THRESHOLD SOCIETY NEWSLETTER ~ MAY 2020
~ Camille Helminski
The faithful are those
whose hearts tremble with awe whenever God is mentioned,
and whose faith is strengthened
whenever His signs are conveyed to them,
and who place their trust in their Sustainer—
those who are constant in prayer
and spend on others out of what We provide for them as sustenance:
In truth, these are the faithful!
They shall have stations of dignity with their Sustainer,
and forgiveness, and a most generous provision.
Even as a rose among thorns, may we be strengthened by the trials through which we grow and emerge with fragrance—from an Unseen world, from that Source that is our continual sustenance—enlivened by the Beloved. Signs are everywhere. May our trust be enlivened, our generosity of heart and hand be encouraged, knowing that our provision is arriving moment by moment, breath by breath from our Rabb, the Educator and Cherisher of our souls. Even as beloved Prophet Muhammad, may peace and blessings be upon him, immersed so deeply in prayer and meditation in the cave of Hira, on the Mountain of Light (Jabal an-Nur), where the Quran first opened in revelation during the month of Ramadan, may we each deepen in our prayer and contemplation with our Lord this month especially, as we “shelter in place” and come to know better the sanctuary of our own hearts, comprehending that beloved Muhammad is our companion in this and beloved Maryam, much beloved by the Prophet, who also so deeply immersed in prayer in the sanctuary of her heart. Both well knew the sustenance that comes to us when we deeply listen, when we open our hearts in awe.
And so we share a little offering of remembrance in support, chapter two of Maryam, Beloved of God, a portion of a continued work opening, in recognition of how our hearts and faith traditions are so intricately interwoven and how we are all of one Human family, inspired and nourished by the One Source of Life, awakening in Love. Ya Hayy, Ya Qayyum, Ya Wadud!
Your body is a servant; train it with love. ~ Shaikh Kabir Helminski
We welcome your reflections on this theme.
The Call to Unite
On Saturday May 2nd at approximately 11:30 am UK, 6:30 am EDT, Camille and Kabir will offer a 12 minute meditation during a worldwide event including spiritual leaders and front-line leaders, singers and storytellers, dancers and painters, public servants and poets, those seen and unseen, those with voices that soar and those with gifts more simple. Including among many others: Elizabeth Gilbert, Alanis Morisette, Julia Roberts, Krista Tippett, Marianne Williamson, Oprah Winfrey, Roshi Joan Halifax, YoYo Ma, Angelique Kidjo, Richard Rohr, Quincy Jones, Eckart Tolle, Archbishop Thabo Makgoba, Byron Katie, David Brooks.
A weekly online meditation with Shaikh Kabir Helminski, Camille, and other members of the Threshold community. Every Sunday at 11am Eastern Daylight Time (4pm BST).
“God will not burden anyone beyond their capacity.” ( لا يكلف الله نفسا إلا وسعها)
How will we endure? We will endure with Rahman, The Divine Compassion & Mercy. We must carry each other. “All believers are brothers/sisters.”
God says, “I am in you. Where are you?” We must find Spirit within ourselves, as Love.
Join us every Sunday on Zoom: https://zoom.us/j/435138208
[If you have not used Zoom before, please allow time to install and test the software before the meeting time. Click the above link and you will be prompted to download.]
The Sufi Hour
Conversations with Shaikh Kabir & Camille Helminski with friends and fellow spiritual travellers from around the world.
30% Ramadan Discount on eCourses
Threshold Society, Kabir and Camille, have offered a number of eCourses that 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. Camille’s course on the 99 Names, for instance, contains a series of videos, while “Rumi – Living a Spiritual Life” also includes sound files of the selections read by Camille or Kabir. We invite you to take one of our online e-courses during Ramadan.
1. Choose from the full list of available ecourses here.
2. The links on the titles will take you to Spirituality & Practice.
3. Choose “Subscribe” to put a course in your shopping cart.
4. In the “Promo Code” box on the shopping cart, type: THRESHOLD
5. Click “Apply” to have a 30% discount applied to your order.
6. Click “Checkout” to finish the order.
Note: If you have already taken an e-course, you can’t order again. That’s because you already have a full archive of the course in your account at Spirituality & Practice. You can read the sessions online or have them resent to you.
