UK Retreat Registration
Hajj Mubarak! Eid Mubarak!

Many people are on pilgrimage this month; may their journeying be blessed! And we also keep in heart and prayer all those journeying under duress, due to war and unrest; may the waters of Zamzam continue to flow and refresh! Whether we, too, are journeying, or are still, may we keep journeying toward the Kaaba of the heart, where we are closest to our Sustainer. May peace deepen in all our hearts and our world!

We offer this month in companionship the 11th volume of the Qur’an: this Volume XI, contains fresh English translations of surahs 67 through 114, the shorter surahs of the Qur’an so frequently remembered by heart. Also interspersed are transliterations of key terms and verses, so that the reader may have a sense of the flowing beauty of the Qur’anic language. Saints and the wise across the world have been inspired and guided by these verses for centuries.

Hakim Sana’i, a beloved mystic and revered predecessor of Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi, once expressed the beauty of the Qur’an in this way:

The lines of the Qur’an are like unto faith’s shore, for it gives ease to heart and soul; its bounty and its might are as the encircling sea around the soul’s world; its depths are full of pearls and jewels, its shores abound in aloes-wood and ambergris; knowledge of first and last is scattered from it for benefit for soul and body both.

Qur'an Volume XI
UK Retreat Aug 2-5

Come to the Circle of Presence, Creativity, & Love
Aug 2-5 2024, The Vedanta, Lincoln Rd, Branston, LN4 1PD, Lincolnshire, UK
with Shaikh Kabir Helminski, Selçuk Gürez, Mahmoud Mostafa & Khadim Chisti

The retreat will support a vibrational shift in our souls through sacred music and movement, through practices of silence, stillness, and remembrance, and through a heart connection with other sincere seekers. We will explore and experience the knowledge and practice of: living with humility, creativity, and inner freedom; awakening spiritual perception, purifying the self; and understanding the cosmic nature of Love.

Join us at The Vedanta, a beautiful Grade II listed Elizabethan estate nestled amongst 75 acres of woodlands, meadows and lakes. We look forward to welcoming you to a contemporary experience of sacred space, beauty, friendship, whirling, music, poetry, and prayer in beautiful countryside with precious community!

More details
Signs of Life

~ Camille Adams Helminski

I marvel at your strength!
How you stay upright,
through years of wind and storms!
Slender trunk rising,
yet a full-blown crown of feathered fronds—
nurtured by earth and sky—
minerals arriving to become heavy fruits mid-air—
you bend, and yet you hold,
host to all manner of birds
to welcome, each day, the dawn;
while the sea,
sings songs,
stories of ebb and flow,
miracles of rainbows
casting light
in myriad moments of Grace.
You speak,
without syllables,
and yet
hearts can hear
your voice
“Resilience! Abundant Beneficence!
Ya Hayy!
Ya Qadir! Ya Muqit!
Ya Wadud!

Online Masnavi Study Group

During the 2023 UK Retreat, many friends expressed an interest in joining a Masnavi study group. With this in mind, inshallah, Daniel Thomas Dyer will be facilitating a Threshold study group beginning in September. Daniel has been studying the Masnavi for the past ten years in a study group led by Mahmoud Mostafa (now on Book IV), and intends this new group, beginning at Book I, to be suitable for all levels of familiarity with the text.

The group will be open to anyone who has attended a retreat led by Shaikh Kabir and Camille or anyone who regularly attends a local Threshold circle (worldwide).

Meeting once each month, two possible days are being proposed: either the second Tuesday or second Wednesday of the month at 7pm (UK time). Each meeting will last approximately two hours. We ask that participants initially commit to attending six meetings over a period of six months; after which participants can reassess their commitment and new participants can have the opportunity to join.

If you are interested, please contact Daniel stating your preference for the Tuesday or Wednesday at

Read Daniel's reflection on the Masnavi and the art of translation:

Rumi's Works

Translating Rumi

June Theme

The beauty of human beings is the beauty of their words.
~Bektashi Proverb

We welcome your reflections on this theme.

