I continued to read everything I could get my hands on concerning spiritual development, the practices of awareness and various Ways in general. In the early and mid-1990s, the assortment of spiritual and mystical books was far poorer than today, and I was able to buy a complete version of All and Everything, for example, only in 1997. Reading books of various orientations, I gradually realized that closest of all to my understanding – although it was not entirely clear where it came from – of the Way and the Work were the books of Idries Shah, in particular the Sufi parables published and adapted by him. I had an unexpected understanding of their levels of meaning; I would say that reading them opened in me a certain knowledge about whose source I myself did not have the slightest understanding. Then, as before, I did not know anything of the existence of the Uwaisi mystics, and had no idea that such a transmission of Knowledge was possible at all. Nevertheless, my interesting steadily leaned toward Sufism, and what is more, toward Islam, although I had no notion of becoming a devout Muslim, neither then nor later.
There is no disagreement that Sufism and the Sufi Way emerged and were formulated under the shadow of Islam. But no matter how much the orthodox wanted to leave everything as it was a thousand years ago, this will not be possible to do. Whatever does not develop then degrades. It simply will not work to live with experience received by other, completely different people living in other conditions. While Islam was developing, when it was on the rise, Sufism was developing. Now the situation has become different and the degradation noted in the majority of Sufi orders is obvious to everyone. In order to give Sufism a new impulse of development, it had to be brought out from under Islam, and this work was done by Idries Shah. The Way remains the same, but the forms of work on it are renewed, and the teaching is renewed in keeping with the times and the possibilities of understanding by modern people. Without this renewal, a collection of dogmas remains which no longer work, and the mystical part of the Sufi Way will finally be lost. People will speak correct words, sanctified by centuries, but will not have the experience relevant to them.
I went the entire Way up to the submission to the Will of God, practicing awareness. Mystical Knowledge of various degrees of significance began to be revealed to me approximately in 1996 but it did not play any decisive meaning in my practice. My level of understanding of many aspects related to the mystical side of life grew, but radical changes did not occur. Even so, I did not know the stages of the classic Sufi Way; even if perhaps I read about them, I did not lend them significance. The opening of the Heart for me was a complete surprise, and the possibility of submitting to the Will as well. Now I don’t remember precisely when the essence of the dream with Gurdjieff was revealed to me, and when I became aware that I had received a transmission from him, sending my entire search into a new direction. It seemed that this occurred already after the submission, but perhaps it was earlier. Simultaneously with this revelation, I realized that Gurdjieff himself was an Uwaisi mystic, and in fact belong to the Line of Transmission of the Uwaisi in the Naqshbandi Tradition, although Baha-ud-Din Naqshband himself was not at its sources at all. Then I began to sense the connection to this Line of Transmission, and through it, with the Tradition, although I could deal only with Gurdjieff himself, and no one else.
Approximately in 2008, Gurdjieff once again came to me in a dream, and in fact, came to me in a dream for three nights in a row. The first night, the dream was somehow insignificant, and now I can’t remember it at all. On the second night the dream was strange. In it, Gurdjieff and I were traveling in a limousine, the kind which is usually hired for weddings, and he was asking me something, and I was answering him. Gurdjieff was irritated, and did not hide this. We rode along together for about 20 minutes, then he asked the driver to stop and opened the door of the car. On the side of the road, there was a gypsy ensemble, who were invited into the back seat of the limousine, which immediately grew crowded. After that, without further ado, Gurdjieff pushed me out of the car, and the limousine drove away. It was a winter evening, and I sat on the snow and look after the departing car. Gurdjieff was about 50 years old in this dream.
The third dream that came to me the next night, was quite different. Gurdjieff appeared before me as an old man, as he became in the last years of his life. It was not very cold, autumn had just begun outside, but he was dressed in a black coat and an astrakhan hat. We sat on a bench near some sort of playground and talked. Gurdjieff radiated kindness, meekness, and I would say, love. He mainly did the talking, and I listened. Our conversation in the dream continued about two hours. He taught me certain things, and I understood that I received a certain additional transmission. When I awoke, I did not remember a word of what was said, but the feeling that something was transmitted to me remained.
I maintain that the Uwaisi transmission contains not only Knowledge, but the experience of the person who made it, and I am not just saying this – I was able to experience this myself in full measure. At first, before the dreams described above, Gurdjieff’s methods of work with people began to be revealed to me. The famous dinners, where Gurdjieff himself prepared the food, and at the same time conducted with individual people and a general influence on all those in attendance, did not have for us such a strict ritual form, and at times were not dinners but breakfasts but the essence of my interaction with students present at them was the same. I did not know how to cook at all, and suddenly, in early 2007, an interest in cooking appeared, and I very quickly mastered its basic principles. Furthermore, food preparation became for me a form of creativity, and in some way also a manifestation of the presence of certain superpowers. I felt the energy of the dish which I was making, and learned to infuse it with baraqa, because a number of spices and foods can absorb particularly well the energy of the person using them, and can also become a wonderful “conduit” of blessing. This knowledge came to me suddenly, just as I suddenly became a good cook. I prepared many eastern dishes, and it was absolutely clear to me that all my abilities that had been revealed in a mysterious fashion were the fruit of the Gurdjieff transmission. For more than a year, every day I prepared the most diverse dishes, making a special “sacred” food for holidays, infused with baraqa. At that time, our meetings with students around the table became more and more similar to Gurdjieff’s dinners. I must say that all of this ended as suddenly as it began. In 2008, I began to write books, and the theme of creativity related to food began to recede, and then the ability to sense its energy disappeared. Although the knowledge of the properties of various spices and foods, and also the ability to prepare them with a mixture of baraqa, of course remained.
I never tried to imitate Gurdjieff or conduct myself as he had. What was happening was assimilated one way or another by me in my own way, consistent with my individuality and the situation in which I was working. I began working with people a year and a half after I accepted the Will of God, and the principles of the organization of the study was dictated by it, and not the transmission of Gurdjieff. What I received from him thanks to the new dreams related only to my personal abilities which, essentially, had little influence on the general Work. After the dream of the talk with him on the playground, for example, the ability appeared for me to cast illusion on people – that is, to force them to see in me what I wanted. Ouspensky wrote about this ability of Gurdjieff, and I for a time also received it. I used the new power I had received two or three times, and in fact the first time, everything occurred spontaneously, and another few times it was for the sake of an experiment. Now, I don’t sense this power in myself, but even so, I practically didn’t use it even when I did have it. There were also manifestations of exactly the experience of Gurdjieff; it could be said that there was a certain transferal on me of his habits, but I do not see the point of writing about this in details.
Later, I received the ability to call on Gurdjieff directly. Perhaps, in the classic variation, it would be more correct to say that I called on the spirit of Gurdjieff, but I sensed this as if I was calling on a living person, even if he was not existing on the physical plane of our reality. A few times, I called on him for help in situations when I had wound up in a dead end in my individual work, and as far as I recall, always received help in one form or another. Several times, I had occasion to call on him with questions about the content of his teaching and the Work, and I also always received answers. Now there is no need for the one or the other, and I have not made contact with him for a long time.