Retreats, Special Events, Webinars

Scroll Down to Learn More

Upcoming Retreats, Events & Webinars

Look for this one again in the New Year – 2019!

Mining the Jewels, Sewing the Quilt:  A Deep Encounter with Passages from the Generous Qur’an 

What does it mean that, “Allah is the Light of the heaven and the earth,” or that, ‘You cause the day to enter the night and the night to enter the day, bring forth the living from the dead and the dead from the living’? What are “the keys of the Unseen?” or the “Doors of Subtle Grace,” and why is it that, “Surely with difficulty comes ease”?

An exploratory journey into beloved Qur’anic passages and the endless bounties and treasures therein. We’ll draw on Physicians of the Heart, the Morning Litany of Pir Nureddin Jerrahi, Shaykh Nur’s Three Days of Prayer and al-Qushayri’s Subtle Allusions, an unmatched collection of ancient Sufi commentaries. Adding the lights of your own experience, guidance, and intuition, you’ll begin your patchwork quilt of blessing, support and sustenance. Even a drop from the Luminous Ocean is still the Ocean!

Presenter:  Karima Vargas-Bushnell

This class will be held in person at the Light Upon Light Sufi Center AND it will also be available to attend virtually via your computer or phone, via Zoom. (To register, please click on the Register button below whether you’d like to attend in person or virtually)

Exact Dates TBA-  coming soon!

Aramaic Words of Jesus

Learn how to sing and recite the Aramaic, the language Jesus spoke and taught in, for the Lord’s Prayer, the Beatitudes, the “I Am” statements of Jesus, and more. Elements will include: meditation, chanting, zikr (Remembrance of God,) body prayer, Sufi teaching stories, sohbet (spiritual discussion) and, of course, the Dances of Universal Peace. What does Jesus actually mean when you translate his words directly into English from Aramaic?  How to approach Jesus from this direction. “Prayers of the Cosmos,” by Neil Douglas-Klotz, while not absolutely necessary, is strongly recommended.  You can read more about this HERE.

This will be scheduled during the 1st two weeks of December on a weekend morning or afternoon, or a Monday, Tuesday or Friday evening – look for exact dates soon, and if you’re not already on our email newsletter list, please sign up so you’ll know the dates as soon as we do!

Presenter:  John Hakim Bushnell

About the Cost of Workshops and Events
We want to honor the time, love and expertise our presenters have poured into their workshops and classes while we also acknowledge that people have different financial resources. We want to be absolutely sure anyone can attend, even if they are facing financial hardship.  So, for every workshop, there will be an option to pay the regular cost listed, and a second option where you can choose the amount to pay using a Donate button.
Below is an example using a suggested guideline to help you decide, assuming the regular cost is $75.
Don’t worry if your number to donate is different – do what feels right for you!
Financial hardship, donate $0-$5
Successfully getting by, donate $25-$35
Financially comfortable, choose the regular cost, in this example, $75

We look forward to seeing you at an event or workshop soon!

Webinar/Audio Replay is Coming Soon!

Tales from Muhammad Jamal: Personal Encounters with Remarkable Teachers

Only one person was both a Representative of Pir Vilayat Khan and a Shaykh of Shaykh Nur al-Jerrahi: Muhammad Jamal Gregory Blann, who thus unites the Indian and Turkish streams of Sufism represented by our center. He studied Kaballah with Jewish Renewal Movement co-founder Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi and made zikr with our spiritual grandfather, Grand Shaykh Muzaffer Ashki of Istanbul. All these teachers. Donations are gratefully accepted, if you are able.

It was a wonderful webinar, held on September 21st, and we’re planning to upload the replay link very soon – thanks for your patience!

Webinar/Audio Replay is Coming Soon!

Communicating  Across Cultures

How does culture shape reality? How do “polite” and “normal” behaviors vary between cultures? What happens when worldviews clash? How can we start turning “us” and “them” into “all of us”? Through mini-lecture and discussion, true stories, and lots of hands-on exercises, we’ll unveil mysteries at the borderland where cultures meet, and open the door to vital skills for cross-cultural understanding and communication.  Culture is often compared to an iceberg. Understanding more about the nine-tenths you can’t see on the surface can help you in your life and work.

Presenter:  Karima Vargas Bushnell – see her Bio HERE

Ongoing and Upcoming Sufi Community Gatherings

4th Sundays,  1:45 – 3:45 pm

The Search for Meaning 

The Search for Meaning is a guided exploration sharing wisdom, stories and Sufi practices, sometimes in new ways. Though this time together will likely include some Zikr, and sometimes Dances of Universal Peace, there will also be room to welcome additional ways to “go deeper” in the quest to become full human beings. Hakim or Karima and occasionally other guests will be facilitating this time of sharing and discovery.

