It is not necessary to change the notes of the piano.
What is necessary is to know the way of harmony,
to know how to create harmony between the different notes.
(Pir-o-Murshid Hazrat Inayat Khan)

Reflections on the 2015 Federation Retreat

by Murshida Rani Kathleen McLaughlin

The 2015 Federation Retreat was the sixteenth annual gathering of representatives of the member organizations of the Federation of the Sufi Message. We started with two member organizations in 2000; and this year all six organizations, who are inspired by the Sufi Message of Hazrat Inayat Khan, were represented. Our theme, The Perfection of Friendship, was beautifully expressed in the atmosphere manifested in this group of about fifty leaders and guides. We were not simply talking about something, we were feeling it. There were regular times of sharing spiritual practice together. Then the program was organized around significant questions that were discussed in multiple contexts, inviting all participants to actively engage with each other. The atmosphere of listening deeply to others with "other" points of view, and speaking authentically with one's own voice, created the context in which we could explore our experiences as leaders, how we were trained, what we have gained and what we need, how to inspire and work with mureeds, and other questions. There was humor and conflict, openness and hard discussions. And, of course, one of Nawab Pasnak’s wonderful plays on Saturday night. All this in the beautiful setting of the Sufi Order International’s Abode of the Message, where we were graciously hosted by the Sufi Order.

I am very happy that I was part of the Planning Committee which was headed by Wahhab Sheets. He provided wonderful leadership, organizing meetings and keeping us on task and attuned to each other, so that we could cooperatively develop a dynamic program. We continued to work through the Retreat itself, fine-tuning the questions and holding the participants in a spiritual container of safety and love -- though invisible to most.

Of course, there are always more questions, more issues to discuss, more organizational struggles. The Sufi Message is a living Message. I hope that the deepening of our friendships that occurred during this meeting will inspire us all as we go forward. In the words of Hazrat Inayat Khan:

The relationship of Murshid and Mureed, made in the path of truth and love of God, represents the perfection of friendship.


More Reflections on the 2015 Federation Retreat:
• Reflections on the Federation Retreat 2015 | Abraham Sussman - SRI
• Reflections on the Federation Retreat 2015 | Latifa Jennifer Till - SRI
• Reflections on the Federation Retreat 2015 | Jami Klein - SOI
• 2015 Federation Retreat | Fazalunissa Harmon - ISM Canada
• On Being at the Federation Retreat | Jelaluddin Sill - ISM Canada