November 29, 2004:
2005 Abwoon Study Circle Newsletter Now Available to Download
Our 2005 Abwoon Study Circle Newsletter is now posted for download. Our annual newsletter lists an updated catalog of resources, next year's schedule of events, news about our listservs, details of the annual 10-day intensive in Scotland, and an article by Neil Douglas-Klotz on his forthcoming work. For the free software to view the newsletter in Adobe pdf (portable document format), see www.adobe.com
Download the 2005 Newsletter
November 1, 2004:
2005 Workshop and Retreat Schedule Now Online
Highlights of next year's schedule include:
* Weekend retreat (Thurs-Sun) in Jewish and Sufi Spirituality with Rabbis Arthur Waskow and Phyllis Berman and Neil Douglas-Klotz (Feb 24-27) as part of the Edinburgh International Festival of Middle Eastern Spirituality and Peace.
* 6 week book tour in the US (April-May) with Neil?s new book The Sufi Book of Life: 99 Pathways of the Heart for the Modern Dervish (Penguin March 05).
* 10-day Summer Institute (July 12-22) with special guests Murshida Mariam Baker and Sheikh Matin Mize.
* Weekend retreat (Thurs-Sun) in Sufi Meditation, Movement and Soulwork with Mariam Baker and Neil Douglas-Klotz (Oct 13-16) at Wiston Lodge in Scotland.
* Register by January 1, 2005 for both the February and October retreats at Wiston for a generous early bird discount.
All of the Scottish retreats may now be booked online, thereby saving bank fees for those residing outside of the UK. Visit the current workshops page.
September 15 , 2004
New review of The Genesis Meditations from the United Kingdom:
"We - as a society - need to recover and renew our stories; we need to bring our bodies and emotions back into harmony with the cosmos within which we live; we need to shift from a
conceptual framework based on control and mechanism to one based on creativity and freedom. We also need practices that unite, rather than divide, the strands of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Here Douglas-Klotz makes the exciting claim that the meditation he has reconstructed, and obviously developed within his own spiritual practice, can provide a basis for a spirituality that can unite these traditions. If so, it is vitally important for our time."
--Network Review: Journal of the Scientific and Medical Network, Summer 2004
Read the full review
August 23 , 2004
Our new publications section and on-line store are now up and running. Browse full information and reviews of our main books, as well as to order securely online from our main office in California or via email from Abwoon Study Circles internationally.
To visit the current online store, click here.
June 16 , 2004
New reviews of The Genesis Meditations from the United Kingdom:
"Neil Douglas-Klotz takes us back to the creation myths of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, with exquisite writings from each tradition. This is the sacred source from which we have all evolved and which can recall us to our essential unity."
--Caduceus (UK), Summer 2004
"Each chapter is a marvellous sweep across faiths, history and spiritual exploration and, as in The Hidden Gospel, is embellished by numerous offerings of prayers and meditation. It is this that I like best about Douglas- Klotz's work--the marriage of theory and practice in an accessible piece of work. The depth and breadth is challenging, stimulating, inspiring and transforming, and it also conveys something of the author's humility and compassion. It is light years away from fluffy new age texts to comfort the ego, and equally remote from dogma and fundamentalism. Douglas-Klotz is offering a real service to humanity in his work, which is in essence healing work. Again he is to be congratulated on producing such an intelligent, heartfelt and practical guide."
--Spirituality and Health International (UK), Spring 2004
Full review from Spirituality and Health, including a review of The Hidden Gospel, posted at:
April 29, 2004
New Interview with Matthew Fox and Neil Douglas-Klotz posted online
While in Oakland in March, Dr. Matthew Fox interviewed Neil Douglas-Klotz for his new show on KPFA, "Spirit in Action." In the wide-ranging conversation the two talk about Middle East peace, Neil's new book The Genesis Meditations, the Aramaic Jesus, Islam, Mel Gibson's "The Passion" and more. The interview was aired on April 19.
