THRESHOLD SOCIETY NEWSLETTER ~ OCT 2018
We welcome your reflections on this theme.
Reflection on September’s theme:
~ Aliya Kocamis [Virginia, USA]
…you are created by two things. One is your body and your outer appearance (zahir), which you can see with your eyes. The other is your inner forces (batin). This is the part you cannot see, but you can know with your insight. The reality of your existence is in your inwardness. Everything is a servant of your inward heart.
[Al Ghazzali, The Alchemy of Happiness quoted in The Knowing Heart]
The first rainy Sunday of autumn, 2018! A privileged do-nothing day. Around noon, feeling hungry, I amble to the pantry. I open the door, turn on the light, and look left for the can of Amy’s Low Sodium Lentil Soup I bought for just such a day as this. I see it, grab it and turn to leave, but sense something else. I look around. I see movement on the floor. Within seconds my vision is filled by hundreds of ants collected around – and inside of – a package of medjool dates that I had not sufficiently closed before moving it to its temporary storage spot. Many, many ants are eating dates. Others travel along the rim of the aluminum baking container in which the package sits. Others are crawling up the wall, and then I spot the trail created to get to that mother lode of nourishment and sugar. I stand there, soup in hand, bending down to observe the ant city.
My mind has already started to define this situation. Then the alarm sounds. ANTS IN THE PANTRY! Quicker than lightening, pictures of ants marshalling forces in an unseen bunker, waiting for their chance to fill the entire pantry and then take over the world, flood my mind. Whereas earlier I had been quite content to observe these visitors, my energy now shifts toward nefarious action. The message was quite clear: Kill them!
As if this dark thought is a cry for help, I sense the awakening of a calm, powerful sentience able to see more than meets the eye. The eye of the heart opens to see this situation in an expanded field of coherence. A milieu where more than one option is possible, and life-giving ones at that. A couple of deep breaths. A few moments to scan my body and feel the feelings arising – no judgement here, just feeling. Checking in with myself to ask what’s needed. And can I give it. The situation shifted. I look again on the ant city with the eye of the heart.
And one day, there were assembled before Solomon his hosts of invisible beings, and of men, and of birds; and then they were led forth in orderly ranks, till when they came upon a valley full of ants, an ant exclaimed: “O you ants! Get into your dwellings, lest Solomon and his hosts crush you without even being aware of you!” Thereupon, Solomon smiled joyously at her words, and said: “My Lord, direct me to be thankful for the blessings you have bestowed upon me and upon my parents, and to do good works that please You. And admit me, by Your Grace, into the company of Your virtuous servants.”
[Qur’an, The Ant, 27: 17–19]
The ants found the way by their senses, in the dark, to nourishment and sweetness.
Life’s waters flow from darkness.
Search the darkness, don’t run from it.
[Mevlana Rumi, Love is a Stranger]
They travel in community.
Even if you’re not a seeker,
still, follow us, keep searching with us.
Even if you don’t know how to play and sing,
you’ll become like us;
with us you’ll start singing and dancing….
Put on the mantle for a moment
and see the ones whose hearts are alive.
Then, throw out your satin dresses
and cover yourself with a cloak, like us….
God’s Shams of Tabriz says
to the heart’s bud,
‘If your eyes are opened,
you’ll see the things worth seeing.’”
[Mevlana Rumi, The Pocket Rumi]
They circle a Divinely-gifted energy source, circumambulating the gift of the Giver, the Nourisher.
And they have a sign in the lifeless earth which We restore to life, and out of which we bring forth grain, of which they may eat: and We produce there orchards with date-palms and vines, and We cause springs to gush forth from within in, so that they may eat of the fruit from it, though it was not their hands that made it. Will they not then, give thanks?
[Qur’an 36: 33–35]
These jewels of remembrance make action clear. I pick up the container, place it in a plastic bag and put it outside. I check to what extent the scout trail extends into the pantry, hoping it is contained there. It is. Knowing from previous experience that ants will usually go elsewhere once the source of sugar is removed, I decide to wait a few days while the ants re-orient themselves to another gift of nourishment. The second day there seems to be no change. I make sure other containers are closed. The third day there are considerably fewer visitors, and by the fourth day I see only a few holdouts. Goodbye, dear visitors! Thank you for coming!
May our efforts to see the spiritual nature of all situations be met with Grace and true insight. And if our eyes can’t yet see the spiritual nature of injustice, calamity, and tribulation, may we never stop bowing before the Beloved who unties all the knots.
~ Aliya was given a free ticket to the 1997 Whirling Dervish Tour of North America led by Shaikh Kabir and has been struggling to submit ever since. She lives in Alexandria, VA.
The Moon of Your Heavens
~ Camille Hamilton Adams Helminski, Excerpt from Notes from Love’ville
The Moon travels quickly
as it descends,
or so it seems
from our perspective.
From where the Moon sits,
it is we
who are whirling in space.
It all depends
from where we are looking—
which is our right,
which is our life.
has just been with us.
lessens as we turn,
even as our remembrance increases.
You call us Home,
to empty our pockets
and tell us stories
of our traversals.
have we gained?
have we lost?
have we cherished,
whose heart have we broken?
What has been mended,
and what has been left undone?
You have taught us
to wash our hands,
to brighten our faces,
to cleanse these feet
upon Your sacred earth.
in this Book
of our hearts?
we render it
into Your Hands.
