PEACE BEGINS HERE – Reconciliation in Times of Calamity
In this conversation with Amrita Ma Devi, founder of Ayurveda Anytime, Igor Kufayev speaks to the current crisis that the collective is undergoing right now and what it means to uphold Consciousness during such times from the greater Vedic perspective. Transcribed from a livestream with Amrita Ma Devi, recorded in Mallorca, Spain, October 2023.
Igor Kufayev: So first of all, I would like to begin this direct communication by acknowledging what is happening in the world right now. And to say that our hearts and our prayers are for all victims of this terrible, terrible conflict that is unfolding and has been unfolding in the Middle East between Israelis and the Palestinian people. And of course, we’re not here to discuss the reasons and ramifications, take sides or delve into the cause of that conflict. Although that being said, we will touch on the root cause of all problems. And I just wanted to begin this by acknowledging and expressing this heartfelt prayer for all those who have been affected since the outbreak of that last Saturday—I think this one was on the 5th of October. And of course, not only from what happened recently but the ongoing struggle of the people of that region. And we understand that that in itself is yet another proof of how collective consciousness affects us individually, each and every one of us, behind the scenes by virtue of us being one and only Consciousness.
So that of course calls to question the identity of individual existence, which in turn influences and impacts the collective. And this perhaps will also be a very fitting opening into this impromptu gathering, in terms of the importance of having that harmony, here and now, in our own neurophysiology, in our own body—in the body as the totality of our Being. Because when we speak of the body, Amrita and I speak from it from the paradigm of the Vedic perspective, which is the totality of our existence. It’s not just the body as the physiology; it is the body, which is made out of all the layers, all the way to that which unites us in that field—into the one and only Consciousness.
So this is yet another reminder of the importance of how it is here, each and every one of us experiencing this reality. Because what happens in the Middle East right now, and in many other parts of the world—but most acutely right now in the Middle East—affects all of us irrespective of whether we switch on the news or not. It affects us from behind the scenes. But it’s not a one-way affair: it affects us also by virtue of us also impacting the collective consciousness because collective consciousness is a phenomenon that is made out of the sum total of all vibrations as human beings. So these conflicts, wherever they may find their outlet, in whatever part of the world, are indications that some stress, some deep traumas, did not find its way to metabolise itself and be integrated into the fabric of our Consciousness. And here we go trying to find solutions at the surface level of affairs, endlessly locked in struggles of who is right, who is wrong, who started it and so forth. Whereas applying the wisdom of perennial traditions, all this begins here and nowhere else. It begins here, in each and every one of us.
So I feel like this to be an opening to the conversation that Amrita and I will have. And Amrita facilitated this, she invited me to take part in this new enterprise for me: this live on Instagram. And maybe now Amrita would speak a bit more to that, from the perspective which is dear to her heart, and dear to all of us in terms of understanding the importance of balancing the body, the mind and the nervous system as a whole.
Amrita Ma Devi: Thank you Igor for capturing the tone, which I believe is a very insightful one. So, in a world where injustices are prevalent and various energies have an impact on us, how does this relate to our ability to feel safe in our own bodies amidst what is happening on a collective level? It may be manifesting as aggression or violence – something that is taking you out of being and feeling more whole and peaceful. How can we connect with our bodies on a deeper, spiritual level to truly feel safe and at home within ourselves?
Igor: Well, it is a paradoxical question because we really don’t connect to our body: we are our body. We are the body of Consciousness, and therefore, as a totality of that expression, our body is not something external nor internal to us. And though there are these, let’s say, quite coined out terms, an “avatar” that people often in New Age spirituality employ when they speak about the body—that the body is this kind of avatar-like conglomerate that we as Consciousness wear, so to speak—this to me seems as a metaphor which falls short to the acuity and the importance of understanding that, as Consciousness, we are this physiology as an expression of Consciousness. And this is very important; this is what is perhaps one of the most extraordinary messages, an extraordinary perspective that Vedic Science is known for. And then of course, this can also be found in many other Perennial Traditions, but in Vedic Science in particular, in Vedic culture, this is known to be the ultimate understanding of the nature of what our body is.