Reflection on April’s theme: Your inner being is a sanctuary; cleanse it with the light of compassionate awareness. ~ Shaikh Kabir Helminski
~ Ita S. Mucharam [Jakarta, Indonesia]
Upon reflecting on the theme, what springs to mind immediately is how appropriate this invitation is for the current coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic which affects practically every single person in the world – admittedly, the effect is more intense for some than others.
The pandemic has led to sweeping changes and disruptions in nearly every aspect of our daily life. Beside the current waves of the ‘medical tsunami’, people are getting increasingly anxious of the potential ‘economic tsunami’ that might follow. With the unending inflow of information, sad stories, and how-to guidelines that continuously change, it is easy to feel overwhelmed.
Yet the situation has remarkably ignited compassion in many people from all walks of life. It is astonishing how generous and compassionate people are in helping one another to overcome this situation, despite their own limitations. People donate as much as they can spare to support the heroic medical teams and help feed the less fortunate.
A simple tailor, for instance, contributes by waving his income in exchange for sewing face masks to give away to the people in need. A millennial started a ‘Pay a Person’s Salary to Stay at Home’ movement to encourage people helping others to stay at home safely. Every day, I see people cooking and providing meals for medical staff and the needy.
It is crucial for us all to practice compassion during this uncertain time, for us to help one another, as this is the only plausible way we can overcome the pandemic as one, united people.
Such a show of compassion towards others benefits not only the other persons, but also ourselves. It helps us feel less lonely and more connected. It improves our ability to regulate our own emotions in time of stress.
This does not mean that we cannot experience sadness, anxiety, or anger at times. We should acknowledge and accept our own condition and needs, and hence help ourselves —before we help others—to better manage such challenging interior states without feeling overwhelmed.
We may be surprised to find that many of us find self-compassion more challenging than having compassion for others. Caring for ourselves takes conscious effort, but, when we do, the compassion we have for ourselves naturally overflows to everyone around us.
A renowned doctor and fellow coach prescribes a simple recipe for self-compassion. He said, “You have to manage yourself first before you are able to manage others.” He often refers to the example of the in-flight-safety briefing on the airplane, where we are advised to always put on our own oxygen mask first before helping other people who may require assistance.
In order to remain calm, grounded, and focused, the good doctor himself prays, meditates and performs dhikr daily – sometimes five minutes, other times hours. This, in turn, enables him to continually listen to other people’s concerns and to lead his team members in combating the pandemic. By being compassionate to himself, he has the energy to be compassionate to others as well.
the entrance door
to the sanctuary
is inside you.
In our beautiful practice in the Threshold Society, remembrance, and specifically dhikr Allah, is eternally at the heart of this. The words dhikr Allah (remembrance of God) in Arabic have a number of meanings, including ‘mentioning’ and ‘remembering’. We are reminded to remember by the One who installed remembrance in us. The remembrance that begins with the tongue can guide us to the remembrance of the heart. God says in the Quran, Remember Me and I will remember you [Surah Al-Baqarah 2:152].
There was a heartwarming real-life example of how dhikr works wonders. A dear friend has recently recovered from coronavirus. A cancer survivor in her late sixties, upon learning that she had contracted the virus, she decided to conduct self-isolation and self-treatment at home, nurtured by her two wonderful children. She said that among the most important things for her during the arduous two weeks – aside from the medicines and medical care she was receiving – were her surrender to God and constant dhikr.
In Discourse 56 of Fihi Ma Fihi, Mevlana tells us:
Your mind is at ease. How is that? Because the mind is a precious thing – it is like a net, and a net must be in good repair to catch prey. When your mind is disturbed, then the net tears and is useless.
So, neither love nor enmity for anyone should go to excess, because either could tear the net. Moderation is needed. Now, “the love that should not be excessive” – I mean by that love for other than God. With regard to the Creator, excess is inconceivable. The greater the love, the better.
[The Rumi Daybook]
During her trying time, combined with all the medical efforts, we learnt that she held God most strongly in her heart.
I truly believe that our trust and love for God is the only thing that will help us through this uncertain time. I pray that we are lent the ability to witness His beauty and love, in line with this Circle’s teaching that ‘Beauty is the way of life’; beauties that are seen in every act of compassion to ourselves and towards others, and love of God that is expressed through constant—as much as humanly possible—remembrance, prayers, speech, and deeds.
