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Healing creatively – engaging with courage

Love for one’s fellow human beings, for truth and justice, moves people to courageous acts. Their stories can be inspirational and light up our hearts with the power of the human spirit. Leading up to our retreat in Krakow, tell your stories here of people – and animals – who have brought and are bringing healing, wholeness and unity to our planet and our communities, as well as to individual people. Or share a text or prayer.

Just scroll down to the bottom of the page, and type or copy in your contribution. Then press ‘Post contribution’. It will be uploaded within a few hours.

There are separate web pages in Polish, German, French and English. You could also translate your text and post it on the page of another language.

21 Responses to Add your contributions

  1. Hadia says:

    Sufi Order International Retreat

    Healing Creatively in Challenging Times, Engaging with Courage
    Krakow, Poland, June 20 – 22nd, 2014

    Auchswitz, a name to conjure with – horrifying facts, images, emotions. But the place itself, frozen in time, enshrining events now more than seventy years in the past; how would it be to go there? Would it be some macabre theme park, designed to scare and repel in equal measure; but with no connection to one’s own lived experience? Or would it reflect human cruelty and pain so immense and outrageous as to be inaccessible to the feeling nature of someone raised among ordinary unkindness and sorrows? Would it seem, as in some sense it is, like my pain and my guilt, or would I be unable to envisage myself ever inflicting or enduring such suffering? Would I be judgmental, or would I sustain my conviction, in the words of a concentration camp survivor, quoted by Elisabeth Kubler Ross, that …there is a Hitler in each one of us and if we do not heal the Hitler inside of ourselves, then the violence, it will never stop.

    These were the thoughts hovering in my mind as I contemplated attending this retreat, with its brave title, and the visit at its heart. We would not shrink from confronting past evidence of the extreme cruelty of which human beings are capable, or from recognising its continuance in our contemporary world ; but would affirm, in face of it, a commitment to the possibility of healing and a determination to plumb the depths of the heart in search of it. Pir Vilayat wrote, of his own searing experiences, I think that one needs to get in touch with one’s anger and one’s pain, instead of being heroic about it or not acknowledging it, and then use these impulses, harness these impulses, in a positive way. The retreat was planned and it unfolded as an effort by the SHOI to do just that.

    A major theme of day one was wounding and the shadow, in the perspectives of individuals, communities and humanity. Day two, the day of the visit, looked at fear, power and forgiveness. A couple of key experiences prepared me for the concentration camp. The first came via an exercise of focusing deeply in the heart to discover what aspect of wounding was influencing our lives currently. I ‘saw’, clearly, myself as a baby and up came the words ‘musn’t cry’; hence perhaps, in this context, my fear that I might not feel anything, as a defence against feeling too much – a common and dangerous human response. The second was an illuminating insight into the story of Noor-un-Nisa Inayat Khan, who overcame betrayal, oppressive power, fear, torture and died articulating the word ‘liberty’. She did so, we were told, because she lived always from the divine qualities within her, not allowing puny self-concepts and reactions to obscure them and disempower her.

    When the first impression that greeted us as we descended from the coach was a strong smell of chips and burgers, it was hard not to allow our apprehension to tempt us into cheap irony; but the grim prison blocks of Auchswitz 1, redolent of hunger, exhaustion, terror; and the haunted expressions, in a myriad photographs taken by their captors, of men deprived of dignity and women deprived also of every shed of femininity, soon eliminated such defensive superficiality.

    Though I left a token of the wise teachings of Rumi at the wall of death, somehow I couldn’t quite connect, at that point, with our group effort to acknowledge the horrors, honour the dead and seek healing for victims and perpetrators then and now, in poetry, prayer and song. Sincere though it was, it felt like a tiny plaster over a gaping wound. Moreover, it took place adjacent to the block where unspeakable experiments had been carried out on human ‘rats’ and close to the display of instruments of torture, the latter a visit too far for me.
    I left Auchwitz 1confused, with a mind full of dire impressions, but a heart unwilling to open to their import, a daze of inexpressible repulsion, grief and guilt, seen through glass darkly…

    It was Auchwitz 2 that cleared the glass. The first shock was its mouth-opening vastness. Then came the sudden realisation that Birkenau meant silver birch trees, so proud and delicate; and there in the far distance were lines of them, grotesquely mimicked by the huge forest of chimneys in the foreground, the remains of innumerable gas chambers.