So, in other words, our body here is an expression of Consciousness. So when we have that understanding, it means that there is no such thing as connecting to the body—that is already a given. With that being said, of course, even if that was the given platform of understanding, there is a lot more that goes on in terms of what is the nature of our experience. And the nature of our experience is determined by a lot of the factors that go into the making of that which is the birthright, of that which is already a reality of being a divine or cosmic expression in this body, in this neurophysiology. And yet, because of that complexity of how we are in terms of its expression, whatever goes out of sync somewhere, begins to play itself out.
And when something goes out of sync, if it is not adjusted or remedied, then it’s only a matter of time before the whole system, as it were, is thrown into havoc. So the connection between neurophysiology and our well-being is unbreakable; therefore, we can never separate consciousness from the body. And this is very important; this is perhaps the next frontier of understanding in modern spiritual circles, in the New Age, where Vedic knowledge has a lot to say in terms of that connection, in terms of that which seems to be and should be a seamless experience of who we are, with nothing really that can throw it in disarray. In reality, that’s not the case. In reality, there are so many factors that are influencing the way we are, the way we feel and think; and that in turn, of course, impacts our well-being. Great attempts are made at separating the wheat from the chaff as they say, to give that understanding, “Well, you are not the body. You are not the senses. You are not this, you’re not that” so as to peel this multi-layered structure of what it means to be embodied, to what is known as one and the only light of Awareness. But this is easier said than done, and a lot of times falls short, or rather, is arrested at the level of mental exercise.
This is where the importance of these methodologies and the importance of the therapeutic application of Ayurveda comes in. Because this is where we, as it were, work at both ends: we work at the level of Consciousness and we work at the level of physiology. Because they are inseparable. Affecting physiology is affecting our Consciousness; affecting Consciousness affects our physiology, neurophysiology. So this is the Vedic approach to well-being because well-being is often spoken of in terms of just “Well, I’m Consciousness, therefore, it doesn’t matter how this body is. I can dissociate from this body”. That is an erroneous misunderstanding that we need to repair.
Amrita: Indeed, it is. Now, let’s talk about the challenges. Many people struggle with past traumas affecting their sense of safety. What spiritual practices or exercises help in healing these kinds of traumatic wounds?
Igor: Well, when we speak from the level of Consciousness and introduce a Consciousness-based understanding and paradigm, we need to find a way of hacking consciousness. Hacking—which is slang used by technocrats but also used, funnily enough, in academic worlds by people who have this understanding that we need to find the quickest possible way to connect to the level of that unified field, to connect to Being, even though, as has been said from the get-go, we are an expression of Being, we are Being, we are Consciousness, we are Awareness. I AM, that is, even more accurately put— because Consciousness is never spoken in terms of plural; it is only spoken in terms of singular. That’s the true definition of Oneness. So each and every one of us is experiencing this reality in an intimately subjective manner, and that’s the confirmation of that singular quality of experience.
However, despite the fact we are this Being and Awareness, our individual experiences are shaped by the multiplicity of expressions through which Consciousness perceives itself. Each one of us effectively embodies a unique facet of this expression, granting Consciousness a multitude of perspectives upon itself—perspectives that are infinite in number. In other words, it is impossible to assign a finite quantity to the POVs through which Consciousness perceives itself.
To truly know oneself as Consciousness, to recognise oneself as the field, and to identify oneself as that constantly vibrant field of awareness, one must engage in meditation and become skilled in its practice. This is where it all begins. Meditation is the inherent ability of the mind to transcend itself. Meditation practices are built on the understanding that the mind, in its essence, serves as a perfect instrument of Consciousness, designed to reflect Consciousness in perfect measure.
The challenge arises when the mind is disturbed by incessant activity and pulled into the sphere of experience, where the mind’s fluctuations and our awareness are absorbed by various forms and phenomena. At that point, it becomes much more difficult to find that sense of utter and entire peace, tranquillity, bliss, beatitude, balance, and harmony. It’s as though we are taken out of ourselves. Therefore, the mind needs to settle down. This principle holds true in the yoga of any culture, in any phase, and during any period of any perennial expression. Any spiritual tradition, if it is genuinely holistic, will always emphasise the need for the mind to settle down.
