Ramadan Mubarak
Ramadan Mubarak
The Blessing of the Qur'an

~ offered by Camille H. A. Helminski

Bismillah ar-Rahman ar-Rahim

As Ramadan approaches, we invite you to journey again with passages from the Qur’an, to partake of its blessings and to recognize once again how beautifully woven into its framework is the awareness of both the stringency and the deep beauty of Reality, and the acknowledgement of the Gracious Beneficence of our Sustainer and how all that is encompassed by Compassion in the vast womb (the root “rhm”) of Reality, how everything is ultimately permeated with the qualities of Compassion (Rahman) and Mercy (Rahim).

The early Muslim community suffered much distress; oppressed by the people of Mecca, they were welcomed by the Jewish tribes of Medina. Within the ayats (the verses, the “signs”) of the Qur’an, we witness great respect and honoring of all the prophets of the Abrahamic tradition, with the underlying recognition of one God, One Reality, the Real, Compassionate and Merciful One (Al-Haqq, Ar-Rahman, Ar-Rahim) unifying and sustaining all that is.

No matter what faith we may profess, the same challenge is before all of us—to understand what it is to be a human being, to understand our place in this creation and to strive to act in the best way possible for the greater unfolding of harmony and well-being for all that is, that this life with which we have been gifted might blossom with fullness of meaning, and that good fruitfulness might pour forth through us, as we return to our Source. We give thanks for the abundance bestowed by our Sustainer in every moment, even in moments of great duress, as we learn to recognize that it is sometimes in the moments of greatest difficulty that we discover the most blessed intimacy with our Beloved Sustainer, Friend, and Healer of All Ills.

May your Ramadan be much blessed, and every breath be a remembrance!



With the Name of God, the Infinitely Compassionate and Continually Merciful—
Praise is God’s, Sustainer and Cherisher of all worlds—
the Infinitely Compassionate and Continually Merciful,
Sovereign of the Day of Recognition,
You alone do we worship and serve;
You alone do we ask for help.
Guide us on the clear path,
the path of those who have received Your blessing;
not the path of those who have brought stringency upon themselves,
nor of those who wander into confusion.


Bismillah ar-Rahman ar-Rahim
Alif. Lam. Mim.
This book, let there be no doubt, is a guidance for all the God-conscious,
those who trust in the Unseeable-Unnamed, who are rooted steadfastly in prayer, and who open-heartedly bestow from the sustenance We have provided for them,
and who trust in that which has been sent down to you, and that which was sent down before you, and who have reached certainty through nearness with the Hereafter—
they are following guidance from their Sustainer; it is they who attain felicity.

[Continue reading...]

Lebende Präsenz: German Edition of Living Presence

The German edition of Living Presence: The Sufi Path to Mindfulness and the Essential Self is now available through all Amazon markets. Translated by Peter Finckh.

Eine tief empfundene und moderne Erläuterung des Sufi-Weges, durchdrungen mit dem Duft der Überlieferungen aus dem Nahen Osten.

Sufism is a centuries-old spiritual psychology leading to presence in life. Presence is our capacity to be whole in the moment, in alignment with our deepest wisdom. With unusual clarity, this book describes how presence is different from ordinary habits of mind, and how it can be developed. Drawing on the words of the great Sufi, Rumi, as well as traditional material and personal experience, this book integrates the wisdom of Sufism with the needs of contemporary life.

“A heartfelt modern illumination of the Sufi path, filled with the fragrance of the ancients.” — Jack Kornfield, author, psychologist, Buddhist teacher

The Way of Mary: Spirituality & Practice Award Winner

~ Book Review by Mary Ann Brussat

A gorgeous book, meticulously researched, showing how the key moments in the devotional life of Mary, mother of Jesus, can be a model for us all.

