G R A C E
written by a student of Igor Kufayev
In 1972, while living in Encinitas, California, my best friend introduced me to her cousin. He had just returned from Mallorca, Spain, where he learned how to teach Transcendental Meditation (TM) with His Holiness Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. After attending the lecture, I was initiated into TM. Within a few months, I had completed the Science of Creative Intelligence course (SCI), and enrolled in Maharishi International University (MIU) on the Santa Barbara, California campus. This was where I first met Maharishi. Sitting in his presence, I remember I could not sit still. I started twitching and almost falling off my chair. He instructed all of the students to go to Belgium for the TM Teacher Training Course, as part of the MIU curriculum, and of course, he would check in on us now and then. Over the next several years, I would be blessed by the Grace of Maharishi’s presence dozens of times—Six Month Advanced Course in Switzerland, MIU, TM Siddhi Course, New York, California, etc. Looking back, I had no idea how these profound encounters were affecting my life.
After a year or more at MIU, in Iowa, I moved to Flagstaff, Arizona to work at the small TM Center on the edge of the university campus. I was feeling pretty lucky and blessed at all the incredible experiences I had already had and I was just shy of 21 years old. A few years later, the drama and traumas of everyday life gave me plenty of material to test the degree of my, so-called, blessed state of mind. In the span of about fourteen months, I took care of my mother and watched her die, went to massage school, got divorced, had a custody battle, watched my grandfather, uncle, grandmother die, started a masters degree, got in a car wreck, and then my father died. This was the straw that broke the camel’s back. My life did not feel so blessed now. The losses were too much for me to meditate away. I knew the only way I would survive this is if I felt everything. No more spiritual bypassing. No more escaping. No more mood making. Sometimes I would start crying or bawling and then it would turn to laughter, then cry/laughing. Sometimes the crying and laughing were happening at the same time and I had to just let it take me over. The release was happening on its own. I could not make sense of it, but I made a promise to myself to feel everything and I did. The more I allowed myself to feel the pain, anger, jealousy, sorrow, grief—the less a grip it had on me. Each episodes turned into an act of surrender. This went on for years. I had not yet heard the term Dark Night of the Soul, but looking back now, I feel this is what I was going through.
Although I did not continue teaching TM, I always had an afternoon repose. Whether I was in the bottom of Grand Canyon or riding a train in Japan, I would take 20-30 minutes to close my eyes and allow the mantra to be there. Somewhere around the year 2000, when I would lay down and close my eyes, an energy would course through my body, lift my pelvis and back off the bed, arch my back and force a scream out of my mouth. At times the entire body was in the air. Different degrees and variations of this process still happen to this day. When I tried to seek answers to this phenomenon, no one seemed to know what I was talking about. During meditation, in 2016, I started experiencing spontaneous movements, yoga postures and breathing that took over on its own. These experiences were never discussed in TM, so I decided to look on the internet and that’s when I found Igor Kufayev Vamadeva. Immediately, I felt relief and a deep sense of gratitude, because he also studied with Maharishi and we shared a common knowledge and Teacher. I set up a Skype meeting and planned to attend the next Immersion.
The Immersion with Vamadeva was not what I was expecting, but it was not that different from practicing the TM Siddhi techniques. Sitting to meditate with Vamadeva, I also noticed I could not sit still. Immediately a series of movements and sensations were pulsating throughout my body. This was more noticeable now than before. Although I had heard of Kundalini from the Vamadeva’s YouTube videos, I still didn’t fully believe that it was happening in me. Somewhere, deep within, an intense energy started coursing through my body, which I later learned was Prana Shakti. My head and neck were pulled back and I could not put my head in an upright position. These were called locks or bandhas. Also, the breath had its own designs and took over in spite of me not wanting it to “look” so contorted. These are called spontaneous pranayamas. During the meditation, I witnessed my body spontaneously being flung into twists, turns, deep breathing, yoga postures—and then the sounds came. The spontaneous sound came out of mouth and through my body, but I was not doing it. At times the sound was more like a howl. Time and time again the sound and vibrations came through. To me, it was neither pleasant or unpleasant, it was something that was just happening. At first, I chalked everything up to stress release, because that’s what we called it in TM. I told myself: my body must be releasing a lot of old stresses before I can sit down and have a quiet meditation. But Vamadeva has taught us that it is so much more than that. He has offered us a new language to put these experiences into perspective. Kundalini is so much more than just life force energy. It IS the Self.
Maharishi often said, “Knowledge is different in different stages of consciousness.” It feels as if a qualitative shift in consciousness is taking place. In the past, I had gotten stuck on the words, “Cosmic Consciousness.” I used to think that my awareness would be out in the cosmos 24/7, but that is not the case. As this body and psyche continues to purify more and more unprocessed information, I feel as if I am living more in my body than ever before. Tantra teaches us that this is all One. There is nothing that is not awareness. Vamadeva has been like a blanket of knowledge and Grace wrapped around me to usher in new realms and new realizations. He has been there constantly to answer questions, relieve doubts, and give a new vocabulary to the experiences. Though the terminology is sometimes different than the the terminology Maharishi uses, the message is the same. The goal is the same—Self Realization.
As the meditations continue, at times I am everywhere and everyone; sometimes I am nothing; sometimes I am no better than a chickpea or as strong as a warrior—and all of them at once. Even though, at times, I feel expansive and realize I am all of these, I always come back to the reality of my small self, wrapped up in the duties of everyday life—but now with a constant hum and quiver. It is in the small duties that I find joy: working in the garden, cooking, washing dishes or collecting eggs. Vamadeva speaks in a way that connects to everyday life. He is down to earth, and as a householder and parent himself, he speaks from the direct experience of the joys and dilemmas of a realized human being living in the world. “Consciousness” or “God” is not something ‘”out there” to be obtained. It is not forgoing the world, it is living in the world.
The blessings are manifold and every act is a source of joy, and all is possible through the Grace of the Teacher.
Jai Guru Dev
G.M., student of Igor Kufayev, United States, December 2021.
Image: The author in spontaneous mudras during a meditation session at a 7-day immersion with Igor Vamadeva at Buena Vibra, Tepotzlan, Mexico, January 2019. Courtesy of Flowing Wakefulness.