“Human suffering is the first call we must answer.” – Hazrat Inayat Khan
Holding to the premise of Kinship, we offer five programs:
RACIAL INQUIRY GROUPS
The North America Kinship activity is hosting 9-month (September 2020-May 2021) contemplative inquiry groups to support awakening to our racial conditioning. In the spirit of kinship we see the movement toward dismantling racism as an integral experience and application of engaged spirituality. Indeed recently Pir Zia said about our work to advance Race, Justice, Equity and Love, “We have work to do to open the doors of our movement, and our hearts.” Here is a place to gather with friends to continue this work!
This program will consist of 2-hour monthly zoom calls beginning in September 2020. Each month we begin in a hosted, large group session for a brief meditation and attunement towards a specific contemplation, and then split into small Racial Affinity Groups* for discussion. Participants meet with the same small group each month, to build a field of trust and continuity of dialogue.
* The design and title of these discussion groups is credited to Ruth King, an African American Buddhist teacher and author of Mindful of Race, who has spent decades providing diversity training and guiding racial awareness groups. (We have made some modifications in the structure of the groups.) The groups are now closed. If you have any questions, contact Rabia.
Kinship Circles are gatherings of people dedicated to creating a more intimate and responsible relationship with each other, their community and the world. We act from a sense of belonging to the community of all life and work to take our appropriate place in that community.
The Kinship Activity offers sample formats for meetings that range from the somewhat formal structure of the original “Brotherhood” meetings to very loosely structured “friendship groups” that have minimal structure. Topics of the circles are identified to meet the local community needs. Readings that capture the spirit of belonging in love and friendship and serving from a place of love are included as suggestions. Sample formats may be requested via email.
KINSHIP TRAINING PROGRAMS
Kinship offers two workshops or retreat opportunities for communities or groups who seek to create deeper connections, address conflicts, and build a real sense of belonging. These programs are designed to broaden our outlook, spotlight our limitations and remove barriers that divide people and groups. To arrange a Kinship Training program, please email us.
Moving from Me to We
Kinship embodies a host of teachings, values and practices that can foster spiritual growth, particularly when applied in one’s relationships with others, for Kinship is based in friendship. Starting with befriending oneself and gradually expanding outward, the path of friendship offers rewards and challenges that carry powerful potential for transformation. Five features of this path follow:
The first is being respectful to all whom we encounter.
The second is cultivating sympathy, that quality that allows us to reach out and experience the condition of another.
The third is deepening our understanding.
The fourth is practicing tolerance and forgiveness as a way of life.
The fifth is developing a practical and very real sense of unity with each person we meet.
In this manner we learn to see ourselves in others. From the place of love and understanding we seek to serve each other.
Maturing the Self: Creating Wholeness
This training is organized around a developmental model of maturation. It inspired by a structure that is rooted in Islamic mysticism* and developed by Pir Zia Inayat Khan in the Inayatiyya Order.
Awareness: We focus on developing an understanding of self-reflexive awareness to create a loving connection with others and eventually with all of life.
Knowing: We go on to explore a life that has a beginning and an end, remembering the past and envisioning the future.
Empowerment: We begin to explore the underpinnings of how we impact our environment, and how we are impacted by our environment.
Yearning: We explore how we influence our story and our direction by what we desire – by our yearnings.
Receptivity: We now explore how we shift our vantage point from our own personal perceptions to opening up to others.
Creativity: Now the possibility arises of participating creatively in the purposeful thrust of evolution.
Integration: All the previous stages culminate in the experience of integration. In this state balance becomes an act of beauty and awareness, and we begin to experience life as a seamless whole.
For more information on these two programs, send us an email.
*Footnote: These stages of development come from ancient Sufi teachings including those given by Ibn Arabi. The stages are sometime referred to as the Seven Leading Names. As traditionally taught they are: al-Hayy; al-Alim; al-Qadr; al-Murid; al-Sami; al-Basir; al-Kalim.
MUREED’S EMERGENCY RELIEF FUND
The Kinship Activity oversees the Emergency Relief Fund, a donor-seeded fund that is available to Inayatiyya murids in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Australia and New Zealand to address urgent basic needs unmet by other sources. The fund provides one-time awards of up to $1,200. If you are a murid and need help of this kind, or wish to act as an advocate for another mureed, please contact us to request an application.
The Emergency Relief Fund is now completing its eighth year, with 44 grants awarded to date. Contributions to the Fund may be made out to the Inayatiyya Order, noting that your donation be applied to the Emergency Relief Fund on our Donate page.
To inquire about the Mureed Emergency Relief Fund, please send an email here.
PRISON BOOK PROJECT
The Prison Book Project (PBP) was initiated by the Inayatiyya in 1975. Its purpose was to provide books on spirituality at no charge to incarcerated inmates who request them. Over the years, the project has sent hundreds of books to inmates in many correctional facilities. Some of the inmates have gone on to not only grow spiritually inwardly but also to turn their outward lives around. Contributions to the PBP may be made on our Donate page, noting that your donation be applied to the Prison Book Project.
If you know someone who is currently incarcerated, they may request books, not only on Sufism but also any spiritual path, by writing to Prison Book Project, c/o Davenport, 7009 S. Interstate 35 #141, Austin, Texas 78744-4813 (Email)
Some comments we have received:
“Thank you for your support of my growth through the books and guidance in my life that has been my ‘rock’.” – J.G., Texas
“I cannot thank you enough for providing me with so much life changing material… I can truly say that to become fully enlightened and liberated is difficult; I listen to the teachings I have received rather than my ego. Our communication… has [made] my life more meaningful” – A.R., California
“Your consistent communications and support are very valued and appreciated.” – M.A., Texas
“The books and guidance I have received through your project has opened my eyes to a new way of Being! Bless you!” – K.P., North Carolina
PRISONER INTERACTION PROJECT
Kinship has initiated a new project, the Prisoner Interaction Project (PIP), in partnership with the Prison Book Project (PBP). Many offenders request books from the PBP and have been offered spiritual direction in that tradition to which they resonate. Most individuals, given the opportunity and appropriate support become better world citizens. We also provide mentor/pen pal training for those wishing to serve the incarcerated community. The United States’ criminal justice system has been anything but just. It disproportionately charges, convicts and incarcerates people of color. This project serves to support the spiritual path of people in their current circumstances. The PIP does not work on systems change but individual transformation. The acronym, PIP, is defined as a kernel. As Murshid Inayat Khan wrote: “To a little band of sowers has been given a handful of living grain. Faithfully it must be sown; surely it will be reaped; and the harvest shall be for the sustenance of all who are hungering for the Bread of Life.”
To gather more information on this program and mentoring training, please write Prisoner Interaction Project, c/o Davenport, 7009 S. Interstate 35 #141, Austin, Texas 78744-4813 (Email)