THRESHOLD SOCIETY NEWSLETTER ~ OCT 2022
Gaunts House, UK Retreat Sep 2022
Image by David John Ward
Many friends have expressed the need for some form of systematic, regular, ongoing teaching. I am becoming aware of the wishes of many people to be part of a learning community. These days we have the tools of communication that can help us to be present with and for each other. Over the years there have been many ongoing Living Presence study groups, perhaps the majority of them outside of our tradition, including church groups. There are also a number of informal groups reading the Masnevi together. We've always encouraged activities like this.
Until now I didn't feel motivated to work with any of my past books in such a way. I highly recommend that people study Living Presence and The Knowing Heart in order to have the foundation for practice within the Threshold Society. With the forthcoming publication of The Mysterion, Rumi and the Secret of Becoming Fully Human, in April 2023, the situation has changed. We now have a text which is the summation, the more mature expression of the teachings we have been working with.
The book can serve as a guide for a series of sessions that would include sohbet, dialog, spiritual practices, and zikr. As I reviewed the page proofs that have recently come into my hands, and especially as I looked at the table of contents, I realized that there is enough material here for a very substantial spiritual exploration. This book also has added societal dimension, exploring how conscious community and our own heart coherence is the necessary refuge and essential remedy for the unprecedented challenges we are facing.
My first idea that we could do this in one year has given way to the realization that this could go on significantly longer. But to begin with I would like to propose the first year of a new “esoteric school” beginning in January 2023 with monthly online classes. More details to follow in the next newsletter.
The Mysterion: Contents
Preface: Rumi and Humanness
A Note on Language and Translation
1. Story of the Honest Man Meeting Khidr
2. From Ego to Soul
3. What Do We Mean by the Soul?
4. Humanity in Confrontation with Itself
5. Human Weakness, Cosmic Mercy
6. Attention and Our Inner Being
7. The Work of the Soul
8. The Way of Love
9. Conditions for the Sufi Process
10. The Sense of the Sacred
11. The Queen of Intelligences
12. Spiritual Perception
13. Show Us Things as They Are
14. The Messenger and the Message
15. The Foundations of Heartfulness
16. Light upon Light: A Parable
17. Personal Sovereignty
18. Coherence of the Soul
19. Higher-Order Reality
20. Life in the World
21. Oneness on the World Stage
22. The Axis of Being
Shaikh Kabir at the Fes Festival of Sufi Culture
Fes Festival of Sufi Culture
Shaikh Kabir has been invited to present a “Rumi Master Class” at this year’s Fes Festival of Sufi Culture. October 22-29. Esin Celebi and a Sema Group from Konya will also be there.
Shaikh Kabir to Present at the G20 Summit
Shaikh Kabir with the Leadership of Nahdlatul Ulama (200 million members)
Shaikh Kabir has been invited to participate in the first annual G20 Religion Forum (R20) Summit, which will be held in Bali, Indonesia on 2–3 November 2022.
Earlier this year Indonesia’s largest Muslim organization, Nahdlatul Ulama, established the G20 Religion Forum, in conjunction with the Indonesian Presidency of the G20, in order to foster a rules-based international order founded upon shared moral and spiritual values. Co-hosting the R20 Summit alongside Nahdlatul Ulama is the Muslim World League, an Islamic non-governmental organization headquartered in Makkah, Saudi Arabia. Under the leadership of its Secretary General Sheikh Dr. Mohammad bin Abdul Karim Al-Issa, the Muslim World League strives to build friendship between all nations and civilizations.
The R20, which the Government of Indonesia has recognized as an official G20 main event, will provide a global platform through which diverse religious leaders from across the world may express their concerns and give voice to shared civilizational values. His Excellency Joko Widodo, President of the Republic of Indonesia, is scheduled to address the opening session of this year’s R20 Summit on November 2, 2022.
A Celebration of Love: Mother Mary and the Way of True Being
Watch the birthday celebration of Beloved Mary with Camille at the Meditatio Centre here.
Please note you may have to create a free Vimeo account to watch the video.
