Category Archives: News from ARC

Desert Flowers Online Opens for Two Weeks Tomorrow

Our thrice-yearly online group opens 11 July for its summer session. During the first week, we share a chant/practice together (via a recorded video from Neil), this time taken from the Aramaic words of Yeshua. During the second week, there is individual group sharing via our listserv. The two-week session concludes with an online live gathering on Zoom.

For details on how to join, see the Desert Flowers page here.

Bread of Life Online Retreat 12 December

with Neil Douglas-Klotz and Br. Joseph Kilikevice

Dear Friends of Abwoon,

I am privileged to offer this special day with my friend Brother Joe, with whom I co-led many of the early Aramaic Jesus retreats in the 1980s. Together we shared teaching, sharing, Dances of Universal Peace and art-as-meditation in many forms. This online retreat day will include chant, body prayer, sharing, contemplation and bread-baking as our art-as-meditation—a reminder that daily life is our own unique art and gift of the cosmos.

Love and blessings to you all,

Neil

Create Through Us the Bread of Life

An Interfaith Advent Day of Retreat, Saturday, December 12, 2020

on Zoom, 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM, USA Central Standard Time

The title of this retreat is a translation of the familiar words, “Give us this day our daily bread.” sourced from the ancient texts of the Bible written in the Aramaic language Jesus spoke. This translation makes clear the mandate to be the spiritual nourishment for one another that goes beyond simply feeding the hungry. The remainder of the Aramaic text implies a radical trust that more will be provided when we are generous. “We ask only for what is needed to feed the next mouth.” Daily bread becomes the Bread of Life that welcomes all as we reach out in loving kindness to those who seek spiritual sustenance from us.  

This Advent day of retreat offers an opportunity to claim a day of peace during a time of pre-holiday stress. We reclaim the ritual of baking a loaf of bread and relearn the simple pleasure of being host and guest of one another. This becomes the ancient ritual of tasting, savoring and enjoying the nourishment of bread and friendship while observing the safety measures the covid pandemic requires. We remember that we are hosts and beloved guests who feast on the gifts of the earth and the spiritual nourishment that comes through us to each other.

Using Zoom, Neil will  offer teachings and spiritual practices on the Aramaic words of Jesus from his home in Scotland. Br. Joseph will guide the process of baking delicious honey whole wheat bread as a spiritual practice from his kitchen at Shem Center in Illinois.

Small group zoom meetings, breaks and an hour for lunch offline will be part of the day.  Participants are asked to make a commitment to the entire retreat day from 10:00am to 4:00pm. It will only be available live, not on recording later. Registration details follow below. The bread recipe is a simple one anyone can use with guidance.

A lists of ingredients and utensils will be sent with a confirmation of registration.

Sorry, we cannot accept registrations after December 7, 2020.

REGISTRATION send via e-mail Emory Mead, registrar emory.mead@yahoo.com

Name: _____________________________________

your e-mail address: _____________________________________

donation amount: __________________________

Your donation in any amount will be received with gratitude and used to help further our interfaith/inter-spiritual missions.

After registering, go to the PayPal home page, and select “Send Money, Pay on Line,” then “Send a Request” at the top of the page. Using the Shem Center e-mail address–shemcenter1993@gmail.comenter the amount of your donation. It will go directly into the Shem Center PayPal account.

If you prefer, you may send a check to:

Shem Center for Interfaith Spirituality

708 N. Harvey Ave.

Oak Park, IL  60302 USA

Registration for Aramaic Prayer Retreat closing Sunday

This Sunday September 13 is the last day to sign up for the online retreat in the Aramaic Prayer, which begins on Sunday 20 September, 5 pm UK time. We need a week in between for the organizers to send the details to everyone and make sure they have them. All sessions will be recorded and posted a day later to a secure web page.

I want to emphasize that the retreat is by dana, freewill donations only, absolutely no compulsion. The registrars only need your name and email address. I am not keeping track of who donates what or who donates anything. The web page will have al link to make a donation if one wishes to do so.

Registration for English speakers to: 

Sylvia Murillo: fibati58@hotmail.com  

For Spanish speakers to:

Esperanza Gonzalez: yafatta@hotmail.com

Stay Safe!

Yours in peace,

Neil

Online Aramaic Prayer Retreat, English-Spanish, beginning in September

Aramaic Prayer retreat via Zoom

8 Sessions on Sundays:

September 20-November 8

With translation into Spanish

Dear Friends,

At the request of friends in Colombia, I will be offering an 8-week retreat on the Aramaic Prayer (the “Lord’s Prayer”) in English with Spanish translation, beginning Sunday, 20 September. Each session will last 1 ¼ to 1 ½ hours. They will be recorded, in case you cannot make the live session. The live session will begin at 11:00 in Colombia (GMT -5), same as in the Central Time Zone of the USA, and 17:00 in the UK. 

Although this was originally envisioned only for Spanish speakers, it is now also being opened to English speakers. I will be speaking English followed by the Spanish translation. In each session, we will take up one line of the prayer. Sessions will include:

  • An attunement based on the sounds of the words in which I will expand on the translations I did 30+ years ago in Prayers of the Cosmos.
  • A short period of answering questions from the previous week.
  • Chanting the prayer with seated or standing body prayer.
  • Silent prayer and contemplation keyed to the very challenging times in which we find ourselves today.

In the short video below, recorded in March, I talked about the Prayer in “virus times.” Our earth’s crisis has only become more urgent since then. A focus on the selfless meditation of the Aramaic Prayer can provide healing personally and allow us to send protection and blessing to our surrounding communities:

Because of translation, more time will be spent in chanting and meditation than in looking at word meanings. Both Prayers of the Cosmos and The Hidden Gospel are available in English and Spanish, so these are resources to begin with, which will help deepen the experience of the retreat series.

