Reflection on June’s theme: Patience is consent to the present moment; patience is crowned with faith.
One way I have tried to practice consent to the present moment this month is to observe and resist my complaining.
The word consent comes from the Latin ‘con’ meaning ‘together with’ and ‘sentire’ meaning ‘feeling’. So consent to the present moment is ‘feeling together with’ what is. It is a state of oneness. Mevlana says: ‘The Sufi is the child of the moment.’
Complaining on the other hand is an objection to ‘what actually is’. It is a lack of consent, a disturbance, a loss of unity and heartfulness.
The Physicians of The Heart describe an aspect of Divine Patience (As-Sabur) as the power that does not act hastily but defers judgement. At the human level, this can mean to endure and stop complaining.
In Chinese, the word ‘complain’ is composed of two symbols: ‘hug’ and ‘ego’. To complain, therefore, is to ‘hug your ego,’ to hold tightly to that small self that feels cut off from abundance and the present moment.
To help observe my complaining I borrowed an idea from a movement called A Complaint Free World: You simply put a rubber band on one of your wrists and whenever you catch yourself complaining (or criticizing, or gossiping) you switch the band to the other wrist and reset the counter to day zero.
The aim is to get to 21 days without complaining. Apparently it takes on average 4-8 months to reach this goal. I’m still a work in progress, but according to psychologists, 21 days is the time it takes for a repeated action to become a habit.
For the Sufi however, real patience depends on love. It can’t just be a mental phenomenon. A teacher from the Kebzeh tradition defined patience as ‘bearing in love’. One senses this love in a saying of Imam Ali: ‘Withstand the judgement of someone who has nothing but that on which to rely and take refuge in.’
Perhaps it is this bearing in love that is crowned with faith and brings us closer to knowing God. Wendell Berry, in his poem ‘How to be a Poet’, said ‘patience joins time to eternity,’ which seems to echo the truth of Surah al-Asr:
Consider time: Truly human beings are in loss, except those who have faith and do righteous deeds and encourage each other in the teaching of Truth and patient perseverance.[103:1-3]
Real patience and endurance, as Dede reminds us, comes from our trust in the divine, our perception that the divine is here, essential to this moment. There’s nowhere else to be, to get to. There’s nothing to complain about.
But for your Lord be patient.[74:7]
~ Sadat Malik, London
July’s theme is: Be cleansed of shallow idolatries; affirm the Real. Ya Haqq.
We welcome your reflections on this theme. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
UK Annual Retreat: Returning to The Source (of Love)
Registration are now open for the UK annual retreat with Shaikh Kabir Helminski, Shaikha Camille Helminski, & Jeremy Henzell-Thomas.
The main retreat will start on Friday 28th August at 5pm with arrivals/registrations. We are pleased to offer an additional day with a lighter, more informal schedule to our retreat this year. The normal retreat will end at 2pm on Sunday and the additional day will begin from 4pm, ending 2pm Monday (Monday 31st August is a UK bank holiday). We kindly ask attendees leaving on Sunday to vacate the grounds before 3pm.
Boarding £250, Camping £190
Monday extra: Boarding £90, Camping £45
Only 20 camping places available.
COACH FROM LONDON: Please let us know by Monday July 27th if you are interested in booking coach travel (approx £40). We will confirm if we can provide the coach by July 31st.
Please register your places as soon as possible. Registration form and information is attached here. Please read all the information carefully and contact us if you have any questions: email@example.com
Patience is Crowned with Faith: article and podcast
True patience comes from the acceptance of the unfolding of time. Most of the time we don’t realize that we are in the world of time. Rather than being content with the present moment we are rushing from one moment to the next, from one situation to the next. The Prophet said, “Haste is of the devil.” This may sound like a rather strong statement, and yet we must search for its real meaning and apply it to our lives. Is our hastiness sometimes a lack of trust, a dissatisfaction with simply being awake in the present moment? ~ Shaikh Kabir Read more and listen to the podcast.
Re-visit “The Never-Ending Search for Truth”
July’s theme reminds us to affirm the Real – Haqq. Last year’s annual retreat theme was “The Never-Ending Search for Truth – Haqq”. You can listen to all the talks from Shaikh Kabir, Jeremy and Mahmoud here.
Wherever You Turn Is the Face of God
Talk by Shaikha Camille, taken at the Baraka Retreat 2011: turning and connecting to the continuous flow of grace through remembrance and the saints of God.
Mevlevi Zhikr recording
Access the full Mevlevi zhikr recited by Shaikh Kabir and Shaikha Camille and support your daily practice. Listen online or download.
Jul 4th: Threshold London Monthly Open Group, 7pm. Newcomers to the group are asked to seek a telephone introduction and briefing with the host/facilitator before attending. Please phone Sadat on 07710 511517, or e-mail Mahmoud on firstname.lastname@example.org with your phone number so he can call you back — please do this at least two days in advance.
Jul 25th: Threshold Bradford zhikr, 1:30-4pm, Bradford Quaker Meeting House, Russell Street, Bradford BD5 OJB. Open to all. For more details see here.
Jul 26th: Family Eid celebration in Harrow Quaker House, 4-7pm, hosted by Sania and Amer. For more details and address please contact Sania at email@example.com.
Aug 28-30/31st: UK Annual Retreat, Gaunts House, Dorset. Registration sufism.org/events/uk-annual-retreat-2015.
Get in touch
We’d love to hear from you — a favourite piece from Mevlana, your own poetry, reflections on the path… please do contribute. We learn so much from each other, may this space be an opportunity for community, connection and companionship. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Try being poor for a day or two[Mathnawi I: 2373-2376, The Rumi Daybook]
and find in poverty double riches.
Be patient and abandon your distaste for being poor.
For in poverty is the light of glory.
Don’t be sour, and you will see
thousands of contented souls in an ocean of honey,
and thousands of bitter souls steeped in rose syrup.
If you had the comprehension,
this tale of my heart
would shine upon your soul.