Opening to the new year in a vibration of love
The Year of the Mysterion

At the core of our humanness is a Mysterion (“Secret”, sirr in Arabic), a divine imperative and yearning. Whenever a human being honors that yearning and undertakes a sincere endeavor toward truth, beauty and love, all the heavens turn in his or her direction…

If, besides the animal senses, we did not have a bit of heaven within us, then would human nature have any dignity? Isn’t our true value derived from our ability to connect to this pure dimension of spiritual qualities? How should the children of Adam have been honored to know the spiritual mysteries if they did not contain the Mysterion as their own intrinsic meaning?

~ Excerpted from The Mysterion, Rumi and the Secret of Being Human, by Kabir Helminski, forthcoming from Shambhala Publications, late 2022.

Remembering Suleyman Dede

January 19th is the Urs of Shaikh Suleyman Hayati Loras (1904-1985). Suleyman Dede was a great Mevlevi Shaikh of Konya. He travelled to America and planted the seed of Sufism in many hearts. His teachings and legacy continue to inspire to this day. May his soul be blessed.

Shaikh Kabir shares his reflections on meeting this great teacher and lover of Mevlana.


My first encounter with a Sufi murshid forever changed my idea of what a spiritual master could be. Until that time I had met a number of highly developed human beings from Western and Eastern traditions. I imagined that enlightenment was a state of super awareness, desirelessness, a continual “high.” Not that anyone I met actually embodied that state; but there was the assumption that with enough spiritual practice, which meant sitting still and quiet for long periods of time, supplemented, perhaps, by the continual repetition of some mantra, one would either gradually or suddenly attain such a state.

I was about 17 years old when I left behind religious concepts of doing penance for sins, earning merits through rituals and sacraments, and being rewarded for having dogmatically correct beliefs. By the age of 20, a new universe had opened for me. I had seen through the veil of conventional consciousness and had a number of experiences of literally ecstatic bliss and white light. But when, at the age of 32, I met a master of love, everything changed for me.

He could have been someone’s grandfather from Sicily, dressed in a three-piece suit, walking with a cane, the bearer of a mischievous yet innocent smile. But, somehow, contained within this merely earthly form was a powerful generator of heart-melting love — a love free of any sentimentality, sanctimony, or possessiveness.

[Read more...]

Rumi's Urs Celebration

Watch our international celebration of Mevlana Rumi’s union with the Beloved – the anniversary of his passing into the Unseen – with an online gathering of remembrance. Shaikh Kabir & Camille Helminski lead Mevlevi whirling dervishes in zhikr, music, and poetry on the theme of "Returning to Love". Introduction by Hana Iqbal. Ney improvisation by Selcuk Gurez. Turkish ilahis by Zeliha Akdan. Held on Sunday Dec 19th, 2021.

1st Sunday Only Going Forward

Jan 2nd

Join us for an online meditation with Kabir & Camille Helminski, and other members of the Threshold community. Held on the 1st Sunday of every month at 11am Eastern Time (4pm UK).

Zoom meeting:
Zoom passcode: threshold

Watch the previous meditations here.

January Theme

Express faith and devotion in practical details and acts of service.
~ Shaikh Kabir Helminski

We welcome your reflections on this theme.

Reflection on December theme: Be in the vibration of love. ~Shaikh Kabir Helminski

~ Elif Gokcigdem [Arlington, USA]

When I imagine what it might be like to “be in the vibration of love,” a vast landscape appears in my heart with dusty dirt paths, meandering rivers, and deep valleys, where dervish Yunus, separated from his Dost (Friend), flows through like a surging stream, a surge not of his own making, yet his heart beating to the heartbeat of its Essence, the Source of Life, Love:

Burning, burning, I wander, bloodied by love,
neither wise, nor insane.
See what love has done to me.
One moment a breeze, then dust upon the road,
sometimes a babbling brook.
See what love has done to me.

[Yunus Emre, translated by Kabir Helminski]

How would one understand the state of a lover, when Love and the lover are intermixed? When Love takes over, whatever is left of the lover becomes a slave to the heartbeat of Love:

There comes a moment of happiness,
then one of weeping.
The next moment like winter—long and dark,
the next like a birth—
flower gardens and fine vineyards appear.

In another moment he rises to the heights,
in the next he is beneath the earth.
In one moment he’s a drop,
in another he’s boiled over into an ocean.

[The Drop that Became the Sea: The Lyric Poems of Yunus Emre, translated by Kabir Helminski and Refik Algan]

The way Yunus describes his experience of being in Love makes me feel like that vast landscape I imagine him surging through, might as well be the surface of an ebru (marbling) tank: a mirage of infinite spectrum of colors, shapes, and movements drawn on water, floating to an invisible rhythm at the hands of a master artist. This astonishing and mysterious beauty draws Yunus near and invites him in. Without hesitation, Yunus drops his robe behind him and jumps into the tank. Yunus knows the tongue of all the colors floating on the surface, and moves to the same rhythm of the Essence that bubbles up and manifests itself as swirls and shapes on the surface of this world of ebruli (one with mixed colors). Yunus becomes more than just the surface when he jumps into the ebru tank. He breaks through the mirage of shapes on the surface, reaches the Essence underneath, and soaks It up until there is no Yunus left, and he is all Essence, appearing as Yunus.

