This sharing is dedicated to Charles William Wells, affectionately known as Charlie, who passed away at age 86 in Sedona on January 10th. A retired Catholic priest whose search for truth led him to co-found the Integral Sedona, Charlie was a dear friend of our teacher Igor and his partner Amrita Ma. Our thoughts and prayers are with his spiritual family in Sedona — his close friends who accompanied his final transition — and held him in their love and friendship.
Many of us cherish very precious memories of the time spent at Charlie’s hospitable home, which served as headquarters for the Sedona Integral group. In the Spring, Igor and his family were housed at Charlie’s, and later that year, he warmly opened his home for Igor and close companions on this journey to spend time at his residence.
Charlie was a man of exceptional generosity, kindness, playfulness, and curiosity for life, and with a deep interest in his fellow human beings. Meals were shared together in his garden, and most of the time, his close friends from Sedona, Kriss, Jose, Lynn and Mary would be there with us, joining in passionate and inspiring conversations on spirituality and the hidden, mysterious aspects of life.
Despite the fact that the cooking crew turned Charlie’s small kitchen upside down more than once — creating utter chaos in the process of cooking an impromptu meal for all the drop-in guests — he kept passing through, always with a ready charming and genuine smile and laughter, enjoying the spontaneity of the moment. Not only did Charlie win all of our hearts, he also was dearly loved by Igor and Amrita’s children Ramana and Keahnu. Keahnu even left his stuffed animal, named Elephanter, at the foot of Charlie’s bed to watch over him.
The mosaic of images below show Charlie, along with Igor, Amrita Ma, the children and some of his dear friends in the chapel of his home, in his garden and during Igor’s interview with Lilou Macé while in Sedona.
When the news of Charlie’s declining health was conveyed to Igor and his sangha by Charlie’s close friend José, Igor felt compelled to write to Charlie — and the letter was read to him the very night he breathed his last. It was a miracle for all of us to learn that he was still fully conscious at that time and that he smiled when seeing the images which Igor had sent along with his moving text. Here are the ending passages of that letter:
“…Your willingness to share your joy, curiosity and passion for life, being of service to others, would make these final moments filled with friends at your side whose hearts are bound to be broken. And for a good reason. What can be said to a man like you who has seen it all, and more? Not only that, the man who has seen it all yet remained in a playful mode — this is indeed a rare gift of Mother Nature.
Fear not of what to come as this time of transition is as magical as life can be. Connect to your breath as much and as delicately as you can. The breath is God… has always been, in disguise of a living being. Relinquish any longings for anything but God; may the Light of God be your only point of attention. Nothing matters any longer. Nothing ever did anyway, it only seemed that way, even if so intensely. Connect to your breath. Merge with it, let your mind and all the thoughts be dissolved in the pure firmament of your own immortal Essence. However long this may take is not up to us, it is between you and God. Give yourself completely and utterly to that what is, and what is beyond anything that can be said about it. Enjoy these moments in utter detachment from any longing. And when the final hour nears may your soul be bathed in the Light of your own Self, as the Self…”
It is a profound, but very simple, direct reminder that nothing under the sun is forever; but that does not mean that we don’t give ourselves entirely to what this life is. This life is nothing other than love. In fact, the very term “life” could be seen as really an excuse — a grand pretext. Something is existentially here to experience this love — and if we do not experience this love, then we may not live. We might as well have wasted the precious gift of life. So there are no recipes and there are no safety nets, no safety valves. Hence, recognize that — and love. Nothing is forever. Everything is impermanent. Everything comes and goes… and yet the only permanent thing here is that, which contains us at all times — which keeps us whole at all times, which keeps us sane at all times — and that is Love. That is the quality — the primal quality of our awareness. There are different ways with which we can address God, different ways which we can speak of the Absolute. There are different ways how we can relate to that which is our essential nature. And Love is one of them; God, Love, Self, Absolute… are all synonymous; they stand for the same thing. Become comfortable with that impermanence — with the fact that everything is literally a temporal manifestation… and it is gone. It is here and then it is gone. One moment someone who is dear to us is here — and then the breath is gone. The life-force left this body. Nothing is forever, yet knowing that — love. Love, because you have no choice; because there is no other option, there is no other choice. It is the simplest philosophy of life. The simplest and the noblest in my understanding — because it is only when we love that we live…
— Igor Kufayev
In loving memory and gratitude for our friendship which lives on deep within the Heart.
Jai Guru Dev
Flowing Wakefulness Sangha on behalf of Igor and Amrita Ma Devi