Beloved Family,

We had wonderful 43rd Annual Mendocino Sufi Camp, with all ages well represented and a deep feeling of family and tribe embraced. Welcome new mureed Kahyah Eliyah.

Looking forward to traveling to the Northwest Sufi Camp tomorrow. With deep gratitude for the completion of the dargah, the following week I'll be joined by nine of the Murshid(a)s for the Murshid Sam Dargah Dedication Celebration at Lama Foundation.

Tamam’s health is slowly improving. (If you didn’t receive the letter I sent out two weeks ago, you can find it at the very bottom of this email after the photos.)  Her intense pain from her mild L2 Compression fracture is reduced daily. We are still waiting for a clear diagnosis on the granuloma in her lower left lung, which is the main subject of her healing path. Once we have that there will be a treatment plan.

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Beloved Family,

Our Mendocino Sufi Camp starts in a few days and I look forward to being together with so many of you! 

Had a lovely time in Russia with our Sufi family, especially the young folks. Special gratitude goes to my host Ilona, my other translator Victoria and Kabir, our master drummer, who kept me connected to the internet! And please welcome three new mureeds, Aija, Elena and Natasha. Aija lives in Sydney, Australia, is from Riga, Latvia and joined us in the Russian Ruhaniat Summer Camp. Elena lives in Moscow and Natasha is a physician and homeopath, who lives part time in the countryside of Russia and part time in St Petersburg.

After camp we had our traditional reunion, dancing in the park in the center of St Petersburg. Afterwards 20 of us shared a meal at an Armenian restaurant. Kabir noticed there were some microphones and music set up and asked if we could use it.  Someone fetched our instruments from the trunk of our car and we were joined by the Armenian master violinist who managed the music for the restaurant. We ended up jamming together for over an hour. You can see the video on my Facebook page or YouTube.

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Beloved Family,

Another whirlwind month of travels began with a fruitful gathering and hosting of the Federation of the Sufi Message at the Abode. Six streams stemming from Hazrat Inayat Khan were present: the Inayati Order, the International Sufi Movement, Sufi Way, Sufi Contact, Fraternity of Light and the Sufi Ruhaniat International. Murshida Mariam and Halima along with Murshid Abraham joined me in representing the Ruhaniat at the Federation. Many friendships were deepened as we continued the work of clearing our hearts from past hurts and developing better ways of supporting each other and sharing resources.

After 10 days back home working in the garden and doing our Sufi administration, it was back to the East Coast for the Sufi Celebration at Omega Institute, joined by Tamam, Maitreya Stevens and Gayan Long. We were able to share the Dances and teachings. Tamam gave a beautiful teaching, especially through poetry, on the wives of Prophet Muhammad and on the Prophet’s daughter Fatima, from her new book “Fatima’s Touch”. For the closing ceremonies many of the musicians got together and we sang and played “Drink with the Beloved”!

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Beloved Family,

Even though you received a letter two weeks ago, I send out this once a month letter on the same day as my monthly local Zikr Class, which is tonight, since my schedule is so irregular.

Enjoying home life, except for a short travel for teaching in Southern California. Next week takes me to the Abode of the Message for the Annual Federation of the Sufi Message Gathering, which is being hosted by the Ruhaniat.

The Murshid Sam Dargah construction pictures are simply amazing! It would be wise to register soon if you plan to join on joining us for the Inauguration August 24-27. So many of you have been very generous in your support of the construction, and if you feel moved, we still need to raise approximately anther $150,000. To donate ...

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Beloved Family,

Since our last letter, I began my travels by teaching at the Annual Jamiat Aam in Madison WI along with Murshid(a)s Darvesha and Allaudin. After that I had the privilege of providing music for the great Huston Smith’s Memorial, along with other musicians in our family.

