THRESHOLD SOCIETY NEWSLETTER ~ AUG 2021
A beautiful rendition of the prayer pilgrims recite on the Day of Arafat, performed by the Pearls of Islam. Watch the video above.
Labayk Allahumma Labayk, Labayka la Shareeka Laka Labayk. Innal Hamda, Wan Ni’mata laka wal mulk, la Shareeka lak.
Here I am, O my God, here I am! There is no one equal to You, here I am! All praise is Yours, all bounty is Yours, and all sovereignty is Yours. There is no equal to You. Here I am!
These sayings of mine are really a call to God,
words to lure the breath of that sweet One.
How can you be silent? How can you fail to call,
knowing He always answers, "Here I am—"
that silent answer you feel from head to toe.
[Mathnawi II, 1189-91]
In remembrance of Hajj and the blessing of forgiveness, you might read Mahmoud Mostafa's reflection here.
Aug 1st & 15th
Join us for an online meditation with Shaikh Kabir Helminski, Camille, and other members of the Threshold community. Held on the 1st and 3rd Sunday of every month at 11am Eastern Time (4pm UK).
Zoom meeting: https://zoom.us/j/435138208
Zoom passcode: threshold
Watch the previous meditations here.
Falsehood troubles the heart; Truth brings joyous tranquility. ~Mevlana
We welcome your reflections on this theme.
Reflections on the July theme: Would you have me tell you about actions that are better than fasting, prayer, and charity? Bring goodness and high principles between people. ~Muhammad (a.s.)
~ Valerie Graff [Washington DC, USA]
Bringing goodness and high principles to our beautiful broken world is an act of profound Love. This is not a solo endeavor; it’s about being in the world, bringing our open hearts, seeing Allah in every face, situation… everywhere.
Goodness and high principles are the fruits of fasting, prayer and charity. The hadith underscores the direct connection between the practices and being a clear reflection of the Divine in the world. One of the attractions of Sufism for me is that Sufis are to be in the world and not of the world. One interpretation is to address some of the broken aspects of our world, and myself, inshallah, by purifying my heart, opening it, increasing my inner silence, acting charitably and remembering what arises when I fast. These have all helped to bring more goodness and high principles between people in my relationships and work.
I think of goodness as bringing love, compassion, mercy, faith, hope and as many qualities as I can into my interactions with family, friends, all who I encounter, and to bring goodness to every aspect of my life. For instance, having pollinator-attracting plants in my garden is a simple act of goodness: helping the pollinators in turn helps plants be more productive and increases beauty and food in the world.
High principles include all those qualities and acts that elevate oneself, the situation, interactions with all living beings, the earth, the energy we live in. They can be a channel for the Divine into the world. I do my best to treat myself and everyone with loving respect, by doing the best I can for others, all living things and the planet and being humble. The latter helps to avoid judgment, which separates me from others through thoughtless treatment of them.
Our actions flow from the benefit of prayer, fasting and charity, or not. We have multiple choices daily to let Love guide our behaviors, or permit our egos to dictate our behaviors. There are countless times that I have let my ego dictate my choices. When I am aware of those choices, I ask for forgiveness as an acknowledgement of the hurt, misunderstanding, etc. that I have caused. Doing so helps me to remember the Divine, reflect on my perfect imperfection and that of all people. I see my own state, which evokes humility and hope. Humility that I am just like everyone else, and hope that asking forgiveness can create a new beginning. Doing so has helped to reduce my judgement of others and has increased my ability to observe, which in turn has distanced myself from my ego, a bit, at times, so that I can do what goodness and high principles means in the moment.
“Bringing goodness and high principles” has been central to my adult life, both personally and professionally. As I developed my professional life, in which I have long worked for causes and organizations that seek to address the problems of our world in different ways, I realized that causes are good and need support. As important is how one makes the world a better place. One example is the peace marches and demonstrations that I’ve attended. I’ve come to understand being peaceful, caring, respectful and courteous during those marches are some of the ways to bring peace into those marches. Expressing anger, calling others names (and the like) keep the energy of conflict and separation alive. Peaceful means to help break the hold of the anger, misunderstandings and hopelessness that cause conflict and distress.
One of the favorite parts of my work is to educate adults in communicating, resolving conflict and generally working together in more harmonious ways. Seeing people improve their relationships and hearing about the results of their efforts truly warms my heart. Doing this work is a continual reminder to keep improving those practices in my life. Of course, there are plenty of times in which I act at cross purposes with my ideals and how I strive to be. For instance, being impatient and judgmental are two that I have been working on for a long time and will need my attention for some time!
Recently, I was dealing with a situation in which racism was alleged. While the situation was complicated, what I saw in myself was a certain blankness around my own racism. That blankness led me to work on my racism. Bringing goodness and high principles to every relationship means that I have to address the huge blind area around race that I have. Doing so will benefit me and then, inshallah, be of benefit to my loved ones and the world.
By intentionally opening myself up, in love, to my white privilege and how it operates in my life, I am slowly opening, creakily and with great resistance, to the places in which I am not acting in goodness and with high principles.
Developing humility is increasingly important: the humility to submit to God, to submit my ego to love, to submit my own wants and needs to those of others. These have brought me to a new understanding: I can’t support others in need unless I support myself first; not in an egoic way, rather to turn to the Source to fill myself first, then I am better able to assist others out of Love and not my own needs for control, feeling good about myself and the other reasons that I help.
The hadith is a blessing and a guide.
