WHAT WE DO:
The Dances of Universal Peace
A circle of women and men and young people are holding hands, in silence. Then
on the cue from a guitar-playing leader in the center, they begin to move and
to sing a simple chant. A drum and a guitar back up the sound of their voices.
The words may be in Arabic or Sanskrit or Hebrew or Aramaic or English, but
the message they point to is about love, harmony, beauty, peace, and unity.
The movements are simple: walking, stepping in, out, to the side, raising and
lowering the arms, turning, or making symbolic mudras with the hands. Each
dance is explained and shown by the leader before it is done. There is no
audience; the meaning is in the participation.
Here (and all over the world) people from all walks of life, from all
religions or no religion, come together to take part in these dances. But it's
not really about dancing or singing; many of them would not say they are
gifted at either music or dance. With the right attunement, the Dances of Universal Peace
can be a beautifully
accessible meditation or prayer in motion, which can support us in finding our
natural capacity for mindfulness and presence, open the heart, center and
deepen our experience of who they really are, build community, and even fill
us with love, joy and peace.
Dances of Universal Peace, as a prayerful spritual practice, honor
the traditions of the Goddess, of
Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity, the native
peoples of the Americas and Africa and much more. The dance is always taught
before doing it, so no experience is needed. At every meeting there are lots
The Dances are sometimes called Sufi Dancing, because their inspiration and creative impulse
to us through Murshid Samuel Lewis, known as "Sufi Sam",
Zikr, or remembrance of God, is the traditional practice of Sufi orders everywhere.
This simple chanting of sacred phrases can help us to lift our veils of illusion, and
become more attuned to the real.
The word zikr is in Urdu, the native language of Pir-o-Murshid Hazrat Inayat Khan.
In different parts of the world,
it is also called dhikr (Arabic) and zekr (Farsi). The practice at its
heart is one with the Mantra practices of the Dharma traditions, and the Rosary and Litany
practices of other faiths.
The Zikr Circles listed on this site typically involve a circle of people standing or
sitting, with a leader teaching the words and simple movements for a given cycle; these are
repeated for some time before being brought to a silent close. There will generally be
several cycles like that. Some Zikr leaders include Dances of Universal Peace, meditation,
readings etc at their respective gatherings as well. Newcomers are generally welcome to
attend, while holding an attitude of devotion to the One Truth.
Sufi Healing Circles
Pir-o-Murshid Hazrat Inayat Khan, the revered teacher whose being and whose legacy continues
to inspire women and men on the path all over the world, had a great interest in healing; and
many of us who follow him today are called to serving those in need of healing, one way
or another. Of the Sufis who take part in the healing concentration some are involved in health
conventional and alternative, openly or privately, and many others are not.
What we have in common is the practice taught us by Inayat Khan, and still observed today,
of the Service (or Ritual) of Absent Healing. Typically our Healing Circles gather to share
practices with breath, sound and concentration, to build magnetism, and to perform this ritual
to send healing energy to others.
The secret of healing is to rise by the power of belief above the limitations of this
of variety, that one may touch by the power of intelligence the oneness of the whole Being.
It is there that one becomes charged with the almighty power, and it is by the power of that
attainment that one is able to help oneself and others in their pain and suffering. Verily,
spirit has all the power there is.
Full moon, where will you be going from here? - Into a retreat.
Why do you take a retreat after fullness? - To make myself an empty vessel in order to be filled
-- Hazrat Inayat Khan
Traditionally khilvat or retreat has been considered vital to development on the path of
Sufism. Sufis have considered the power of separating oneself for a time from the world,
under the guidance of a teacher,
keeping silence and devoting oneself to meditation and spiritual practice
... which can give deep insight and refreshes one for everyday life in our various
worlds. It is a privilege and a blessing to make a retreat.
In view of the universal roots of our lineage, it is no surprise that retreats led by Sufis come
different flavors. Common to all is spending some time away from outer distractions to focus on
For information about group retreats, see the calendar. If interested in taking an individual
retreat, contact your initiator or Khushi Tanveer.
- SUFI RUHANIAT INT'L WEST COAST CAMPS: In
some ways like a retreat, these camps usually offer a variety of teachers and teachings,
more Dances of Universal Peace, singing and other expressive, family and outdoor
activities, often kids' and tween/teen camps, and rustic accommodations in a beautiful
natural setting. Mendocino Sufi Camp in our area is the centerpiece of the
years's camp schedule, held every July, with bookends formed by the All-Bay Area camps:
June's East Bay Campout in the Oakland hills, and in August the Santa Cruz
Read more from the Golden Gate Sufi Circle for camp details, flyers and usually
- MEXICO SUFI CAMP is held every January at a beautiful beach
retreat on the subtropical west coast of Mexico. Led by Asha Greer and Atum O'Kane, this
is a unique combination of winter getaway and Sufi retreat. Watch our home page for announcements.
- HUMBOLDT SUFI CAMP and NORTHWEST SUFI
CAMP are annual late-summer events, also announced on our home
page as the time approaches
Many other Sufi camps are held every year, across the country and around the world. Visit the
Sufi Order Events, the
Ruhaniat Calendar, or
events in the International
- Federation of the Sufi Message: an holds annual open meetings for all the orders
of Hazrat Inayat Khan, in Europe or the United States. Information on these gatherings,
with teachings and practices
by Pirs and senior teachers from five international Sufi orders,
and recordings from past events can be found at
Service in the World
Engagement in service to humanity is a very high ideal among our Sufi family. In
accordance with the principle of being "in the world but not of the world", we generally
find our own ways to serve, according to our abilities, inclinations and inner guidance.
Of special note are the activities of the Healing orders. But in addition there is a
service project in India, connected with the Dargah or shrine of Sufi Pir-o-Murshid
Hazrat Inayat Khan, called the Hope Project
. We encourage its support among all those who have benefited from the transmission
of our founder, Hazrat Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan.
For listings of all known local Sufi events related to the Sufi Order, Sufi
Movement and the Sufi Ruhaniat International, see
the SufiPaths Calendar
Current event announcements see our Home Page.
West Coast Sufi Ruhaniat events
Upcoming Camps & Retreats everywhere:
Sufi Ruhaniat /
Content: mostly by Shaffee. Color art at top:
Fatima Lassar. Magic by: the World Wide