THRESHOLD SOCIETY NEWSLETTER ~ JULY 2018
To come to know the deep well of your own being is better than to chase after the heels of the world. ~Rumi
We welcome your reflections on this theme.
Truth Is From Your Lord
~ Mahmoud Mostafa
“O My God, show us Truth as truth and bless us with following it and show us falsehood as falsehood and bless us with avoiding it.”
We all hold noble ideas about Truth. Our notion of Truth may often be influenced by our ideas of right and wrong, of how things should be according to our own understanding. We often associate truth with what we believe to be justice. And we often associate truth with what we consider to be facts. But unless we are in a certain state of consciousness in our relationship with the Divine, our notion of Truth will be at best idealistic sentiments. More often than not, truth is distorted by our own biases and desires.
Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi says that we see everything from the circle of our own self-existence. He tells us the world takes on the color of the glass through which we see it. He gives the example of how Abu Jahl saw the Prophet as ugly and the Prophet told him he’s truthful and how Abu Bakr saw him as beautiful and the Prophet told him he’s also truthful. Everyone of us has had a similar experience to this view of the Prophet. We are seen differently by different people; their “knowing” of us is colored by their perspective. This dynamic is evident in our relationships. We are often convinced that we are standing in truth in our critical view of the person with whom we are in relationship. This is the falsehood of our Nafs dominating our understanding.
Al Warith, the Inheritor of All
Shaikha Camille shares reflections on the Divine Name, Al Warith, the Inheritor of All.
Watch all sixteen videos with Shaikha Camille recently offered as part of the “Ninety-Nine Names of God” Ecourse through Spirituality & Practice, available on the Threshold YouTube channel.
The full ecourse of the “Ninety-Nine Names of God” is now archived and available for a personal or group journey at www.spiritualityandpractice.com.
Reflection on June’s theme: Holy Spirit can accomplish anything through the human being purified of egoism.
~ Feride Michelle Akcar [Colorado, US]
It is through the smallest actions that we get a chance to glimpse the Holy Spirit in others.
Several years ago I began to practice greeting people I passed with an internal smile and silent prayer for wellbeing. In paying attention, what I saw again and again were small acts of Spirit — the patience of one for another while waiting in a long line, the awareness that something was about to be dropped and lost, the generosity that another’s needs were greater than one’s own. Over time, I noticed things happening in front of me that called me out of my usual awareness. Another had a greater need. In each of these moments, there was no experience of making a choice, only of responding. Reflecting afterwards I would feel a clarity of heart and mind. And, at the same time, I recognized how many other choices I routinely make that are clouded by egoism, a “joining of the unconscious thought and selfish desire.”1
They asked Kharaqani:
“Where do you see God?”
“Wherever I don’t see myself.”2
We can either be empty with Spirit or full of ourselves.3
To be full of ourselves is a common trap, and to try to live empty with Spirit is not without its own hazards. As Kharaqani noted, we see God in the spaces that we haven’t filled with ourselves. Too often we believe that we are the doer, as if it is our own actions driving life forward, rather than realizing how much is given to us at each and every moment.
For those who aspire to be empty with Spirit, tasawwuf offers many practices for “removing the distorting factors of egoism that veil the heart.”4 Committing to practices of adab, salaat, and zhikr helps to begin polishing the heart. As we practice, veils that cloud perception lift, allowing the possibility that we see ourselves as receivers rather than doers. We begin to purify our egoism.
Hearts are of four kinds: the heart that is clear like a shining lamp; the heart that is covered and tied up; the heart that is upside-down, and the heart that is clad in armor. As for the clear heart, it is the heart of the believer in which is a lamp filled with light. [Hadith]
In planning a trip, it’s helpful to have a sense of destination. Our destination is to have a heart so clear that it serves as a lamp holding light. For the light to be visible and reach others, we have to keep cleaning the lamp. I remember childhood visits to my family in rural Turkey. Electricity was inconsistent, so there always was a kerosene lamp nearby. I was amazed at how bright the light could be compared to dim electric wattage, and how much more so when the lamp was newly cleaned. Our daily practices help us to keep the lamp clean, polishing its glass panes so the light shining out is as bright as the light within.
