Beloved One of God,
Through the rays of the sun in the New Mexico Mountains at Lama Foundation, through the waves of the air at 8,600 feet of altitude, through the all pervading life in space the DHO family came together again. Lama and its surrounding have come back from the devastation of the fire. Burn trees stand everywhere as witnesses overseeing the new growth under the supervision of a competent perm culture expert. Lama has rebuilt its facilities and provided adequate accommodation through yurts, camping sites with view on the valley below, great vegetarian food and even hot showers. The main dome with its prayer room and washroom and the kitchen were not touched by the fire, so it was received as an omen that the places for purification and nourishment of body and heart left untouched would facilitate the continuity of the endeavor on that site. Of course, Murshid presence reminded us “The soul does not seek, the soul does not shun, the soul is not concerned with thought. The soul is concerned with the experience of God and can find it without regard to pleasure. Any experience can lead to God, any experience can increase the clouds over the mind and can harden the heart. It is only when all attachment to experience is abandoned — including all thought connected with the idea of attachment — that the soul can find its peace and rest in God, be concerned with God no matter what the material or mental circumstances.”
What most beautiful place to experience peace and rest in God but at Lama, near Taos, New Mexico.
Above and beyond all the highlight of the retreat, the shared love and joy of meeting old friends and welcoming new members of our family was overwhelming. Juanita originally from Columbia, Umbreen originally from Pakistan, Deirdre from New York were with us for the first time. A total of 50 people came to this pilgrimage to the Maqbara of Murshid Samuel Lewis.
Tears were shed when Sheik Mansur Johnson read passages of his manuscript (hopefully soon to be published) about Murshid Samuel Lewis. Mansur touched all hearts when he told us at the Maqbara how he lost his still beloved wife Taj so many years ago, who became Pir Vilayat Khan girlfriend and gave him a son who today is Pir Zia. He read a children book that he created to explain to his child the new parameters from three to four people in their family. Mansur could not even start reading from his manuscript of Murshid, the memory of his beloved teacher Murshid Sam was enough to bring a flood of tears that inspired more tears in all those present. Welcome back around the family Mansur, we love you.
Zuleikha was another highlight of our retreat. She shared how she fulfills her dharma for service by teaching dances to young girls in India and Sri Lanka. Zuleikha established a non-profit program, The Story dancer Project, of exercise, rhythm and melody to bring enrichment and awareness of health and body to orphanages, street children, teenage girls and women in impoverished areas of the world. She told stories, read poetry and led a square formation Zikar with men and women facing each other, the musicians in the center and Zuleikha manifesting Qadir, holding the center point while everything else whirled around her.
So many great teachers were present with Murshida and Shifayat Asha Greer who presented an imaginary tea ceremony, Murshida Khadijah Goforth who lead many beautiful dances, walks and Zikars with grace and presence, Sheik and Shifayat Siddiq von Brissen who offered a daily tea ceremony, Sheik and Shifayat Murad Finkelstein who taught us a Chakra practice inspired from Gong Li tradition and his studies. Sheikha Ananda Cronin who lead heart warming daily Zikar with her soft and centered tone inviting us home again as Rumi told us to come back 10000 times. Sheik Mansour Kreps led a most powerful Zikar in a practice for men only at the old circle arena. Sheikh Firdousi Wirick lead us in one night of dances of universal peace while many caught sight of Murshid dancing among us with his imaginary flute in his hands. Sheika and Shifayat Sarfraz Knight lead us in most inspiring healing ritual and dances with a gracious and gentle presence. Sheik Jean Pierre David shared a Zikar of the 99 beautiful names of Allah inspired by the work of Murshid Saadi.
Of course Murshid & Kifayat Sauluddin was extraordinary once again. He presented the walks of the planets, prophets and elements. He conducted his powerful Allah Zikar. He told us stories and bedtime stories as well. He reminded us of the role of the Dervish Healing Order, not an organization but a family holding a concentration, without even a bank account, that raised $11,000 for Lama and contributed $2,000 for collecting rainwater from the main kitchen roof gutter system. As you know all the teachers paid their own way and did not receive any emolument for their services. All the money went to Lama.
We were blessed with many Murshid stories shared by Sheika Sarah Morgan and also Mansur Johnson, Siddiq von Brissen and Sauluddin. Sarah told us how she met Murshid for the first time after having crossed the US with Pir Shabda Khan and having serious doubt on Sam’s credentials as a mystic because he certainly did not fit what her expectation of a holy man should be like. However, he touched her heart so quickly, telling her that “there is no taboo in Sufism” that she could not recall which one of the two (sex or ice cream) she reached out for first after this liberating new freedom. Sauluddin and Mansur spoke of their famous trip to Canada with Murshid visiting his relatives with Sauluddin’s dog on his laps. Siddiq spoke of the first visit of Murshid at Lama.
The last night men and women split off for separate practices and joined back one hour later. It is the second time that such experience is shared at Lama and that was very welcomed by both men and women. Each group performed practices and Zikar and enjoyed the special energy and bonding while appreciating even more coming back together towards the one.
Beyond all practices and prayers, the sharing of hearts among all was the greatest time to be had at Lama. Such meeting creates a high (Ya Ali) independently of the mountain altitude that takes weeks to assimilate as we travel down to our daily life. The light that filled the new adopted members of our family witnessed to that happening of Love, Harmony and Beauty.
“The Dervish Healing Order serves as that aspect of the Sufi Ruhaniat International which maintains and promotes the vision of health and Divine Healing as presented by Pir-O-Murshid Hazrat Inayat Khan. The work of the D.H.O. is to hold the concentration for the health of the Ruhaniat on all levels. One of the tools given to us by Pir-O-Murshid is the Healing Ritual. In addition we are guided by breathing practices, healing meditations, visualizations and by a body of esoteric papers on healing from Pir-O-Murshid with commentaries by Murshid S.A.M.. Individuals of the Ruhaniat and others who desire focused healing energy are encouraged to contact the D.H.O. for inclusion in the concentration of the healing ritual and in our prayers.” The D.H.O. function on the Moineddin model being semi-autonomous from the Ruhaniat.
Come, come, wherever you may be… until next time.