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Sufi Psychology Articles:

The Relevance of Sufism
and Psychology

Sufism and Psychiatry

        "The parable of those who take protectors other than God is that of the Spider,        
Who makes for itself a house;
but truly the flimsiest of houses is the Spider's house;
If they but knew."

Qur’an 29:41

"Weave no more with soot and slime of your thought,
Like the spider, the web of rotten warp
While you are silent, His speech is your speech
While you weave not, He is the weaver"

Moulana Rumi

Sufi Psychology

Psychology has provided us with a useful body of knowledge regarding personality formation, its function and dysfunction. Psychotherapy has provided us with the means to better understand psychological problems and the tools to alleviate dysfunction and cope with life in a more effective way. However, psychology inherently contains certain limitations as it does not and cannot fully address the reality of an expanded consciousness or the spiritual connection in the journey of life. Therefore, psychology (as it is generally practised), only represents a part of the whole.

Sufi psychology on the other hand, is a well detailed and holistic process that enables the person to better understand the structure of its self and its soul and the connection of its soul to God. It embraces psychology, spirituality, metaphysics and ontology and it is grounded in the teachings of the Qur’an and Hadith, using the outer as well as the inner meanings. The Prophet of Islam (pbuh) has said that the Qur’an contains an external meaning and seven layers of internal meanings. These inner meanings form the light that can be shone upon the true structures of man's personality/ego, exposing a profound reality that extends beyond our mere perception of it.

Generally speaking, the various schools of psychology have one goal and purpose in mind: to help a psychologically unhealthy individual to become more functional and better adjusted according to the norms of a given society. It is assumed that the completion of this process will result in 'happiness'. From a spiritual perspective, even a well adjusted person still perceives his personality to be 'real' and often remains unconscious to his soul and spirit. This apparent reality causes inner turmoil and anxiety since it is not the true reality. Sufi psychology, which existed long before the onset of modern psychology, goes beyond the treatment of neuroses and dysfunctions and also addresses the psychological and spiritual health of people and moves them to the point where a state of higher consciousness is possible. It is only in the state of higher consciousness and/or God consciousness that an individual can move out of conflicts of ego personality and experience inner balance, harmony and peace. Therefore, Sufi psychology also directs itself to society as a whole such that dealing with the sickness and inner turmoil of the individual can provide an arena for going beyond and into what is called in Sufi terminology the perfection which every organism (both individual and society) is capable of reaching.

In both psychology and spirituality, the first step requires the recognition that one is unhealthy. For example, a person could be quite neurotic without acknowledging it, and therefore continue his neurotic thought patterns and behaviours whilst believing that he is alright, and that it is other people who have a problem. Similarly, a person may be totally out of touch with Reality, perceiving this life to be the only reality, with no connection with his spiritual aspect, and existing in complete self/ego absorption, unaware of the fact that he is what is often called a 'lost soul'. Sufi psychology addresses the psychological as well as spiritual issues and facilitates the ultimate goal in which the individual can proceed down a path of self realisation and spiritual unfoldment. Sufi psychology provides the means to discover who we are, where we are going and what the purpose of our life's journey is.

Spiritual psychology in general, and Sufi psychology in particular, are concerned not only with this life and the function of the self within it, but also in the hereafter. They are concerned with both the descending and ascending journey of the soul, and evoke continuing knowledge of before and after the ego development, and methods of achieving the ultimate state of higher consciousness that human being is capable of achieving. This is after all, what real self-transformation is all about - the journey from the self to the Ultimate Self which is the doorway to God-Consciousness.

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For further information contact the
Australian Centre for Sufism and Irfanic Studies (ACS)
Phone: (02) 9955 SUFI (7834)
or email: acs@australiansuficentre.org

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