This will be held on the 4th Sunday of each month, from 1:30 – 3:30 pm, at the Light Upon Light Sufi Center, in the larger Sunroom in the Center for Performing Arts Building (Minneapolis).

5 Hour Zikr – next date TBA

Five Hour Zikr 

“Any zikr less than five hours is just fooling around.”  We don’t remember which Shaykh said this but it has inspired us to present: The No Fooling Around Zikr!  Which will take, you guessed it, five hours.

Hakim held the inaugural 5 hour zikr in June, 2018 and those attending really loved it.  As part of the evolution of this deep and delightful practice, more 5 hour zikrs are on the horizon and will be announced here as they are scheduled.

Hakim is continuing work on this, structuring it around Ibn Al ‘Arabi’s “Prayer for Spiritual Elevation and Protection” which some of us have been doing for a while. This longer form will allow us to unpack each section in depth.

Hakim’s plan is to do it twice on his own, then consult with his teachers, Imam Bilal and Saadi Neil Douglas-Klotz, and with their advice and input do it twice more before presenting it publicly.  Hakim is always hungry for intense experience.  This feels like it could be enough…  for awhile.  Karima is in enthusiastic accord.  We will let you know as soon as we have the next solid date.

Community Gatherings

Please join us for Zikr, the new Search for Meaning with stories and various Sufi practices, including occasional Dances of Universal Peace, and for gathering in community to celebrate, share wisdom and enjoy each other’s company.

We also host Potlucks, Musician Gatherings, Movie & Popcorn Nights, and hope to offer a Relaxed Sufi Study Group. Check our Calendar to see what’s coming up or sign up for our email newsletter so you’ll always hear about the next gathering.

It’s good to be together!

Retreats and Special Events

We love to host or tell our community about retreats and special events!  Here are some examples of those held in the past few years:

Sacred Presence, held in Rochester a couple of years ago with Guest presenters Imam Bilal and Murshida Tasnim Fernandez, where we experienced  beautiful Dhikr – the music & prayer ceremony of Divine remembrance, Dances of Universal Peace & Sufi Teachings.

Imam Bilal Hyde, founder of the Nurani Institute, is a profound scholar, powerful dhikr leader and co-author of Physicians of the Heart: Sufi Guidebook to the 99 Beautiful Names Of Allah. Samples of his events include, “The Heart of Love’s Secret Ecstasy,” “Reintroduction to the 100 Steps of Love on the Mystic Path of Sufism,” “Arabic Grammar and Pronunciation and Quranic Tafsir” (insightful interpretation) and “Dhikr of the Two Niles”. Let’s see what he has for us this time!

 Rev. Tasnim Fernandez, co-founder of the Center for the Dances of Universal Peace, taps a lifetime’s immersion in world religions to guide, teach, and train Dance leaders, Sufi students and Universal Worship ministers. A Representative, Center Leader, Healing Conductor and Siraj (senior minister) with Inayati Order, she is also director of the Church of All and a trained semazan in the Mevlevi Whirling Dervish tradition. 

 Mysticism Retreat with Rabbi Gersholm in beautiful Sandstone , MN near the Kettle River

Most recently, Sufism and the Enneagram, and previously, Opening Door, both lovely experiential workshops with Muhammad Jamal, author of The Garden of Mystic Love: Sufism and the Turkish Tradition and Lifting the Boundaries: Muzaffer Efendi and the Transmission of Sufism to the West, whose forthcoming book, Open Spirituality, focuses on the universal approach of three of his spiritual teachers, Pir Vilayat Khan, Lex Hixon and Reb Zalman Schatcher-Shalomi.

We plan to invite more wonderful teachers and spiritual guides to be with us either in person or virtually so please check our Calendar or or scroll to the Upcoming Retreats & Events section on this page to see what’s coming up next!

Classes & Workshops – Past, Present and Upcoming

We love to offer a wide variety of classes and workshops at the Light Upon Light Sufi Center.  Our scheduling is designed to be flexible to best meet the needs of those interested in a specific offering.

Here’s how it works:

Workshops and classes can happen on weekends or weekdays, in the morning, afternoon or evening. When seven interested people are able to meet at the same time, a class can be held!  Please scroll through the available classes and workshops, and when you find one or more that interests you, just click on any of the buttons nearby which say “I’m Interested!”  You’ll be taken to a brief form at the very bottom of the workshops section to let us know what you’re interested in and to tell us your best meeting times and contact information, then we’ll get back in touch with all the details.

Approaching God in Nature   –  1.5  hours

“Though the rays of the sun, through the waves of the air . . . purify and revivfy us!

