THRESHOLD SOCIETY NEWSLETTER ~ JUN 2023
The Ecstasy of Recognition, Day of Arafat
On the day of Arafat (June 28) some millions of pilgrims gather on Mount Arafat outside Mecca. It is a reminder of the Day of Reckoning—or the Day of Recognition, as we sometimes call it. It is a very cosmic moment.
Imagine yourself standing with millions of other human beings at Arafat, stripped down to bare essentials, wearing a simple sheet of white cloth, all distinctions of wealth, position, and national identity erased. All you have is the sum of your life’s thoughts, feelings, and deeds, the net result of your relationships, your loves and hates—all these things that have shaped your soul, what you are. The people on Hajj are experiencing that today. We all will experience it one day, on the day of conscious recognition.
We are reminded that true spirituality, true surrender, is about awakening to what is real and true. The Day of Judgment should not be something that we fear, but a reminder of the preciousness of this life on earth as an opportunity to penetrate the veils and come to the deepest reality.
When we come to that deepest reality, we will discover the pure ecstasy of being, the ecstasy of infinite compassion and love, the ecstasy of infinite intelligence and beauty. True spirituality is nothing less than this. It is amazing, even confounding, that some representatives of religion espouse a religion of fear, a religion of difficulties, and in some cases a religion of tyranny. Some people even fear the spiritual path, imagining that it is all about sacrificing what we love, what we enjoy, what is precious to us. But this is only the perspective of the false self that needs the support of false pleasures, attachments, and defenses, and fears losing whatever threatens its imaginary security and comfort.
If we analyze where the false self gets its satisfactions and its illusory sense of security, we will see how shallow and unreal are the things it depends on. The part of ourselves that is primarily focused on appearances, possessions, and entertainments will never be satisfied nor secure.
At the heart of spiritual experience is the ecstasy of being that we only know when we have been faithfully focused on what is most real. The human heart has the capacity to know this, to experience this, and, in fact, we are created and designed to experience the immense dimensions of divine love and beauty. What we have to sacrifice is our trivial distractions and superficial desires—nothing very important or real. We have a right to our humanness, to certain healthy pleasures and satisfactions—as long as we remember that we are servants, as long as we are conscious of our need for our divine Friend, as long as we are grateful for everything.
What is unreal will fall away in the presence of what is Real. The discipline that is required is the discipline of faithfulness to this truth, of being true to our yearning. That is why it is recommended on this day of Arafat, and every day, to frequently say: God is great (Allahu akbar), praise be to God (alhamdulillah), and glory be to God who is subtle beyond all knowing (subhanallah).
Wishing you a blessed Eid al'Adha!
Bradford Literature Festival
July 1st with Mahmoud Mostafa & Khadim Chishti
Join Mahmoud Mostafa, Khadim Chishti, and other Threshold dervishes for two events at the Bradford Literature Festival.
A Dervish Guide to Reading Rumi: an interactive discussion on how the Masnavi can guide us through our everyday challenges.
Mevlevi Sema: divine remembrance, poetry, and whirling.
Please note that events fill up quickly, book your tickets online.
Rumi: A Culture of Love & Care of the Soul
UK Retreat Aug 18-21 2023
with Shaikh Kabir Helminski, Selçuk Gürez & friends
Early bird discount extended to June 9th
Join us for 3-4 days of zikr, meditation, worship, music, conversation, and community in the beautiful natural environment of Broughton Sanctuary in the North Yorkshire Dales.
A retreat is an opportunity to put aside distractions, awaken to our true yearning, and deepen our remembrance (zikr). It is also a time to deepen our understanding of the spiritual path.
How do we discover and develop our true humanness in today’s world? What sources of knowledge should we trust and rely on? How is sincerity maintained? How are human beings transformed, and what would transformation look like?
Sufism is a culture of love in which knowledge, spiritual practice, and community are all essential. At the heart of Sufi life is adab, which we might translate as “spiritual courtesy.” Adab is an ideal of respectful awareness, humility, and affection which has been embodied by those who walk the path of Sufism.
Enriched and guided by the beautiful wisdom of Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi, our spiritual path is one of creativity, joy, community, worship, and love.
Blue dervish image by Lateefa Spiker
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.
To be self-giving is to be free of self.
We welcome your reflections on this theme.
Reflections on the May theme: We have come from God. Go forward in God.
~ Leila Bhr [California, USA]
We are from God. Go forward in God:
Come closer dear one, come!
How long would you go the other way?
I am you, and you are Me,
Why would you divide us into you and Me?
[Divan-e Shams, Ghazal 3020]
There is a light in the heart. Sometimes it appears as a golden beam. Sometimes a tiny freckle. Sometimes I cannot feel it. Yet I know it is there because this heart has seen it there before. In those times I cannot see it, I feel agonized. I resent my heedlessness; I feel unworthy, scattered.