Camille Hamilton Adams Helminski shares from her newest book The Way of Mary: Maryam, Beloved of God. She shares with us how Beloved Mary is a ready companion of Loving tenderness and strength, during these intense times, encouraging us all to resonate from our deepest, truest self, in alignment with the Heart of Creation. One never knows when we will be called Home; Beloved Mary can assist us in readying ourselves and in simultaneously living our life most fully now, with vibrant Truth and Love.
Join us for a monthly online meditation and sohbet with Shaikh Kabir and Camille, and special guests from the Threshold community. Held on the 1st Sunday of every month at 12pm Eastern Time (5pm UK).
Zoom meeting: https://zoom.us/j/435138208
Zoom passcode: threshold
Watch last month's meeting below and see all our videos here.
Purify the breath with awareness.
~ Shaikh Kabir Helminski
We welcome your reflections on this theme.
Reflections on the September Theme: Embody Patience
~ Ismail Guler [Minnesota USA]
As we journey through life, we all go through trials and tribulations and get tested in various ways: the loss of a loved one, an illness, a broken relationship, a financial hardship, an injustice faced, or an unfulfilled expectation. Patience is the virtue that enables us to endure those moments.
One of the definitions given by Merriam-Webster for the word “embody” is “to give a body to.” Another one is “to represent in human form.” What is being given a body to and represented in human form by embodying Patience? Our beloved Prophet Muhammad provides some hints:
God created the human being in His/Her own form/embodiment.
My earth and My heaven embrace Me not, but the heart of My believing servant does embrace Me.
Patience is a character trait associated with one of the Names of God – As Sabur, the Most Patient One – mentioned in the Qur’an. As is the case with any Divine Name, embodying Patience is embodying one of the Divine Qualities. According to many Sufis, that is the definition of Sufism: “to become characterized by the character traits of God.” Our beloved Prophet has prayed:
Guide me to the most beautiful character traits –
none guides to the most beautiful among them but You.
Divert me from the ugly character traits –
none diverts from the ugly among them but You.
[“The Anthropology of Compassion,” William C. Chittick]
How do we embody Patience? By being patient during trials and tribulations, in difficulty and adversity. The Most Patient One is present in us when we are truly patient. Then, we are in Divine Presence (Huzur-u Ilahi).
God is with those who patiently persevere.
In Sufism, as in Judeo-Christian tradition, there is the story of “The Patience of Job” (Sabr-i Ayub). Regarding that story, Ibn Arabi points out the importance of supplication and asking help from God in adversity, as none other than God can bring relief to our suffering.
God tried [Job] with an affliction only so that he might ask Him to relieve it.
[Ibn Al’Arabi, The Bezels of Wisdom, tr. Ralph Austin]
This is at the heart of Surah Al-Fatiha:
You alone do we worship,
and You alone do we ask for help.
At every recitation of that surah, inshallah consciously and in presence, we are reaching out to the Divine for help. Our need for help makes us turn, and thus return, to God. What a blessing! In adversity, we turn to patience and supplication, and hence to God.
Wherever you turn, there is the face of God.
There is reciprocity in this process. As we turn to God in patience, God hears our cries and turns to us to help.
Call upon Me, I will answer you.
I personally know that God’s hearing of our calls is true, and I am as sure as my name Ismail, as in Hebrew the name Ishmael (yi-sh’ma-el) literally means “God listens.”