    Turning from reading about extinction methods and trying to make sense of statistics on the information boards, I found myself alone for a moment, in the presence of a single railway truck standing alongside the long and notorious selection platform – ‘you to hard labour, you to death’. The rich brown of the wood against the blue of the sky that day had a certain beauty; but the sight of it shattered the glass and bled the tender places in my heart. Sole example of thousands , in which human beings were crammed, with little space, little air and only intimations of what might be about to be done to them, it brought home to me the reality and clinical efficiency of the immense killing project that was carried out here.

    When we met a few minutes later at the start of the selection platform and carried out a simple ritual, my opened heart allowed the free flow of healing and the chants and prayers felt authentic and significant. As we left, many of us the young of the sixties, tearfully singing, We shall overcome… there was a heartful surge of joy.

    The final day – theme, courageous engagement – brought more excursions into the deep reaches of the heart. There was a powerful role-play exercise, in which members of the group, themselves from several nations, were asked to represent individuals alive in 1938, 1966, and 1983, in their differing responses to the zeitgeist and events of their generation. The result was many- faceted, touching and searing by turns. It underlined the importance of historical education and it left me regretting that I had not spoken for the idealism of the sixties, the anti-nuclear movement and our sincere belief that we could change the world, if only we engaged courageously.

    The afternoon session, when we were invited to offer examples of people who had engaged courageously: faced their own demons, forgiven great wrongs, shown bravery and generosity in sacrificing their own comfort and safety, was deeply moving and inspiring. I guess I was not alone in leaving the retreat with a heart at once raw and soothed. And how amazing and yet entirely fitting was the discovery that someone taking photographs, on emerging from Auchwitz 2, had captured in a cloud formation the unmistakable shape of an enormous letter L.

    Noor, who had faced and overcome the worst that concentration camps offered, had been there with us and is with us still, as we struggle to resist oppression wherever and whenever we encounter it.

    A personal reflection by Hadia, UK

  2. Hildegard says:

    It was my first participation in an International Healing Retreat – and for sure not my last.

    Looking back to the energetic, joyful and enriching days in Krakow, my heart is still nourished from these days: a vivid encounter of a rich joint-European, multi-national experience at all levels, present and past, a taste of a healthy future.

    Thoroughly prepared by all Shefayats, each contributing the richness of her/his special approach to healing, embedded in an overall and always warmly looked after environment where truly nothing was missing, we all could engage in healing prayers and rituals including the entire earth and all beings living.

    In a way, it was a continuous experience of healing and peace, across space and times, both at the individual as well as the community level. Not to forget the enriching, deeply touching zikrs and circle dances we created together – I am sure, the ‘last dance’ will be enjoyed and re-lived in many places.

    Especially, I was impressed by the richness of our encounters, personal exchanges as well as openly in the large group – which actually never felt that large, not even in the queues for lunch.

    In my summary, the Prayer for the heart of the world given by Pir Zia actually became alive during these days. May it continue to pulse in all of us who participated and spread to heal those who need it most in these times.

    With deep gratitude and much love

  3. Amaite says:

    Healing means to make whole, so it seems to say more about integrating, than about cutting away, cleaning out or looking only in the direction of light. That might be necessary as well, from time to time, but not in spiritual healing, as I understand it.
    And those, who need healing desperately, are not only the victims, but those who are able to hurt so curely, as well. How else could they do so, if they are not split off their inner light, completely?
    A nearly constantly to perform way of being wholesome to all our surrounding is the simple and yet so difficult way, to answer the challenges of our daily life:
    ¨The answer is love (and compassion).¨ What was the question?

