THRESHOLD SOCIETY NEWSLETTER ~ JAN 2018
Happy New Year!
Threshold Society Principles and Ethics Statement
With great thanks to our Most Gracious Sustainer, and all the dear friends of Threshold near and far, this is the 30th anniversary year of the founding of Threshold Society as a non-profit (1988), so it seems a good moment to revisit the original principles, as well as the ethics statement developed 20 years ago as on-going guidance for our circles and our endeavors.
At a time when humanity is reaching a point of cultural convergence, ecological crisis, and rapid social change, we wish to facilitate the experience of Divine unity, love and wisdom in the world.
Our main objectives shall be:
- to promote the truth of Divine love and knowledge through direct, personal experience,
- to express and share the essential principles of spiritual development,
- to recognize and develop a true partnership of man and woman,
- to recognize the unity and interdependence of all human beings and all life,
- to aid in the practical realization of living in harmony with our fellow beings and the natural world.
Our principal means shall be:
- to develop educational programs in spiritual psychology and practice,
- to sponsor intercultural retreats in various locations around the world,
- to publish books and periodicals that further the purposes mentioned above, and
- to facilitate the travel and exchange between cultures of people of wisdom and knowledge.
THRESHOLD SOCIETY ETHICS STATEMENT
We are challenged morally and spiritually to make a clear ethical agreement with one another. We want to affirm:
- our mutual respect and responsibility in spiritual community and in the student relationship;
- the processes for resolving ethical dilemmas when they arise; and
- ongoing notice of ethical responsibility for new and continuing Threshold Society members.
We encourage you to read (and make available in your circles along with the principles) the full THRESHOLD SOCIETY ETHICS STATEMENT.
Buddha at the Gas Pump
Shaikh Kabir was interviewed by Buddha at the Gas Pump: Interviews with”Ordinary” Spiritually Awakening People.
The Voice of a Dede
by Shaikha Camille Helminski
[In honour of Suleyman Dede’s Urs on January 19th.]
In 1980, we were graced with a meeting with Suleyman Dede. The moment we met him, we felt received, into the presence of a soul deeply devoted and at one with his Lord. Our two small sons were with us, and as soon as he heard that the younger was named Shams, he stood up, proclaimed, “O, Hazrati Shams!” and turned, arms raised in the air in the traditional manner of the Mevlevi dervish. Always he signed his letters, al-Faqir al-Mevlevi, “devoted poor one of Mevlana.” Whenever we would visit him in his small home in Konya, he would always give us more gifts than we would bring . . . and infinitely rich in soul substance, his presence would always bring us to tears.
The words shared here are edited from transcriptions of talks he gave at The Claymont Society in 1978. God willing, through the words shared here, something of the being of a Mevlevi Dede will be conveyed.
* * *
“In order to become human, we need to always be within the Divine Presence—to be aware of God, to hold Him in our hearts. When a human being performs zhikr, their spirit—their heart starts to open. Their intelligence becomes more refined and more expansive. Their bodies become healthier. A beautiful condition comes about—similar to the one that is brought about by good music. The whole being opens up like a flower, and the divine secret—the things you couldn’t understand or know about before—begin to be revealed to you. This is why it’s necessary to make zhikr. For human beings, it’s a very good thing.
Of course, there are many types of zhikr, of remembrance. People can do it standing up. They can also remember God sitting down, and while they are on a journey. Every second, in every place, God can be found because Allah always sees us. This is why we don’t want to be separated from the practice of remembering God and zhikr, and we don’t want it to leave our hearts. This is why a new type of knowledge—divine knowledge—comes to us, and when you need it, you can understand the essence. And you are blessed with an intelligence to know where you’re going, what may happen to you, whether something bad may happen or something good.
There are many things that we may be talking about in zhikr that you may not understand. The important thing is to have God present in front of you as though He were present in front of your eyes, in your mind and in your heart. All the time to be aware that He’s right next to you, understand that you’re never separate from Him.
Be always ready to see His activity in everything—even within disasters, calamities and accidents. Then He will keep us safe from accidents and calamities, and we will be in His protective Hand. If you’re in this condition (of zhikr), your heart will open and your intelligence will become more enlightened and quickened, and there are many things that will be revealed to you that you couldn’t have understood before.
It is necessary to make zhikr, not just for the well being of humanity—your social interaction being a part of the world—but also for yourself. In order to know God, to remember Him, for thousands of years human beings have been making zhikr. In their forms of remembrance, people have made different patterns. They made different movements, and they understood God through their activities. Long ago, in order to remember God, they took on these forms and customs—sacred dances and different forms of prayer just to be involved in the activity of remembrance.
