Reflections on the Path of the Heart
by Daryananda Schneidman
This life-transforming work, the Path of the Heart is orchestrated by Grace, is energetic in nature, and arises from Igor ~ Vamadeva as the Guru, who acts as the conduit of Grace for his students. For Vamadeva is the living embodiment of the unfathomable Guru Principle, “divinely appointed” to act as the vessel through which the Grace-bestowing power of God flows. This Grace literally flows through Vamadeva, igniting and enlivening the Shakti Herself within his students — through touch, intention, look and more — initiating the process of inner purification and expansion of Consciousness, toward Self-realization. This process then manifests in a unique way for each student — depending on a variety of factors — through the various phases of transformation, in whatever order and method is required for that particular soul. In a mysterious way — which I cannot say that I understand, but only intuit — through Vamadeva as that Guru Principle whereby the Shakti is guided, as he is somehow inwardly directed to do. Thy will be done.
This is a mystical work, which for me means something that cannot be defined nor grasped through the mind, but where deeper hidden truths are somehow “illumined” by the Shakti Herself, and revealed from within. I would describe this as the arising of a spontaneous “knowing” on an entirely different level than the mind, though I cannot say where it actually arises from — thus, I label this as “mystical.” This inner knowing is often personally experienced as the sudden and spontaneous arising of tears, associated with what could be labeled as deep feelings of gratitude and Love for the Divine... although these descriptive terms fall short and do not even come close to conveying the experience.
I could even call this knowing as “revelation,” where there is an understanding beyond words, that something has been revealed to me through a divine gift of Grace. I believe this is what is scripturally referred to as the power of Grace or Revelation, which lifts the “veil of concealment,” allowing the Truth to be seen or revealed to the disciple. There is also a great subtlety to this, that in my earlier days of sadhana was often missed or dismissed due to self-doubt, as I was accustomed to living primarily from a mental, more conceptual level. I have noticed that this has gradually been shifting, especially since I have come to this work, and my Guru-shishya relationship with Vamadeva continues to deepen. I can see that I am learning to trust these “revelations” more and more, as it seems I have somehow — as part of this process of transformation by the Shakti through his Grace — been thrust into living more from the Heart, which could perhaps be described more as the knowing through feeling, rather than from my mind. It is particularly difficult to accurately convey in words these experiences which are beyond what the mind can grasp, and is in fact, a bit paradoxical really.
This process of energetic transformation is a visceral and experiential one, where the Shakti— after being ignited and enlivened through Guru’s Grace — takes each of us through various phases of purification and transformation of Consciousness. The purification takes place on all levels (i.e., is not linear) simultaneously or in stages/phases — physical, subtle, mental, emotional, spiritual — where stored past impressions are cleared little by little, as the Shakti virtually performs a complete and thorough housecleaning. In my own sadhana, this has been taking place over many years... but has accelerated exponentially since coming to this work with Vamadeva as my Guru, and being literally showered with his Grace. I have experienced a myriad of physical kriyas (spontaneous asanas, shaking/twisting of all kinds, various grimaces, movements, intense physical bliss of many types, etc.), various physical illnesses, mental kriyas, emotional kriyas, a variety of pranayamas, and so much more. These seem to have gone through various phases over time as my sadhana unfolds.
On the mental and emotional levels of purification, it seems that the Shakti purifies the mind by shining Her Light upon that which needs to be illumined and seen for what it is... and is not. In my own experience, as this happens, I suddenly “see” and recognizes something which has always been present, but just not seen or clearly noticed before. Doors of perception have somehow miraculously opened, cobwebs removed, and now this truth can be seen! To me, this represents the Guru Principle revealing Itself as the Grace-bestowing Power of God, removing the “veil of concealment, and allowing the Truth to be revealed. As an example of this Grace at work, longstanding patterns of behavior, deep-rooted identification and concepts about who we are, and so on, begin to be seen for what they are... simply outdated ideas, which when seen and released can free us to see who we truly are (or are not). I have often heard Vamadeva speak of how “old undigested traumas” are stirred up and excavated by the Shakti, brought to the surface to be re-experienced, and hopefully to be expelled forever!
Thus, it is my understanding that the core of the work is literally the work of Shakti Herself, as She ultimately dismantles the infrastructure of the small, limited self, at long last freeing us of its “baggage” which has concealed our true nature, revealing the glory of our very own true and Divine Self. Again, this is a process which unfolds in stages and phases over time, and one which is initiated by as well as orchestrated by the guidance and Grace of the conduit of Shakti — the Guru, the Grace-bestowing power of God —that power of revelation.
Finally, speaking from the perspective of my Heart — after all, this is the Path of the Heart — I see this work as an act of Love literally pouring into Love... the boundless, unfathomable, unconditional Love of the Guru for the shishya, and the birth and deepening of the Love of the shishya for the Guru. The Love, which binds the Guru and shishya through establishing that Heart-to-Heart connection, is the timeless succession of the Guru-shishya parampara — without beginning or end, and through which everything is possible. This is truly how I personally experience and perceive the very core of this exquisite Path of the Heart.
Further, because of this Love, I have witnessed a deeper level of willingness within myself to face what I have not previously been willing to — such as old patterns of behavior, letting go of outdated relationships, looking at apparent shortcomings in my nature, etc. — especially when Vamadeva has mercifully (although it may not be experienced that way initially!) pointed them out to me. My usual tendency — as with most of us humans — is to resist, project and/or deny. However, because of this Heart-to-Heart connection and bond of Love, there is a deep underlying knowing that Vamadeva, as my Guru only wants the highest for me... which in turn forces me to look within and ultimately acknowledge the truth. Through a variety of these experiences, the trust and faith in him as my Guru and this path is naturally increasing and maturing, bringing about an even deeper commitment to this path of transformation to arise – a virtuous cycle! And the deeper the trust and faith in Vamadeva as my Guru, the greater is my desire and willingness to recognize and face these issues within myself. I can also see that this is serving to build a strong foundation, which in turn supports greater and greater openness, receptivity, willingness, and further expansion, especially during the most trying times. I envision that this sacred Heart-to-Heart connection of Guru and shishya — what I would call the very core and foundation of The Path of the Heart — is experienced by each one of his disciples in his or her own unique way, according to one’s own inner nature, life experience, and so on.
I also see that at a given point on this Path of the Heart — after this Guru-shishya Heart-to-Heart connection is firmly established — we are led into unchartered waters, as the Guru lovingly but firmly thrusts our life raft out to the stormy seas, where our Love, faith and trust in him is now essential for our very survival, as we are mercifully led across... I do not believe that this would be possible without the deep Heart-to-Heart connection between Guru and shishya. From the perspective of my own personal experience, I feel as though I have entered just such a time in my sadhana, where my former mental/conceptual “understanding” no longer applies, and I sometimes feel as if I am literally blind, unable to see my next step. Likely part of this “dismantling” phase, the old ways of being no longer work — although these tendencies may still futilely arise — and yet I have not yet learned how to navigate these waters. It is experienced as being thrust into the unknown, and tremendous fears and self-doubt arise again and again, interspersed with occasional merciful glimpses of what it is to live in utter freedom... and so much more. It is in times like this, that I realize I have no choice other than to rely on Vamadeva’s guidance and directives as my Guru, and this requires the utmost trust and faith... it is really a choice-less choice, for there is no turning back anymore... not that there ever was! It feels like this is the quintessential turning point in this work, where the true purpose of this sacred relationship is being revealed, and the “real” work begins...