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Then came three weeks of solid travel, first to Aotearoa - New Zealand and Australia. In Auckland I presented a Sufi evening with lots of Dances, then a three-day weekend retreat on Lake Taupo, which is very much like Lake Tahoe, at the Tauhara Centre. My hosts were Catherine and Nasir Grace and Jamila Cranston-Buckley.  We thoroughly enjoyed the fresh air, expansive views, beautiful birds and a wonderful sangha from all over New Zealand and beyond.

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Dearest Family,

Spring Equinox Blessings!!!

So happy to be home for a few weeks before heading first to the Jamiat Aam in Madison and then New Zealand and Australia in the beginning of April.

I’ve been catching up on work and hosting my mureed Tariq and his wife Razia from New Delhi who made their first trip to the US. Work in the garden includes planting all the spring and summer crops before traveling again.

A few months back, Netanel, who is the “Pir” of the Jewish Maimounia Inayati Order which was begun by Reb Zalman Schafer-Shalomi, wrote to us that he had inner guidance to help bring Murshida Rabia Martin more into the limelight of those who made a contribution to the early days of the Sufi Message in the West. He was searching for her gravesite, her Mazar. By chance I found a newspaper clipping (see below) that said where her Memorial was. She died August 31, 1947, three days before my birth! A half a year ago Netanel along with his partner Alia Wittman found the grave. This past Sunday we made a group pilgrimage to her grave about 15 minutes from the Mentorgarten in San Francisco, along with Murshid Wali Ali, Tawwaba and many other beloveds. Having been to Khwaja Moineddin Chishti’s Dargah only a few weeks before we laid a Chaddar (tomb cover) from Khwaja’s place on Murshida Rabia’s Mazar.

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Beloved Family,

After a whirlwind three weeks journey I am very happy to be home for a week, before traveling to a Sufi retreat on Kauai!

I thoroughly enjoyed being with our German family at Rahmana’s retreat center HausAnanda about 45 minutes into the countryside near Berlin. Please welcome new mureed Sophia Kimpel. She is a wonderful being who WILL make a difference in this world!

From there I traveled to Scotland, hosted by Maris, whose new name is Dakini, along with her two beautiful daughters Iona and Alana Maya. Murshid Saadi and I shared teachings at Allanton Peace Sanctuary in Southern Scotland.

After Sunday lunch at Allanton, I quickly drove to Edinburgh and flew to Heathrow and Delhi, arriving Monday midday to help facilitate and participate in the Universal Sufi Council Pilgrimage, with distinguished participants from all over the world. Hosted by Murshid Karimbakhsh, 95 year old leader from the Sufi Movement, former Dutch Finance Minister and head of the IMG. 

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Beloved Family,

New years Blessings to each of you, your families, friends and all who are in your sphere!

We had a deep Sufi Sesshin retreat, albeit in the midst of one of the strongest storms to hit the Bay Area in the past several decades! Some 80 strong, including mureeds who came from South Africa, UK, Germany, New Zealand, Canada, and across the US.

In between the rain at home, joined by some laborers, we just put seven yards of organic compost all over our yard, vegetable and fruit tree beds, and did all the winter pruning before I leave for three weeks of travel.

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Beloved Family,

As we approach Winter Solstice and Rumi’s URS, the heavens have opened here where I live with a generous offering of rain, as many of you around the country and Europe and winter places are in for snow and cold temperatures. With a lovely visit to Seattle behind us it is such a pleasure to have an extended period of time at home, until we begin the Northern California Sufi Sesshin.

We continue to make progress on the Dargah, with the Timber Framer well into cutting the corbels and making a model to scale of the dome members. All the stone from India is ready to go when the Spring arrives. We are still awaiting word from Lama Foundation when we will have our Murshid Sam Completion Ceremony, likely around August 23-27, 2017. Donate

Beginning February I’ll be teaching near Berlin and then with Murshid Saadi in Scotland. March begins with a retreat in Kauai, in case you want to find a warm climate during the tail of winter, followed by the Jamiat Aam in Madison WI.