March 8, 2004
The Healing Breath: Body-based Meditations on the Aramaic Words of Jesus
In Jesus' Middle Eastern culture, the breath was recognized as the ultimate power behind
the cosmos. Central to the healing process, it was seen as our first and last possession--
the natural rhythm of life and our link to the divine and all of creation. With The
Healing Breath, you are invited to learn 24 authentic body prayers as Jesus may have taught them incorporating breath, sound, and gentle movement to help you find "your home in the breath." Perhaps the most recognized passage from the Sermon on the Mount, the Beatitudes (or Blessed are..." sayings) are among Jesus' most beloved--and misunderstood--teachings. On The Healing Breath, Neil Douglas-Klotz leads listeners through the Beatitudes as spoken in Jesus' native Aramaic to show how this seemingly simple set of statements reveals a profound source of divine connection. With 12 in-depth sessions including 24 body prayers--authentic meditations of the ancient Middle East that use body awareness, breath, sound and gentle movement--Douglas-Klotz helps listeners open fully to the transformative power of The Healing Breath.
Published by Sounds True.
Available at abwoon.com in cassette ($59.95) or CD ($69.95) format.
Click here to order The Healing Breath.
The next retreat based on this teaching will be May 7-9 in Scotland.
To read more about workshops, click here.
February 25, 2004
Interview with Neil Douglas-Klotz about the Aramaic interpretation of Jesus' words in the wake of Mel Gibson's film Passion:
A passion for ancient languages: Translations don't relay rich meanings of Jesus' Aramaic, scholars note...
San Antonio Express-News, San Antonio, TX, USA
December 10, 2003
Our 2004 Abwoon Study Circle Newsletter is now posted for download. Our annual newsletter lists an updated catalog of resources, next year's schedule of events, news about our listservs, details of the annual 10-day intensive in Scotland, and an article by Neil Douglas-Klotz on on Middle East peacemaking. For the free software to view the newsletter in Adobe pdf (portable document format), see www.adobe.com
Download the 2004 Newsletter.
November 12, 2003
The Genesis Meditations voted one of the
Best Spiritual Books of 2003 by Spirituality and Health Magazine
"Christianity, Judaism, and Islam share a common beginning, and spiritual practices that focus on that meeting point create understanding among the three traditions. After reading this very welcome resource, you will want to join Douglas-Klotz in exclaiming: "Genesis Now!"
--Spirituality and Health
See full review.
October 14, 2003
My new book The Genesis Meditations is now out. For the next six weeks my partner Kamae Amrapali and I will be touring the US with it. We hope to see many of the friends of Abwoon Study Circle along the way. For full information, see the workshops section of our website.
Please tell your friends about the book and direct them for information to the book's website: www.genesismeditations.com. The site contains more information, interviews and articles about the book, including a 10-minute audio excerpt with an interview with Dr. Matthew Fox, the founder of the University of Creation Spirituality. In addition, there are links to full color renditions of the books artwork by Sufi artist Fatima Lassar.
At the end of this week, we will also be releasing a CD of 14 chants in Hebrew, Aramaic and Arabic that accompany the meditations in the book.
As a special offer to friends of Abwoon, we are offering until December 31, a special package of the first edition of The Genesis Meditations book and CD together for $33 from our US Abwoon Central office. You can order this from the secure part of our publications pages. This is a savings of $7 and equivalent to the discounts that the online book discounters are giving. Thank you for supporting us all these years and for supporting the work to create bridges of understanding and peace between Jews, Christians and Muslims.
In addition, our complete workshop schedule is now up for 2004. Our summer 10-day retreat at Wiston Lodge in the beautiful Borders of Scotland will again provide the best opportunity for those who wish to go deeply into the experience of this work. Many other weekends are also available next year in Europe and the USA. Please join us--all are welcome!
