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!
This was the second year of the conference, inspired and lead by Murshid Karimbakhsh of the International Sufi Movement and his co-chair Peer Mudassir, a bright sufi pir from Pakistan.
Aside from sufi leaders from Pakistan, India, Morocco, Holland, Germany and the US, we had a Jewish mystic, a Dominican Father, a woman Zen teacher, a Tibetan Buddhist Lama, and a senior Swami from the Yogananda lineage.
We worked on the theme of "Education". We each spoke for about 15-20 minutes and then shared dialogue. Most impressive was a Fakhira Najib, a sufi woman from Pakistan who runs "Broadclass" --an organization that places radios in classroom throughout Pakistan and then broadcasts content which support loving kindness and a proper education not only for boys but girls as well. Her brilliant work reaches 100,000 students!
When my turn came to speak, I expressed the aspiration for methods of bringing mysticism into the classroom, As I spoke about our Dances, I realized profoundly that any child (or adult) who practices the Dances of Universal Peace, automatically and experientially understands the "Universality of Religious Ideals"! This is something we likely take for granted but is very uncommon in the generality.
As the conference drew to a close we created and signed an "Istanbul Declaration" which you will want to read; you can view and download by clicking on it. The declaration also mentions two other documents that you can also view, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Earth Charter.
And in two weeks I am one of the "Major Speakers" at the Parliament of World Religions, in Salt Lake City, Utah, where we will present the Dances of Universal Peace and speak on "Cultivating the Inner Life, Harmony with the Outer Life". By presenting the Dances there will be a natural emphasis on the "Universality of Religious Ideals".
Lastly, I will be attending Hazrat Inayat Khan's URS in Delhi, Feb 5-7, 2016 and instead of bringing a group as I have done in the past, I will be leading an "International Sufi Festival" along with Shaikh Kabir Helminski at a retreat center near Qutb Minar Complex in New Delhi, February 9-14, 2016 and the costs are extremely reasonable for the residential festival - click to see flyer.
This month we begin reading "The Bestowal of Blessing" by Murshid Samuel Lewis, also known as Sufi Ahmed Murad Chisti (One Who is Drawn to God by Grace). Read Chapters 1-3, pages 1-16. Click here to download the document.