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Beloved Family,

It is such a joy to have time at home! My whirlwind travel the last few months took me from Colorado to Maui to Cambridge and the Abode for the annual Murshid Circle retreat, followed by the annual Leaders Retreat and then the Board of Trustees meeting.

And now gradually adjusting to the change of seasons and working hard at home to catch up on administration and our garden.

I can imagine that many of us are reeling from the current election results. My own sense is that if we create disturbing emotions in ourselves because the world doesn’t suit us, we will loose our strength and our peace. That means that even if we have to go into battle, a peaceful, buoyant, relaxed heart is the strongest and most beneficial offering,

So I advise we use one of my favorite mantras “This is how it is right now”, and face the demon, if that is how we experience it, and make friends with it.

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Beloved Family,

Just returned from a wonderful time with our Colorado family up in the mountains at around 8000 ft. with the Aspens turning their fall colors. Tomorrow I am off to the Maui Sufi Camp.

I would like us to continue the wazifa practice from last month another week through Wednesday October 12, the last day of the 10 Days of Tshuva (turning) (Awe), known as Yom Kippur, to which YA HASIB YA TAWWAB apply. Then you can switch to the new practice below, 

Our fundraising for the Murshid Sam Dargah Project is going very well. We have raised nearly $700,000 and need another $200,000 to complete the project. We estimate completion in July 2017; just around the corner. The campaign of funding 300 people to pledge $1000 over three years is still very much alive, and we’re hoping many of you can jump in.

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Beloved Family,

I invite us all to make aspirations and prayers of YA SALAAM for our dear friend and guide Pir Hidayat Inayat Khan born Aug 6, 1917 died September 12, 2016, for his onward Journey on the Path of Love. He was the Pir of the Sufi Movement, a dear friend to the Ruhaniat, a composer and musician. He initiated me as a Murshid in the early 1990’s. He was a wonderful vehicle of the Message of Love, Harmony and Beauty and we will miss him dearly!

After a whirlwind of travels and teachings at Lama Foundation, Istanbul Universal Sufi Council Conference, Omega Institute Ecstatic Chant Fest, and an evening of Dance and teaching in Cambridge near Boston, I am finally enjoying some days at home.

Looking through some old files yesterday I found practices Murshid Sam gave me in 1970 which included 301x LA ILLAHA IL ALLAH HU daily and I would invite us all to add this to our practices for the month.

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Beloved Family,

I’ve been home over two weeks enjoying the garden and the birds, walking, meditating, doing office work and loosing weight!

I had a wonderful time with the Mendocino Sufi Youth Retreat followed by the Mendocino Sufi Camp. We had several special guests at this year’s camp. One was Pir Asim Chishti, a wonderful Sufi from Pakistan whose grandfather knew Murshid Sam. The other was Samiur Rahman, the director of the Hope Project in New Delhi, India, which we have been supporting for the last 40 years. Next year I will take my turn once again as the director of the Mendocino Sufi Camp!

This coming Wednesday I’m off on a long adventure—first to Lama Foundation for our Annual Sufi Sesshin, then to Istanbul for this year’s Universal Sufi Council Conference, then back to Omega Institute Labor Day Ecstatic Chant Fest, leading the Dances along with all the most famous kirtan wallas of the day. Lastly I head to Cambridge, MA with Abraham and Halima for an evening Zikr Wednesday night September 7 at the Friends Meeting Hall before returning home.

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Beloved Family,

In a few days our yearly ritual begins, first the 16th Annual Mendocino Sufi Youth Retreat followed by the 42 Annual Mendocino Sufi Camp. I look forward to sharing it with many of you.

There is still time to register for our annual Lama Foundation Sufi Sesshin in August. For the East Coasters, I’ll be at Omega Institute for their Labor Day Ecstatic Chant Weekend. I’ll be leading the Dances joined by Murshid(a) Abraham and Halima, along with Krishna Das, Jai Uttal, Fanna-fi-Allah and on. Towards the end of September I make my way to Colorado and October to the Maui Sufi Camp.