Why did they do this? To come into a place of closeness with God in order to find a true path—in order to continue on a direct way to God, so that God might receive them, accept them. Because they love God, they wanted God to love them. God loves them and they love Him [5:54]. This type of activity (zhikr) is necessary for all of us. It’s necessary for us to plan our lives with this in mind.
It is necessary for us to know the Divine Being—to always hold Him present. Since the moment of our creation, we’ve been making zhikr. We’re doing it for ourselves. We’re saying, “This is my God, my God!” to increase our knowledge—divine knowledge. In order to grow in this knowledge, it is necessary to continue making zhikr. To make zhikr, to remember God, is the same as to thank God…
We’ll make a prayer now, and we’ll travel all together in that prayer…
‘Please hear that we are never separated from You, that we are always near You. Please bring about this condition in us. Please keep us away from harm or harmful actions. May God increase our knowing. May God protect us.’”
Reflection on December’s theme:
God’s Mercy is water; it flows to the lowest. Become humble earth to be embraced by the Merciful. ~Mevlana
~ Uzma Taj [London, UK]
Moles and rabbits and squiggly worms,
are you closer? she wonders
as she lays her head to the ground.
Sometimes the light hurts my eyes.
Shame, the skin on things,
peeled and raw, is where hope springs.
Wrapped in cotton, if she remembers,
forgotten is the cold curling around her toes.
‘Did you lose your shoes?’
queries the Fox,
‘You can lose many things when searching the dark.’
So she carries her bag of tears,
and lays it at Your door, singing,
‘This needle it hurts, it hurts as it sews.’
And as the curtain draws,
the walls lean in
and the moon, the wondrous moon, comes for tea.
How can it be so,
as delicate as a blade of grass,
but strong as a tonne of steel.
Moment by moment,
who am I?
Kissed by the sun, and rejected by faith,
steps come easy yet falls have no embrace.
But still the sound of the train goes on,
chugging gently with a ney song.
There is a place embedded in the noise of things.
Calm and still despite the racket.
She sits here at the feet of a tree,
and You, Ya Rahman, created so many trees.
With a heart filled with roses,
down she goes,
deep deep inside the earth,
‘Come sit with me, O mole, rabbit and squiggly worm…
listen to this tale of a great tree…
“You Who inundate these hearts
with waves of thankfulness,
to know Your Name
in all its facets
and to sing,
‘Glory be to God!’
Ash-Shakur, The Grateful, Ever Responsive to Gratitude.”1
1Ninety-Names of the Beloved by Camille Hamilton Adams Helminski.
Uzma is a Mevlevi dervish, part of the Threshold London circle. She works for the mind-body-spirit publisher Watkins Media, and is an aspiring author and illustrator, hoping to publish her first book in 2018 through Chickpea Press.
“Mercy” (Rahim) is the grace that allows us to connect with the Divine in every circumstance of life.
We welcome your reflections on this theme.
Hope & Beauty, The Path of Mevlana
Annual West Coast Retreat, February 23-25 2018
With Kabir & Camille Helminski, and special guests including
Dr. Amina Wadud, internationally respected author,
and Sufi musicians Amir & Nasreen Etmenazade.
Join us for these days of spiritual practice, music, poetry, conversation, and friendship.
The Mercy Center, Burlingame, California (a few miles from San Francisco Airport)
In these times when we are constantly bombarded by news of terrorism, immigration, and war, when most of the news about Islam is negative and distorted, let us remember the timeless, energizing wisdom of the Path of Mevlana.
Shaikh Kabir and Shaikha Camille joined Parisa Soultani from One Through Love for a live webcast on Mevlana’s Urs, along with Jamal Rahman. Watch the full event online now.
Sacred Pattern: all the talks from the Kendal November retreat.
Custodians of Consciousness: Shaikh Kabir’s sohbet in London, Nov 17th
Becoming Nothing: Louisville Nov 30th
Rumi’s Urs: Louisville Dec 17th
Watchfulness: Louisville Dec 21st
Threshold’s collaborative blog channel The Living Tradition on Patheos.com is reaching new audiences and sharing the experiences of our community in a unique and vibrant way.
Let us know what you think by commenting on the posts — join the discussion at www.patheos.com/blogs/livingtradition and “follow” The Living Tradition.
We encourage you to leave reviews on Amazon.
Feb 23-25: California, US. Annual San Francisco retreat. Hope & Beauty: book now. (KC)
May 15 – Jun 13: Ramadan
Events with Sh. Kabir and Sh. Camille marked (KC)
We’d love to hear from you – get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org
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