    At the Retreat, I loved all the creative ways, to heal as group or individually.
    The beautiful Healing Ceremony, that Inger did with us. The threefold Healing Circle in the form of the Dances of Universal Peace, that Hayat lead. The one to one – listening with the heart in full presence.
    Loving Presence is healing by itself – and will always be creative according to the situation.
    So may the grace, that showers us, flow over – and into each and every thing that we do in this world, and to each and every living being, that we encounter on this beautiful, sacred earth.
    Love and Light, Peace and Joy


  4. Latif Ashiq says:

    Sadly I will not be able to be in Krakow but I look forward to joining the retreat in spirit during the weekend. A number of healing conductors in the UK will be holding healing services on Saturday at 2pm (3pm European time).

    I have recently been reminded of the three objectives of the Sufi Order; I would like to share them as they resonate at so many levels:
    1. To realize and spread the knowledge of unity, the religion of love and wisdom, so that the bias of faiths and beliefs may of itself fall away, the human heart may overflow with love, and all hatred caused by distinctions and differences may be rooted out.
    2. To discover the light and power latent in the human being, the secret of all religion, the power of mysticism, and the essence of philosophy, without interfering with customs or beliefs.
    3. To help bring the world’s two opposite poles, East and West, close together by the interchange of thoughts and ideals, that the universal brotherhood-sisterhood may form of itself, and people may meet beyond the narrow national and racial boundaries.
    [Adapted from the “Objects of the Sufi Order” by Hazrat Inayat Khan]

  5. Amaite says:

    Moskow after World War II
    In a parade of victory, German prisoners of war are led through the streets of Moskow,
    First some officers, arrogantly looking down on the people at the side of the street. The crowd boohs or they shake their heads on so much arrogance.
    But then a long queue of simple soldiers in rotten clothes with all the signs of a lost war on their bodies, eyes down, some hardly able to walk any longer.
    After some moments of silence, an old simple woman steps out from the crowd and goes directly to one of the German men. With a slight smile she hands him over a little chunk of bread, murmering: “I hope your people see the humans in our husbands and sons as well!”
    This breaks the silence and a lot more woman follow her excample.

  6. Sarida Brown says:

    In 2012 Pir Zia gave the SHO an inspiring call to participate in the greater dimensions of healing. The transcript is on this website (see ‘Pir Zia: Healing 2012’ in the navigation bar. To help those who are less fluent in English, here is a summary of the steps he gives:

    The first step is to recognize our affinity with all human beings.

    The second step is to see that our human experience is deeply embedded within the living earth and within the communities of all creatures – the story of Creation.

    The third step is to realize that evolution is advancing through the awakening of the universe to divinity: the expanding consciousness of the heart in sympathetic resonance with illuminated beings and their Message.

    The fourth step is the stripping away of the veils of separation, to experience transcendence, unity, communion with all, the Life Eternal.

    The fifth step is to hear the rising cry of the earth, of those in pain. Murshid says: ‘My deep sigh rises as a cry of the earth, and an answer comes from within as a message.’

    The sixth step: hearing the cry, we choose to answer with hope, with faith and trust, with a vision of what may be. By meeting new challenges with fresh vision, we take part in the divine self-disclosure which wants to be realized in matter, in our time, right now.

    The seventh step is the commitment to dedicate our lives in service, to put one’s whole heart and mind and body on the line in solidarity with all beings. We pledge our fealty to the Real as we advance on the path of its fulfilment.

