THRESHOLD SOCIETY NEWSLETTER ~ JAN 2019
Happy New Year!
Awakened Being is attention guided by the Heart in everyday life.
~ Shaikh Kabir Helminski
We welcome your reflections on this theme.
Ramadan Love Songs
An excerpt from Shaikha Camille’s forthcoming book, Ramadan Love Songs, due March 2019:
Wherever you are, I am with you
over the waves
made to expand
know the muscle
even when thrown
in the air
to the depths of Your water—
up and down,
in and out,
You exhale us
only to return us
into Your Heart—
May I not forget
that this dance
that these feet
no other rhythm
than the pulse
of Your Love,
whether in a moment
it is fast
we are with You,
You are with us.*
* God is with you, wherever you may be. [Surah Al Hadid, “Iron,” 57:4]
Reflection on December’s theme: Endeavor to make God your Companion in all your spiritual states as much as possible.
~ Adila Ahmed [London, UK]
A lover who has won her beloved
may play the coquette,
but putting on coquettish airs (naz)
before gaining the beloved would be foolish.
It isn’t that I feel berated by this reading. More a case of a call to pay some mind (or heart) to its inherent warning. Scrutinise whether one is really acquainted with the Sultan’s Love. Would an honest account of my relationship with my Beloved reveal deficiency? Have I realised my own need? And if I find scarcity, what must ‘I’ do?
Fortunately for me somebody already asked Hazreti Shams this question. Below is his response:
You must unite with the origin; you must find the origin that everyone is seeking. You have to search for the origin of origins, the goal of all goals, not the root that will break off in your hand like a rotten branch one day. You have to work with all your might to search for the origin. You have to take everything that troubles your heart, and that causes you to drift away from the goal seriously into account. If you think that it is easy to attain, you will have underestimated the goal.
Not surprisingly perhaps I feel stripped down, naked in my own ineptitude with this advice. I don’t know how to do this. I don’t even know how to make the call to ask for help. I start to wonder if there’s any point in trying as momentarily I’m filled with hopelessness and despair. It’s not long though before I find comfort in these words from Hazreti Shams.
“I have such a moment with God . . . ,” is an invitation. Otherwise, if it were a state could the word “I” have a place within that state? . . . There is never despair. If this state were to remain for two moments, within the first moment there is “hope,” and within the second moment, cry out and lose yourself. Cry out so strongly that there may be hopes and laughter within it.
Illuminating the way Hazreti Shams says:
The ignorant one with faulty thinking is continually reading his own letter. He doesn’t read the letter of his Friend. If he had read even one line from it, he would never have said the things he does, but he just keeps reading his own letter, and that’s it. However, in that page of his, all the letters are bent and crooked, dark and unreal, they are only his own strange delusions, his imaginings. He becomes the slave of the idol he makes with his own hands, and he becomes its servant and stands guard at its door.
One should look at the Beloved with a loving eye because He Loves Them (5:54). But the problem is that they don’t look at God with the eye of Love. They look at God with the eye of knowledge, or from the viewpoint of gnosis or philosophy, but to look with the eye of love is another work all together.
Is Hazreti Shams saying that I’m prone to err when I seek with my sight? My limited gaze keeps bringing me to myself and my many distortions. I know you say one must look with the eyes of Majnun, Ya Hazreti Shams. Please show us the way. Teach us the courtesy of the path, to seek permission, to be empty.
Mevlana announces, “Who should be with Layla? Someone who can be Majnun!”
Those who live with their nafs are of one sort, and those who live with their hearts are of another. Those who live with their hearts are again different from those who live with their Lord. There is no other remedy, because this is the Way.
And if darkness is what is most dominant within and without? If we become cynical, embittered and even cruel after life’s trials? What advice comes forth then?
When a person is left helpless, from that helplessness either light or darkness emerges.
Chant through the Darkness to the Light. Don’t grieve, don’t worry and don’t fall into despair. After lengthening of darkness, after long nights, the bright luminous days begin.
O truthful seeker, keep your heart happy! For the One who makes hearts happy is busy working to complete your work, for Everyday He is about some new endeavour [55:29].
Something of the Eternal One, is connected to you; it is Love. They love God is the effect of God loves them [5:54].
I feel quietened by these words. Mevlana’s words rise off the page,
Life’s waters flow from darkness.
Search the darkness, don’t run from it.
Night travellers are full of light,
and you are, too; don’t leave this companionship.
My heart feels full and I wonder at my propensity to complain. I’m reminded of Hazrati Harakani’s words,
The Almighty spares none; his prophets are put to death and his friends are whipped. He is Bold, truly Bold. You be bold then and reach for nothing less than Him.