In the early morning silence of a beautiful outdoor setting, walk in quiet companionship, inhale the natural world, and move into deeper connection through breathing and meditation practices, holy words from world religions, and watching as every creature turns “toward the One”.            Each one knows its own manner of prayer and praise. – Qur’an 24:41  

Mysticism and Practice in World Religions   –  2  hours

Indian saint Sri Ramakrishna said, “There are some who have heard of sugar, some who have tasted sugar, and some who can go and eat it whenever they like.”  This “sugar” is spiritual reality, directly encountered and minutely described by mystics throughout the ages. Discover the surprisingly similar stories and ‘road maps’ left by these pioneers of the unseen worlds.

Communicating  Across Cultures   –  2.5  hours

How does culture shape reality? How do “polite” and “normal” behaviors vary between cultures? What happens when worldviews clash? How can we start turning “us” and “them” into “all of us”? Through mini-lecture and discussion, true stories, and lots of hands-on exercises, we’ll unveil mysteries at the borderland where cultures meet, and open the door to vital skills for cross-cultural understanding and communication.  Culture is often compared to an iceberg. Understanding more about the nine-tenths you can’t see on the surface can help you in your life and work.

The Honey of Islam   –  2  hours

The timeless wisdom of the Sufis is a vast country that embraces rivers of knowledge, fountains of ecstasy, and gardens of peace and beauty. As an antidote to the dry or violent distortions of Islam that fill the news, experience the rich and life-giving mystical tradition of the Islamic Sufis through stories, poetry, humor, historical background, and a hands-on encounter with the traditional ceremony of music, movement and prayer that is zikr, the “Remembrance of God.”

Woman as Divine Messenger: From the Spiritual Traditions of the Earth – 2 hours

Join in Dances of Universal Peace from the Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim, Jewish, Christian and Native American traditions, offered as love and healing for our Mother Earth and her beautiful creatures. We move together in song, dance and prayer at “the blue lotus feet of my Divine Mother,” a feminine aspect of the One Being Who is known by a thousand billion names.

Aramaic Words of Jesus

Based on the work of Dr. Neal Douglas-Klotz and his seminal book, Prayers of the Cosmos, these practices and Dances use the words of Jesus in Aramaic, the language in which Jesus spoke and taught.

Languages have built-in assumptions; the assumptions of Aramaic are very different than the assumptions of Greek. Aramaic is good at multi-leveled meaning; Greek is good for analysis and fitting things into systems of names.  When approaching the words of Jesus, translating directly from Aramaic into English has clear advantages for those who wish direct experience of the person of Jesus and through him, the experience of Divine Source.  You can read more about this HERE.

Women’s Zikr: Experiential Power, Knowledge, and Love from the Sufi Muslims

The Sufi Ceremony of Divine Remembrance (Zikr): Sitting, standing, and moving circles of music and prayer invite ecstasy as souls meet beyond personality. Our zikrs flow from the traditional mystics of Turkey and the Middle East. This time we’ll draw from the female aulia: Friends of God and hidden Prophets. All religions, traditions, and genders welcome. (Yes, guys can come too!)

Mining the Jewels, Sewing the Quilt – Half Day (OR four 90 Min Sessions)

A Deep Encounter with Passages from the Generous Qur’an 

What does it mean that, “Allah is the Light of the heaven and the earth,” or that, ‘You cause the day to enter the night and the night to enter the day, bring forth the living from the dead and the dead from the living’? What are “the keys of the Unseen?” or the “Doors of Subtle Grace,” and why is it that, “Surely with difficulty comes ease”?

An exploratory journey into beloved Qur’anic passages and the endless bounties and treasures therein. We’ll draw on Physicians of the Heart, the Morning Litany of Pir Nureddin Jerrahi, Shaykh Nur’s Three Days of Prayer and al-Qushayri’s Subtle Allusions, an unmatched collection of ancient Sufi commentaries. Adding the lights of your own experience, guidance, and intuition, you’ll begin your patchwork quilt of blessing, support and sustenance. Even a drop from the Luminous Ocean is still the Ocean!

Voices on the Waves: A Multicultural Comedy/Drama in Two Acts

A “cruise director” from Southside Chicago with a talent for Arabic, a British CEO with a taste for Kipling, a sociology professor from India, a French fashion designer, an old hippie fresh off the psychedelic bus and assorted Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Christians and Buddhists—stuck on a lifeboat in the middle of the nowhere, they’re helped out by guiding spirits from three world religions and a television interviewer with the sensitivity of Donald Duck. When you’re up the creek without a paddle, what’s to do but argue about politics and religion? Well, there’s a gun on board, a lot of booze, an enlightened saint and some pretty good singers . . . Available for interactive workshop or performance. (Tryouts may be required.)

Workshops and Classes Interest Form

Select Workshops You're Interested In

Select Best Days and Times to Meet for Classes

10 + 11 =