The Mystic
and the Sage

Taj Inayat and Gayan Macher have experienced a rare and fruitful journey as collaborators, and as lifelong friends. Beginning in the 1980’s, they recognized a shared mission to help interpret the view given by Hazrat Inayat Khan for the contemporary Western mentality. Their emphasis has been on the development of the heart, which culminates in the integration of timeless being and the particular, lived life of the individual.

Each of them has unique gifts and a singular voice.

These could be best understood through the archetypes of the mystic and the sage. Their collaboration blends these into a richness greater than the sum of the parts.

Taj Inayat is the spiritual director of the Hurqalya Center and an initiate since 1967 in the Sufi Order International, now the Inayatiyya Order, a mystical and ecumenical fellowship rooted in the visionary legacy of Hazrat Inayat Khan. Three years after initiation she met Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan, head of the Order, and became his spiritual partner. They collaborated in the work until his death in 2004.

Taj served as Vice President of the Sufi Order International, as teacher/guide for many years before co-creating Sufi Retreats and New Rain, programs that carried on the teachings of Hazrat Inayat Khan.

Taj’s work is founded on a lifetime's attention to the human heart. Her capacity for supporting mystical awakening and self-knowing has grown out of her long experience as a spiritual guide in the transformative traditions of Sufism, Diamond Approach and Tibetan Buddhism. She is a minister in the Universal Worship Church and holds an MA in Counseling Psychology.

Gayan is a companion and guide to those who are called to the courageous path of love. He has practiced and taught the universal Sufism of Hazrat Inayat Khan his entire adult life. In addition, he has studied Buddhist practice, the Diamond Approach, and psychology, where he explored emerging understandings of the formation of the ego.

Gayan leads group retreats and has guided scores of individual students. He collaborated with Pir Zia Inayat Khan in designing Suluk Academy, and taught at Suluk for eight years. Along with Taj Inayat he created Sufi Retreats, and then New Rain, which became laboratories for the process of awakening and spiritual maturation.

A specialty of his work is leading Inner Guidance Groups, a process in which people learn the art of listening to the voice of truth and understanding coming from within.

Gayan also has a 40-year career as a consultant to executives of organizations, having worked with numerous Fortune 500 companies as well as non-profits of all sizes. Being a confidant to people in positions of significant responsibility has given him a front row seat for the study of leadership and human nature.

Among Gayan’s great loves is music. He plays guitar, and as a singer-song writer has recorded two CDs of original songs.

You can listen to this music here >

Shams Kairys has been a student and guide in the Inayatiyya for over 45 years, with ongoing engagement in the Kinship activity. He has worked with many innovative organizations and projects including Berkeley Area Interfaith Council, Meeting of the Ways, Creating Our Future, Seva Foundation, ReachingOut Project, EarthSave, Youth for Environmental Sanity, and Seven Pillars House of Wisdom.

His love of the natural world, and growing awareness of its degradation, moved him to focus on shedding light on the roots of the ecological crisis, while deepening our rapport with, protecting, and restoring the whole web of life.

He enjoys outings in nature with his son and friends, occasional flirtations with his violin, and working with authors as an independent editor.

Saki has been a student in the universal Sufi lineage of Hazrat Inayat Khan since 1974. He is a Healing Conductor and Shafayat in the Healing Activity of the Inayatiyya Order. Inspired by Sufi practice and perspectives, as an actor in Omega Theatre he performed and collaborated in the development of original experimental and improvisational works for children and adults including the Cosmic Celebration.

Saki earned a master’s degree in psychology from Lesley College and a doctoral degree in Psychological Education from the University of Massachusetts. He is an educator, writer, gardener, student in the Buddhist Insight Meditation tradition and pioneer in integrating meditation and mindfulness into medicine, health care, and the broader society. In 2017, he retired as professor of medicine, executive director of the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society and director of the internationally acclaimed Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

Guiding workshops, seminars, and retreats internationally, Saki is the author of Heal Thy Self: Lessons on Mindfulness in Medicine now translated into fourteen languages. He is the founder and director of the website and online spiritual community, Guest House, a Sufi-infused path of mindfulness, presence, and awakening in service to all.