THRESHOLD SOCIETY NEWSLETTER ~ JAN 2016
HAPPY NEW YEAR and welcome to the new monthly newsletter where we will share the latest news, articles and messages from our teachers and international community.
How do we follow the path of the saints in these times?
~ Shaikh Kabir Helminski
Every day we become aware of the pollution of our planet for personal profit, the crimes against humanity justified with lies, and the hypocrisy of most of our leaders (in nearly all countries). At the same time we nurture the beauty and the truth of dervishood, this exquisitely human manifestation of spirituality. With Islamophobia increasing, with distortions of Islam more prevalent than the noble face of Sufism, it can be a lonely path. To be a seeker, a dervish, in these times one needs a strong and clear intention, as well as a pure heart.
There’s little in the outer world supporting the ideal of dervishood. Today’s culture almost requires self-promotion, self branding. What would’ve been viewed as narcissism a few decades ago is now close to the norm on social media. More and more people accept living in an environment of information overload, minds cluttered by tweets, cute cats, selfies, and interjected advertising. It used to be that distractedness was primarily an internal phenomenon; today we see nearly everyone holding on to instruments of distraction, less interested in the world around themselves than in what appears on the tiny screen of their “smart” devices.
The Heart Space App
Can we use the Internet and smart phone apps to support our inner life? This is why Heart Space has been created. It is just one of the ways that we will build the virtual tekke (Sufi lodge), the inner, invisible environment where transformation is nurtured. Heart Space invites us into ourselves, into that presence where the divine dwells.
Sufism, and indeed any true spirituality, requires self emptying, polishing the mirror of consciousness, abiding in one’s essential self. Once upon a time the environment in which these qualities and capacities could flourish included the Sufi lodges, the sacred places of worship, a sanctified niche in one’s own home. Today we must continuously nurture our humanness, tend to our souls, build positive relationships under conditions that are both precarious and promising.
The Joyous Disciplines of Dervishood
One day as I was having a cup of tea outside a small hotel in Istanbul, I noticed that the street was named Dervishlersokak, which means alley of the dervishes. At that very moment, a man carrying a huge bundle on his back passed by, carrying the kind of burden one only sees in Middle Eastern cities like this. I don’t know why, but all at once the idea occurred to me that many people identify as Sufis, but to be a dervish is something more. A dervish is someone who has willingly yoked themselves to the wagon of servanthood and taken on the responsibility of spiritual practice.
We will be offering several retreats this year on the theme of “the joyous disciplines of dervishood.” A Threshold retreat is a time to gain a new frequency and a deepened perspective on life. It is also a time to strengthen our commitment to spiritual practice and be inspired by each other. Some of the values we are committed to and continually work to develop are: spiritual courtesy in every aspect of life, personal humility and integrity, intentionality in daily life and spiritual practice, compassion in one’s heart, and the courage to align ourselves with the highest Truth.
The Prophet said: “How wonderful is the condition of a believer for everything that befalls him is good.” He then explained “If he is touched by fortune he is grateful and it is good for him. If he is touched by evil, he is patient and it is good for him!” One could also say, “How wonderful and joyous is the condition of the dervish, for every circumstance and event of life is received as a new lesson in the school of love.”
An Awakened Being is someone whose attention is guided by the Heart in everyday life.
We welcome your reflections on this theme.
The new year sees us launch a major revision to our website! Sufism.org receives over 60,000 visits a month, many of these from mobile devices. The new site features a “responsive” mobile-friendly design, which adapts to smaller screens. It’s Google-friendly too, so we’ll feature higher in Google search results. And we’ve tried to make it simpler and more user-friendly so that you can find and view what you’re looking for with ease. We’ll be continuing to make improvements throughout the coming year so please let us have your feedback and suggestions!
~ Sadat Malik
Feb 5-7: Annual West Coast Retreat, San Francisco. Register by January 5 for the San Francisco Gathering.
Feb 9-14: International Sufi Festival, India. Sufism in Our Time with Shaikh Kabir Helminski & Pir Shabda Kahn in New Delhi. More details.
Garrison 2015 Retreat Audio
Listen to or download the complete set of podcasts for this year’s (October 9 – 11, 2015) Garrison Retreat with Shaikh Kabir, Shaikha Camille and guests.
A few images from the recent Urs celebrations in London and Bradford, see more.
eCourses to start your New Year
Threshold Society, Kabir and Camille, and Baraka have offered a number of eCourses which can still be taken. These courses offer daily emails with selections and commentaries to guide you through a reflective process lasting between 30-49 days, depending on the course. Start your New Year intentionally – see the full list of eCourses available here.
May God have mercy on those who lead the way
and those who come behind, and those who fulfill their vows,
and those who seek to fulfill them,
with His Grace and bounty, His great benefits and favors!
For He is the best object of petition and the noblest object of hope;
and God is the best protector and the most merciful
of those who show mercy,
and the best of friends and the best of heirs
and the best replacer of what has been consumed
and provider for those devoted
who sow and till the soil of good works.
And God bless Muhammad and all the Prophets and Messengers!
Amen, O Lord of created beings!