So, this is why meditation is the first step towards that which then will begin to bring the possibility for harmony to be restored, and then in turn by the Ayurvedic principle of “like increases like” the possibility for doing the right thing, as it were, implementing Consciousness-based aspects into one’s life, becomes that much easier. Because we already touched that level of what we are, who we are. We’ve touched that level of Being, to whatever degree. So then it’s just natural that people begin to be more conscious of what they eat, how they entertain themselves, what they do on a daily basis, and where they direct their attention. So this is where I felt like responding very clearly—hacking consciousness is the first step.
Amrita: Speaking of tools, are there any specific crystals, mantras, or rituals that can enhance our journey to feeling safe within our own bodies?
Igor: Well, there are many different ways. You know that the work here unfolds from the perspective of Tantra. So the umbrella that has been consciously chosen for the work that I do, that we do, is Tantra. And Tantra is, effectively speaking, a method, a methodology; it’s how-to. It’s tan-tra. It’s expanding Consciousness, how to expand one’s Awareness. And it’s not just an intellectual path of self-inquiry—although it incorporates that of course—but it implements every hook and crook, as they say, every nook and cranny, whatever is available, whatever is out there that one can work with, so as to bring that balance and to achieve that goal. And the goal here is the expansion of Awareness, the expansion of one’s Consciousness. So Tantra utilises all and it’s very rich in its methodologies. So when it comes to how to feel safer or how to feel at home or how to feel at ease in any given moment in time in any situation, there are many different ways—and we already stated that meditation is that port of call. But then, we begin to understand that everything that, effectively speaking, can be seen as an offering and food for Consciousness; everything can be seen in terms of nourishment.
So, whatever we nourish ourselves with, at whatever level, goes into that which either propitiates us, strengthens us from within, keeps the balance in place; or creates dissonance, disharmony, and all the other ‘dis’- that we can mention here, by virtue of going against the grain of how, what and why we are here as that expression. So therefore, of course, we don’t want to just immediately jump into do’s and don’ts, because there is also a very well-known Ayurvedic paradigm. That is, what is poison for someone can be ambrosia for another. What ambrosia may be of no use to someone; it will only act as a poison. It all depends on a given moment in time, circumstance and situational setup of how it will work.
A perfect example, as you know very well, is if one’s digestion is out of whack, one can be invited to a feast where the most extraordinary food is on offer—when, as it were, heaven itself is pouring down its mana on to your plate—but if one’s digestion is not there, it’s of no use whatsoever. It’s completely and utterly missed; it’s not going to nourish and propitiate anything. So this is where we’re entering that quantum realm of how everything is interconnected. And so therefore, the wisdom of the sages and the wisdom of the ages speaks of that which is appropriate at a given moment in time: what could be poison in disguise of goodness, and likewise, what can be transformed by virtue of our capacity to transform everything into the goodness that we are.
Amrita: This season according to Ayurveda is all about “letting go”. So again, in the body, we’re getting rid of what no longer serves us, we are becoming lighter in this way by doing practices which help us to lighten our load, getting rid of what doesn’t serve and removing it from our environment and removing it from our physical body. This is another tool to help us to heal ourselves from trauma because we have so many undigested impressions—what we see every day, an overload of impressions that come into us—and so just choosing the right impressions can bring us to a place of safety within ourselves and bring us back into a space of being in our core, which is wholeness, love, and joy. So these are some of the suggestions of how to get really practical in our fast-paced world, but how can we maintain a sense of sacredness and safety within ourselves amidst the chaos of daily life?
Igor: A tricky question—easier said than done. Certainly not something to speak of as an easy target, an easy goal. Because by virtue of the way life has become, by virtue of the way we live right now, that which only a short while ago was at the level of, let’s say, conversation, ideas, possibilities—this world of continued evolution of technological advancement, in terms of the means of communication, gadgets and devices that can be used, and with the final kind of frontier of what is spoken of as the possibility of merging of the artificial intelligence and human consciousness—it’s becoming increasingly difficult to find that balance between what we actually experience, what we actually want, what we actually are as a result, and that which is at the mercy of constant going, constantly being pushed to our limits, with having to catch up with it all; there is this pressure.