  7. Rahima says:

    Faith is a bird that feels the light
    and sings when dawn is still dark night

    dare you have the courage to be who you really are
    to dance with the dreams you have wished upon a star
    Rabindranath Tagore

    May we be inspired to gather like these birds
    guided by the starlights of our dreams
    listening from within
    to our hearts divine longing
    remembering where we live from
    in love harmony and beauty
    participating and sharing
    in love harmony and beauty
    dedicated to allow our dreams to become a reality
    being grounded and united
    in the Infinite Source and Resource
    of Love Harmony and Beauty

    where we live for

  8. Rahima says:

    Prayer for World Peace Pir Zia (21-6-2008)

    We affirm that race,religion and nationality
    cannot separate our shared beating heart.

    We affirm that our hearts seeks peace and unity
    with the One heart to which we all belong
    and we affirm our solidarity in pursuit of peace.

    We affirm that the flow of the same force that moves the universe,
    moves through all our blood and all our hearts
    and we vow to rise above the distracting illusions of forgetfulness
    and live in awareness.

    we send a prayer that all beings will come together
    in the burgeoning being through which
    flows peace,peace, peace throughout the world.

  9. Rahima says:

    Message Pir Zia (2003- excerpt answering question- war in Iraq)

    As a colonial subject, Murshid was highly aware of the serious consequences of the geopolitical imbalances of his day. He valued the work of institutions promoting reform in the political and economic spheres, but focused his own work exclusively on the expansion of the consciousness and conscience of humanity through spiritual development, individual by individual. In this way he built an order composed of mureeds with a broad spectrum of religious and political beliefs, but united in the clear intention to progress, inwardly and outwardly, toward the ideals of Love, Harmony and Beauty.

    Pir Vilayat has maintained this same approach over the decades. While he has taken courageous stands in his life – for example, serving as a mine-sweeper in World War II, and documenting the Algerian freedom movement – he has been scrupulous in refraining from using the Sufi Order as a platform for political expression.

    I hope it is understood that the apolitical orientation of the Sufi Order does not imply that mureeds are discouraged from acting on their convictions. On the contrary, in the spirit of spiritual liberty, the work of the Sufi Order is to support mureeds in their inner unfoldment, culminating in the full flowering of the human personality, in which wisdom and willpower move in perfect synchronicity.

    While I shall not use my role in the Sufi Order to advocate a “position,” I do heartily encourage us all to recite Murshid’s Prayer for Peace (given below), meditate upon the Divine Peace (Ya Salaam), courageously and compassionately confront and transform the sources of fear and hostility within ourselves, embody peace (which, of course, is not the same as laxity) in all of our relationships, and reflect the essential unity of the human family in all of our dealings.

  10. Hildegard says:

    The assumption of being an individual is our greatest limitation
    Pir Vilayat Khan

    Healing is the intersection of the timeless with time.
    T.S. Eliot

    My life is my message.
    Mahatma Gandhi

  11. azima nolfi says:

    dear all,
    love is the only power—love is the only way– love love love–whatch our circle grow-

    I was singing this song walking up from filisur to jenisberg,to visit karima in her little garden-cemetery . it was the first summer day,extremely beautiful,all flowers blooming. suddenly I had the image of karima sitting there and rose leaves pouring down over her and covering the tomb .it was very beautiful.suddenly I knew it was a suggestion for me (us?) for the concentration camp the imagination of roses falling down over the whole camp !¨! bringing Beauty there.! karima received me with open arms,I sang for her,it was beautiful,. I am sure she will be with us in krakow.
    for all who knew her, imagine the big table on the madow,where we always ate, her son with children and friends where there ,I saw karimas happyness.she would become great-grandmother this year.
    loving greetings,seeing you soon azima

  12. Sarida Brown says:

    Hazrat Inayat Khan:

