Category Archives: News from Abwoon Network

Online conversation with Shaykh Fadhlalla Haeri and Neil, Saturday, 16 May, 12 pm South Africa, GMT +2

We will be talking about “humanity” today–where we were, are, may be. Big subject. This will be live-streamed via YouTube, recording appearing later at the same link as below:

SATURDAY 16 MAY 2020
12:00PM, South Africa (GMT +2)

A conversation between Shaykh Fadhlalla Haeri & Dr. Neil Douglas Klotz (Shaykh Saadi) on ‘Insights of Divinity Through Humanity from Sūrat an-Nās’

All times are Central African Time +2hrs GMT
Livestream: A conversation between Shaykh Fadhlalla Haeri & Shaykh Saadi Dr. Neil Douglas Klotz on ‘Insights of Divinity Through Humanity’ from the Surat an-…

Beatitudes Online Retreat to Begin April 26

Beginning next Sunday 26 April, 6pm UK time, I will be offering an online, progressive retreat for 9 weeks focused around the Aramaic Beatitudes in Matthew. We will revisit the Beatitudes and their relevance to current life concerns, starting with personal healing, then expanding our focus and meditation to our communities, nature and the world. This also allows me the opportunity to update some of the teachings on the Aramaic Beatitudes since I recorded the Sounds True “Healing Breath” series nearly twenty years ago. 

Practices like the Beatitudes, which encourage both depth and connection, shared in a group over period of weeks, can have effects that go beyond our personal self. In our case, we will meet staring just after the new moon and ending on the summer solstice. Since we will be meeting during Ramadan, I may also share an occasional attunement from the Sufi tradition, as well as refer to the Aramaic Beatitudes in Luke. We will be meeting using the Zoom technology (You do not need to pay for an account; check this out at zoom.us). Each meeting will last about an hour and a half, once a week.  Recordings will be made for those who are not able to join live.

Please go to the following home page link to join the special groups.io list for the Aramaic Beatitudes retreat. This is the only way in. I ask that people who join do so for the whole series, rather than just drop in and out. Same as for an in-person retreat, really. Once we begin, the group will be locked, again for security, given various problems that Zoom has experienced recently.

https://abwoon.groups.io/g/BeatitudesSpring2020

Go to the bottom of this page and you will find a link to “Subscribe.” I will be posting all of the Zoom details for this series only through this group. This is partly for security’s sake, and partly to make sure that my Zoom account will handle all those wanting to join. I will also be posting the recordings in this group, in case you miss a meeting, as well as hosting questions and/or sharing.

A donation is requested for this series, and donations can be made via PayPal to: donations@eial.org

(Or if you don’t have a PayPal account, please use the link below this message, where you can make a donation via PayPal of any amount via credit card without an account.)

This retreat will be most helpful for those who have experienced the Aramaic work previously, either through a) an in-person retreat with me, b) going through one of the previous Sounds True recorded series or c) having minimally read The Hidden Gospel. This means that I will not be starting from basic explanations during this retreat, so that we can dive right in together.

For those who are new to the Aramaic Beatitudes in Matthew, you might wish to spend some time with the words before each session, staring with (yes) the first Beatitude for the first session. The easiest way to do this is by downloading the Prayers of the Cosmos teaching audio here.

One can also find the CD online, both here in Europe and in the USA.

If this journey works in your life just now, I hope you can join us. May all we do return to praise Reality!

Yours in peace,

Neil





Desert Flowers Special Meeting on Zoom This Sunday: March 22, 5 pm UK time

Dear Friends,

Our thrice-yearly Desert Flowers online group will meet online via Zoom this Sunday, 22 March at 5 pm UK time ( for reference: 10 am North America West Coast time).

I will be sharing a few prayers and practices from the Aramaic Jesus tradition suited for these “virus times.” The group continues to meet, meditate and share over the following two weeks. The one-hour meeting will be recorded, video and audio, and links then posted to the Desert Flowers group.

