Videos & Writings


Rabia's Riffs

Letters From the Road


Course Materials


Current reflections, thought pieces, interviews, and short videos sent regularly by Rabia, via “email blast,” to supporters and interested individuals around the globe. (Sign up to receive Rabia’s Riffs here.)

essay Rabia's Interview with Susan Coleman
Listen to the podcast of Rabia’s recent interview with Susan Coleman, host of The Peacebuilding Podcast: Bridging the Divide by clicking here
(For updates on the newest releases of the podcast, subscribe here.)

essay Rabia's Riffs #25
Shock ...and Awe
We are now in the time we have been waiting for. 2016 will be remembered as the year Americans finally woke up to the imminent breakdown of our global ecosystem and the injustices inherent in corporate capitalism.

We needed a shock to rouse us from the economic and technological slumber in which we have so comfortably taken refuge since the 1950’s.
In 2016 many events came together to provide that jolt to our collective system...

essay Rabia's Riffs #24
Bearing Witness at Standing Rock
This is my seventh day at Standing Rock in North Dakota. Elias and I are set up in our small VW camper van surrounded by more than 40 acres filled with thousands of small and large tents and teepees.

We’ve come to show our support for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and hundreds of other Native American tribes who are here to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline from crossing their ancestral lands and Lake Oahe from which they, and millions of others downstream, take their water.....

essay Rabia's Riffs #23
Dark Money
If I could afford it, I would send a copy of Jane Mayer’s new book, Dark Money, to all 2,200 of you on my mailing list! I feel its message is that important. I’ve read it twice myself.

Since the book is over 400 pages long, many of you may not have the time to work your way through it. So in this Riff I’d like to offer a summary of its main theme: How, under the banner of freedom, a couple of dozen right-wing American billionaires are putting in place policies and institutions designed to increase the power and wealth of the already wealthy at the expense of the rest of us and our planet....

essay Rabia's Riffs #22
Money Ain't Speech
Here in the nation’s capitol, shiny cars with darkened windows glide passed black beggars with paper cups squatting in the margins of bank buildings, while we march between them chanting:

Money ain’t speech, corporations aren’t people!
Money ain’t speech, corporations aren’t people!

We’re angry. The Supreme Court decided in 2010 that the vast sums corporations are pouring into elections should be protected as free speech, and that corporations can for this purpose be considered as people exercising their right to speak freely....

essay Rabia's Riffs #21
The Right Side of History
It can be scary to be swept up in a crowd marching down the street chanting slogans, but not with this crowd, not at all. There are bright colors, laughter, smiles, a medley of young and old folks, some in suits and ties, some in outrageous hats waving signs, somebody in a polar bear costume — all of us deeply sincere about the issues that brought us to march down the streets of Washington, D.C. to the Capitol Building. We’ll be doing it everyday this week and the weekend too, when we hope the 3,000 of us who marched yesterday will swell to many times that number. So far, over 500 people have been arrested for sitting-in on the steps of the Capitol....

essay Rabia's Riffs #20
May Truth Be in the Field
What has happened to truth — good old-fashioned honesty? Teachers still instruct children to “tell the truth.” In my home, lying was said to be a “sin,” and truth-telling was one of the great virtues to be practiced throughout my life. For many American school children the importance of truth-telling was reinforced by the story of how a young George Washington cut down a cherry tree in the family garden. When asked if he did it, he fessed up to his father and told the truth. Ergo: good presidential material. How different today, when presidential candidates dodge, backtrack and obfuscate rather than say something that might cost him or her a vote......

essay Rabia's Riffs #19
The Time is Ripe
I have spoken out publicly — and personally to many of you — about my belief that no matter who becomes the next President of the United States, we are going to need to get back onto the streets in significant numbers. Nothing short of that is going to make change. We know from history that when things get this far out of balance, we, the people, must be willing to serve as a creative disruption to the status quo. This is just what I am going to do. My husband, Elias Amidon, and I are heading to Washington D.C. in April for an important political action and I encourage you to join us.....

essay Rabia's Riffs #18
Dark Though It Is
Once again we feel the solstice approaching; the days are shrinking, ever losing ground to the long, dark nights. This year the darkness feels especially close; this year light and warmth feel especially distant. We can be fairly certain that the earth will keep spinning, that the days will extend, that the warmth of the sun will gradually return. But what about the warmth of the human heart? And the light of hope? Can they, too, grow and extend even when fear and mistrust seem to be all around us?....

essay Rabia's Riffs #17
Is Economic Progress Destroying Us?
Last month approximately 100 Interfaith Sufis gathered in Holland to celebrate their history and lineage. I gave a presentation to that group inspired by Pope Francis’s encyclical, Laudato Si, "On Care for Our Common Home." This Riff is a summary of my remarks. International corporate capitalism is threatening the continuation of life on earth....

essay Rabia's Riffs #16
A New Vision for a New World
Our planet has the Pope on its side!
This is the first of a three-part series on Pope Francis’s recent encyclical, Laudato Si (Praise be to You) on Care for our Common Home. Perhaps you think, “I know about it already,” since the media has branded it with lines like: “Pope throws his moral weight behind one side of the high stakes debate about climate change policy.” But the encyclical is not simply about climate change policy. It is far more radical (to the roots) and inclusive in its message. The Pope is calling for a global dialogue among “all citizens of good faith” to rediscover what it means to be human, and to welcome what is essentially a new cosmic theology....