I have nothing more to say but the wish to share some readings which with reverence I title, “The Cosmic Dance”:
Everybody who clings to him acquires his qualities. There is no doubt that you take on the nature of the one with whom you are closely in contact, the one with whom you sit. If you spend time looking at straw, dryness constricts you; if you look at greenery and roses, freshness opens within you. Your companion pulls you to his own universe.
Faith and love turn human beings into heroes—they remove all fear.
I have become my darling,
and my darling has become me.
We have become two spirits within one body.
The Beloved says, “I am the Road you travel,
And I too am the Host that receives you;
when you speak, I hear; when you think, I know;
when you flee from me, I am your refuge;
when you seek refuge, I am your shelter;
your prayers I receive, and your hopes I fulfil;
I am with you in desolation, and I am with you in your elation;
Be therefore Here, Now in This Presence.”
~ One day Adila read an extract from the book Living Presence; its opening chapter “The City of Separation” intrigued her so much, she knew only that she had to be connected to its author.
Listen to the full audio recordings from an interspiritual retreat in Alabama with Shaikha Camille, sharing the Living Tradition of Rumi.
~ Uzma Taj [London, UK]
I have been blessed to work on the Instagram images for a few months now, and I am in awe of the awesomeness of how expansive the work of Mevlana is. There are so many possibilities, strands, avenues you can travel in a single verse from Mevlana. One day the verse brings the ocean but on another day the light dancing on a brick wall. My grasp of Mevlana came through images. Whilst journalling down my endless feelings of whys and whats and ifs I began sketching the world Mevlana opened in my heart.
Words came reluctantly to me. I learnt the alphabet in a locked room after my family realised I still had not grasped it at a ‘shamefully’ big age; I had developed a talent of disappearing in the classroom. When I finally was blessed to meet Mevlana, I learnt to understand his words by listening to the sharing of the dear dervishes around me. How could so much world exist in such few sentences?
I have never ridden a horse, but sometimes I wonder if its the same thrill, racing through verses listening to the sound of images appearing like a fierce wind around the words. When looking for images to hold this beauty, I have found a wonderful enfolding, a flood at times, and just for a moment the words sit snuggled in a bird, or a tree or the beautiful moon. Alhamdulilah, Mevlana, Dede, Ana. There is an expansiveness that I never imagined could exist . . . I pray I always know how lucky I am, the Masnavi has taught me how in a blink of an eye it can disappear . . .
The Mevlevi Wird is now back in print, get your copy here.
One Through Love
Remembering Suleyman Dede on his Urs January 19th
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.
The Language of the Soul
Playa Coyote Writers Retreat
7 nights from: February 2nd to February 9th, 2019
With Kabir Helminski, Author, Poet, Translator
A spiritually oriented writer’s retreat at the beautiful Zen Spirit Yoga Retreat located right on the pristine Playa Coyote on the Pacific Coast, Guanacaste, Costa Rica (zenspiritcr.com)
We will focus on the power of writing to explore the soul, the world we live in, and the nature of reality.
A few hours each day will be spent in scheduled sessions, including one meditation session per day, leaving abundant time to appreciate the natural beauty of the ocean and the Costa Rican environment. Limited to about 22 people.
Practices of Spiritual Intelligence
San Francisco Annual Retreat, March 8-10 2019
With Kabir & Camille Helminski, and special guests including
Robert Abdul Hayy Darr, internationally respected author, Sufi teacher
and Sufi musicians Amir & Nasreen Etmenazade.
The Mercy Center, Burlingame, California (a few miles from San Francisco Airport).
Join us for these days of spiritual practice, music, poetry, conversation, and friendship.
To understand the nature and purpose of our human intelligence is vitally important to our fundamental well being and happiness. Every human being carries an inheritance of spiritual intelligence, which is the reflection of Divine Intellect on the human plane. The particular, individualized intellect of each human being is potentially a portal for the streaming of Universal Intellect, the awesome intelligence that nourishes our individual intellect.
The Mercy Center requires us to send a list of attendees one month in advance.
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 2-9: Costa Rica. Writers Retreat: The Language of the Soul. More details (K)
Mar 8-10: San Francisco Annual Retreat – Ten Practices of Spiritual Intelligence. More details. (KC)
Mar 15-16: Portland, Oregon. Why Sufism is an Essential Aspect of Islam. Sponsored by the Islamic Education Foundation of Portland (details forthcoming). (KC)
May 5 – June 4: Ramadan
Aug 11: Eid al-Adha
Aug 23-26: Dorset, UK. Gaunts House Annual UK Retreat. (KC)
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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