Abode Village View – Month of June

Abode Village View – Month of June

Update from the Abode Board – Sarfaraz Susan Dawdy

Dear Friends,


In June, Pir Vilayat’s Birthday and Urs (19th and 17th , respectively) and his perfume touch my heart.

As we approach the 45th anniversary of The Abode of the Message we are again pioneers, co-creators, servants of this sacred Message given into our hands. Pir Vilayat gave us the Abode to do the hard work of the Message, and we are blessed with the opportunity and privilege to serve the Message in our time. That is the wish our beloved Pir dedicated for us here on this land, in these buildings, in this place.

I am moved to share some favorite quotes from Pir-O-Murshid Hazrat Inayat Khan and Pir Vilayat, as well as some reflections on our current efforts on behalf of The Abode of the Message.

In an address to Cherags, Pir-O-Murshid said: “Things that are of less importance will rise soon, will develop soon, and will finish soon. But things that will remain, will slowly grow and will remain longer, and it will take a long time for something that succeeds it to come. The Sufi Message therefore is now in its beginning, and it is our privilege to do the pioneer work which is as hard as it has ever been. And a thousand years from now that the Message was given, it will be even as hard or even harder still. Today we are not stoned, today we are not flayed. But today we have other difficulties, perhaps greater difficulties. And our difficulty is the lack of response.”

This is a time of new development. The Inayati Order has taken the Esoteric School to its new location, in Richmond Virginia, to deepen its reach. The Abode is on the precipice of its emerging interdependence.

Our leadership at The Abode has taken the charge that it was given on the occasion of the decision of the Inayati Order to relocate. As the Inayati Order continues to fulfill its mission in the 21st century , all of us at the Abode are birthing the next unfoldment of Pir Vilayat’s intention for this gift he placed in our hands. One field has been plowed under to clear the way for new growth. Our work is to be strong friends with strong faith and sincerity that will give us the strength to go through every difficulty in the service of the Message.

And difficult it can be, caring and tending and offering service. As Mursid once noted: “Many who disapprove of an organization, are ready to take the benefit that comes out of it. For them to say “We do not care for an organization” is like saying, “I like to eat, but I do not think about the kitchen.”

As we head into our 45th anniversary, the pull of the future dares us to become who we really are.

Update from the Executive Director – Al Bellenchia

Dear Friends,


Daylight is lengthening, the weather is warming and Abode programs season is in full swing.

We just concluded our first major event at the Mountain Camp, hosting the 3rd annual edition of the Shaker Mountain music festival.  It was one of the largest events held at the Abode in recent years, and thanks to the efforts of many Abodians – staff, volunteers, friends, superheroes – all was well held.

This weekend, we welcome Suhrawardi Gebel and Nur Azad Mangold to the Pir Vilayat Center to lead activities honoring Pir Vilayat, on the cusp of his birthday and Urs. As the father of the Abode, it is fitting that we honor Pir Vilayat over father’s day weekend.

We continue to fill out our calendar with new events, so please check our programs page and calendar listings often.  We are striving to make our calendar more visible and accessible and changes to our website are coming soon that will help better communicate the diversity of activities at the Abode.

Also coming up is the kickoff of the Abode’s 45th anniversary celebration.  We are planning a months-long series of activities, events, gatherings and special programs, which will culminate in a 45th anniversary reunion in the summer of 2020. Stay tuned for more information!

As we contemplate the celebration of our past, we are also mindful of how we must also tend to what comes next. This unique, special place is a gift to the world, and our purpose as caretakers must include ensuring its sustainability and that we leave a legacy for the next generation to tend.

In his “Millennium Message,” Pir Vilayat wrote: When one turns a new page, particularly a new chapter, one needs to let go of the previous page even though it is still in the book. However in real life the past itself has changed….Interestingly, our memory is gifted with the faculty of extracting the gist of the experience of the past. The task for our mind is now to interfuse the insight gained by the legacy of the past with the prospects of the future.”  Pir Vilayat also quoted the physicist/mathematician Euler: “the pull of the future is stronger than the push of the past.”

To create the future Abode, we all need to push and pull together, and continue to make the change that generates growth in our ability to serve the needs of our time.


Blessings to all.


Update from the Assistant Director – Jamelah Zidan

“Each Action Is Sacred”


“Washing the dishes

is like bathing a baby Buddha.

The profane is the sacred.

Everyday mind is Buddha mind.”

–  Thich Nhat Hanh , from Present Moment Wonderful Moment: Mindfulness Verses for Daily Living


Our first session… of volunteering is drawing to a close, and I can’t help but think of how many dishes they washed. They weeded too, and assisted guests, painted walls and swept floors, but I’m most grateful for the washing of dishes. We all do three hours of karma yoga here, but when there’s a program our volunteers often step in and willingly assist. Without our volunteers we would be in a real jam during our busiest times.