    Mental purification therefore is the only method by which one can reach the spiritual goal. In order to accomplish this one has to look at another person’s point of view. For in reality every point of view is one’s own point of view. The vaster one becomes, the greater the realization that comes to one, the more one sees that every point of view is all right. If one is able to expand oneself to the consciousness of another person, one’s consciousness becomes as large as two persons. And so it can be as large as a thousand persons when one accustoms oneself to try and see what others think.
    The next step in mental purification is to be able to see the right of the wrong and the wrong of the right, and the evil of the good and the good of the evil. It is a difficult task, but once one has accomplished this, one rises above good and evil.
    One must be able to see the pain in pleasure and the pleasure in pain; the gain in the loss and the loss in the gain. What generally happens is that one is blunted to one thing and that one’s eyes are open to another thing; that one does not see the loss or that one does not see the gain. If one recognizes the right, one does not recognize the wrong.
    Mental purification means that impressions such as good and bad, wrong and right, gain and loss, and pleasure and pain, these opposites which block the mind, must be cleared out by seeing the opposite of these things. Then one can see the enemy in the friend and the friend in the enemy. When one can recognize poison in nectar and nectar in poison, that is the time when death and life become one too. Opposites no more remain opposites before one. That is called mental purification. And those who come to this stage are the living sages.
    From Vol IV Mental Purification – Unlearning

  13. Sarida Brown says:

    An understanding of the opposites is the key to understanding the psyche. And once you become familiar with the phenomenon of the opposites…then you’ll see them operating everywhere, because they’re the very core of the psyche. Every war, every contest, every dispute, every game, is an expression of coniunctio [marriage of opposites constituting wholeness] energies concerning the opposites. Whenever you fall into an identification with one of a pair of warring groups of opposites or factions of any kind, then you have momentarily…lost the possibility of being a carrier of the opposites. Instead you identify with one side and project the other. You locate the enemy on the outside and, in the process, become a ‘mass man’.
    From Edward Edinger, The Mysterium Lectures

  14. Nur Colling says:

    ‘I have come into this world to see this: the sword drop from men’s hands even at the height of their arc of rage because we have finally realized there is just one flesh we can wound.’
    Hafiz of Persia

    The Sufi Healing Order Circle of Prayer was started to send prayers for healing to places of conflict in the world at 9 am or 9 pm each day. For more details please see their website:

    • Latifa says:

      ‘The Sufi Healing Order Circle of Prayer was started to send prayers for healing to places of conflict in the world at 9 am or 9 pm each day. For more details please see their website:
      I am very pleased that there is a Circle of Prayer for conflict situations in our world. Precisely this topic take my attention for many years now. Our (Akbar and myself) engagement in Amnesty International made me looking for a healingway to give response to the suffering of so many people.
      This was the birth of the Nayaz-sisterbrotherhood wich I hope to present you next week. If you want to know more about it, please contact me on the conference. Latifa Vandevenne, healingconductor Belgium

  15. Noor Jacobs says:

    Dear Friends who will be going to Poland for the Healing Retreat
    Sadly I will not be able to be with you there.
    Please know that a group of us in Herefordshire UK will be tuning into this beautiful event, and supporting the sacred themes flowing through your meditations and discussions.
    Maybe there are other groups or individuals who can also lend their support from a distance.
    Let us remember together our shared dedication to the Message……..may our prayers help to kindle the Light of Guidance in the hearts of those gathering together in Krakow.
    With love Noor un nisa

  16. Vivienne Little (Hadia) says:

    Two Blessings, by John O’Donohue, Celtic Scholar, that speak to our theme:
    For Light
    Light cannot see inside things.
    That is what the dark is for:
    Minding the interior,
    Nurturing the draw of growth
    Through places where death
    In its own way turns into life.

    In the glare of neon times,
    Let our eyes not be worn
    By surfaces that shine
    With hunger made attractive.

    That our thoughts may be true light,
    Finding their way into words
    Which have the weight of shadow
    To hold the layers of truth.

    That we never place our trust
    In minds claimed by empty light,
    Where one-sided certainties
    Are driven by false desire.

    When we look into the heart,
    may our eyes have the kindness
    and reverence of candle light.
    And –
    For Love in a time of conflict
    When the gentleness between you hardens
    And you fall out of your belonging with each other,
    May the depths you have reached hold you still.