Since you have perceived the dust of forms,
perceive the wind that moves them;
since you have perceived the foam,
perceive the ocean of Creative Energy.

[Mathnawi VI, 1460–65, The Rumi Collection, translated by Kabir and Camille Helminski]

Since the beginning of this month, an invitation to offer a poem for Sheb-i Arus sent this heart on a journey. First, it was Yunus visiting with his Truth-telling words in my mother tongue, which arrived in a pounding rhythm that spoke right into my heart. Waking up to this rhythm still pounding in my chest, I could not remember the words, but their meaning was hidden in the rhythm of their arrival, which left a deep imprint, forever altering my heart. The rhythm of Yunus’ words kept ringing in my ears, and pounded my heart like a coppersmith’s hammer, leaving me rather bewildered for days.

On another day, just like those zig-zagging swirls on the face of an ebru, my dreamy ride in the flow of Love, suddenly changed winds, turning into the storm of a heartbreak with all the anger, sorrow, and confusion it brings with it… The calm waters I was just playing in were now the waves of an ocean crushing on top of my head. In this agonizing moment, somehow I was also observing myself and all that was going within and around me in a state of astonishment about how the rhythm of Love can turn life upside down. With these thoughts in mind, while drafting an email to a friend for advice, Yunus visited again. This time as a manifestation of the autocorrect function of my iPhone, which changed “you” into “Yunus.” I remember making eye contact, smiling to the name, and bowing with deep love, all the while feeling this deep smile arising from the depths of my heart. Of course, this ordeal I was going through was also the face of Love. At that moment, I realized why my heart was being pounded to the rhythm of Love: to expand it, and to make space for the opposites to coexist in the space of my little heart, within the infinite realm of the Heart. Love greeted love, and invited her Home.

Then, came the invitation for this one to put her reflections on paper for this month’s theme: “Be in the vibration of Love.” I smiled again to Love for confirming, through my teacher’s words and invitation: “By the way, if you have not noticed, this is what is happening to you.” In a time of sorrow, my heart responded with certainty and a smile that was coming from somewhere deeper. With that loving smile, sadness and anger terrorizing my heart looked like bullies whose mothers just walked into the room. Because of this blessed invitation, I was able to notice that we are all in that ebru tank with Yunus, flowing from one state to another, knowing and trusting with certainty that just like the calm waters that give us joy, the crashing waves pounding us are also Love.

May it be Love, that sinks our boats rocking to the rhythm of life on the surface, into the essence of Oneness:

Love is honey for the grown-up
and milk for children:
for every boat it is the last weight
that causes that boat to sink.

[Mathnawi VI, 3998, Love’s Ripening: Rumi on the Heart’s Journey, translated by Kabir Helminski and Ahmad Rezwani]

~ Elif is an art historian with a special interest in fostering empathy through museums. She is a part of the Washington, DC area circle of the Threshold community.

Sacred Body & Sacred Earth

Watch Camille Helminski deliver the closing contemplation for RAYfest21, reflecting on the beauty and challenges of the body, and our connection to the sacred earth.

Recorded on Oct 31, 2021.

Threshold's collaborative blog channel The Living Tradition on has been reaching new audiences and sharing the experiences of our community in a unique and vibrant way for nearly four years. We are now transitioning over to Medium in the coming months, and will be writing under our new publication, Awakening with Rumi.

The Threshold Society

The Threshold Society, rooted within the traditions of Sufism and inspired by the life and work of Mevlâna Jalâluddîn Rumi, is a non-profit educational foundation with the purpose of facilitating the experience of Divine Unity, Love, and Truth in the world. Sufism is a living tradition of human transformation through love and higher consciousness. Our fundamental framework is classical Sufism and the Qur’an as it has been understood over the centuries by the great Sufis. The Society is affiliated with the Mevlevi Order, and offers training programs, seminars and retreats around the world.

Each month we intend to highlight an article about our lineage and its principles. This month we offer: The Mevlevi Zhikr:

In order to attain the optimum coherence and beauty in our practice, we should be aware of how we perform zhikr in our tradition.

Each Mevlevi zhikr cycle begins with three elongated, singing repetitions before steady, rhythmic repetitions. We may end with one elongated repetition.

• Head movement:
La ilaha to the right – il Allah to the left. Il Allah brings the energy of the zhikr back to the heart.
Allah and Astaghfirullah: only to the left, to the heart.

• Resonance:
In the Mevlevi zhikr it is important that we are in harmony and unity. The goal is to be as one and that takes subtlety, nuance, and attention. To achieve this we need to follow the lead of the person leading the zhikr by being conscious of their volume, speed, and tone. We also need to be aware that our own voice does not rise above that of those who are near to us or the general level of the group. With practice and time this will create a more refined resonance in the group.

[Read more and listen to the Mevlevi zhikr]


1st Sunday of every month: Online Meditation, more details


Events with Kabir (K) & Camille (C)

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