I’ve been enjoying the precious time at home, sitting in the garden in the early morning, doing my practices outside, with the birds and the bees and flowers and the trees. Just finished canning Plum Jam, and with tomatoes about to come in more canning and freezing in the near future.

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Beloved Family,

In light of the tragic events in Orlando, it becomes clear how important our spiritual practice is. Transforming ourselves and as a result others to embody mysticism, we awaken Love, Harmony and Beauty, as our invocation points out.

Not only do we stand for the Unity of Religious Ideals, that the same message of Realization and Unity is at the root of every tradition, we also offer unconditional love to all beings to the best of our ability.

Steady practice will help us in our service to all beings.

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Greetings of the Heart from Scotland! I have been in Europe since May 10th.

Just before leaving for Europe, my Tibetan guru, the 12th Tai Situ Rinpoche visited California for the first time in nearly two decades and I had the good fortune to greet him just before leaving the next day.

We had a lovely retreat in the countryside near Berlin where I was able to share teachings on the 99 Beautiful Names of Allah through the translation of our book which came out the week before, picture below!

From there, I traveled back to Berlin and from Wed-Sunday, along with many of our senior Ruhaniat teachers, shared and served at the annual Federation of the Sufi Message Gathering. Almost all of the streams from Hazrat Inayat Khan had a presence, the International Sufi Movement, the Inayati Order (formerly the Sufi Order), Sufi Contact, the Sufi Way and our Sufi Ruhaniat International! We shared Dances and walks, Murshid Saadi and myself made presentations, there was a delightful play that Murshid Nawab wrote. One highlight was the presence of Pir Hidayat Inayat Khan, the 98 year old son of Hazrat Inayat Khan and his wife Aziza.

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Dear Family,

It has been a very rich time since I last wrote! We had an 8 day sufi camp at Ecovillage Atlantida at around 6000 feet in the high valleys of Colombia near Cali. Around 185 folks came from all over Latin America, mostly under 35. I so enjoyed the Latin culture and affectionate hearts of all who attended. And one by-product is that Physicians of the Heart is being translated into Spanish.

Welcome to two new Colombian mureeds, Tatiana Samper and Karen Behar.

I just returned from our annual Jamiat Aam, outside of Charlottesville VA, sharing the responsibilities with Murshid(a)s Darvehsa, Asha and Sauluddin, meeting old friends and making new ones.

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Dearest Family,

Greetings of the Heart for the Spring Equinox!

Had a wonderful visit in Ashland with great musicians accompanying for the Raga Concert and a sweet community turnout for the retreat.

On Saturday I travel down to Colombia for a weeklong Easter retreat at the Ecovillage Atlantida, meeting old friends and new, sharing the teachings along with Murshida Darvesha.

April takes me to Charlottesville, VA where I share in guiding the Annual Jamiat Aam.

For our next wazifa practice lets recite three wazifas that appear sequentially on the list and all deal with opening the flow, having what one needs on the path and opening the Way, all in tune with the coming of Spring.

For our next text lets study a paper, Githa Dhyana (On Meditation) that was originally thought to be by Hazrat Inayat Khan and later assumed to be Murshid Sam’s writings.

Much love, Shabda

 

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Beloved Family,

Back from Mother India a little less than two weeks and off to Ashland, OR to give a Raga Concert and Sufi Retreat. And I’m so looking forward to traveling down to Columbia, South America in the middle of March to teach Mysticism of Sound & Music with Murshida Darvesha at a beautiful Ecovillage in the countryside near Cali with a very young and large group of devotees and dancers.

Our annual Jamiat Aam retreat for all mureeds and dancers will be in Charlottesville VA in April, where I will be teaching alongside Murshid(a)s Darvesha, Asha and Sauluddin.

If you want to plan ahead I’ll be in Europe for three separate events. First a retreat in Golzow, near Berlin, followed by the annual Federation of the Sufi Message in Berlin for the first time, and lastly in Scotland teaching alongside Murshid Saadi.

