Village View – Week of September 20, 2020
We are arriving at the Autumnal Equinox, a perennial time of transition, when light and darkness are equal partners in the day, and the exuberant warmth of summer casts a sober eye towards the stark cool of winter.
…a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance…
Ecclesiastes 3 reminds us that the dance of life is one of duality and balance…joy and grief, accomplishment and failure, profundity and folly. It is a narrative as old as humanity itself, and is especially resonant this year.
I am happy to report that the capital campaign to raise funds for our 45th Anniversary/Courtyard project was a rousing success. Thanks to the generosity of so many, we passed our target of $75,000 and at last counting had raised more than $105,000, with yet more pledged.
It is so gratifying to see our community come together in support of this project, especially in this time of uncertainty and dislocation. What is even more amazing is that the largest gift for our campaign – $50,000 – came from someone who has never been at the Abode! We so need this blending of old and new energies to emerge and flourish.
Indeed, to create a sustainable future, we must build upon and beyond what we hold dear and comforting. Pir Vilayat wrote: “There is a need of presenting [The Message] in a way that people are able to take. This has been the case of all philosophers and scientists placed into focus by their exegeses. It has been the case of all the Sufi mystics.”
As we look to the future, we need both the stability that our traditions provide AND to serve an expanded audience of seekers in a way that is relevant to their lives and the needs of the present day. This is the path we must follow to grow and thrive.
In the midst of an evolving global pandemic, this route presents a new set of challenges to the usual ones with which we grapple. Planning for 2021 is well underway with this duality top of mind. To wit:
- As a place of gathering for pilgrimage and sanctuary, we must adapt our operations to reflect the uncertainty of life during and after the pandemic. We are facing a new reality.
- For the Message to be the “answer to the cry of humanity,” we must offer service to others, not to just ourselves.
- We need to both expand our ability to serve, while simplifying how and what we offer.
- We must acknowledge the likelihood that we will be serving smaller groups and more individuals, and in different ways that are not yet clear.
- It is essential that we provide compelling spiritual guidance, founded in our core practices and values, while adapting to changing needs and how today’s belief systems are expressed.
As we work through this, there is guidance in a simple gift from our forebears:
* * *
Tis the gift to be simple, ’tis the gift to be free
’Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
’Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
When true simplicity is gained,
To bow and to bend we shan’t be ashamed,
To turn, turn will be our delight,
Till by turning, turning we come ’round right.
* * *
Offsetting the joyous news of our fundraising success is that Peter Count, our friend and the visionary who helped shape and lead this project, is facing a serious health challenge. He needs healing energy and prayers from our extended community. Friends are already coming together to serve Peter, as well as to offer assistance to this project, which is so close to his heart. As you may know, it was the Count family who held the South Family Shaker Village prior to transferring ownership to the Sufi Order 45 years ago this spring. Peter has been a member of our family since before the beginning.
Please hold Peter in your hearts, and please also join me in wishing everyone peace and love and the simplicity that unravels the complexities of our lives.
Address cards, letters, or artwork for Peter to
c/o Evan Young
5 Abode Road
New Lebanon, NY 12125
Today, September 20 | 11:00 AM ET
You are invited to today’s Zoom Universal Worship from the Abode at 11:00 am. In honor of International Day of Peace (the next day, September 21st)—and recognizing the great need of our time—the theme will be Peace.
In the words of Hazrat Inayat Khan:
Come explore the ways to create inner peace and celebrate the sharing of outer expressions of peace in our time. Please join us!
~ Aimée & Friends
“The soul in its manifestation on earth is not at all disconnected from the higher spheres. It lives in all spheres, though generally conscious only on one plane.”
Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan
Based on teachings of Hazrat Inayat Khan, Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan, Pir Zia Inayat Khan and classical Sufism this series of 6 weekly classes will progressively explore the planes of consciousness. Inner degrees, levels or spheres of awakening are described in many spiritual paths. Our historical self image gives us a narrow identity of who we are. An experiential approach to understanding these planes is a means of exploring changes in one’s sense of consciousness at different levels. The goal is not to force experience into a theoretical system, but to awaken awareness of inner states of consciousness.
Practices of the breath, sacred sound, contemplation and meditation will be explored to support the ability to experience the planes. The classes will have time for questions and will include assignments to explore between each session.
Classes will be held from 11:00 am – 12:30 pm ET
September 15, 22, 29 & October 6, 13 and 20
Classes will be recorded and made available to those who register. Donations gratefully received!
Sufi Message Class with Shakur
Thursday, September 24 | 7:00 PM ET
We look to Hope in uncertain times: Our task is to feel good while facing an unknown future. We will work with meditations, practices, and singing and chanting that awaken us to Hope, Love, Joy and Compassion within ourselves.