On a Saturday, after writing the first draft of my reflection on embodying patience, I went to visit a nearby town with my family and in-laws. There was an arts and crafts fair, music, and food. It was a hot and humid day. We didn’t notice that our eight-year-old daughter had put on her old pair of shoes, which were tight and bothering her. The poor one was constantly complaining. We had a reservation in a local restaurant to celebrate my father-in-law’s approaching birthday afterward. We decided to stop by a department store and get a new pair of comfortable shoes for her. We arrived at the store and parked the car. My other five-year-old daughter insisted on coming into the store with her sister as she wanted to get a new pair of shoes too. I asked my wife to come along and help us, as I thought it would be difficult to choose shoes for both girls, we didn’t have much time, and we needed to be at the restaurant in 15 minutes. She wanted to stay in the car as she was frustrated with the girls’ whining all day long. I went in running to the shoe section with two girls, hurrying up to find comfortable pairs of shoes for both. Neither of them liked the shoes they tried. When I thought we’d found shoes for one, the other changed her mind. It looked like an impossible task. My wife started texting me, telling me that we were late for the restaurant, and asked us to hurry up. I had to tell the girls that we had to leave right away without buying any shoes that day, and we returned to the car. They both were crying, complaining, and refusing to get into the car. I lost my patience and yelled at everyone not to push my buttons. We canceled the reservation and went back home.
I typed down my reflections on embodying patience one morning and totally lost my patience with my loved ones in the afternoon! It felt terrible. That morning I was also contemplating how the Mevlevi dervishes tell each other, “May Allah increase your distress,” repeating it to myself several times. It got heard, and my buttons got pushed in the afternoon! The next day I reflected on the theme again and recited Surah Al-Fatiha, thanking God for the distress sent and asking for God’s help in embodying patience and especially being patient with myself.
This discipline and rough treatment are a furnace
to extract the silver from the dross.
This testing purifies the gold
by boiling the scum away.
[Mathnawi I, 232–33, Rumi Daylight, tr. Helminski]
Burning, turning, returning…
All Quranic quotes are from The Light of Dawn by Camille A. Helminski.
~ Ismail Guler is an engineer of the heart and a seeker on the path of the Heart. He has been riding the waves of life with Mevlana for the past two decades.
An immersive exhibition blending art, poetry, and music with uzma taj
6pm Nov 5th, London Meditatio Centre
Debut exhibition by emerging artist, uzma taj.
“Created in awe of the She in me. My knowing, my courage, my creative…
Created in awe of the He in me. My wisdom, my movement, my container…”
This first collection of art and poetry is inspired by uzma’s conversation with Nature and Spirituality and is named after verse 53:17 of the Quran, The eye did not waver… These particular lines inspire the desire to remain present in merging worlds; a possibility born from weaving in the wide steps taken from her Sufi path with Rumi, through indigenous wisdom, and encompassing myriad Guides and Ancestors that walk in the Seen and Unseen worlds.
Free entry and cake by Heron's Nest for all who cross the threshold. Prints available for sale.
Prophet Muhammad's birthday falls on October 8th this year. May peace and blessings be upon him, his family, and his community.
Read Anna Rohleder's love letters, a heartful communication of 11 letters to the Beloved of God.
Usually I tell people that I am a writer, but in the case of these Letters it would be more accurate to say I was the pen. They were a gift. First glimpsed as an inspiration I was blessed to receive on the final morning of our August 2015 retreat in Dorset (and which sent me running pell-mell back to my room for my journal), the individual letters unfolded over the weeks that followed, during the time I stayed on in London after the retreat and then once I was back in Louisville. Writing them felt like taking dictation, albeit from a whispering and at times almost inaudible voice.
However much of the truth and beauty of that transmission you may perceive here is only thanks to that Divine Generosity which bestows so freely in its longing to be known. Any faults, errors or infelicities of expression that may have crept in are entirely due to this one’s own limitations.
My intention in gathering these Letters, and putting the feeling around them into words, is to share the incredible luminosity and warmth of our Prophet (peace be upon him) that I experienced, and which are gifts in themselves. Far from being a distant or larger-than-life figure, it is his accessibility, his very human Being, that makes him so inspiring. He is a man as well as a messenger. And even though I may address him as “M,” it is Muhammad I fell in love with.
~ Anna Rohleder
[Read all 11 letters here]
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).
1st Sunday of every month: Online Meditation, more details (KC)
Oct 8: Prophet Muhammad's birthday
Oct 22-29: Fes Festival of Sufi Culture, more details (K)
Events with Kabir (K) & Camille (C)
1288 Cherokee Rd Louisville, KY 40204
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