Shaikha Camille and Shaikh Kabir in our recent weekly zoom meditation invited us to call upon Al Hayy, Al Qayyum to activate our inner sanctuary and cleanse it with the light of compassionate awareness. So that we will be alive through the Ever-Living, stand tall through theSelf-Subsisting, and bear witness tothe hidden treasure that wished to be known, He who is the Compassionate, the Merciful.
Ya Hayyu. Ya Qayyum. Bi Rahmatika Astagheeth.
O Living. O Self-Subsisting Sustainer. In Your Mercy do I seek relief.
~ Ita S. Mucharam lives in Jakarta, Indonesia. She believes that physical distance is what is appropriate at this current time. Yet no distance can hinder her love towards Mevlana’s teaching.
The Glorious Morning Light
Recitations from the Qur’an by Camille Helminski
Fourteen of the most beloved short surahs and passages from the Qur’an, recited in Arabic. Now available on YouTube.
HeartSpace Sufi App
Awaken the heart with the wisdom & practice of Sufi spirituality
“This app is filled with gorgeous wird & dhikr. Each one is like a love letter from God directly to my soul. If you find yourself in need of reflection, guidance, or solace, this app will guide you to spiritual healing & regrowth, inshAllah.“
The purpose of HeartSpace is to awaken the consciousness of the heart through the wisdom and practice of Sufi spirituality. It is through the heart that a human being can experience the peace, inner strength and sense of well-being that comes through spiritual practice. True spirituality is based on experience more than beliefs. HeartSpace offers an introduction to traditional principles and practices shared across Sufi lineages. HeartSpace is not meant to replace lived spiritual guidance, but is intended to be an opening or a complement to your spiritual journey. All praise and thanks be to the Sustainer of the Universe.
“Such a gift to have had this in time for Ramadan. There’s plenty available on the free app and the £5.99 ‘extras’ are many! Amazing to hear the Mevlevi Wird (litany of prayers) in both English and Arabic. Find tranquility in remembrance with this beautiful tool.”
The first app to offer an experience of Sufi spirituality.Supports remembrance and presence with inspiring texts.Includes audio recordings of guided spiritual practices. A treasury of inspirational texts from Rumi, Hadith, and Qur’an sent as daily reminders. The free app is complete in itself, offering a comprehensive and many-leveled introduction to the practice of zhikr. Those who wish to continue and go deeper can subscribe to further practices, more daily reminders, recordings of Sufi music and the Qur’an.
“A beautiful collection of wirds, remembrance of The Divine, heartful reminders and deeply soulful practices that bring peaceful light and reflection any time of the day. Heartily recommend this app, accessible to all and a perfect complement to my daily dose of spiritual nourishment.”
We are aware of some problems with the “reminders” with some smartphones. We are working with our developers to solve the problem, and we ask you to follow some simple instructions to update your settings here. Even without the reminders function, the app has so much to offer!
The Threshold Society
The Threshold Society, rooted within the traditions of Sufism and inspired by the life and work of Mevlâna Jalâluddîn Rumi, is a non-profit educational foundation with the purpose of facilitating the experience of Divine Unity, Love, and Truth in the world. Sufism is a living tradition of human transformation through love and higher consciousness. Our fundamental framework is classical Sufism and the Qur’an as it has been understood over the centuries by the great Sufis. The Society is affiliated with the Mevlevi Order, and offers training programs, seminars and retreats around the world.
Each month we intend to highlight an article about our lineage and its principles. This month we offer: Adab; The Courtesy of the Path.
The Sufis created a system of human development grounded in love and using the power of love to awaken and transform human beings. Rumi taught that it is everyone’s potential to master the art of loving. Love is the answer to the problem of human existence.
The way to God passes through servanthood. The point is to love and be connected with others in that love. The form of Sufi work is typically a group, or spiritual family. The Sufis created a milieu in which human love was so strong that it naturally elevated itself to the level of cosmic love. All forms of love eventually lead to spiritual love. “Ashq olsun,” they say. “May it become love.” They cultivated a kindness and refinement in which love fermented into a fine wine. They encouraged service to humanity as an expression of the love they felt. They accepted a rigorous discipline in order to keep the fire of love burning strongly.
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.
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We appreciate your support.
May 24: Eid al-Fitr
Jul 31: Eid al-Adha
TBC Aug 22: Portland, Oregon. Day retreat with Kabir & Camille. (KC)
Events with Kabir (K) & Camille (C)
We’d love to hear from you – get in touch at email@example.com
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