days over the last two years, I regard Igor’s meditation as the most effective transformative process that I have encountered during a lifetime of spiritual exploration. As I rejoice in remarkable awakenings that I see in other members of the sangha, I feel that my awareness has made enormous leaps from mind to heart and that my vision and wisdom are opening in unprecedented ways.
The dynamics of my experience during Igor’s practice fascinate me. I find myself sitting to meditate with the group, which usually includes persons who have become close friends and newcomers I never met before. Shortly after the practice begins, I find myself making unexpected sounds, which, though involuntary, are not uncontrollable, and also find myself shifting into various postures that I do not intend. Am I making the sounds and movements or are they flowing through me? My eyes are closed so I hear but do not see people around me making similar sounds and presume they are also moving about. I realize that we are speaking the same language and dancing the same dance. Miraculously this group process takes on a life of its own. Our spontaneous unintended sounds and movements flow coherently together into something like a harmonic choir or choreographed dance and a powerful psychic field develops between us in which we are alchemically refining ourselves and each other. During the practice and thereafter I feel incredibly bonded with all fellow participants. We somehow all become one being, joined together at the root of the universal Self. Furthermore, we seem to be collectively enacting not only our own and each other’s healing and development, but also radiating a life-supporting influence into the world around us.
Igor somehow orchestrates the spontaneous harmonization of unintended individual actions during meditation by catalyzing waves of energy that flow through the meditation space. He enlivens our meditations with transmissions of psychic energy (Muktananda and other Kashmiri Shaivites called a similar energy shaktipat) by waving a shawl in the air around our heads as we sit in meditation. In response, everyone rises up together in collective ecstasy, a dance of awareness in which we merge into a coherence like many flowers on a single plant harmoniously blossoming in a gentle breeze.
During Igor’s practice, some people seem to experience strong emotional releases that they may express by crying or shouting or laughing. For me at least, the collective experience of kriyas has invariably been blissful. Though all I am doing is letting what happens happen, I am delighted to find myself seemingly improvising exquisite music. This is particularly remarkable because I have a tin ear, can hardly carry a tune, and do not have a beautiful voice. Nonetheless, I find myself ravished by the sounds that are passing through me as if I was a diva singing opera, a Tibetan monk chanting sutras, or even an angel trilling with the heavenly host. My every experience of this process is characterized by a strong sense of creative delight or aesthetic rapture. In the Dance of Shiva, Ananda Coomaraswamy describes the aesthetic experience as “twin brother to the lightening flash of awakening.” In my experience, Igor’s collective spiritual practice is very much like the enlightening flash that Coomaraswamy describes, a flash of unbounded Truth (Sat), Consciousness (Chit), and Bliss (Ananda). Remembering this state as I write about it, I find my heart melting in joy.
In his one-on-one, heart-based relationship with each sangha member, as well as in his dynamic influence (darshan) upon the entire group, Igor brilliantly inflames each of our hearts, bringing the collective into a rapture in which all sing and dance beautiful expressions of pure Consciousness that spontaneously arise and radiate through us to entrain forces and presences beyond our knowing. On one occasion, I personally became so excited about this process that I proposed to Igor and my fellow Immersion participants that our meditation practice should be offered as a contribution to world peace 24/7. Once facilities for such practice become available, sangha members could enjoy the collective ecstasy of Igor’s meditation in shifts around the clock. We would offer our continuous practice to radiate the life-supporting Grace we receive to bring well-being to all sentience, all life, and all existence throughout the universe.
~ Michael Peter Cain