Camille Hamilton Adams Helminski is Co-Founder and Co-Director of the Threshold Society and is profiled in S&P's Living Spiritual Teachers Project. She has long been dedicated to facilitating direct personal experience of the Divine. She has helped to increase awareness of the integral contribution of women to the spiritual path of Islam with her now classic anthology Women of Sufism: A Hidden Treasure. Together with Kabir Helminski, she has published some of the finest modern English translations of the poetry of Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi. She is the first woman to render a significant portion of the Quran into English with the heart-opening The Light of Dawn: Daily Readings from the Holy Quran.

To The Way of Mary, she brings two great gifts: meticulous scholarship and a deep devotion to our Oneness in Spirit. In the beginning, she states her intention that this not be a book about Beloved Mary -- a.k.a. Maryam, Miriam, Maria, the Mother of Christ -- but rather an experience of being with Mary, as in the Christian practice of Lectio Divina and the immersion by heart with the Quran of the Islamic tradition. And what a spiritual journey this turns out to be!

In many paintings of Beloved Mary, there are twelve stars around her head. Helminski sees these as twelve stars of blessings and has organized this remembrance of her life into twelve passages.

[Continue reading...]

With blessings for the season of Easter (April 17th)

Apr 3rd

Join us for an online meditation with special guests from the Threshold community. Held on the 1st 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.

April Theme

Trust in Divine generosity. ~ Shaikh Kabir Helminski

We welcome your reflections on this theme.

Freedom from Food: The Gifts of a Three-Month Fast

Daliah Merzaban describes the taste
of Love concealed beneath pangs of hunger

“Keep your body hungry,” was the advice a spiritual guide gave as a few friends and I embarked on a three-month fast earlier this year. In addition to Ramadan, we set the intention to fast during the two preceding months — Rajab and Sha’ban — as well.

In one way, it felt impossible; at first, I had to battle resistance even to say yes to the invitation. My mind was afraid of giving up my morning coffee during busy days at work. I worried how fasting might thwart a social life that was already constrained by pandemic lockdowns.

But in another, more visceral way, there was excitement at the prospect of traversing a trail I’d never journeyed before. I’ve always found fasting nourishing for my heart and body, but I never imagined fasting the equivalent of three Ramadans at once. I was curious to discover what lay ahead in this mysterious new land.

My teacher’s encouragement to keep our bodies hungry wasn’t necessarily about adhering to a strict set of “rules” as much as about pushing the limits of our hunger by listening carefully to our bodies. There’s wisdom concealed beneath pangs of hunger that isn’t audible when we rush to satiate cravings.

According to one tradition, Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, advised reserving a third of the stomach for food, a third for drink and a third for breath. With his wisdom in mind, I decided to have single small and nourishing meal each evening, thereby skipping the early-morning pre-fast meal called suhoor. I also cut out most sugar, which has been a crutch I have used to numb pain since childhood.

Some days, especially in the first month and a half, I was far from satisfied with the amount I’d eaten. I would succumb to overeating or late-night snacking. My body would end these days with a sense of uncomfortable fullness.

On other days, I was granted the strength to push through the cravings that arose. Instead of filling the craving, I would breathe air into my belly, imagining it was food. I allowed the hunger to be there, witnessing the discomfort as lovingly as I could. Eventually, the cravings would pass. My body would end these days with a sense of lightness and ease.
Weeks passed in this way and, gradually, what shifted for me was the ability to witness the promptings of hunger more objectively. I became better able to discern when a craving came from a habit/fear/desire to numb and when it arose from a true need for nutrients and replenishment. To reach this space meant journeying through painful memories and shame related to my weight and sense of unworthiness of love. As the grip of these patterns eased, how I responded to cravings became more of a choice than a habit.

By the time Ramadan came around, the cravings had mostly disappeared. I extended my fast to 22 hours on most days with minimal effort. My body felt energised, spacious and relaxed in a way I’d only glimpsed during previous Ramadans, but had never experienced so fully. I could almost hear my body breathe a giant sigh of relief. She was happy that I was finally empty for long enough to listen to her instructions — namely, to eat less frequently so she would have more time to process and digest what I had consumed.