The retreat will be by donation. Because of the translation work involved, and in order to support those local communities, the organizers have suggested a minimum donation of $80, but no one will be excluded for lack of fundsRegistration is required, and people are requested to sign up only if they intend to stay for the full 8-week journey.

Registration and Information:

For English speakers: Sylvia Murillo, fibati58@hotmail.com

WhatsApp: +57 315 340 2013

For Spanish speakers: Esperanza Gonzalez, yafatta@hotmail.com

WhatsApp: +57 311 254 8942

Once you have registered, you may make a donation via PayPal through the following link. You do not need a PayPal account.

https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=DT6FGH3BHU7V8&source=url

Rather than use a separate listserv, I will post audio and video recordings at a web page only available to those who have registered. Questions after each session will be sent to the organizers, with my priority for answering given to those who are Spanish-speaking. I will endeavor to do my best to answer everyone, but this series is, as mentioned, primarily about devotion, prayer, healing and sending blessing rather than linguistics.

This will likely be the only Aramaic Jesus online retreat I will do this autumn.

I hope that you will be able to join us!

Love and blessings,

Neil

New Book Release 1 August:

Dear Friends of Abwoon,

For the past two years, I have been working on a major revision of my book Sufi Vision and Initiation (1986), the autobiography of Samuel L. Lewis. It is now complete and the book, entitled Gardens of Vision and Initiation, includes the following new insights from the writing of this remarkable human being:

  • A selection of Lewis’s writings on social activism and injustice in the 1930s-1940s, a period remarkably like our own, during which Samuel Lewis acted as a whistle-blower in two organizations.
  • His therapeutic journey with Dr. Blanche Baker in the late 1950s, which led him to more meaningful relationships and a conscious acceptance of his family history and sexuality.
  • Growing from the same therapeutic work– letters, poems and writings that reveal the spark that ignited the Dances of Universal Peace, later catalyzed by his journeys to Asia and acceptance by mystics and scientists there.
  • His lifelong interest in nature as well as his ecological work during his Asian journeys.
  • Writings to his first Sufi student and representative in Pakistan containing both spiritual guidance and Lewis’ plans to move back to Pakistan for the rest of his life to work on spiritual and ecological projects.
  • Fully indexed, with a glossary and footnotes identifying Samuel Lewis’s many references to people and events.
  • Produced independently with the help of many devoted students in the US and Europe.

Until August 31st, you can purchase both the print book and Kindle ebook together for $18.95. The ebook is very helpful, since it allows one to enlarge the type (useful for older eyes!), search for any word or phrase in the book, check obscure references on the internet, and bookmark, copy and save text for later use. Please order from the the Amazon in your country for this offer. Links to a few Amazon pages below.

Yours in peace,

Neil

Ordering from the USA:

Ordering from the UK:

Ordering from the Eurozone:

Some endorsements from friends…

Gardens of Vision and Initiation

The Life Journey of Samuel L. Lewis

An Autobiography Selected from His Letters, Papers, Diaries, and Recordings

Neil Douglas-Klotz

With a foreword by W. A. Mathieu

Sufi Murshid, Zen Master, Environmental and Peace Activist, Missionary to the Hippie Generation, Founder of the Dances of Universal Peace….

Drawn from his own voluminous writings, A Garden of Vision and Initiation allows us to hear Samuel Lewis’s story and teaching in his own words, the authentic voice of a spiritual original and pioneer.

“Here is the story of a mystic, a gardener, a Sufi, a Zen student, a true human being. Samuel Lewis’ spiritual practice was deepened through his meetings with Hazrat Inayat Khan, but his teaching, his wisdom, came from his own visionary nature. Garden of Visions and Initiation takes us on the inner and outer journey of this remarkable man, who left us with the gift of the Dances of Universal Peace, and the living grace of a soul who embraced both love and pain in service to God.”

–Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee, Ph.D., author, Love is a Fire, the Sufis Mystical Journey Home.

“The reader of Dr. Neil Douglas-Klotz’s sensitively selected and annotated writings of Murshid Samuel Lewis (1876-1971) is taken on the tumultuous spiritual journey of a truly universal being; a voyage propelled throughout his life by the quest for Truth, whether through the teachings of Sufism, Zen Buddhism or any other divinely revealed path. The reader grows with Sufi Sam as he explores with sincerity the inner and outer world, experiences hope and disappointment, and dances through this earthly life with his trademark flashes of spiritual humour and love for all. A collection of writings that will be of particular interest for those westerners who, like Lewis himself, find their path through the teachings of the east.”

–Muneera Haeri, author of The Chishtis, A Living Light, co-author with Shaykh Fadhlalla Haeri of Sufi Encounters

“Murshid Sam came into my young adult life toward the end of his own, and although I thought I’d internalized his teachings through several years of personal interaction, I now have a far rounder view after reading so many of his writings as they evolved over a triumphant, fully-unfolded life. Whether you have known Lewis or are new to his work, it is illuminating to experience, in his compelling first person prose, how his determination to rise above the vicissitudes of his early years became fully realized in the form of an extraordinary capacity for healing the world.”

–W. A. Mathieu, author of The Listening Book and Bridge of Waves

“As much of a wonder-filled reading experience it is to dive into this ‘map’, this description of the territory, I’m sure that Murshid Sam would have encouraged the reader to go out and have some direct experiences, traveling the territory and leaving behind any concepts about it. Gardens of Vision offers us the opportunity to witness what a life of dynamic transformation lived through direct experiences and encounters looks like.”

–the Rev. Tasnim Hermila Fernandez, co-founder of the International Network for the Dances of Universal Peace.