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Nature Meditations Themes & Faculty

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Nature Meditations Themes & Faculty

Join us for our series on Nature Meditations with the following themes, faculty, and musicians scheduled for our Fall Semester through December 19, 2021.

Sep 19: Setting the Tone for the Fall w/ Pir Zia
Sep 26: Movement w/ Pir Zia & Zuleikha
Oct 3: Rain & Storm w/ Pir Zia & Joan Halifax
Oct 10: Flowers w/ Pir Zia, Firos Holterman & Wali Via
Oct 17: The Mother w/ Pir Zia & Sylvia Perera
Oct 24: Landscape w/ Pir Zia & Emmanuel Vaughan-Lee
Oct 31: Moon w/ Pir Zia & Jules Cashford
Nov 7: Sky with Stars w/ Pir Zia & Suhrawardi Gebel
Nov 14: Mountains w/ Pir Zia & Scherto Gill
Nov 21: Tryst with the Divine w/ Jacob Ellenberg & Nizam un Nisa Husain
Nov 28: Clouds
Dec 5: Silence w/ Pir Zia & The Venerable Tenzin Priyadarshi
Dec 12: God w/ Pir Zia & Shaykha Fariha
Dec 19: TBA

Also, we welcome Musical Guests Seemi Ghazi (Sep 19), Zuleikha (Sep 26), Hadi Yves St. Pierre (Oct 3), Mehmet & Ali Ungan (Oct 10), Cofe Inayat and Ishi Nilli (Oct 17), Tekina-eirú Maynard (Oct 24), Ruhiya (Oct 31), Nirtan Broelinckx (Nov 7), Nawal Mlanao (Nov 14), Amir O’Loughlin (Nov 21), Ali Babahan (Nov 28), Adam Jeffrey (Dec 5), Ali Razmy (Dec 12), Jamia Haqq (Dec 19).


Pir Zia Inayat Khan carries the Sufi lineage of his grandfather, Hazrat Inayat Khan. He received his Ph.D. in Religion from Duke University. His books include Saracen Chivalry: Counsels on Valor, Generosity, and the Mystical Quest, Mingled Waters: Sufism and the Mystical Unity of Religions, and Dream Flowers: The Collected Works of Noor Inayat Khan. Pir Zia is president of the Inayatiyya and founder of Suluk Academy. Now based in Richmond, Virginia, when not in a pandemic, he and his family live both in the United States and France.


Trained in music, movement and mysticism by Master teachers of eastern and western lineages, international Storydancer and educator, Zuleikha, is an ambassador for Unity in artistic and spiritual expression. As a Storydancer and performer, Zuleikha has been described as “a singular figure on the horizon of sacred theater and dance” (Edinburgh Guide). She is renowned for her collaborations in the Rumi Concert with the celebrated poet and translator of Rumi’s poetry, Coleman Barks, and with award-winning world musicians. Zuleikha loves Zikr. She is a conductor of this practice, leading groups of people through active Oneness meditation that often combines silence, sitting, melody and motion.

Roshi Joan Halifax, Ph.D., is a Buddhist teacher, Zen priest, anthropologist, and pioneer in the field of end-of-life care. She is Founder, Abbot, and Head Teacher of Upaya Institute and Zen Center in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She received her Ph.D. in medical anthropology in 1973 and has lectured on the subject of death and dying at many academic institutions and medical centers around the world. She received a National Science Foundation Fellowship in Visual Anthropology, was an Honorary Research Fellow in Medical Ethnobotany at Harvard University, and was a Distinguished Visiting Scholar at the Library of Congress. From 1972-1975, she worked with psychiatrist Stanislav Grof at the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center with dying cancer patients. She has continued to work with dying people and their families, and to teach health care professionals and family caregivers the psycho-social, ethical and spiritual aspects of care of the dying.

Roshi Joan is Director of the Project on Being with Dying, and Founder of the Upaya Prison Project that develops programs on meditation for prisoners. She is also founder of the Nomads Clinic in Nepal. A Founding Teacher of the Zen Peacemaker Order and founder of Prajna Mountain Buddhist Order, her work and practice for more than four decades has focused on engaged Buddhism.

Firos Holterman ten Hove has been a murid in the Inayatiyya since 1973. He studied History at the University of Utrecht and Organic Agriculture at “Warmonderhof”. His books include The Soul of Flowers, presenting an overview of the plants mentioned by Hazrat Inayat Khan ( Firos is Vice President of the Inayatiyya Ziraat Activity and lives with his family in the German Alps, where he runs a nursery.


Wali Via has been following the Sufi path since 1978 and serves a number of roles within the Inayatiyya, including as the current Vice President of Ziraat in North America. Wali has spent his adult life farming organically and biodynamically at a commercial scale. He is now retired from farming, though the farm continues on in good hands ( He spends as much time as he can in the wilderness, hiking, backpacking, climbing mountains, and kayaking, and playing with his grandchildren. Wali is dedicated to providing opportunities for people to deepen their spiritual lives including their relationship with the natural world to foster the Earth’s healing.