During one meditation in the holy month, my teacher Camille Helminski reminded us that the original food of the human being “is the light of God.” I reflected on these lines one afternoon while sitting next to my plant Shamsa, a variety of Calathea native to the Brazilian rainforest. She is known as a “prayer plant” because in the early morning, she spreads out her broad leaves, as if in supplication, to catch the rays of the sun. Then, as the sun departs, she folds up her leaves like hands in prayer. How similar we are, I thought, eating Light and allowing this Light to guide us into a fuller expression of prayer.

In these moments of emptiness, I was also reminded of beloved Mary, mother of Jesus, seated in her prayer niche. According to the story related in the Quran, whenever Zachariah would visit Mary in her sanctuary, he would find her provided with food and would ask, “Oh Mary, from where did this come to you?” “She would answer: It is from God; see how God grants sustenance to whom He wills beyond all reckoning.” [Quran, Surah Al Imran, 3:37]

I imagine the fruits beloved Mary was endowed with weren’t real but, rather, the invisible sweeter tasting ones Rumi alludes to in the poem, “Empty the Glass of Your Desire”:

If you close your mouth to food,
you can know a sweeter taste.
Our Host is no tyrant. We gather in a circle.
Sit down with us beyond the wheel of time.

Here is the deal: give one life
and receive a hundred.

[Love is a Stranger, tr. by Helminski]

Seekers on the Sufi path will know that our capacity for loving is veiled by many ego-driven tendencies, perhaps none more so than the tendency to numb ourselves with food. Stripping away ingrained veils of craving for 90 days, while at times incredibly uncomfortable, eventually transported me to a space where hunger ends and a fuller realisation of Love — and a deeper connection to Self — begins.

Which brings me back to the wisdom concealed beneath the pangs of hunger. For me, it was realising my body enjoys being empty. She needs long periods of rest each day in order to function at her best. It’s been three months since the fast, and most days I still refrain from eating for 17 hours, at least. Whenever I stray from this, my body simply does not feel as light, free and healthy.

The wisdom is so simple, yet a lifetime of being trapped in a three-meals-a-day mentality made it almost impossible to listen to my body’s unique needs. The long breaks from food have not only challenged my preconceived notions of what my body needs to survive, they’ve also resolved digestion issues like bloating and constipation I’ve suffered from most of my life.

These realisations have brought a deeper understanding of the Prophet’s words: “There is a tithe (zakat) for everything, and the tithe of the stomach is hunger.” As strange as it may sound, I love the sensation of hunger. Every tug of hunger feels like an invitation to sit for a moment in Muhammad’s radiant presence.
Mevlana says,

While your nature is purified through fasting
you’ll follow the footsteps of the purified through the universe.
With the burning of the fast, you will radiate like a candle.
but with the darkness of mouthfuls,
you’ll just be a morsel for the earth.

[Quatrains: 1929, tr. by Helminski]


Originally published on Awakening with Rumi on Medium

Follow our Medium 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: Lessons in the School of Love: The Adab of Sacred Space

Sufi training is accomplished, above all, in the Sufi lodge and the network of relationships cultivated there. Sometimes the Sufi lodge is an actual tekkye or dergah, a private home, a rented hall, and sometimes it may even be a “tekkye on wheels,” as when we travel to a foreign country together. What is most important is the intention and an understanding of why we come together. We are seeking to create and sustain an environment where spiritual realization can be optimized, where the influence of egoism can be minimized, and where the values and knowledge of the tradition can be preserved.

When we step over the threshold of the Sufi tekkye (lodge) we are leaving one world and entering another. We are leaving the environment of the mundane and entering sacred space. We do this, above all, with our intention. Our intention is to be present, courteous, and aware of our own self (nafs).

[Read more…]


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

Apr 2: Ramadan

May 2: Eid al'Fitr

Jul 9: Eid al'Adha

Jul 30: Muharram/New Year

Sep 2-5: UK Retreat TBC   (K)


Events with Kabir (K) & Camille (C)

We’d love to hear from you — get in touch at eyeoftheheart@sufism.org



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