Two of our volunteers have been here for more than a year – Kalina and Topaz. Topaz grew up attending Mountain Road, and Kalina found us through her love of Sufi music. Sadie joined us this spring, after visiting with her mother during a Kinship conference and will continue with us through the fall, inshallah.

Two of our volunteers are leaving, and we are so grateful for their addition to the varied fabric of our community. Mother and daughter team of Shawn and Tomori are world travelers, passionate vegans and dedicated workers. Shawn blessed us with delicious Japanese style breakfasts 3 times a week and Tomori could often be found in the garden, saving creatures from early demises, or weeding. Tomori also worked hard at getting Rumi’s cafe up and running alongside with Eileen.

We are so blessed by our volunteers. During the spring season they attended the concert Ustad Shaafat Khan, took part in a cacao ceremony on the mountain and volunteered at Red Robin Song, an animal rescue and sanctuary a few minutes away from year. They came together every week for an ecology class led by our own Kevin Bose. Most importantly they came together as people seeking – there are countless conversations, experiences and moments that I can’t document, from the mundane to the profound, that leads to the very palpable feeling of change and growth on campus.


Our second session … welcomes four new volunteers, Victoria, a daughter of the Abode, will be joining us as a gardener under Meg, our fearless Grounds leader. John, a local musician and father will be joining us on our Maintenance team, to tend to and care for our buildings, both on the mountain and on campus. Rebecca, a friend to many on Chair Factory road, will fill a needed position in both the kitchen and garden. And Puck, a jack-of-all trades, will be assisting on the Mountain, in the garden and possibly in the kitchen, if we can convince him!

The second session will now have Sufi classes built into Friday mornings, opposite of our continued Ecology classes. Our orientation week will include introductions to Sufism, a tick-bite prevention class and a diversity training through the lens of Universal Worship.


In addition… we have several folks on campus who are here full time on work exchange. You may see Faisal working on the mountain, or Andrew weed-whacking near Inayat Manzil, or Zeinab welcoming guests, or Steve answering questions at the Front Desk. If you come into Vakil you may see Tim ordering new items for the Welcome Center shop. We continue to welcome those who are called to a spiritual home who are willing to give of their own skills.


We will have an Open House July 19th – 21st. As I type this I hear residents and guests excitedly praising a rainbow – I’m unsure if it’s in the sky, or on fabric, or a painting. What I do know is that we are excitedly creating beauty and harmony here. Here I draw this letter to a close. All the workers have stopped their work and have joined together outside. They are shouting “rainbow, rainbow!” and “Om Tara” and “Alhamdulillah”  and I must join them. We will continue washing dishes as if they’re the baby Buddha, and welcoming guests to our humble caravan stop and noticing rainbows when they appear. We hope you’ll join us soon.

Abode Weekly Village View

Come celebrate the divine feminine that resides within us all.

“Tara, the Great Mother, embodiment of Wisdom, Compassion and Power.

“Utilizing movement meditation as a vehicle of empowerment, employing the power of mantra, focused intention and the profound techniques of Tibetan Buddhist practice, the dancers embody Tara, revealing Her sublime qualities to the world. With this sacred offering we pray that the earth and all beings are blessed and healed, that all may be happy and free from suffering.“

Tara Circle at the Abode on Sunday, June 30th, from 2 to 3 PM, in the Meditation Hall, facilitated by Aimée.

aimeeblj@gmail.com for more information.

All welcome!


Upcoming Week’s Events

Sunday, June 16

– Universal Worship with Nur Azad & Suhrawardi Gebel – Quddus Meditation Hall – 11:00 am – Pir Vilayat’s Urs & Birthday Celebration

– Brunch with Chef Fatimata – Razzaq Dining Hall – 12:30 pm – Pancakes, home fries, turkey sausage, kale salad, shakshuka, oatmeal, and salad bar


Monday, June 17

– Community Lunch – Razzaq Dining Hall – 12:30 pm


Tuesday, June 18

– Community Breakfast – Razzaq Dining Hall – 8:00 am

– Community Dinner – Razzaq Dining Hall – 6:00 pm

Science & Mysticism with Suhrawardi Gebel – The Pir Vilayat Center – 7:00 pm – Explore life’s mysteries in two different directions. Science studies the outer life of the Universe and Mysticism studies the inner life of the Universe. Learn more about the class and Suhrawardi by visiting theabode.org/programs/727


Wednesday, June 19

– Community Lunch – Razzaq Dining Hall – 12:30 pm


Thursday, June 20

– Community Lunch with Chef Fatimata – Razzaq Dining Hall – 12:30 pm

– Community Dinner with Chef Fatimata – Razzaq Dining Hall – 6:00 pm

– Message Class with Winifried – Quddus Meditation Hall – 7:00 pm


Saturday, June 22

– Community, Nature, Design with Kevin Bose – 10:00 am-4:00 pm – Join Kevin for the first of four Saturday classes focused on creating an eco-culture and a new sense of progress. For more information email Kevin: kevin_bose@hotmail.com or visit www.theabode.org/programs/678 to register.


