Seven Pillars House of Wisdom > Galleries > Living Wisdom Tour: Pillars of Sophia Benefit Concert

Living Wisdom Tour: Pillars of Sophia Benefit Concert

Photos by Jane Feldman

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  1. Pillars of Sophia Benefit Concert

    January 30, 2013
    New York, New York

    The official invitation to Pillars of Sophia: A Benefit Concert to Support Seven Pillars House of Wisdom.

  2. Pillars of Sophia Benefit Concert (Bookmark)

    January 30, 2013
    New York, New York

    We are all fellow travelers.
    All pilgrims together,
    Emerging from mystery
    and returning to it.

    What if, when we gather,
    we gather in the light of
    this awareness:
    that we are wayfarers
    sharing stories of our journey,
    knowing that our destination
    lies in mystery.

  3. Pillars of Sophia Benefit Concert (1)

    January 30, 2013
    New York, New York

    Yuval Ron and Winsome Brown discuss the big picture for the evening, adding final touches to the creative schedule.

  4. Pillars of Sophia Benefit Concert (2)

    January 30, 2013
    New York, New York

    Yuval Ron and Winsome Brown tune their respective instruments, and prepare for the arrival of our guests.

  5. Pillars of Sophia Benefit Concert (3)

    January 30, 2013
    New York, New York

    Yuval and Winsome, observed by Zeb-un-nisa Effie Shinas, wrap up their final dress rehearsal as the guests begin to arrive.

  6. Pillars of Sophia Benefit Concert (4)

    January 30, 2013
    New York, New York

    The calm before the [poetic, musical, beautiful] storm.

  7. Pillars of Sophia Benefit Concert (5)

    January 30, 2013
    New York, New York

    Bisan Toron, Guiding Voice and vocalist.

  8. Pillars of Sophia Benefit Concert (6)

    January 30, 2013
    New York, New York

    Qawwali singer Sukhawat Ali Khan, Bisan Toron and Yuval Ron at the loft.

  9. Pillars of Sophia Benefit Concert (7)

    January 30, 2013
    New York, New York

    Laurie Lane-Zucker, Executive Director of Seven Pillars welcomes guests as they arrive at the Benefit.

  10. Pillars of Sophia Benefit Concert (8)

    January 30, 2013
    New York, New York

    Dr. Andrew Vidich of the New York Open Center shakes hands with Peggy Hawkins as the room begins to fill up.

  11. Pillars of Sophia Benefit Concert (9)

    January 30, 2013
    New York, New York

    The room bustles with lively discussion and words of introduction between those who are meeting for the first time tonight.

  12. Pillars of Sophia Benefit Concert (10)

    January 30, 2013
    New York, New York

    Guests begin to find their spots around the room, and settle in.

  13. Pillars of Sophia Benefit Concert (11)

    January 30, 2013
    New York, New York

    Friendly conversations ensue as people take a few moments to flip through the booklet they were given upon arrival about “The Seven Pillars.”

  14. Pillars of Sophia Benefit Concert (12)

    January 30, 2013
    New York, New York

    Conversations begin to wind down as the final guests arrive and find their seats.

  15. Pillars of Sophia Benefit Concert (13)

    January 30, 2013
    New York, New York

    Qawwali Singer Sukhawat Ali Khan, Musical Director and Oud Player Yuval Ron, Percussionist Jamie Papish and Actress Winsome Brown take their seats and the musicians begin to play.

  16. Pillars of Sophia Benefit Concert (14)

    January 30, 2013
    New York, New York

    Ali Khan on the harmonium, picks up the tempo, as the group moves from the second to third pillar.

  17. Pillars of Sophia Benefit Concert (15)

    January 30, 2013
    New York, New York

    Whirling dervish Aziz from the Mevlevi Sufi Order begins to turn as representation of the fourth pillar, the Ultimate. The vocalizations of Bisan Toron add to the sacred quality of the experience.

  18. Pillars of Sophia Benefit Concert (16)

    January 30, 2013
    New York, New York

    As Aziz turns faster and faster, the audience is awash with the rose scented air generated by his whirling. The depth of Aziz’s devotion leaves the audience in various states of focused meditation.

  19. Pillars of Sophia Benefit Concert (17)

    January 30, 2013
    New York, New York

    After almost 15 minutes, Aziz slows his pace and finally stops turning. The musicians pause to allow for this pregnant moment.

  20. Pillars of Sophia Benefit Concert (18)

    January 30, 2013
    New York, New York

    The musicians pick up again, leading the group through The Cry, What May Be, and finally, The Pledge.

  21. Pillars of Sophia Benefit Concert (19)

    January 30, 2013
    New York, New York

    The musicians express gratitude to the guests, and welcome them to stay for a reception of Turkish desserts, tea, and wine.

  22. Pillars of Sophia Benefit Concert (20)

    January 30, 2013
    New York, New York

    Zeb-un-nisa Shinas and Jiji Khikia stand with Aziz and Ali Khan from the Yuval Ron Ensemble.

  23. Pillars of Sophia Benefit Concert (21)

    January 30, 2013
    New York, New York

    Yuval Ron speaks with TAMIR at the close of the concert.

  24. Pillars of Sophia Benefit Concert (22)

    January 30, 2013
    New York, New York

    Bisan Toron shares insight on her voice work with William Grassie and Rashmini Yogaratnam.

  25. Pillars of Sophia Benefit Concert (23)

    January 30, 2013
    New York, New York

    Constance Meyer and Marie d’Origny pose with Ali Khan of the Yuval Ron Ensemble.