essay Rabia's Riffs #15
Rites of Passage
Life is continually changing, and so are we. Sometimes with extra attention, time, and support, a time of profound change in our lives can be turned into a powerful transformation and opportunity for growth. This fall, my partner, Elias Amidon and I will be offering two different Rites of Passage retreats to support the process of growth and transformative change......

essay Rabia's Riffs #14
Thailand Journal
In this Riff I’d like to share with you some images and reflections from my recent teaching journey to Thailand. I first went to Thailand in 1995 to work with the respected Buddhist teacher and writer Sulak Sivaraska to create an educational training program, the Spirit in Education Movement (SEM), in support of environmental activists and tribal leaders in Southeast Asia.....

essay Rabia's Riffs #13
Bearing Witness in Thailand
I just arrived in Thailand, where I will spend six weeks training social activists, buddhist nuns, peace workers and public health officials in the art of “Bearing Witness” to social problems. Bearing Witness is a concept I first encountered in Selma, Alabama while working with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the Southern Civil Rights Movement in the mid-sixties. It is not a mystical or mysterious skill. In fact, it is so simple it is easy to miss its power.....

essay Rabia's Riffs #12
A Prayer for the New Year
When I heard the following statement read aloud at a gathering last night — attributed to Pope Francis — I literally jumped for joy. I knew these heartfelt words, from that great man, would change our world forever. A force for good was being released to counter the mounting feelings of despair heard around the world.....

essay Rabia's Riffs #11
Giving is Belonging
In my last Riff I told a story about Mindi Kay, the young acupuncturist who volunteered her time and talent working with women in the slums of Delhi and Nepal last Spring. That story elicited a large response from people agreeing with her conclusion that given the state of the world, we all are called to share our gifts, whatever they are, with those in need. And we all have something to give....

essay Rabia's Riffs #10
Sharing Our Gifts
Mindi Kay, a 30-year-old health care professional and acupuncturist specializing in trauma, was recommended to me because I needed more help with symptoms from my accident. It was love at first sight.....

essay Rabia's Riffs #9
Thoughts for Today
As I sat down to write a Riff this week, it became clear to me that I didn’t need to write a long essay in order to express what I want to say. So I simply wrote a list of topic sentences on some “first principles” for change.....

essay Rabia's Riffs #8
Everything That Grows...
My apologies for not keeping in contact over these past several months. As you may remember, I have been recovering from a broken neck, concussion, and closed-head brain injury. This time has been both painful and rich. I am pleased to report that folks at the publishing house Sounds True read Rabia's Riff #6 (“The Dark Light”) and invited me to expand it into a chapter for an upcoming anthology they are creating that explores the many facets of depression....

essay Rabia's Riffs #7
During periods of important change, it is crucial to take time away from our daily activities to reflect on where we are and the larger significance of what we are going through, so that we can go forward with greater clarity and whole-heartedness. Both of these programs will provide the opportunity for alone time, as well as the support of working with a small community and meeting individually with Elias and me....

essay Rabia's Riffs #6
The Dark Light
It is likely, if you are past midlife, that you have had at least a mild experience of “The Dark Night of the Soul.” You may have had months or even years during which you lost your sense of purpose and confidence about the direction of your life. There may have been feelings of deep sadness and grief over what appeared to be lost. During this time you were overcome by existential questions: “Who am I? Why am I here? What is Life’s meaning?” And despite your prayers, you remained lost in a fog of unknowing....

essay Rabia's Riffs #5
Starting Anew
I am pleased to announce that “Rabia’s Riffs” is starting anew after being offline since last winter. During the winter and spring months it felt like I was trying to jog through a field of boulders: there seemed to be no end to the obstacles preventing me from doing the writing and teaching I kept wanting and planning to do....

essay Rabia's Riffs #4
The Story of Robert Desnos
For millennia our ancestors, traveling and then settling in the northern hemisphere, marked the winter solstice as a cosmological event of great significance. We continue to do so today, giving it power through ritual and story....

essay Rabia’s Riffs #3
Even if you hate to open web links, and even if you are as tired as I am of the post-U.S. election comments, this article by Maureen Dowd is too good (and too fun!) to miss. Yes, the author is sarcastic, but don’t you feel like that sometimes too? Maureen Dowd takes a nice swipe at the the patriarchal idea of power and control and greed (think King Midas). But let us not confuse the patriarchy with the masculine! Patriarchy is a kind of out-of-control machismo that went crazy for power and ownership several thousands of years ago...

essay Rabia’s Riffs #2
The attached flyer introduces my new Project, Waking Up Together, and initiates a new e-letter series called “Rabia’s Riffs.” These e-letters are the descendants of my many years writing to you, and others, Letters from the Road as I traveled the world — a pilgrim and teacher of the spiritual and scientific New Story which has emerged in our time...

essay Rabia's Riffs #1
Happy Autumnal Equinox!
This is always a special time for me—as the expansive energies of summer become the more focused time of school and late night reading. I am turning with the season, harvesting the results of a summer of visioning and planning. I am delighted to share with you the progress I have made on several related projects. Each is moving toward greater collaboration and beauty...