For our next wazifa practice, I have chosen from an unusual group called the “opposites”. Ya Muhyi ~Ya Mumit. Invoking God as the only bringer of life and the only bringer of death help us experience the hand of the Sacred in everything, rather than some things good and some things bad, that everything has come in the form of the Friend, that Life is the Teacher. It wouldn’t be uncommon to add YA HAAY at the end to experience that both the temporal life and death are included in the essence of LIFE/VITALITY/EVER-LIVING.

Lastly, I’ll include more photos from India and some local as well.

Much love, Shabda

 

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Beloved Family,
 
Gratitude to Mother India and her people for having welcomed me so fully on my recent journey to her shores. My experiences were so rich, I want to use this form to share them with the community.
 
I arrived in Mumbai Jan 31st as the guest of my close friends and India's most famous Tabla Maestro, Zakir Hussein and his wife Toni, to celebrate the Barsi (like Urs - festival on the anniversary of passing) of Ustad Alla Rakha, Zakir's father and guru.
 
Naturally the all day, 6:30AM-11:00PM, music festival was a delight, bringing masters of rhythm from all over India and the world to celebrate rhythm and music. But the highlight was visiting the Sufi Dargah of Pir Makhdum with Zakir and family and the Dargah of Haji Ali with my long time friend Zuleikha.
 
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Beloved Family,
 
I'm off to Mother India in 9 days, with a very busy schedule. First I attend the Barsi (Urs) All Day music festival of Ustad Alla Rakha, father of Ustad Zakir Hussain, the famous Tabla Master in Mumbai. On Feb 4th off to Delhi to help present at the URS of HIK, offering Raga and Zikr on the URS day.  Feb 9-14 leading a residential Sufi Festival with Sheikh Kabir Helminski. The next week I'll be presenting at a Festival welcoming the "Walk of Hope" to Delhi, sharing the stage with Tai Situ Rinpoche, my Tibetan guru.
 
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Beloved Family,
 
URS Mubarak Mevlana Jellaudin Rumi! Winter Solstice Greetings! For our locals, we will celebrate Mevlana at tonights Zikr.
 
Tamam and I just returned from leading a sufi retreat and having a little time off on the beautiful island of Maui! Swimming in the warm ocean, enjoying our Maui "Ohana" (family), what a delight!
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Beloved Family,
  
It has been a whirlwind of activity for the past month! Being a "Main Speaker" at the Parliament of World Religions, our annual Murshid Circle Retreat followed by the annual Jamiat Khas Leaders Retreat and then the Ruhaniat Board of Trustees annual in-face meeting.  Then this past Sunday we had another musical visit to San Quentin to sing for the inmates. It was our best "Sufi band" ever, Perry singing, Bhavani with her bright musicianship, Renata, a dazzling cellist, and Gitanjali joining us for the first time.
 
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Beloved Family,

So happy to be back home after nearly a week at the Parliament of the World's Religions. Since I was made a "Major Speaker" my entire event was live-streamed and now is available for viewing and download

Originally I intended to dance for half an hour and then speak for an hour, but I was given a room where we were not allowed to move the chairs, so instead we formed a little Sufi band and sang our Dances. The sound in the room was excellent, but hearing the video, the sound quality is much worse and not really representative of what was heard live.

 

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Beloved Family,

As the Fall season is upon us gratitude arises like the abundant Harvest of the Heart! I feel it is important to share with our greater family the events below.

September 19, I returned from Istanbul where I attended a small "Universal Sufi Conference", held at the center known as Sefik Can, a Mevlevi Khankah headed by Sheikha Nur Aritan and joined by her dervishes. They were tremendous hosts, taking care of our every need with sweetness. And in between the conference we were taken to one beautiful seaside restaurant after another, like a culinary tour of Istanbul, concluded by a Bosporus boat tour!

 

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