If you would like to join the Desert Flowers group, please read about it and sign up via the link below:

Desert Flowers

There is no charge; donations are gratefully accepted.

Yours in peace,

Neil

Free webinar on Saturday, 25 January

I am pleased to be sharing an hour webinar online tomorrow with my esteemed mentor Shaykh Fadhalla Haeri, who has been working on a new translation of and commentary on the Qur’an, as well as new friend Issa Baba. The theme is “What does it mean to be a Sufi in the 21st century?” Sponsored by the Beyond Initiative, a project that I very much support.

Register for this webinar at this link for the Virtual event on January 25th, 2020 at 6pm GMT (remember to convert this time to your location).

This webinar will take place on Zoom, so you will need to download this free software on your computer or mobile device. The meeting code is in the poster above. I have been told that the audio at least will be recorded for accessing later.

Yours in peace,

Neil

https://zoom.us/meeting/register/vpQvceGhrT8qSkVSz_oj8uaDvmVO-ZL-nA?fbclid=IwAR1oyWsNP7BCgAWYuOhMfgjWbirAlSINGs766uhfgXkt-63tuxaMEvL7V-0

End of Year Greetings and News for 2019

31 December 2018

Dear Friends of Abwoon,

Greetings and blessings of Hogmanay, our end-of-the year celebration here in Scotland. While we are experiencing an unusual run of warm-ish weather (10 C, near 50F to you Americans), the early-fading winter light still draws one inside to consider the year past as well as the one ahead.

Below, I have shared a video body prayer based on the first Beatitude in Aramaic. Clearing the heart at the end of the year is a wonderful practice whether one is in the northern hemisphere or, like our Australian friends, baking in the southern heat.

Publishing News: The first two “little books” extracted, edited and, in some cases, re-translated from the works of Kahlil Gibran were released in the USA last year to a very reception, with translations in several other countries. Re-approaching Gibran as an native Middle Eastern (or West Asian) person seems to have struck a chord with many. You can find links to the “Life” (i.e., nature-based) and “Love” (relationships) books at https://abwoon.org/online-store/books/.

The third volume (Kahlil Gibran’s Little Book of Secrets)will appear in April, featuring the author’s focus on life’s puzzles and riddles—those questions that cause us to stop and ask “why?” Good and evil, life and death, justice and innocence, success and failure, as well as the inner way that attempts to bridge paradox and unite opposites. Case in point:

Knocking on the Door

It would be fruitless for the visitor

to knock on the door of the house

if there were no one inside

to hear the knocks

and open the door. 

What is a human

but a being

standing between

the infinitude of his interior

and the infinitude

of his surroundings? 

Were it not for what we have inside,

we would have nothing outside.

We can see the influence of Gibran’s early life story on his fascination with such questions. He was uprooted from his native Lebanon at the age of twelve by his mother, who brought his siblings and him to the USA in 1895. Like many migrants and refugees today, she was escaping a hopeless situation: poverty, a failed marriage, and a husband in prison for embezzling from the government. Gibran experienced a radical dislocation from his relatives and friends in the move to late 19thcentury urban Boston, a very different culture from that of his childhood. We can imagine that from an early age Gibran began to see things from two points of view—that of the native of rural Lebanon and that of the American city dweller. Seeing from two points of view at the same time, a split awareness, could only be integrated by either taking a higher view, or going crazy.

Other publishing news: The fourth Gibran book (“Wisdom”) will be released in autumn 2019 and will focus on his writings on practical wisdom for daily life, both in community and in solitude. Following up on the success of The Little Book of Sufi Stories, I am also working on a new little book of ecological wisdom due to be published in 2020.

Travels and Seminars in 2019: I will be in the USA once next year, in April for consecutive weekends in Cincinnati, Ohio (5-7 April) and Boulder, Colorado (12-14 April ). These will share some of my recent work with the ancient nomadic roots of spiritual practice and are entitled “The Beautiful Names of Life.” Following these two I will again lead an Easter Aramaic Jesus retreat at Bishop’s Ranch in Sonoma County, California (18-21 April).

