‘The Lord wraps himself in light as a garment.’
My thoughts weave patterns within my heart, and I am guided — ‘Allah is the light of the heavens and earth… Allah guides to this light whomever He wills.’ A weekend welcoming the Light together and we become living, joyous, dancing flames in ethereal dialogue. Like that blissful moment of finally connecting fully with the Divine in turning. Then distractions enter, dislodging me. Other times, I immerse in the Divine connection in tranquility and contentment for days before again forgetting.
But always, always there is turning back to the Reality, the Light, the original food of my soul. Light upon Light.
 The Physicians of the Heart Psalms 104:2 Surah of Light, 24:35, Quran
Prayer (dua) and zhikr are methodologies to manifest the divine names latent in our being.
We welcome your reflections on this theme.
Wisdom Stories from the Sufi Tradition
An eCourse with Shaikh Kabir Helminski in May
Drawing on Rumi, as well as the rich storytelling traditions of Central Asian Sufism, we will reflect on how stories become containers for meaning, lenses for perception, and multidimensional symbols for the education of the soul. One of the keys to comprehending Sufi stories is to be aware of the context of meaning, the spiritual universe that was assumed by the storyteller. And yet each story adds something new to that context, expanding our awareness and understanding of the soul’s journey and the spiritual nature of reality. Some stories reflect back to us the subtle ways in which our ego’s biases distort reality. While other stories give us hints of what it must be like to live in a state of divine realization, free from the domination of the false self. Some stories are derived from the history of our tradition and its spiritual heroes. Others are pure allegory, meant to be held consciously in our hearts, viewed from different angles, transferred to our deeper mind in order to become a perpetual source of meaning.
Beginning May 2-27, ‘Wisdom Stories from the Sufi Tradition’ will be offered through spiritualityandpractice.com. More notifications will come through this newsletter and through Sufism.org.
Intimate Sessions: Sufi Chants and Hymns
A beautiful collection of sacred songs and chants performed by singers and musicians trained in the Sufi tradition. Recorded in private gatherings in Turkey, Morocco, and Vermont.
Listen to and download individual tracks or download the complete album.
Women of Sufism study group
Friends of the Threshold community are invited to a study group to read and discuss Women of Sufism: A Hidden Treasure, Writings and Stories of Mystic Poets, Scholars, and Saints by Shaikha Camille Helminski.
The book has been split into segments to be studied over six months. At the start of each month we will post an invitation for you to offer reflections. See the website for more details, guidelines and access to the monthly discussion posts.
The password to access the discussion posts is khadija.
Reflections from section two:
As with every time I read this book, reading about the stature of these women..my sheer inadequacy and the facile nature of my so called spiritual pursuit is shown for what it is…but how to overcome the guilt at not putting the Divine as always central when Rabia of Basra especially.. seemed to never be satisfied with her quest?..Mevlana and the male sufis seemed to have more equanimity with the never truly knowing and SEEMED kinder to themselves – clearly a chapter is not enough to understand. And I have learnt from her total uncompromising reliance on God alone.
~ Asma Khan
It is striking to observe how the ways of being identified as a woman have changed so little over the centuries, and that as spiritual seekers we still find ourselves in some sort of ambiguous category of ‘other’. But for me what stood out in these readings was also the way that these women defined themselves in relation to the Divine rather than the society around them. And I think that, if one is able to reach that point of only seeing the face of the Beloved wherever one turns, inshallah, that is where the contradictions and conflicts would resolve, because one is then seeing oneself with the eyes of wholeness and that all-encompassing acceptance that is the essence of Hu’s Compassion and Mercy.
~ Anna Rohleder
Is the way to God through asceticism? I believe based on observation and reading, that there are two types of seekers, those who weep at the thought of God, when reading the Quran, etc (they are under the influence of the names of Majesty) and those who get overwhelmed by joy and happiness under the same circumstances (and are under the influence of the names of Beauty). I think that we know more of mystic men than of ascetic men because the mystic men were teachers or preachers or had social jobs whilst ascetic men tended to live hidden or to be low key.
~ Selma Esseghir
Join the discussion: womenofsufism.com
May 20-22: Sewanee, Tennessee. Retreat at St. Mary’s Sewanee, details here. (KC)
May 28-29: Bradford, UK. Rumi’s Circle at Bradford Literature Festival, details here.
Jun 3-5: Whistler, British Columbia. Vancouver Retreat, fully booked. (KC)
Aug 26-29: Dorset, UK. Annual UK Retreat at Gaunts House, more details soon. (KC)
Oct 14-16: Kendal, UK. Rumi’s Circle Divine Feminine gathering with Beth Hin, more details soon.
Events with Sh. Kabir and Sh. Camille marked (KC)
The Faithfulness of Soil
How many a generous rain has poured,
so that the sea could scatter pearls!
How many a sun of blessing has shone,
so that clouds and seas might learn generosity!
The sunbeams of Wisdom struck the soil,
so that earth might receive seed:
the soil is faithful to its trust—
whatever you sow, you reap.
The soil’s faithfulness comes from that Faithful One,
since the Sun of Justice shines on it.
Until springtime brings the touch of God,
the earth doesn’t reveal her secrets.
[Mathnawi I: 501-511]
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