Assisi Retreat Jul 12-15

A Retreat in The Spirit of Rumi

with Shaikh Kabir & Selçuk Gürez, Master Sufi Musician

The retreat will support a vibrational shift in our souls through sacred music and movement, through practices of silence, stillness, and remembrance, through contemplating the jewels of wisdom in Rumi and Sufism, in the blessed atmosphere of Saint Francis’s Assisi, and through a heart connection with other sincere seekers.

We will explore and experience the knowledge and practice of: awakening spiritual perception, purifying the self, understanding the cosmic nature of Love, living with humility and inner freedom.

By awakening the essence of the Heart, we can deprogram the false self, experience our intimacy with the Divine, and discover a greater capacity for love.

Le Case Agriturismo Assisi is a country residence immersed in the splendid setting of the Monte Subasio Natural Park, among streams and woods, livestock farms and organic crops. Please note that you will need to book your accommodation and catering directly with the venue.

More details

June 2nd

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:
Zoom passcode: threshold

Watch last month's meeting below and see all our videos here.

Reflection on May theme: May our breath be replenished by His breath.

~ Jeremy Henzell-Thomas [Wells, UK]

When I was 19, I spent the summer vacation after my first year at university immersed not in academic study but in in yoga, having been greatly inspired by The Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda. I assiduously practised yogic techniques, mastering various asanas (postures) in hatha yoga and devoting much time to breathing practices (pranayama).

The kriya yoga taught by Yogananda encompassed the science of breath mastery which he claimed was the key to mind-control and the resultant self-mastery that opened the door to spiritual illumination. My own pranayama practices included breathing through alternate nostrils, as well as the three-part breath, or full yogic breath, using the nose, chest, and belly to fully inhale and exhale, and also bhastrika, a rapid and forceful process of inhalation and exhalation recommended by a classic fifteenth-century Sanskrit manual on hatha yoga as a means of breaking the three psychic knots (granthis), the levels of awareness where the power of illusion (maya), ignorance (avidya) and attachment to material things are especially strong. Pranayama is held to awaken the kundalini, the divine feminine energy (shakti) located at the base of the spine, and my memory of that very experience is so clearly felt in my body and imprinted on my consciousness that to this day I remember the precise date (August 10th 1967) when, walking along the beach in Margate where I lived, I felt the ecstatic surge of the shakti rising from the base of my spine, a sensation of bliss (ananda) that continued for several weeks.  Following that, I went on retreat to the Ramakrishna Vedanta Centre in London, where I developed my breathing and meditation practices under the guidance of the resident swami. Experiencing some remarkable expansions of consciousness during meditation, I was briefly tempted to join the order as a sannyasin, but deep down I knew the path of the ascetic monk was not for me and I duly returned to the world.

Twenty-five years were to pass before I rediscovered the power and sanctity of the breath in my embrace of Sufism and most recently in my immersion in the poetry of the 15th century Indian mystic poet Kabir in translations by Rabindranath Tagore, Robert Bly and Andrew Harvey. One poem by Kabir in particular, the very first poem in the collection Songs by Kabir by Rabindranath Tagore, springs to mind, equating the Divine Presence with the breath:

O Servant, where dost thou seek Me?
Lo! I am beside thee.
I am neither in temple nor in mosque:
I am neither in Kaaba nor in Kailash:
Neither am I in rites and ceremonies,
Nor in Yoga and renunciation.
If thou art a true seeker, thou shalt
at once see Me: thou shalt meet Me in a moment of time.
Kabir says: “O Sadhu! God is the breath of all breath.”

Robert Bly’s translations of Kabir were first published in 1976 (republished by Beacon Press in 2007) and Bly was praised for his ‘intuitive translations’ by Columbia University professor of religion John Stratton Hawley, who wrote the introduction to the collection.  Bly’s version of the poem above is as follows, and it is noticeable that he expresses Tagore’s ‘God is the breath of all breath’ as ‘He (God) is the breath inside the breath’.

Are you looking for me?
I am in the next seat.
My shoulder is against yours.
You will not find me in the stupas, not in Indian shrine rooms,
nor in synagogues, nor in cathedrals;
not in masses, nor kirtans,
not in legs winding around your own neck,
nor in eating nothing but vegetables.

