Eid Blessings & the month of Mary
Eid Mubarak!

Banners of Praise

Our fasting is over; it’s the feast day of spring!
O dearest guest, welcome; sorrow be gone!
All praise be to God!

O Love once forsaken,
abandoned heart be forgotten now;
your Beloved has arrived, and will forever remain.
All praise be to God!

Parting is forever parted;
separation is severed at last;
union is united with no more delay:
All praise be to God!

Flight has flown and exile’s pain is banished;
distance is now distant;
our nest is filled with joy:
All praise be to God!

The moon in the heavens, the rose in the heart,
in Love’s garden,
the King in his palace, proud banners show forth:
All praise be to God!

Life stirs in the root hair;
fluid sap spreads in each tiny leaf;
green buds on the branches crown His dominion:
All praise be to God!

Let the despised enemy come,
for he’ll meet our Defender;
we challenge his approach
for now in safety we say:
All praise be to God!

Flood me completely,
with the fire of Love’s burning,
for now I can bear it and not burn away:
All praise be to God!

For now in certainty, my soul is free,
and all of earth’s sadness
has dissolved in earth’s clay.
All praise be to God!

O chalice overflowing,
poured out for these thirsty worlds—
we thank you, we bless you,
and drink while we pray:
All praise be to God!

The world lay parched for so long,
an open desert,
until the dew glistened, and your breath
came on the wings of morning.
All praise be to God!

As we waited we were longing for Spring’s sun
to renew this life of ours.
Today, Shamsuddin’s warm breath
arrived from the East.
All praise be to God!

~ Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi, tr. by Camille Helminski with William Hastie

Proportion, Beauty and Reflecting the Divine

Peter Gould is the founder of Gould Studio, and advocates for Heart-Centered Design to inspire meaningful products & brands that align with spiritual aspirations. He interviewed Shaikh Kabir about design as a spiritual practice.

Kabir Helminski’s wonderful book Living Presence has been a constant and treasured companion throughout my spiritual journey, with invaluable insights into mindfulness, consciousness, creativity, and much more. I spoke with Kabir about the relationship between design and spirituality, and the challenge of being heart-centered in an increasingly digital world.

“There's a conscious understanding of proportions, and an innate, intuitive understanding of the beauty of proportions,” smiles Kabir Helminski as I ask him about the relationship between design and spirituality, and how inner coherence and outer beauty are intertwined.

“If we are coherent in ourselves – in proportion with ourselves – then what we produce is more likely to be naturally in harmony, and have a kind of beauty to it,” he continues.

“We express what we are inside. But also, what we expose ourselves to outside also affects us inside. To allow ourselves to be in an environment where we take these things into account is important.”

Talking with Kabir is a joy, and a conversation I have been looking forward to for a long time.

A Sheikh of the Mevlevi Order of Sufism  – a 750 year old order that preserves the spiritual teachings of mystic and poet Mevlâna Jalâluddîn Rumi – Kabir wears the mantle of Sufi master, educator and publisher with ease.

[Continue reading...]

The Month of Blessed Mary

The month of May has long been celebrated as the month of Mary. Many hearts deepen in remembrance of beloved Maryam at this time.

As Maximus expresses it in The Life of the Virgin: “Mary is a Divine gift to humanity and an offering from humanity to God.” Even so, the Quran also encourages “zhikr Maryam” (wazhkur fee al kitabi Maryam—Surah Maryam 19:16); immerse in her presence. Muslims are also encouraged to extend greetings and ask for blessings for Prophet Muhammad. Not only for his sake or for Mary’s sake is this done, but because they are channels to the Sea of Divine Grace; when we look to them, through them, we discover God’s glory.

~ The Way of Mary by Camille Helminski

A selection of contemplations by Camille are available to support your daily practice, see the Sweet Lady Press website for more details.

Image by Cara Grace Chadwick.

May 1st

Join us for an online meditation with special guests from the Threshold community. Held on the 1st Sunday of every month at 11am Eastern Time (4pm UK).

Zoom meeting: https://zoom.us/j/435138208
Zoom passcode: threshold

Watch the previous meditations here.

May Theme

Be an objective witness: see Hu everywhere.
~ Shaikh Kabir Helminski

We welcome your reflections on this theme.

Reflection on April Theme: Trust in Divine generosity. ~ Shaikh Kabir Helminski

~ Aziza Balle [Portland, USA]

Oh human being! What is it that lures thee away from thy bountiful Sustainer…?