Sylvia Brinton Perera is a member of the Inayatiyya Healing Activity and a practicing Jungian Psychoanalyst, currently working from Vermont and teaching at the CG Jung Institute of New York and at conferences internationally. Originally planning to go to medical school, she became an art historian and taught and curated museum exhibits. During the 60’s she was active in Civil Rights, raised a family, and then returned for training to begin a new career. Sylvia’s woven ancestry of Sephardic Judaism, Benedictine Catholicism, Philadelphia Quakerism, and Shamanic Wicca prepared her to welcome the spacious containment of Sufism.
Her books include: The Scapegoat Complex: Towards a Mythology of Shadow and Guilt, Descent to the Goddess: A Way of Initiation for Women, Dreams: A Portal to the Source (with her partner, E.C. Whitmont), Celtic Queen Maeve and Addiction, and The Irish Bull God. She is currently putting together clinical papers dealing with Celtic Mythology and with the individually created rituals that often emerge during the process of Jungian psychoanalysis.

Professor Scherto Gill (PhD) is Director of Global Humanity for Peace Institute, University of Wales. She is also Senior Fellow at the Guerrand-Hermès Foundation for Peace (GHFP) and Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts (FRSA). Scherto leads a UNESCO Initiative on Collective Healing and Educational Transformation, and chairs the G20 Interfaith Forum‘s Education Working Group. Amongst her most recent publications are: Lest We Lose Love (Anthem Press) Happiness, Flourishing and the Good Life: A Transformative Vision of Human Well-Being (Routledge), Understanding Peace Holistically (Peter Lang), Being Peace, Making Peace (Spirit of Humanity Press).

​​Emmanuel Vaughan-Lee is a sheikh within the Naqshbandiyya-Mujaddidiyya order of Sufism. He is an Emmy and Peabody Award nominated filmmaker and the founder and executive editor of Emergence Magazine. His films include: Earthrise, Sanctuaries of Silence, The Atomic Tree, Counter Mapping, Marie’s Dictionary, Isle de Jean Charles, Yukon Kings, Elemental, and What Would It Look Like. Emmanuel’s films have screened at NYFF, Tribeca Film Festival, SXSW, Hot Docs, Thessaloniki Film Festival, exhibited at the Smithsonian Museum and featured on PBS POV, National Geographic, New York Times Op-Docs, The New Yorker and The Atlantic. He lives and teaches in Inverness, California.


Jules Cashford studied Philosophy at St. Andrews and Literature at Cambridge where she was a tutor for some years, and then studied Meditation and Biofeedback with Max Cade and trained as a Jungian Analyst. With her friend Anne Baring she wrote The Myth of the Goddess: Evolution of an Image. Her other books include The Moon: Symbol of Transformation, The Mysteries of Osiris, a translation of The Homeric Hymns, and a retelling of The Story of Parzival for Younger Readers. She has made two films on the Early Renaissance Painter Jan van Eyck, and also films on Gaia: Mother Goddess Earth in Ancient Greece, The Eleusinian Mysteries, and The Return of Gaia.

Nizam un Nisa Husain is a Shaykha, Cheraga, Guide, Representative, Suluk Mentor, and Facilitator of the Anjumani-Islam group in the Inayatiyya. A student of classical Chishti Sufism since 1988 and a devoted follower of the Inayatiyya since 2004, she has led Inayatiyya centers in Lahore, in Dubai and now in Oakville, Ontario where she lives. Nizam un Nisa is a Journalist and Editor by profession; she has a Double Masters from NYU in Journalism and Near Eastern Studies


Jacob Miraj Ellenberg is a student, practitioner, and teacher of ancient and emergent “technologies-of-self.” Jacob has been a student of the Inayatiyya since 1997. Professionally, Jacob has been a creative director, video game designer, TV executive producer, organizational strategist, among other pursuits. Currently, he helps working teams develop stronger bonds and function more effectively, guides retreats, leads meditations online, and teaches meditation within organizations.  Jacob holds a BA from NYU in Organizational Behavior, Narrative Theory, and Mysticism and is currently a Visiting Scholar at NYU Tisch’s Interactive Communications Program (ITP). He lives in Los Angeles where he studies the inner martial arts of Xingyi and Bagua.  

The Venerable Tenzin Priyadarshi is President & CEO of The Dalai Lama Center for Ethics and Transformative Values at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a center dedicated to inquiry, dialogue, and education on the ethical and humane dimensions of life. The Center is a collaborative and nonpartisan think tank, and its programs emphasize responsibility and examine meaningfulness and moral purpose between individuals, organizations, and societies. Six Nobel Peace Laureates serve as The Center’s founding members and its programs run in several countries and are expanding.
Venerable Tenzin’s unusual background encompasses entering a Buddhist monastery at the age of ten and receiving graduate education at Harvard University with degrees ranging from Philosophy to Physics to International Relations. He is a Tribeca Disruptive Fellow and a 2018 Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University. Venerable Tenzin’s Running Toward Mystery, published by Random House US, chronicles some aspects of his spiritual explorations. Venerable Tenzin serves on the boards of a number of academic, humanitarian, and religious organizations. He is the recipient of several recognitions and awards, and received Harvard’s Distinguished Alumni Honors for his visionary contributions to humanity.