Fundamental to Sufism is the unity of all of creation. Traditionally, this has been referred to as absolute reality and absolute being. Under the guidance of a Master, the path (tariqat) in Sufism is described as the journey the initiate travels to reach the ultimate goal of “perfection.”
In two articles on Psychoanalysis and Sufism, Javad Nurbakhsh, MD, Sufi Master and psychiatrist, writes that the state of perfection cannot be described from the perspective of the intellect. It is an experience of unity, of becoming one with God. He goes on to say that in order to be qualified as a novice on the path the aspirant must be both mentally and physically mature and healthy. He suggests that some seekers may have to undergo treatment and that psychoanalysis could be of assistance. Although, due to social and economic pressures traditional psychoanalytic treatment has been comparatively rare. Contemporary psychoanalysis and psychotherapies of all descriptions and schools have become part of the social fabric of western society. In writing this article I set out to highlight the Sufi practice of self-examination (muhasiba), and look at the role of contemporary psychoanalysis as one of the ways that may help to facilitate this. Buy the current issue to read the entire article.
artwork ©Elena Ray