~ Valerie Graff lives in Washington DC with her family. She has been on the path for over 20 years and is continually grateful for all that has opened as a result. Valerie is an organizational and management consultant, working with nonprofits.
~ Jason DeLuna [New York, USA]
Some years ago, pulling my young daughter in a wagon on a windy day.
Turning to her, “Do you hear the sound the wind makes through the leaves of the trees?”
She nodded and smiled.
“If you listen really, really closely—that’s God whispering to us.”
A type of silence? I wonder.
Once again with my daughter, after a family argument, sitting together around the firepit.
“Do you see how it’s difficult to light a fire when the pit itself is cool and damp?”
Scrunched up in her chair she sat looking perplexed.
“When we fight we get ‘hot’ and feel like we’re ‘burning up,’ right? We need to nurture a coolness in our hearts so flaring up is as hard as starting this fire here.”
We grew quiet then and just sat together absorbed in the crackling of the flames.
Another type of silence, perhaps?
Out for a walk one night after graduating college many years ago.
Contemplating life and possible paths for my future, yet transfixed by the spaces between the massive branches of the oak trees I humbly walked beneath.
Spaces... the silence of spaces... perhaps more important to consider the spaces between the lines here on this page than the words themselves?
And then there’s the humility and frustration within the silencing of Yunus Emre’s preening ego in his Turkish Netflix series.
With a glint in his eye, his wise shaikh informs him, “You are to say, ‘I don’t know’ every time you’re asked a question from now on.”
What courage in the silence of Yunus’ "I don’t know" over and over again... like the hammer blows in the market that first compelled our dear Mevlana to turn and turn and keep turning.
More personally, a constant ringing in my ears, diagnosed as incurable for close to ten years now.
No true silence to be had anymore and, yet, I’ve never been more grateful in my life.
Grateful for what’s been given and increasingly grateful for what’s been taken away.
An unsettling memory, a billboard passed on the highway many years ago advertising cellphones.
In big letters, terribly hard to miss, proclaiming “Silence is weird!”
Weird? To many, maybe, but I still try... in the pursuit of that silence (just in the attempt to evict the incessant voices that run rampant in my head).
And, also, I sit and sometimes think about the silences that shouldn’t be.
The ponderous silences of loved ones, the silence of a shaded morality in the face of polarizing political ideologies, my silence in not speaking my core truths more openly.
Are these silences also sacred somehow? These urges to remain silent, I wonder?
This one has nothing of worth left to say and, considering the topic, should have stopped many lines ago.
‘Enough words!’ as Mevlana has said many times to us dervishes.
How better to enter the silence the soul seeks.
Shhhhh... Listen! Do you hear that?
Indeed, enough words…
~ Jason took hand as a dervish within the Threshold Society two years ago. He lives in the greater New York area with his wife and children and enjoys chess, the outdoors, and gatherings with dear friends.
Moon Meditation with Beloved Maryam
Saturday 22nd August, 4pm EST / 9pm BST
Camille Ana will be offering a meditation for RAY's full moon offering. The August full moon falls on the feast day celebration of the Immaculate Heart of Beloved Mary.
All welcome online, more details on rayofgod.com
Sema in Mevlana's Rose Garden
The International Mevlana Foundation in Konya is live-streaming their weekly sema in Mevlana's rose garden during the summer. Starts at 8.30pm Turkey time every Thursday. Subscribe to their YouTube channel.
Archive: Sufism & Our Hearts
2017 interview with Kabir Helminski by Benedict Just who is working on a documentary about The Heart. Watch the video below.
Pre-recorded video course (3 sessions, approx. 2 hours each)
At Threshold we are continually looking for effective ways to share the beauties of the Sufi path.
Kabir Helminski has selected some of Rumi’s most beautiful and inspiring words to present an overview of the spiritual journey: from mindfulness and presence, to heartfulness, to intimacy with the Divine.
Threshold's collaborative blog channel The Living Tradition on Patheos.com 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.
Threshold Books COVID-19 Care Package
Choose any three items from this list of paperback books and CD’s
and receive all three at the discounted price of $25 including shipping.
Or choose one hardcover book and two of any of the others for $30 including shipping.
Ship to yourself or to cheer a friend.
(See our bookstore pages for item descriptions)
Jewels of Remembrance; The Rumi Collection.
Paperback book options:
Unseen Rain; Love Is a Stranger; The Light of Dawn; Inspirations on the Path of Blame; Happiness without Death.
Praise by Ahmet Tijani and friends; Embracing Both Worlds (Music of Sema)
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: Love in Islam by Mahmoud Mostafa:
Dear brothers and sisters, the guidance of Islam is the guidance of love. The innate, natural and ancient religion that is Islam is the religion of love. The Prophet (puh) came to guide us to love and to make clear the love that is at the core of all religion. Our purpose as human beings is to consciously manifest Allah’s love in our lives. This is the most significant meaning of Khilafa and Ibada that can bring purpose to us and transform our lives. When we reflect upon the history of the Prophet (puh) and the spread of his message we will realize that Islam could not have taken root in the world without the love that filled the heart of the Prophet and was clearly manifest in his way of relating and interacting with people that brought out their own deep and profound love for him. Without this mutual and abiding love, none of us would be here today. Without this love Islam would not have been possible.
1st & 3rd Sunday: Online Meditation, more details (KC)
Events with Kabir (K) & Camille (C)
1288 Cherokee Rd Louisville, KY 40204
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