Yours in peace,
Evening of the full harvest moon
In a few weeks, my new book will be out, an outgrowth of my work with translating the Aramaic words of Jesus. It's called:
The Genesis Meditations:
A Shared Practice of Peace for Christians, Jews and Muslims
It will be published by Quest Books. The Sufi artist Fatima Lassar has done some wonderful art to illustrate the inner side of the creation practices, stories and wisdom in it, which have been gathered from the scriptures and mystics of the three traditions.
More information, examples of the art, audio clips of Dances of Universal Peace and interviews and the tour schedule can be found at the website: www.genesismeditations.com
Please send prayers that the book will find its way into the hands of those whom it can help, and that Kamae Amrapali and I have a safe six-week tour with the book beginning next month and running until the end of November. We hope to see many of you during this time.
At the same time, Quest is publishing a new edition of Nur Lex Hixon's book Heart of the Quran, which I edited, commented upon and re-arranged by subject. Quite simply, this is the best way into the Quran short of learning Arabic. Sheikh Nur Hixon (who unfortunately passed away in 1994) rendered a large part of the Quran with the same multi-leveled sensitivity with which I have handled the Aramaic of Jesus and the Hebrew of Genesis and Proverbs.
Both books, as well as the teaching CD of 14 new chants that accompany Genesis Meditations, are available from the abwoon website publications area as well.
At this time of great distress in the Middle East, we need to keep affirming the inner glue of love and spirituality that unites us.
Love and blessings,
2nd July 2003
We are living into a time when increased religious devotion is often giving rise to worse religious conflict. How do we draw on the resources of the three great Abrahamic faiths for peacemaking and compassion, rather than for hostility and hatred?
How do we renew love and mending and forgiveness in our own individual and family lives? How do we create more understanding between our faith communities and among all who share the wounded earth?
To relearn the practices of reflection, "turning," and compassion, we will gather in retreat the weekend of September 12-14 -- please note, just after the 2nd anniversary of 9/11.
We will gather at Garrison Institute, a retreat center one hour north of New York, literally on the Hudson River, a beautiful and comfortable place with a spiritual ambiance that welcomes many faith traditions. We will draw on Jewish, Muslim, and Christian teachings and understandings of the Abraham/Hagar/Sarah/Ishmael/Isaac saga as a focus for contemplation and open-ended engagement/exploration, and on a combination of prayer, meditation, and experiential exercises in healing and compassion.
The retreat will be guided by four skilled spiritual leaders:
Phyllis Berman, Director of the summer program of Elat Chayyim and founder/Director of the multi-ethnic Riverside Language Program;
Murshid Saadi Shakur Chishti /Dr. Neil Douglas-Klotz, Sufi teacher and author of many renowned books on Middle Eastern mysticism;
The Rev. Robert Corin Morris, S.T.B., an Episcopal priest and founder/
Director of Interweave, Inc., an interreligious community education center in New Jersey;
Rabbi Arthur Waskow, a leader of the movement for Jewish renewal and founder/ Director of The Shalom Center.
(See more detailed biographies, below.)
The cost of the retreat is $365. Numbers are limited so as to provide for individual attention and growth. We expect the numbers to be filled quickly, and urge that to secure a place you make a deposit now of $185 by credit card through the Shalom Center Website at http://www.shalomctr.org or send a check for $185 to The Shalom Center, 6711 Lincoln Drive, Philadelphia PA 19119.
Deposits must be received by August 1. The remainder will be due by September 1.
The retreat guides:
Phyllis O. Berman founded (1980) and has since been Director of the Riverside Language Program - a unique and renowned intensive school (located in New York City) for teaching English language and American culture to newly arrived adult immigrants and refugees from all around the world.
Since 1993, Berman has been Director of the Summer Program of the Elat Chayyim Center for Healing and Renewal. She is the co-author of Tales of Tikkun: New Jewish Stories to Heal the Wounded World (1996) and A Time for Every Purpose Under Heaven: The Jewish Life-Spiral as a Spiritual Path
(Farrar Straus & Giroux, 2002).