Oh, You with Whom we joined for a moment
and separated from for years!
[Divan-e Shams, Ghazal 145]
Yet this heart has learned to just calm down and wait in faith. In those moments, I know I have fallen apart, again. I know I have forgotten, again. I know I was feeling unworthy, again. Yet I know the constant in the background and foreground is God. God, who is always remembering, always forgiving, always accepting. Come!
My mother, God grant her health and long life, is kind. I remember throughout my childhood that there was hardly any mistake, however big, that she wouldn’t forgive, eventually. Amid the worst mishap, I could still trust her forgiving heart. It is now the month of May when we celebrate mothers in North America. Let’s send a prayer to all moms, passed or alive, and ask for an outpouring of love from their souls. Amen!
And then, there is God who is the Kindest, the Most Forgiving. Come!
Say: ‘Oh my servants who have transgressed against themselves,
do not despair of the Mercy of Allah!
Indeed, Allah forgives all sins.
Indeed, it is He/She who is the Forgiving, the Merciful.”
[Quran, Surah Zumar 39:53]
Going forward in God, therefore, should be the easiest; no? So, what is holding us back? What are all these shackles?
Oh, my child! Intellect is a shackle
on the foot of one who walks the path.
Break the bond, the way is Open!
The intellect is a chain, the heart may be deceptive,
your body brings heedlessness,
and even your soul is a veil –
The Path is hidden from all four.
When you rise above the intellect, soul, and heart,
the station of nearness you reach is still subjective.
One who has not lost him/herself isn’t considered complete.
Love that is not rooted in the soul is but a fable.
Know that the arrow of the Friend is ready in the bow.
Make your chest a target in front of it.”
[Divan-e Shams, Ghazal 1082]
Bare your chest. Go forward! Release all the shackles of the conditioned mind! Come!
Our dear teacher, Kabir Helminski, wrote:
The soul is a knowing substance because the soul is infused with the intelligence of Spirit. This may sound like a remote possibility when we are overcome by the distractions and worries of our everyday lives. And yet it is verifiably true . . . if we can subtly lay aside the conditioned mind and embrace the unfolding of what is (wujud).”
Set aside the conditioned mind. Come!
My mind considers itself very important! Very intelligent! Very necessary. Yet I see how limiting it can be. How nearsighted! How bracketed and inflexible. The mind has been under the conditioning process since birth. This is just part of the rules of this life. Therefore, our dear teacher guides us to “deconditioning, reconditioning, and unconditioning”. And then, come! Come forward in God! Come forward in the Most Loving, Most Forgiving, Most Accepting. Come as you are.
Come, you, whose lips are wine,
let’s all get intoxicated!
Come, you, who are a pearl,
let’s all join the Sea!
[Divan-e Shams, Ghazal 1719]
Come to the Sea. Come forward in God!
~ Leila is a traveler of the worlds, within and beyond. She works as a MedDev strategic leader and lives with her beloved family in the San Francisco Bay Area. She enjoys reading poetry, traveling, and writing.
The Way of Mary: Maryam, Beloved of God
As we come through the month of Mary (May) we remember 'The Way of Mary: Maryam, Beloved of God'. A Celebration of Hearts with Camille Helminski, A. Helwa, Rabbi Rami Shapiro, Andrew Harvey, Omid Safi, Rev. Matthew Wright, Lisa Ferraro and other friends. Includes the song 'Little by Little' by Ruby (Lisa Ferraro & Erika Luckett).
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: Adab; The Courtesy of the Path
The Sufis created a system of human development grounded in love and using the power of love to awaken and transform human beings. Rumi taught that it is everyone’s potential to master the art of loving. Love is the answer to the problem of human existence.
The way to God passes through servanthood. The point is to love and be connected with others in that love. The form of Sufi work is typically a group, or spiritual family. The Sufis created a milieu in which human love was so strong that it naturally elevated itself to the level of cosmic love. All forms of love eventually lead to spiritual love. “Ashq olsun,” they say. “May it become love.” They cultivated a kindness and refinement in which love fermented into a fine wine. They encouraged service to humanity as an expression of the love they felt. They accepted a rigorous discipline in order to keep the fire of love burning strongly.
Threshold Islamabad gathering with khalifa Khadim Chishti
1st Sunday of every month: Online Meditation, more details (KC)
Jun 29: Eid al-Adha
Jul 1: Bradford Literature Festival with Mahmoud Mostafa & Khadim Chishti, more details
Jul 18: Muharram
Aug 18-21: UK Annual Retreat at Broughton Sanctuary, more details (K)
Events with Kabir (K) & Camille (C)
1288 Cherokee Rd Louisville, KY 40204
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