[Quran, 82:6, adapted from Muhammad Asad]

In mid-October, I took a personal retreat, here in my home. Our home faces the Willamette River and I’ve marveled at its beauty many times over the 17 years we’ve lived here. But I’ve never really been with the river.

Just prior to beginning my retreat that Friday evening, I was guided by the Beloved to go outside, cross the road and be with the river. Standing there, at the top of the stairs, the grandeur of the river began to sink into my awareness. I felt a reverence for its continuous movement. As I sat watching the sunset that evening and the reflection of the pink clouds in the water, the beauty, the splendor, the vastness and expanse of the river permeated my heart and I was filled with gratitude for Allah’s generous gift.

Consider the bright morning hours, and the night when it grows still and dark.

[Quran, 93:1–2, tr. Muhammad Asad]

Since that evening in October, I have routinely sat at the top of the stairs at dawn and dusk. Keeping company with the river for up to an hour or more is the one experience in my life when I always trust in divine generosity. Always. Surprises and delights abound! Frequently a magnificent great blue heron is perched on the shore or on a nearby rock. I search for him every time I’m there. Often I am blessed to watch him come sweeping in for a landing or departing with a squawk. I’m aware of his patience and stillness as he stands waiting for sustenance. His trust in divine generosity is steadfast.

Allah seems to know exactly what will delight me. Clouds of many colors that billow and reveal the blue sky or the moon. A buck one evening by the water’s edge, kingfishers and buffleheads, the call of geese and seagulls, hooded mergansers, cormorants, mallards and osprey, bald eagles and hawks, woodpeckers, towhee, wrens and robins. Bird songs. And sea lions and beavers! And one dawn two coyotes came up from the river bank and walked in my direction. Allah has shown me the way a fishing boat cuts a wake in the calm water and the sound the waves make when they reach the shoreline. And the wondrous sound geese make as they glide onto the river. And the way the fog sometimes moves from as far up the river as I can see and engulfs everything, the trees across the river, the houses. And the way the fog rises and falls as if a veil is being lifted. In these there are signs…

Verily, in the creation of the heavens and of the earth, and the succession of night and day: and in the ships that speed through the sea with what is useful to man: and in the waters which God sends down from the sky, giving life thereby to the earth after it had been lifeless, and causing all manner of living creatures to multiply thereon: and in the change of the winds, and the clouds that run their appointed courses between sky and earth: [in all this] there are messages indeed for people who use their reason.

[Quran 2:164, tr. Muhammad Asad]

Tawakkul is our devotion, our trust and the reliance we place on Allah to take care of all of our needs, both spiritually and materially. Tawakkul is also the belief and attitude we have about putting our trust in Allah. Allah’s generosity teaches me to trust Her/Him. When I pay close attention, I’m given the capacity to see Her/His immeasurable gifts, and to receive them with gratitude. As my faith has grown, so too has my trust in divine generosity, both in times of ease and in times of hardship.

As we face challenges and difficult situations in our life, we can place our trust in the Beloved to care for all affairs of our life.

In the Name of God, the Most Gracious, the Dispenser of Grace:
Have We not opened up thy heart, and lifted from thee the burden that had weighed so heavily on thy back? And [have We not] raised thee high in dignity?
And, behold, with every hardship comes ease: verily, with every hardship comes ease!
Hence, when though art free [from distress], remain steadfast, and unto thy Sustainer turn with love.

[Quran 94:1¬8, tr. Muhammad Asad]

Al-Karim, the Generous One, is the name that contains Allah’s most generous quality, “a generosity that reaches everything without exception” (Rosina-Fawzia Al-Rawi, Divine Names, The 99 Healing Names of the One Love). Allah seeks out ways to bless us without our asking. And we, in turn, are called upon to carry the quality of Al-Karim, to become a reflection of Her/His generosity and magnanimity. Each day life presents us with hundreds of opportunities to be generous, to give something of ours when asked and also when unexpected. And to do so without obligation, hope of reward or anticipation of gratitude. Husain ibn Ali, the grandson of our Beloved Prophet Mohammed (pbuh) said, “The most generous of people is the one who gives to those from whom he has no hope of return” (https://whoishussain.org/articles/hussain-the-master-of-altruism/).

Divine generosity, acting through us, is also our choosing to serve in opposition to hate, contempt, envy, anger and indifference. We can be liberal in our generosity. We can look after those among us who are weak and in need. We can be generous with our kindness and compassion, with our presence, with our smiles and even with our thoughts.