The light which shines in the eye
is really the light of the heart.
The light which fills the heart
is the light of God, which is pure
and separate from the light of intellect and sense.5
In this world that often seems so focused on the darkness, may we be transformed in the Light.
The Light of Wisdom (Nur ala Nur)
Your Light returns,
bouncing from Your leaves
to my heart
through the window that opens
to Your Vastness.
From where I sit,
I cannot quite see
Your sun rise,
yet through the mirror,
a hidden window opens,
and Your rose
the air, reverberating
with Your silent Song of Love.
It is everywhere,
washing us from head to toe
and beyond our arm’s expanse,
evening out the ripples
of missed beats
of our hearts.
The ocean of Your Love
every day and night—
when we have forgotten
or to look
for Your Sweet Presence,
we rest in Your arms,
All the while, God encompasses them,
without their even being aware of it.
We are reminded
by Your constellations
magnifying Your Glory
for all to see
who keep watch
in the night,
woven in such lustrous patterns,
in realms far beyond
the sight of our eyes,
but known by heart—
that catch Your silent whispers
with the rising of the stars,
with the rising of the moon,
with the rising of the sun:
“Wake up and see Me.”
before the Beauty
of Your Light
rising in the heart,
Your Light that shines eternally
whatever may remain
of that which we might
until we are poured
out again, transfigured
in Your Love
breath by breath.
O You Who Are Light,
Ya Nur ala Nur,
Light upon Light,
Glory be to You,
Ya Rabbil al-Ameen,
Sustainer of All Worlds,
Ya Wasi, Ya Wadud,
O All-Encompassing Love.6
1 K Helminski, The Book of Language: A Deep Glossary of Islamic and English Spiritual Terms, 2006.
2 O Safi, Radical Love, 2018; 64.
3 K Helminski, Living Presence: A Sufi Way to Mindfulness & the Essential Self, 1992; 27.
4 K Helminski, The Knowing Heart: A Sufi Path of Transformation, 2000, 182.
5 Mathnawi 1:1126–7, tr. Helminski
6 C Helminski. “Wisdom – An Ongoing Conversation with Divine Reality.”
~ Feride is a lover on the Mevlevi path. She lives in Western Colorado (US) with two four-footed companions who remind her on a daily basis what unconditional love is.
Practices of Coherence
UK Annual Retreat
Aug 24-27 2018
With Shaikh Kabir and Shaikha Camille Helminski
Selcuk Gurez, Master Mevlevi Musician from Turkey
Jeremy Henzell-Thomas, Visiting Fellow, University of Cambridge
During times of change and challenge, our refuge and strength is the holy Mysterion accessed through the Heart.
Join us for an extended weekend of beauty, friendship, music, poetry, and prayer.
Registrations open soon — check here.
Bradford Literature Festival
Shaikh Kabir Helminski and Rumi’s Circle will be at the Bradford Literature Festival next weekend, July 7-8, 2018. Book your tickets for each event:
Sat 7th July, 4pm: Rumi and the Mystery of Being Human, with Sh. Kabir. Book your tickets
Sun 8th July, 10:30am: Translating Spirituality, with Sh. Kabir. Book your tickets
Sun 8th July, 10:30am: Rumi’s Circle Whirling Workshop. Book your tickets
Sun 8th July, 4pm: Holistic Islam, with Sh. Kabir. Book your tickets
Sun 8th July, 6:30pm: Rumi’s Circle Zhikr, with Sh. Kabir. Book your tickets
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Jul 7-8: Bradford, UK. Shaikh Kabir and Rumi’s Circle will be speaking at the Bradford Literature Festival, book your tickets. (K)
Aug 24-27: UK Annual Retreat, Gaunts House, Dorset. Registrations open soon — check here.
Events with Sh. Kabir and Sh. Camille marked (KC)
With the Beloved’s life-giving waters,
there is no disease,
In the Beloved’s garden of Union,
there are no thorns.
They say between our hearts
there’s a shutter we can open,
but what is there to open if no walls remain?
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