And of course, for some it may seem like, “Well, what’s the big deal? This is just the reality of how we are”. Our children already cannot imagine—those who I’m talking about grew up with the devices, grew up with this possibility where everything is at the tip of their fingers—they don’t know any difference. They don’t know how it was before; that’s their reality. That’s how they live, so someone might shrug his shoulders and say, “What’s the big deal?” So this, if I understand your question correctly, if I understand really what we’re talking about here if we are to speak about this in a truly insightful manner, we are standing at a very, very peculiar, at a very important perhaps threshold of how to find a way to still manage that necessity of what it means to be alive—unless we somehow have adopted the perspective that “This is indeed a spacesuit that we wear, an avatar to be discarded, and there an upgraded suit that awaits us, perhaps with the help of artificial intelligence. And then all these troubles and worries we have, all these talks about keeping the necessity for balance, are not there. We’re going to discard an avatar and upgrade our consciousness, upload our consciousness”. If someone believes that there is this reality, then there is nothing for me to say, nothing for me to comment on. But if, basing all this on my own experiences, of what it means to be alive here and now—as Awareness experiencing this very moment—the importance of this is simply impossible to really, really speak enough [on] and convey enough of how it is, and the value of culturing our senses, culturing our mind, the ability to experience, honing the senses, disciplining the senses. All this goes together, not for the sake of some kind of unforetold future; no, [it is] so that we can experience reality here, in this very moment, in this very body, to its fullness.
As you have noticed in the direction of the work that I do, what has been increasingly pointing towards is the importance of being fully present and fully available to what we are going through here and now, in each and every given moment. And for that, we are required to be fully present entirely, entirely through all our systems, through all our pores and cells.
So, in other words, in order to vibrate as Awareness, in order to be able to be fully present whilst at the same time transcend all experiences—being fully present and yet beyond it all—it is required that there is this balance, there is this dance, that there is this balance between being out there in the world, showing the face, being fully aware of what is happening, this and that, but does that affect that balance, can I keep that balance? Am I remaining within my centre within the Heart? Am I being pulled out, scattered around, and then I cannot recollect myself, and all the rest goes now into haywire?
So this brings us, takes us back to where we started, that prayer for those affected by whatever cataclysmic event, whatever calamities—man-made or so-called nature-made—one way or another, it boils down to how you and I experience reality right now, right here. Are we assisting our own peace, happiness, sense of tranquillity, and fulfilment? If we are, we’re doing our job, we’re doing our part. We are like those villagers of Vrindavan helping Krishna, who stands for consciousness, to hold the mountain—with our sticks and with our little, as it were, so seemingly insignificant actions. But of course, we know the complexity of that [story] here from the Bhagavata Purana is that each and every one who is there helping Krishna out of love for Consciousness to hold it, [whereas] Krishna obviously, effortlessly holds it because that’s what Awareness is—Consciousness achieves everything effortlessly. And yet, we’re doing our part, we are there holding that stick, helping Krishna. So this mutual connection, the relationship of individual and cosmic—finite and infinite—is reflected here and now. So I don’t know if I’m taking it elsewhere somehow and being carried away.
Amrita: I think that’s a beautiful and wonderful insight, and I love the way that you frame the story. Do you want to share with those who haven’t heard the story of Krishna in the villages in Vrindavan?
Igor: Well, just to make it simple, these are the deeds and the life of Krishna. Krishna is one of the incarnations of Vishnu. Krishna is one of the avatars, one of the great ten incarnations, according to, let’s say, the Vedic belief system. But it’s not just the belief system—there is this whole evolutionary unfoldment because all the ten incarnations of Vishnu are an evolutionary unfoldment of Consciousness in form. With the first one as a fish, and then as a turtle, and then as this and that, half-man half-animal… until it becomes a fully-formed human, prince, warrior and so forth. Krishna is the first incarnation of Vishnu which is fully God; in other words, a full divine expression. All of them are divine, from fish to turtle to Narasima, to Parashurama, to Rama—all of them are divine. But in Krishna, as it were, if we are to go by that, the divine fully incarnates in actual form. So that even the appearance, the namarupa, the form of Krishna, he is in the colour of the dark, pregnant with rain, cloud, as the scripture describes him. He has this dark bluish kind of appearance, like Consciousness, you see?