Ya Karim, enfold my longing to be more generous with the power of Your presence.

The Garden of Love is green without limit.

[Mathnawi I:1793, The Pocket Rumi, tr. Helminski]


~ Aziza Balle lives with her wife of 30 years and their dog, Lucy, in Portland, Oregon. They are grandparents of two amazing young adults, Harrison and Sophie. Aziza's been journeying on the path of love with Threshold since 2001. Besides sitting by the river, she is a visual artist, a facilitator of process painting, and a mentor and teacher with The Painting Experience.

Prophet Muhammad and the Man Who Ate Too Much

Anna Rohleder reflects on our worldly appetites and the Prophet's generosity

Early in my time on the Sufi path, I went to visit some friends I had known through a meditation group. One took me aside at the end of our evening and said, “There is one story by Rumi that has touched me more than any other. Do you know ‘Muhammad and the Big Eater’ ”?

The story, which takes place in the fifth book of the Mathnawi, goes like this: Once a group of people came to see the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him). They weren’t believers, but they prevailed on his hospitality. Naturally he invited them for a meal. The Companions of the Prophet each took a member of the group home. Finally, as Mevlana relates, one man was left, a stout fellow no one else wanted to host. “He had a huge body: no one took him along, he remained in the mosque like the dregs in a cup” (Mathnawi V: 75).

Muhammad spoke to him kindly and took him back to his own home, where he was seated before a generous meal. The man proceeded to devour all the dishes on the table and more: the milk of seven goats and enough food to feed 18 people. The members of the Prophet’s household were enraged at the man’s greediness. When he went to bed, the maid locked the door to his room from the outside.

The man awoke in the middle of the night with a desperate need to relieve himself. Finding the door locked, he tried to go back to sleep and wait till morning. But the body’s needs took over, and when he woke up he found himself covered in his own excrement.

When the door was unlocked at dawn, the man rushed out. He didn’t see Muhammad behind the door. He ran away without saying anything to anyone.

When they saw what had happened in the room overnight, the members of the Prophet’s household became angrier. One person even brought the soiled linens as evidence of the guest’s outrageous behaviour. Muhammad only smiled and asked for a bucket of water for washing. They tried to stop him but he insisted, heeding inner guidance to clean the dirty bedclothes himself.

At that moment, the man returned. He was coming back to retrieve an amulet which he had left behind in his haste to escape. But he was stopped short by seeing the Prophet washing his dirty sheets. He tore his shirt, fell to his knees and began to weep. Not only out of shame. At that moment, the light of awareness dawned in his heart, and he finally saw the Prophet for who he really was.

“What touched you so much about this story?” I asked the person from my meditation group. (Of all the things people quote from Rumi, this is decidedly among the less common.)

[Continue reading...]

Follow our Medium publication, Awakening with Rumi.

Recent articles:

Rumi on Ramadan: 7 Quotes About Food & Fasting by Saimma Dyer

Prophet Muhammad and the Man Who Ate Too Much by Anna Rohleder

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: Suggestions for Practice Within the Threshold Society & The Mevlevi Tradition

Most people who come to Sufism have preconceptions as well as questions about what Sufism is. What does the practice consist of and how will I learn and develop? Is there a detailed curriculum? Or hidden knowledge? What should I expect of my shaikh and what kind of relationship is possible? Some people might imagine that the shaikh has a detailed, objective technical knowledge of various inner states, spiritual energies, planes of reality, spiritual powers, etc. While there is some truth in this, it has been our experience that among the best teachers these subjects are seldom emphasized or talked about directly. An emphasis on secret, privileged knowledge, or encouraging a mystique or building a cult of personality, or intimations of end-time scenarios, have proven time and time again to be counter-indicators of spirituality. In other words, the more such tendencies surround a teaching, the less likely it is that the teaching will be balanced and authentic. If we look to the Qur’an and the example of the Prophet Muhammad, we see a sane and balanced presentation of the Way. Our approach, therefore, places a strong emphasis on developing our capacities for presence, remembrance, service, and humility.

[Read more…]


1st Sunday of every month: Online Meditation, more details    (KC)

May 2: Eid al'Fitr

Jul 9: Eid al'Adha

Jul 30: Muharram/New Year

Sep 2-5: UK Retreat TBC   (K)


Events with Kabir (K) & Camille (C)

We’d love to hear from you — get in touch at eyeoftheheart@sufism.org



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