Weekend retreats in Europe will continue throughout the year. A number of them (Switzerland, Germany, Netherlands and England) will be in the form of Aramaic Jesus “sesshins”—alternating chant, movement and silence. As appropriate to the group, I will also be offering guidance on how people in chanting or contemplative prayer groups can add this element to their ongoing work. In Scotland(16-19 May), southern France(19-22 September) and southern Germany(17-20 October), I will be sharing versions of the “Beautiful Names of Life” retreat. Next summer, I will again be sharing the all-school class at the Ruhaniat European Summer School (29-June -6 July) in north Germany, focusing on the “beautiful names of life” as well as the Sufi and Zen flavors of the lineage I experienced with my teachers.

Looking forward to seeing many of you in the New Year…

You can find details of all these retreats at https://abwoon.org/workshops/ the website of the Abwoon Network, where you can also find links to books, audio downloads, podcasts and videos.

As our beginning of the year thank-you, Abwoon Resource Center offers you a 25% discount on all our own (i.e., self-produced)audio downloads until January 15if you use the following offer code: NEWYEAR19 (must be all CAPS).

Body Prayer: Here is the practice I promised, based on the first Beatitude in Aramaic (from the book of Matthew): Tubwayhunl’meskenaee b’rukh dilhounhie malkutha d’ashmaya.(“Tuned to the Source are those who live by breathing Unity, their ‘I can!’ is included in the universe’s own sound”).Counter-melody:Alaha Ruhau(Sacred Unity Breathes!)

I invite you to join me in my office and take a few minutes to chant and enter the silence, as we find our home in the one breath together, preparing for the new year. Even in dark times, we can breathe, find our center and then feel what is really ours to do in life.

Love and blessings to you all for a healthy and balanced New Year!

Neil

Announcing: The Little Book of Sufi Stories…pre-order now!

 

Dear Friends of the Abwoon Network,

I am happy to announce a new book published by Hampton Roads, due in June of 2018. The Little Book of Sufi Stories retells some of my favorite stories, and a few you haven’t heard before. I am just finishing proofreading the final galleys and find that the publisher has done a beautiful job. I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it!

Although the release is a little ways off, I would encourage you to pre-order it now using the links below. It will help create some early interest (that’s the way things work in our world) and you won’t find a better price later!

Yours in peace,

Neil

 

The Little Book of Sufi Stories

Hampton Roads Publishing Company

240 pages, 5 x 7 paperback

ISBN-10: 1571748296

ISBN-13: 978-1571748294

Due: 1 June 2018

 

From the Foreword:

“If you want to hear a good story but prefer to read it instead, then read Douglas-Klotz! He writes as if he’s sitting in your living room, invited over for afternoon tea to entertain you with some heart-pleasing, often humorous, yet soul-searching Sufi stories. His modernization of these old texts is gentle and mindful, yet unapologetic.”

–Maryam Mafi, author of Rumi Day by Day

The stories in this book are drawn from the dozens that Douglas-Klotz has enjoyed telling in his seminars over the past 20 years. Most of them appear in works of the classical Sufis, such as Rumi, Attar, or S’adi. To preserve some of the in-person feeling and bring the language up to date, he has given them his own improvised turns.

From the Introduction:

As the German novelist and storyteller Hermann Hesse once wrote, the great stories of humanity—like fairy tales, Hasidic stories, Celtic stories, Zen stories and Sufi stories—provide us with incomparable examples of the “genetic history of the soul.” We share this depth of soul with all human beings. So, hearing a story live and unrehearsed brings us closer together, creating and re-creating our all-too-fragile sense of human community.