The type was set
in another land.
It is Your Story
we are telling
as we pass
the beads of these breaths
through our fingers.
The Grace is Yours;
the forgetfulness ours.
May we be remembered
beyond our mistakes,
in Your Heaven.
Laa ilaha illa Huuu,
ar Rahman ar Rahim,
Ya Nur ala Nur!
Virginia & Maryland Nov 10-11 2018
with Shaikh Kabir and Shaikha Camille
We invite you to two interwoven events, the first is in Virginia and the second is 15 easy miles away in Maryland — the drive between them is 20 minutes.
The Heart of Sufism:
Transformation through Practices of Coherence
November 10, 5:30pm – 7:30pm
The Sanctuary: Beloved Yoga, 11109 Sunset Hills Road, Reston, Virginia
Join us for an exceptional and experiential evening to engage in conversation with two extraordinary teachers, Kabir and Camille Helminski. They are keepers of the wisdom of Rumi. The evening will be soaked in dialogue, poetry and dhikr (a ceremony of remembrance).
We live in times where perceptions often feel limited. Come and expand perspective and see how similar we are, when we walk in love.
Register by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Restoring Authentic Spirituality
November 11, 9:30am – 5:00pm
9053 Holly Leaf Lane, Bethesda, MD 20817
Many people are thirsting for an authentic spirituality—a practical spirituality beyond the programming of exclusive and divisive beliefs, beyond promises of heaven or threats of hell.
Rumi spoke of a religion of Love—it begins with the recognition that the essence of Reality is Divine Generosity and Beauty. The religion of love opens to a relationship with the Divine through a knowing heart.
The Sufi Process, at its best, is the conscious development of our human capacities—the renovation of the natural faculties of the Soul to restore spontaneous virtue and a living experience of the Divine.
At a time when our humanness is being challenged by so many forces, Sufism is a living tradition that holds the keys to unlocking the treasure of our human nature.
Online pre-registration: $60 (with lunch), $75 by check or cash day of event. Register online.
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.
Ten Practices of Spiritual Intelligence
San Francisco Annual Retreat, March 8-10 2019
with Shaikh Kabir & Shaikha Camille
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.
More details coming soon.
Women of Faith: Grandmothers of Spirit Audio
Listen to Shaikha Camille’s talk on ‘Women of Faith: Learning from our Grandmothers of Spirit’.
We apologise for some technical issues with the sound and hope you enjoy this offering recorded in London last month.
Threshold UK Retreat 2018 Reflection
~ Anna Latifa [Leicester, UK]
Thank you for your warmest welcome on our first retreat, where for ‘an eternal few days’ we danced on the threshold and felt both thrilled and hushed on the wonder of Love Known. An absolute treat to experience this side of Paradise a Union of souls in such fragrant harmony – recognition in its highest degree, a hundred mirrors shining and bright. This was for me a beautiful stillness where my soul floated in an ocean whose waters I had known in spirit and mind and breath… but never before in fellowship of community. The joy and delight in many more ripples, shimmering in the light of Shams and Rumi. To each one of you I extend blessings and a sweet remembrance whose fragrance will always remind me of Jannah, sweet and true. To you all, and to The One, I dedicate the following reflection. ….
With much love dear awliya, from Anna xxxx
Alive in your Presence;
Encircling within the Unity of the Unseen,
In all its Beauty and sublime Perfection;
Radiating Light upon light
Reflections of the dances of lovers
Held divinely in deep Peace;
My voice rose to meet Yours
In the tavern of the Real.
Eyes, hearts, hands and voices met on the threshold of existence
The hums we made were angelic and sweet, the sound of sohbet of heart and voice;
A hum of Love, both gifted and Gifted,
A hymn of Praise,
A dhikr of souls,
A living Presence of Joy and delight.
What manner of love is this?
Each like a petal falling and dancing in the sweetest breeze, where we mingle in the Fragrance, blessing and being blessed. Honoured greatly to be in the Presence of refined souls, recognising and recognised.
Inspired to live freely a spirit of delicacy, moment by moment, an embodiment of the prayer and marifat “the source of all Peace and Perfection” Allah – Hu!
اللَّهُمَّ أَنْتَ السَّلاَمُ، وَمِنْكَ السَّلَامُ، تَبَارَكْتَ يَا ذَا الْجَلَالِ وَالإِكْرَامِ
Alla’humma antas salaam wa min kas salaam taba rakta ya dhal ja laa li wal ik raam
ﺍَﻟﺘَﺤِﻴَّﺎﺕُﻟِﻠَّﻪِ ﻭَﺍﻟﺼَّﻠَﻮَﺍﺕُ ﻭَﺍﻟﻄَّﻴِّﺒَﺎﺕُ
Attahiyyaatu Lillahi Was Salawatu Wattayyibatu…
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.
Struggling with Service by Saimma Dyer
Muhammad’s Intimacy with His Rabb by Mahmoud Mostafa
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Nov 10: Reston, Virginia (Washington, D.C.) The Heart of Sufism: Transformation through Practices of Coherence. More details (KC)
Nov 11: Bethesda, Maryland. Restoring Authentic Spirituality. More details (KC)
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 soon. (KC)
Events with Sh. Kabir and Sh. Camille marked (KC)
We’d love to hear from you – get in touch at email@example.com
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