  26. Pillars of Sophia Benefit Concert (24)

    January 30, 2013
    New York, New York

    Robin Becker and Bisan Toron, long time friends and Guiding Voices of Seven Pillars, toast a wonderful evening.

  27. Pillars of Sophia Benefit Concert (25)

    January 30, 2013
    New York, New York

    Corin Lee Girard, Special Projects Manager for Seven Pillars, speaks with two Benefit attendees.

  28. Pillars of Sophia Benefit Concert (26)

    January 30, 2013
    New York, New York

    From left to right: John Bruce, Lori Hanau, Laurie Lane-Zucker, Zeb-un-nisa Shinas, Robin Becker, Jiji Khikia, Bisan Toron, Sukhawat Ali Khan, Winsome Brown, Yuval Ron and Corin Lee Girard

  29. Pillars of Sophia Benefit Concert (27)

    January 30, 2013
    New York, New York

    Laurie Lane-Zucker speaks with Qawwali singer Sukhawat Ali Khan in the foreground, while dear friends, Winsome Brown and Yuval Ron converse jovially in the background.

  30. Pillars of Sophia Benefit Concert (28)

    January 30, 2013
    New York, New York

    Actress Winsome Brown and Musical Director and Oud Player Yuval Ron embrace warmly as the night comes to a close.

  31. Pillars of Sophia Benefit Concert (29)

    January 30, 2013
    New York, New York

    "I have rarely been with a group that was as successful at creating an evening experience that was so embodied in and aligned with the mission and teachings of the organization." - Lori Hanau, Founder of Gobal Round Table Leadership

    From left to right: Zeb-un-nisa Shinas, Corin Girard, Lori Hanau, Laurie Lane-Zucker, Bisan Toron, Sukhawat Ali Khan, Jamie Papish, Rahill Jamalifard, Winsome Brown, Yuval Ron and Jiji Khikia

“I have rarely been with a group that was as successful at creating an evening experience that was so
embodied in and aligned with the mission and teachings of the organization.”
- Lori Hanau, Founder of Global Round Table Leadership
(Click here to read the full Letter of Gratitude from Lori Hanau, in response to her experience at the Benefit.)

On Wednesday January 30th, 2013, Seven Pillars House of Wisdom hosted a Benefit Concert entitled Pillars of Sophia at a private loft in the Lower Manhattan neighborhood of Tribeca in New York City. This intimate, unplugged gathering, which acted as the symbolic launch of our Living Wisdom Tour, was inspired by “The Seven Pillars,” a process of illumination that facilitates the emergence of living wisdom within each of us.

The evening featured a spoken word rendering of poetic writings by Seven Pillars’ founder Pir Zia Inayat-Khan, performed by actress Winsome Brown, the graceful vocalizations of Bisan Toron, devotional whirling by Aziz of the Mevlevi Sufi Order and the heartful, evocative music of the Yuval Ron Ensemble. 

Approximately 60 people from New York City and the surrounding areas gathered at 8pm in the modern, open, window-lined living room of Claude and Winsome Brown, taking seats on the large L shaped couches, chairs, and floor cushions.  As the sky faded into darkness, the backdrop of windows began to glitter with stars and the skyline in the distance.

From the moment Yuval Ron struck the first cord on his oud and the opening lines of poetry rang out, to the closing reception of Turkish inspired treats, the attendees embarked on a journey together.

We are all fellow travelers.

All pilgrims together,
emerging from mystery and returning to it.

What if, when we gather,
we gather in the light of this awareness -
that we are wayfarers sharing stories of our journey,
knowing that our destination lies in mystery.

The journey began with reflections on each individual’s life experience, and grew wider until it encompassed the entire living universe and beyond. Then, when one had become attuned to a vast and silent oneness, it was shattered into countless fragments by a cry that pierced one’s being, and took hold as seeds of transformation within each person’s soul. We were left with two questions on our lips.

We must ask ourselves,
What pledge must I make to fulfill my life’s purpose, and through doing so, remember my reason for being here?

We must ask,
 What actions can I take, with integrity and beauty, to benefit all?

To learn more about “The Seven Pillars” process, please click here.

If you would like to read A Letter of Gratitude, one participant’s experience of the performance, please click here to be redirected.

Images: Jane Feldman

Jane Feldman is an award winning photojournalist and social activist. Feldman is the coauthor/photographer of Jefferson’s Children: the Story of One American Family (Random House), coauthored with Shannon Lanier, a descendant of Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings. Feldman is also the author/photographer of four books in the Young Dreamers Series (Random House). As an international activist for human rights, peace, and the environment, her work has shown at the United Nations in NYC and the Human Rights Conference in Vienna. Her portraits include: Nelson Mandela, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Maya Angelou, and the Dalai Lama. Feldman’s work has appeared in the New York Times, the Boston Globe, TIME magazine, the Berkshire Eagle, Berkshire Living Magazine, and has been featured in documentaries shown on PBS’s Frontline and the History Channel. She has also worked with Amnesty International and many other non-governmental organizations worldwide. www.janefeldman.com

Read more about Jane Feldman

Comments (1)
  • My heart ached when I studied each photo and I was so sorry I could not be with the group. Yes, I long to be a part of this and I am sorry I have been away for a couple of years. I always remember Seven Pillars in my prayers and carry the organization in my heart. You are exceptional; I have been around for many years and your beauty cannot be beat.

    Blessings, Carol Parrish Harra

    — Carol E. Parrish-Harra on June 5, 2013

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