Disclaimer: While at the time this was written statements in this article were true for me, I’ve since discovered a ‘guru’ can also be a reason to hide from my own inner-teacher and truth. The slippery slope of enchantment in another (no different in many ways to falling in love) leads inexorably to unrealistic expectations and pedestaling.
I always say, “I am a person not a perfection. But perfection can shine through my person.” Sometimes a teacher forgets they are not perfection but only a vehicle for it–– especially when students relinquish their own heart-knowing in exchange for blind adherence to an authority.
Igor Kufayev, mentioned at the end of this article, is no longer my teacher. That does not mean his teaching is of no value. It simply means the relationship was no longer serving my own unfoldment. (July 22, 2014…Feast of the St. Mary Magdalen Day.)
I’ve been mostly silent for much of last year when it comes to these ‘dispatches from beyond the dream” I’ve been playing hard to get, giving Vast Stillness the slip by being so damn busy I’ve looked a lot like a human doing, running on the old achievement treadmill at a breakneck pace.
For, one, I have been chopping a lot of wood, carrying a whole lot of water in my every day life as an editor at the Good Men Project, heading up a new section I created called Good for the Soul.
And in the early half of the 2013, a whole six months were spent in a failed launch of a magazine called Rebelle Sex, devoted to “reclaiming our inherent sexual innocence.” In that whirlwind, I was swept up in the healing of an ancestral line rife with the whole range of shadow material, from rampaging frigidity on my mother’s side to cover-ups of the homosexual, pedophilic elements a few generations up the patriarchal line. In that family system script, I’d cast myself in the antiscript role of the one championing “freedom of sexy speech” just to balance it all out.
Looking back, I can see how the orchestra of my ancestral “karma” kept on playing even as the Titanic of the Personal Identity had already sunk. It reminds me of Adyashanti’s comment that post awakening, even though the foot goes off the gas pedal of “me” the vehicle of our limited self identity still has momentum.
And then, just when I began to wonder if I’d veered into a swamp of re-identification, just when the way was looking foggy at best, I bumped into a guide. It’s Hero’s Journey 101, that moment when a wizard/good witch/wise old man or woman shows up to re-orient our hero who is lost in the maze.
In this case, the guide looks like a teacher named Igor Kufayev, who I dreamed of in great detail in March of 2012, the day before I “discovered” that this dream figure was a real life person being interviewed by Rick Archer on his Buddha at the Gas Pump show. (The show was posted the day after my dream).
In the wake of this discovery, I email corresponded with Igor (whose spiritual name is Vamadeva, or “preserving aspect of Shiva in his peaceful, graceful and poetic form”) for almost a year, on and off. I considered him an ally on the awakening journey, but as my writing and editing began to take off, and I followed up less and less wth our connection, he gently suggested perhaps I was not really seeking guidance or was not ready to engage with a teacher.
He was right. I was so sure I had it all figured out. Because for me, at least, the magnitude of the awakening had decimated the seeker in me, and had (even as I was so darn busy doing) pretty well also ended the suffering self. And isn’t it suffering that animates the seeker seeing relief? To me, a spiritual guide or teacher seemed redundant.
And yet, this teacher kept appearing in my dreams (over the months without real life contact) with messages and more. Finally, through a Facebook message from Igor’s wife suggesting I attend a retreat, we met in California in December where he was leading a three day immersion. My decision to attend was sudden– and everything lined up effortlessly, including my usually hard to book airmiles plan.
It’s six months and two retreats later as I write this. I’ve been hosting Igor and his family in my home for the last month, having brought Igor to Vancouver to teach. Having your enlightened teacher live with you is a whole other order of experience. It’s like an intensive immersion the field of Grace while at the same time, so utterly and beautifully ordinary.
What I am seeing for me, is this: There is a momentum toward integration that happens post realization of true nature (which is a doorway, not a destination), and this movement can be stopped, slowed or accelerated depending on the circumstances. Ideally, post awakening, there probably should be a spiritual nursery for newly hatched beings, but Western contemporary non-duality makes no provisions for this tender time. (In fact, the non-duality crowd like to pretend there is no awakening, because there is no-one to awaken, but more on that another time).
Having a teacher who has travelled that path of integration, who is spiritually literate and this case, a vessel for grace, is a blessing. It’s like winning the spiritual lottery and this is one jackpot of crazy good fortune that fills me with overflowing gratitude.
I will be writing about more in the next few weeks from this chapter of my story, where I get to play the role of student, a role filled with discovery, devotion and gratitude.
Awareness is here, with a guide by her side….
Photo: Igor, his beloved wife Emma, and me.
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