Since the early 1980s, she has been a leading Jewish-renewal liturgist,
prayer leader, story-writer, and story-teller. She was chair of the board of the P'nai Or Religious Fellowship from 1985 to 1993, and a member of the board of ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal from 1993 to 2002. Her articles on new ceremonies for women and new midrash have appeared in Moment, Worlds of Jewish Prayer, Tikkun, and Good Housekeeping. She was ordained an Eshet Chazon (Woman of Vision) by the Jewish-renewal community in 1991. She has completed the two-year residency in spiritual direction of the Lev Shomea (Listening Heart) program.
Berman is studying for the rabbinate, expecting to be ordained in January 2004.
Murshid Saadi Shakur Chishti /Dr. Neil Douglas-Klotz of Edinburgh, Scotland, directs the Abwoon Study Circle, which focuses on study and experience of the Aramaic Jesus as well as Islamic, Sufi, Jewish, and ancient Middle Eastern mysticism. Neil draws on his books Prayers of theCosmos, Desert Wisdom, The Hidden Gospel and The Genesis Meditations. Their methods of learning include expanded translation and interpretation, body awareness and walking meditation.
Douglas-Klotz founded the International Network for Dances of Universal Peace in 1982 and from 1986 to 1996 taught on the Faculty of the Institute in Culture and Creation Spirituality. A board member of the InternationalAssociation of Sufism, he has led spiritually rooted peace-seeking journeys to Syria, Jordan, and Israel, and teaches throughout Europe and North America. He has been a mureed of the Sufi path for 27 years. He is also currently co-chair of the Mysticism Group of the American Academy of Religion.
The Rev. Robert Corin Morris, S.T.B, is the founding Director of
Interweave, Inc., an interreligious community education center in Summit, N.J. An Episcopal priest long involved in interfaith dialogue, Bob is a trained spiritual director, a long-time student of Jungian Psychology, and a frequent leader of study tours to Israel and Turkey. A graduate of Yale University (1963) and the General Theological Seminary (1966), he was certified in spiritual direction by the Shalem Institute of Washington, D.C.(1986).
Rabbi Arthur O. Waskow founded and directs The Shalom Center www.shalomctr.org. Since 1969 he has been one of the creators and leaders of Jewish renewal.
His Freedom Seder, Seasons of Our Joy, Godwrestling, Godwrestling - Round 2, and Down-to-Earth Judaism, his work in helping create a Shabbat morning prayerbook for the P'nai Or/ ALEPH community, and his work with his wife Phyllis Berman as co-authors of A Time for Every Purpose Under Heaven have all brought new spiritual depth and richness to Jewish life. Since 1983, The Shalom Center has addressed the intertwined issues of healing the earth and preventing war. Rabbi Waskow pioneered in developing Eco-Judaism, in seeking a just peace between Israel and the Palestinians, and in applying Jewish wisdom to issues of world peace and planetary community.
7 March 2003
Dear Friends of Abwoon,
I recommend for your attention the following "poem" by our friend, the Rumi translator Coleman Barks. His plan echoes that of Samuel L. Lewis. I would be happy to sign up today.
Yours in peace,
Coleman Barks, well-known Rumi translator, was at the National Cathedral nave in Washington, DC, on Feb. 26, reading Rumi's poetry with a cello accompanist. He offered one of his own "not very poetic" poems.
A poem from Coleman Barks, the translator of Rumi, to the US President:
Just This Once
President Bush, before you order air strikes, imagine the first cruise missile as a direct hit on your closest friend. That might be Laura.
Then twenty-five other family and friends. There are no survivors.
Now imagine some other way to do it. Quadruple the inspectors, or put a thousand and one U.N. people in. Then call for peace activists to volunteer to go to Iraq for two weeks each. Flood that country with well-meaning tourists, people curious about the land that produced the great saints, Gilani, Hallaj, and Rabia. Set up hostels near those tombs. Encourage peace people to spend a bunch of money in shops, to bring rugs home and samovars by the bushel. Send an Arabic translator with every your peace activists.