When you really look for me, you will see me instantly —
you will find me in the tiniest house of time.

Student, tell me, what is God?
He is the breath inside the breath.

It seems important at this point to distinguish such awareness of the Divine Breath from those ways in which conscious breathing is valued as a means of calming the body and stilling the mind. The practice of ‘softy belly breathing’, for example, is highly recommended as a means of creating a sense of peace from stress and anxiety, and, going further, bringing us into the present moment in the practice of mindfulness, as taught by the Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh and also by Eckhart Tolle, the influential advocate of the ‘Power of Now’.

As valuable as such a practice is, we might go even further in the perception of God as ‘the Breath of the All-Merciful’ (nafas ar-Rahman).  Here, the focus on the breath transcends its use as a technique for promoting mindfulness and, as envisioned by Ibn ‘Arabi, is embraced as the very substance of creation. In the words of William Chittick, interpreting the words of Ibn ‘Arabi:

… the All-Merciful designates the godhead as overflowing goodness, manifestation and creativity… Without his Breath, there would be no words, no creatures. The universe is simply the sum total of the words articulated by the All-Merciful.

[William Chittick, ‘The Anthropology of Compassion’, Journal of the Muhyiddin Ibn ‘Arabi Society, Vol. 48, 2010]

And as Rumi says, the human being is ‘born of the Divine Breath’ (Mathnawi II, 1416). Again, as Rumi says:

Water and clay, when fed on the breath of Jesus
spread wings, became a bird and flew.
Your praise of God is a breath
from your body of water and clay.
Make it a bird of paradise
By breathing into it your heart’s sincerity.

[Mathnawi I, 866–67, Rumi Daylight, trans. Kabir Helminski]

Since embracing Sufism, the core of my work with the breath has centred on the practice of dhikr, the remembrance of God. Holding to my conviction that ‘He is present in His Name’, I say the Name Allah inwardly on the in-breath, and the Name Hu on the out-breath, trying to be aware of the Names on the ‘breath inside the breath’. Sometimes I include other Names from the 99, especially those with which I feel a special affinity.  I try to do this within the heart as often as possible during the day and not only during periods of meditation, bearing in mind that as a human being (insan) I am prone to forgetfulness (nisyan).

~ Jeremy Henzell-Thomas is an independent researcher, writer, speaker, educational consultant, Associate Editor of the quarterly journal Critical Muslim, and former Visiting Fellow and Research Associate at the Centre of Islamic Studies at the University of Cambridge. He was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2021 for services to the Civil Society and the Muslim Community.

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: Suggestions for Practice Within the Threshold Society & The Mevlevi Tradition

Most people who come to Sufism have preconceptions as well as questions about what Sufism is. What does the practice consist of and how will I learn and develop? Is there a detailed curriculum? Or hidden knowledge? What should I expect of my shaikh and what kind of relationship is possible? Some people might imagine that the shaikh has a detailed, objective technical knowledge of various inner states, spiritual energies, planes of reality, spiritual powers, etc. While there is some truth in this, it has been our experience that among the best teachers these subjects are seldom emphasized or talked about directly. An emphasis on secret, privileged knowledge, or encouraging a mystique or building a cult of personality, or intimations of end-time scenarios, have proven time and time again to be counter-indicators of spirituality. In other words, the more such tendencies surround a teaching, the less likely it is that the teaching will be balanced and authentic. If we look to the Qur’an and the example of the Prophet Muhammad, we see a sane and balanced presentation of the Way. Our approach, therefore, places a strong emphasis on developing our capacities for presence, remembrance, service, and humility.

[Read more…]


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

Jun 16: Eid al-Adha

Jul 7: Muharram

Jul 12-15: Assisi Italy Retreat, more details   (K)

Aug 2-5: UK Annual Retreat, The Vedanta, Lincolnshire, more details   (K)

Sep 27-30:  San Juan Bautista, California retreat   (KC)


Events with Kabir (K) & Camille (C)

We’d love to hear from you — get in touch at

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PO Box 45143, Madison, WI 53744-5143
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