I have drawn the stories in this book from the dozens that I have enjoyed telling in my teaching seminars over the past 30-plus years. Most of them first appear in works of classical Sufis like Rumi, Attar or Sa’adi. Others simply come to us without a name, passed down from person to person with variations for hundreds of years.

Telling an oral story in print is challenging. One can strip the story back to its bare bones, thereby losing much of its flavor and aroma. Or one can treat the story like a prehistoric insect caught in amber: one leaves all sorts of cultural detail in, but the story doesn’t breathe. I am a great fan of live storytellers, but some so-called professional storytellers err on the latter side, because they don’t understand the transmission of the story—its life as an inner experience that everyone can share. The “wow” factor may be there—the special effects—but not the wisdom.

Likewise, some authors overly embellish or interpret Sufi stories with an agenda in mind (often psychological or theological). They map out the whole story as an allegory that supports a principle they want to convey. In my view, this is (as one Zen master commented) like going to a restaurant and ordering a vitamin pill. Where is the art of life, the joy of discovery?

Hopefully, I have woven my way between the extremes. I have modernized the dialogue, and so there will be deliberately anachronistic references. Hint: this is one technique for using stories as spiritual teaching. Another technique: there will be plot elements that seem to end nowhere. A third: No ‘trigger warnings’ are given. Fourth: sometimes the good are not rewarded and the evil not punished (but that’s more like life anyway). I could go on, but why spoil the fun?

Without doubt, there is nothing like hearing a Sufi story live. To tell one of these stories, I need to first live in it for a while, much as one might walk into an unknown forest and gradually get to know the plants and animals there. Yet when telling the story live, I can still meet something unexpected at any moment.

As I mentioned in The Sufi Book of Life, I encourage readers to go beyond the book (or screen) to meet real Sufis. With a sincere heart, this is not so hard (which is not to say it’s simple, given that Sufis all over the world are under threat from Islamic fundamentalists).

I hope these stories convey an aliveness that awakens a spark in your soul. If they do, you may become—as I am—a story collector.

Hear and read more of them, retell them in your own way, and you may find yourself becoming a different, wilder, more completely human you.

–Neil Douglas-Klotz

Pre-order here:

Barnes and Noble

IndieBound

 

Amazon(s):

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Registration now open: “Light of Success” in Columbus, Ohio

The Light of Success:

Achievement in the World

and the Spiritual Life

How to attain our earthly goals and still be happy

 

A workshop with

Neil Douglas-Klotz and Natalia Lapteva

October 26-29, 2017

 

Place: Martin dePorres Center, Columbus, Ohio

Time: Thursday evening 7pm until Sunday 12 noon, Friday and Saturday evenings included.

 

When we embark on the spiritual journey, we often put aside our more ‘mundane’ and ‘common’ desires and purposes, or begin to consider them as being on a ‘lower plane’ altogether. However, it is important for us, as beings of flesh and emotion, to develop, tend and bring to fruition all facets of our lives.

On the path of the inner life, how can we find a way to live harmoniously in the ‘real world’?  If we over-focus on success, we risk being sucked into an endless round of activity—there is always more to achieve—and we can become trapped by what we have manifested. If we suppress our desire to create and achieve, the self usually reacts negatively. Down either path can lie depression and ill-health. How do we find the balance and the joy that can arise from it?

We will use as tools: Dances of Universal Peace, walking and sitting meditation, Sufi wasifa and zikr, practices from world spirituality and modern psychology. Inspired by the teachings of Murshid Samuel Lewis and Hazrat Inayat Khan on “Sadhana—the Path of Attaintment.”

“The love of power, wealth, status and influence are inherent in us. Our conditioned consciousness drives us towards acquiring these assets. As these ideas have no definable end, their quest will inevitably produce some discord, violence and brutality towards oneself and others. Conditioned consciousness and curbing the lower self or ego leads to potential resistance and even depression, unless it connects with the higher self and soul.” –Shaykh Fadhlalla Haeri

Registration and Information here.