“Nikolai, tell me as a friend, if I write to Ruslan and ask him to be my teacher is that normal?”

“Konstantin, he’s a writer, he’s not going to eat you. If he writes back, great, if he doesn’t—what will you have lost?”

Ruslan replied to me. “I do not know whether or not I can teach you, let us meet in Moscow and then we shall see.”

“Alright, but what should I do in the meantime? It’s another month till I’ll be in Moscow.” 

“You could try vipassana.”

I downloaded a couple of dozen explanations of vipassana but it didn’t make a damn bit of sense to me. Everyone writes in their own way, and so many details you can’t get anywhere with them. It’s like the people writing them can’t see the wood for the trees. Fine, take them and do it, you can figure it out.

My attention drifts back and forth, my stream of consciousness doesn’t stop for a second either; where should I focus my attention? How do you stop your stream of consciousness? I try focusing my attention on my nose, where the air comes out, I’ll be damned if I can keep it there. I focus on the air coming in and out, not a damn thing happens. Alright I’ll carry on tomorrow.

I focus my attention inside my head, on the inside wall of my own forehead and try to hold it there, but it shifts all the same. What’s that shelf on the inside of my forehead? Hell knows. I try to place my attention on that shelf, as though it were resting on it. But what’s that light that came up from below, that state like ecstasy?

“Dear Ruslan, can you tell me what that light is that comes up from below, as though a projector were shining through smoke? What should I do with that light?” 

“Don’t do anything, don’t pay any attention to it, it’s only a side effect.”

I’m sitting looking at the inside wall of my forehead, my attention rests there as though on that shelf, all the while it tries to escape and I return it seamlessly to the shelf. When the light begins to come, that state of ecstasy arises. I had been in that state a few times before, when I used to do those exercises of mine with the chi.

Today is Sunday, I will sit and hold my attention on that shelf until something happens. Or I die, or there must be some effect, there must be some reason why everyone’s writing about this vipassana, surely? Ten minutes, twenty minutes, thirty minutes. What’s happened to me? Has my head melted inside or something? There was snow there and now it’s melted right to the shoulders. Okay, let’s go for a smoke. I don’t understand a damn thing, what happened to my vision? I see clearly out of the right-hand side, but straight on and to the left it’s like looking through clear fabric.

“Dear Ruslan, can you tell me what happened to my vision?”

“Konstantin, I am writing about the effect of 3D-vision in this book, it happens, and it will pass.”

Vipassana. Twenty minutes. Something strange happens, the shelf on the inside of my forehead has gone, now I can hold my attention on the whole head and it doesn’t drift around. Why? Because your whole body has been packed up with snow, so there’s no space left to stuff your attention into. But now the snow in your head has melted, and your attention can sit there peacefully. Look—the snow has melted on your left shoulder, too, and you can focus your attention there now as well. Sooner or later the snow is going to melt everywhere inside you and your attention will be everywhere too.

What’s going on here? Blood starts running out of my nose, something that’s never happened before in my life. Shove your fears up your ass, take some toilet paper and sit there with it. Do the practice and although you may die, you might also go on living. It wasn’t by accident that God sent you his cross from the Moon, you are now under God’s protection.

I flew into Moscow, and Ruslan and I arranged to meet at a café. I got to the café, ordered a coffee. Ruslan arrived, sat opposite me, took a look at me and asked, “How did you kill your ego?” 

“I don’t know, it just died… Would you sign my copy of The Keys to Awareness?”

“Sure, I’ll sign it, come over to Tver, we’ll agree a time on the phone.”

Tver—there it is, not sure where to go next, I’ll take this taxi driver, I guess, tell him the address and go with him.

There’s a little cottage there, clean, quiet, photographs on the wall, in this cottage lives Sergei. Ruslan demonstrated some practices, Sergei recorded them on video, I uploaded them onto a memory stick, it didn’t all make sense yet but I’d figure it out—there would be time on the project, a whole seventy-five days.

We sat down, had something to eat, drank tea. My back was really hurting, Sergei had done it to me, he cracked my spine and my neck.

I went back to the project and started performing the practices. I gave the video to Nikolai, and he started doing it too. I think I was entering the stage of Growth.