Sunday, June 23

– Universal Worship – Quddus Meditation Hall – 11:00 pm

Brunch – Razzaq Dining Hall – 12:30 pm

– HuDost Water + Mercy – Quddus Meditation Hall – 7:00 pm – HuDost returns to the Abode to promote their new album, Water + Mercy. Sliding scale tickets $15-$20. Register online at www.theabode.org/programs/685


*The Abode will be hosting a private, silent program from Monday June 24-Sunday June 30. During this time all meals will be CLOSED to those who are neither on a meal plan nor working in support of the program. Thank you for your cooperation.*

Upcoming Programs

Science & Mysticism with Suhrawardi Gebel | Tuesdays | June 11-July 2 | 7:00 PM | The Pir Vilayat Center | Explore life’s mysteries in two different directions. Science studies the outer life of the Universe and Mysticism studies the inner life of the Universe. We will examine current cosmological ideas about the origin and evolution of the Universe based on dualism and materialism. Then we will look at the mystic’s view of nature from the perspective of unity and the incarnation of spirit in manifestation. Learn more about the class and Suhrawardi by visiting theabode.org/programs/727 Registration is not required to participate, though you are encouraged to RSVP by contacting the Director of the Pir Vilayat Center, Yaqin Aubert – yaqin@theabode.org or 518-794-8090 ext. 116



Community, Nature, Design with Kevin Bose | Saturdays | June 22, July 6, July 27, August 17 | 10:00 AM-4:00 PM | Community Nature Design: Creating an Eco-Culture and a New Sense of Progress consists of four Saturday classes. First we will strengthen our relationship to the birds, trees, plants, and animals through observation, activities, and routines. Then we will use tools of grassroots movements such as Permaculture, Regenerative Design, and Culture Repair to design for human needs and, at the same time, create abundance in the ecosystem. For more information email Kevin: kevin_bose@hotmail.com or visit www.theabode.org/programs/678 to register.


HuDost Water + Mercy Album Release Concert | Sunday, June 23 | 7:00 PM | HuDost returns to the Abode of the Message on Sunday, June 23rd to perform their new album ‘of Water + Mercy’ along with Sufi Kirtan material both old & new. Register online at www.theabode.org/programs/685


The Dance of Cygnus & Draco Around the Celestial Pole | Sunday, July 7 | 7:00 PM | Fattah Family Room | Award-winning journalist and author Ben Gagnon presents a long-forgotten motif of the winter solstice found in the sacred art of nine cultures over more than 4,000 years. The motif is related to the cosmological role played by the northern celestial pole in ancient cultures. Q & A to follow.


Five Day Nature Immersion with Kevin Bose | August 1-5 | This Five Day Community Immersion program is a an offshoot of the Saturday classes. Experience the beauty of the Abode through the lens of nature and community. Attendance of the Saturday Classes is recommended but not mandatory for taking part in the Community Immersion. For more details email Kevin: kevin_bose@hotmail.com or visit www.theabode.org/programs/683 to register.


Sacred Arts Retreat Weekend: Thresholds of Becoming with Naima Brown and Taj a Nur Grant | August 10-11 | Led by Naima Khabira Brown and Taj a Nur Grant, this weekend retreat offers the opportunity to deepen your connection to inner guidance through the medium of creative art, amidst the beauty and inspiration of nature, and the warmth of joyful friendship. We will balance meditation practices with walks, meals, music, and sharing our creative processes.  Using the form of a threshold, with doors opening to a space of possibility, Taj a Nur and Naima will share a method for everyone to explore through art visionary states of being, meditative guidance, and opening to grace and the unexpected gifts of creativity. It’s not necessary to be an artist to participate. As the Sufi teacher Hazrat Inayat Khan so beautifully said, “Art (arts) is a way of meditation, and guidance, where you are and where you are going.” In this workshop we will explore his idea. For more details and registration visit theabode.org/programs/690


Alone with the Alone: A Silent Retreat with Pir Zia | August 30-September 2 | Amidst the late-summer quietude of Mt. Lebanon, Pir Zia will return to the Abode to lead our historic and much loved Inayati Labor Day Retreat. We will be together, yet in silence, for three days transitioning from the end of summer back into the busy life of fall. For more information visit theabode.org/programs/640 or email astana@inayatiorder.org with any questions or scholarship requests.


Please check our calendar and programs pages for an extended look at upcoming events and happenings. We look forward to being with you soon at the Abode!