The co-founder of the Threshold Society, an educational foundation rooted in the Mevlevi tradition of Sufism, author and translator Camille Helminski’s books include The Book of Nature, The Light of Dawn, and The Rumi Collection. Spirituality & Health columnist Rabbi Rami Shapiro spoke with her about her work.Your life is steeped in the wisdom of Sufism, the mystical teachings of Islam. How would you define Sufism for people who are not familiar with it?One could say that Sufism is a way of purity, safa, of cleansing the heart of whatever blocks one from experiencing the divine presence in every moment—and in this way becoming a conduit of blessing. This practice is informed by the beautiful and powerful transmission of the Koran and the example of the Prophet Mohammed and all the prophets and messengers of the divine.What drew you to Sufism?Having already encountered the ideas of Sufism, it was meeting our sheik, Suleyman Dede, and recognizing a true human being that made me feel as though I had come home. He was a living example of the unification of body, mind, heart, and spirit that is at the co …
Rabbi Rami Shapiro is an award-winning author, essayist, poet, and teacher. His spiritual advice column, "Roadside Assistance for the Spiritual Traveler," addresses reader questions pertaining to religion, spirituality, faith, family, God, social issues, and more.
He has this to say about religion: "To me, religions are like languages: no language is true or false; all languages are of human origin; each language reflects and shapes the mindset of the civilization that speaks it; there are things you can say in one language that you cannot say or cannot say as well in another; and the more languages you know, the more nuanced your understanding of life. Judaism is my mother tongue, yet in matters of the spirit I strive to be multi-lingual. In the end, however, the deepest language of the soul is silence."
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