So the Bhagavata Purana is just that ancient Indian scripture which gives the story and life of Krishna’s birth to his last days; a full account of him being in human form, as a full expression of the divine. So this is how at least [it is seen in] that particular perspective. And that moment in time is when Krishna holds the mountain of Vrindavan, because there is this necessity to save all that which is now being threatened in that particular situation. I don’t want to go into the details, but just to give this [quick overview]: so Krishna’s task there is to hold that mountain entirely, and villagers are seeing what Krishna is doing there in order basically to save them, to help them, to protect them. They are overwhelmed with compassion, devotion and empathy—and they all rush under that mountain—and even the elderly, using their staff, which they use to help them walk, point upwards to help Krishna hold that mountain of Vrindavan.
So, I’ve given this a couple of times before as an analogy of that connection. And that connection here is not to be seen as, “Oh, how sweet and how naive the actions of these villagers trying to help Consciousness, which is one and the only agent, one and the only mover and shaker”. No, the lesson here, of course, and the beauty of that metaphor here, is in that mutual connection between the divine and the individual. And it’s very heart-based, very beautiful. And of course, it’s something to reflect on; it’s not just an analytical example to scrutinise and forget about. It’s to reflect on how in each and every given moment, whatever happens out there on the grandiose, on the monumental scale, whoever holds that mountain, whoever carries the main burden, the weight of it all by virtue of them being capable of doing that—because that’s the one and only mover and shaker—each and every one of our actions counts, as portrayed, as illustrated, by that episode, as that encounter. Even little children try to do their part. Elderly, everyone, female, male—everyone. Capable and incapable, healthy and crooked—everyone there is helping Krishna to carry that weight. So, each and every one of us adds the part. Adds, adds, adds towards that tipping point in Consciousness—at all times.
So for example, one can speak even about the necessity of taking care of one’s own well-being—which can be seen as a selfish affair. It’s not a selfish affair. It’s our duty! In a way, in Veda, the human physiology, neurophysiology, this embodiment, is not seen as some kind of my thing, my body, my life. These are very Western, perhaps even more recent in history, perspectives. The Vedic understanding—and a perennial understanding per se, not just Vedic—any tradition we delve into, we will find the echoes of exactly that paradigm: that we as the embodiment of Awareness, as the embodiment of Consciousness, are not here dealing with some kind of personal affair, or whatever the affair; it’s a cosmic affair, at any given moment. So, taking care of one’s well-being, having balance here at home, in one’s own neurophysiology, is assisting the entirety of creation; and disregarding and kind of like “Well, my body, I do as I please”, is just the sign of ignorance, sign of mis-understanding—simply missing something here, missing something which is so obvious and so profound and so important. Because our life on a collective level unfolds still within that paradigm of “I do as I please”. And so this perspective of artificial intelligence now is the next frontier, it’s a continuation of that same very individualistic affair.
Amrita: Or that “I am better than nature, or I can somehow control nature”, rather than to align with nature.
Igor: Exactly. Instead of working with nature, forcing upon nature; instead of actually adhering to the laws of nature, which we are an expression of, there is this continued attempt at fortifying, forcing, at times in a very aggressive way. And therefore, whenever these conflicts erupt in the world, when it bleeds, when it casts a shadow, when it makes us feel heavy in the heart… Have empathy, for the cause of that, the root cause of that, is because there are unmetabolised stresses at the collective level that find their way in the events of the world, where they erupt in a catastrophic manner as we are witnessing right now.
– Igor Kufayev, Mallorca, Spain. October 2023
Photos: Courtesy of Flowing Wakefulness