    When no true word can be said, or heard,
    And you mirror each other in the script of hurt,
    When even silence has become raw and torn,
    May you hear again an echo of your first music.

    When the weave of affection starts to unravel
    and anger begins to sear the ground between you,
    Before this weather of grief invites
    The black seed of bitterness to find root,
    May your souls come to kiss.

    Now is the time for one of you to be gracious,
    To allow a kindness beyond thought and hurt,
    Reach out with sure hands
    To take the chalice of your love,
    And carry it carefully through this echoless waste
    Until this winter pilgrimage leads you
    Towards the gateway to spring.

    May our pilgrimage together in Krakau help to lead our angry, torn and troubled world towards the spring of peace and new life….

    And one more thing…
    As our retreat draws to its close on June 22nd, World-wide Earth Healing Day at the Solstice, groups and individuals linked to the White Eagle Lodge ‘will be joining together with the angels to be channels for the light of the Star (symbol of the White Eagle sister/brotherhood) to bring healing to all the elements that compose our world;earth,air, fire and water.’

  17. Malik says:

    Oh Thou,
    my origin and source of all life,
    let me bee Your ray and crystal
    radiating Your love and Your light
    faithful and pure into all worlds !

    In deep compassion for all your beings –
    around me
    and within me


  18. Sarida Brown says:

    A Prayer for Peace:

    Send Thy Peace, O Lord, which is perfect and everlasting, that our souls may radiate peace.
    Send Thy Peace, O Lord, that we may think, act and speak harmoniously.
    Send Thy Peace, O Lord, that we may be contented and thankful for Thy Bountiful Gifts.
    Send Thy Peace, O Lord, that amidst our worldly strife we may enjoy Thy Bliss.
    Send Thy Peace, O Lord, that we may endure all, tolerate all in the thought of Thy Grace and Mercy.
    Send Thy Peace, O Lord, that our lives may become a divine vision, and in Thy Light all darkness may vanish.
    Send Thy Peace, O Lord, our Father and Mother, that we, Thy Children on earth, may all unite in one [family].

  19. admin says:

    The Tsunami – Elephants save lives

    At a resort on Phuket, Thailand one of the most popular attractions is the elephant rides. As many as eight people on one elephant, first into the surrounding forest, then down to the beach to lunch at a fresh water lagoon, then back to the hotel.

    The nine elephants were kept chained to posts, not because they needed to be, but because it made the mothers feel better and their children seemed safe from tramping feet when feeding the beasts.

    About 20 minutes before the first wave hit, the elephants became extremely agitated and unruly. Four had just returned from a trip and their handlers had not yet chained them. They helped the other five tear free from their chains.

    They all then climbed a hill and started bellowing. Many people followed them up the hill. Then the waves hit.

    After the waves subsided, the elephants charged down from the hill and started picking up children with their trunks and running them back up the hill. When all the children were taken care of, they started helping the adults.

    They rescued 42 people. Then, they returned to the beach and carried up four dead bodies. Not until the task was done would they allow their handlers to mount them. Then, with handlers atop, they began moving wreckage.

    The photographer, Gail Russell, writes: ‘The elephant is known as the Sri Lankan Tractor. I visited the Elephant Orphanage near Kandy. The highlight of their day is the bath in the Kelani River. They stick the tip of their trunks out of the water, take a breath, then flop it back down and continue with their snooze.’

  20. admin says:

    Bishop Chrysostomos and Mayer Karrer

    When the Nazis invaded the island of Zakinthos in September 1943, the German commander ordered the Mayor, Lucas Karrer, to give him a list of Jews on the island in preparation for their rounding up and deportation. At the time ordered by the commander, Bishop Chrysostomos arrived and gave him a list with two names on it – his own and the mayor’s. Neither was Jewish. He also wrote a letter to Adolf Hitler, declaring that the island’s Jews were under his supervision. The island’s people hid the Jews from the Nazis and all 275 survived the war.

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