The U.S. government will pay for the translators and for building and staffing the hostels, one hostel for every twenty activists and five translators. The hostels are state of the art, and they belong to the Iraqis at the end of this experiment.
Jimmy Carter, Nelson Mandela, and my friend, Jonathan Granoff at the U.N., will be the core organization team. No one knows what might come of this. Maybe nothing, or maybe it would convince some Iraqis and some of the world that we really do not wish to kill anybody, and that we truly are not out to appropriate oil reserves. We're working on building a hydrogen vehicle as fast as we can, aren't we?
Put no limit on the number of activists from all over that might want to hang out and explore Iraq for two weeks. Is anything left of Babylon? There could be informal courses for college credit and pickup soccer games every evening at five. Long leisurely suppers. The U. S.government furnishes air transportation, that is, hires airliners from the country of origin and back for each peace tourist, who must carry and spend the equivalent of $1001 US inside Iraq.
Keep part of the invasion force nearby as police, but let those who claim to deeply detest war try something else just this once, for one year. Call our bluff. If this madman Saddam's WMD threat is not, somehow, eliminated by next February, you can go in with special cops, and do it that way.
Medical services, transportation inside Iraq, lots of big colorful buses--let the pilgrims paint them!--along with many other ideas that will be thought of later during the course of this innocently, blatantly, foolish project will all also be funded by the U.S. government. There's a practice known as sama, a deep listening to poetry and music, with sometimes movement involved. We could experiment with whole nights of that, staying up until dawn, sleeping in tents during the day. So instead of war there's a peace period from March 2003 through February 2004.
It could be as though war had already happened, as it has, and the healing and rebuilding. Now we're in the celebration afterward. I'll be the first to volunteer for two weeks of wandering winter desert and reading Hallaj, Abdul Qadir Gilani, dear Rabia, and the life-saving 1001 Arabian Nights.
I am Coleman Barks, a retired English professor living in Athens, Georgia, and I don't really consider this proposal foolish.
Posted 20th December 2002
As some of you know, I am currently on sabbatical until March 2003. When my Sufi teacher Moineddin left his body in February 2001, I decided that it would be good to take some time out to take stock of where I am and recharge my batteries. It has taken the past year and a half to arrange this. During this time I am also taking a personal forty-day retreat.
Many people have asked about projects that I am currently working on. Here is what is in the pipeline:
Original Healing - A Sounds True set of tapes on the Beatitudes, which is the same length as the Original Prayer series. This should be released in late Summer 2003.
The Original Meditation of the Aramaic Jesus: A Shared Spirituality of New Beginnings for Jews, Christians and Muslims - This book focuses on the shared creation stories of the
Jewish, Christian and Islamic traditions and the spiritual practices that embody them. We're working with this in next year's Scottish summer institutes as well as workshops in the US next Fall, when the book is due to be released. See the next-to-last page for more information about this book.
An extended interview about the Aramaic work will bepublished by Doubleday in January 2003 in William Elliot's A Place at the Table.
More new academic articles also continue to be added to the web site.
Many thanks for your prayers during this time. I wish you all the best for the further unfoldment of your purpose in life.
Eth-phatah! Love and blessings,
30 May 2002
The CD of Sura Fateha: A Prayer for Peace is now ready. These melodies came through while on retreat during the passing of my own Sufi guide, Moineddin Jablonski, in February 2001 and are dedicated to him. He embodied the Sufi way with a self-effacement that embraced both both the shadow and light in his own being, as well as that of very person he met.
As I heard a Persian Sufi, Dr. Javad Nurbaksh, say more than 20 years ago, when we chant and meditate on sacred phrases in Arabic, with the original intention on peace and unity, then we help to purify thephrases that are, in his words, polluted by those who say them with hate towards others. Both the spiritual and psychic effects are very real.
The CD was able to be produced at reduced cost, due to more ecological packaging. To purchase this CD click here.
Love and blessings,
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