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The goal of this couse is Moral Healing (muruwah) through the Greater Struggle (jihad al-akbar). There are many practices and methods developed in traditional society to morally heal but the major one upon which the Sufi Enneagram or Sign of the Presence of God (wajh Allah) rests is that of the greater struggle and this is what we will be pursuing through a series of 27 lectures. The struggle, when undertaken in the Sign of God's Presence can lead, in a sense, to the realization of our "self" as a work of God's art.
The process of the greater struggle involves learning to relate to the Reality, the Truth, the Supreme Being, God (Theoethics) and nature in all of its divinely created form in a balanced and fair way. This learning process begins by knowing who we are, knowing "self", and becoming conscious of our "place" in the universe. Beginning with the "self", we will learn the importance of using reason to control our desires (Psychoethics); then the use of balanced reasoning in our relations with others (Socioethics) and in our relation to Reality (Theoethics). At the level of Psychoethics, it means to be centered; it means we are able to use a balanced reason to control our "passions". At the level of Socioethics it means as spiritual warriors we deal with others in a fair and just manner, putting others and their needs before our own needs. In regard to our relationship with Reality, it means "to put things in their proper place", "to accept Reality as Trust-Giver and we as trustee".
When we operate on these three levels in the manner described, and are confirmed by others for our sense of fairness, we have won the greater struggle for Moral Healing. Through Moral Healing we learn to assume the Most Beautiful Names, qualities through which the One God manifests Self. Learning that the One God is the Merciful, the Compassionate, the Forgiving, the Acceptor of Repentance and so forth, empowers us to rise above nature and nurture - whatever the obstacles may be - in the greater struggle to morally heal the self. In other words, nothing precludes victory in this greater struggle except God's Will. If we were to say to ourself, "God is Just. I am among His people. He has given me the possibility of becoming His trustee of nature. He wants me to earn that trusteeship. To earn it, I have to morally heal by undertaking the greater struggle so that my society can morally heal", we have heard the Call.
The ethical response is to learn to read the Signs according to the Quran, "We shall show them Our Signs upon the horizons and within themselves until it is clear to them that it is the Real (the Truth)", (41:53) because this leads to the experiential knowledge of God's Presence. Learning to read the Signs is part of the duties and obligations of being His trustee of nature, including our "self", and is a responsibility that moral healers attain.
Our shortcomings may include a simple moral imbalance like jealousy or a compound imbalance, according to the DSM (The Diagnostical and Statistical Manual used by counselors and psychotherapists) like anxiety or mood disorder. It may also be a personality disorder. Whatever the imbalance, traditional psychology provides ways of diagnosis and, in many cases, treatment. Additionally, current methods of treatment based on the same model are also considered.
One of the most important basic instincts that we will also address is that of identification by providing the traditional model for attaining Moral Goodness, which is Spiritual Chivalry. We will learn its goals as well as models and its stages and practices. Further exploration into the battleground of the greater struggle will take us into Moral Goodness (muruwah) - trying to subdue and control the passions by strengthening reason which, in turn, requires the strengthening of our conscience and free will.
Simultaneously, as the final purpose of this course is to attain balance and fairness, we also need to learn how to control and moderate reason. This is done by learning to read the Signs. While noting that each and every aspect of the universe is a Sign of God's Presence under God's universal guidance (takwini), and that there are also the Signs (ayat) of God's revelation which are called tashrii guidance - like verses of the Quran - there are also Signs in the created art forms that are part of tradition - those that contain the "idea of Center" and the "idea of Origin". The art form particular to us in the context of Moral Healing is the Sign of God's Presence or the Sufi Enneagram. As traditional art, it embodies the science of numbers, letters and geometry. It corresponds to the sciences of alchemy, astrology, cosmology and balance, traditional medicine and psychology and to traditional art and architecture.
We will learn of these correspondences as well as how the Sign of God's Presence is used in greater struggle to morally heal based on the model of traditional or monotheistic psychology. In order to do this, we will look at the various components of the Sign of God's Presence in the Macrocosm and the Microcosmic self. Understanding the Macrocosmic correspondence will take us through the concept of space as manifested in traditional architecture where we will also look at correspondences with the arts and sciences of traditional astrology, balance, cosmology, music, medicine and psychology. We will then explore the shape of the Sign of God's Presence and how it relates to the traditional sciences of architecture, numbers, geometry, and Arabic letters; the surface and color of the Sign of God's Presence and its correspondences with traditional architecture, the art of miniature and the concept of mirror; with the concept of color that it innately holds and how that relates to alchemy; the concept of matter and the Sign of God's Presence and how it corresponds with traditional medicine; and how all of these concepts in the Sign of God's Presence relate to traditional, monotheistic psychology looking at the dynamics of the system.
This course of 27 Lectures is divided into four parts. Part I: The Greater Struggle begins with an introduction to the greater struggle and further develops the morphology of concepts of both the Sign of God's Presence and its integration with that of traditional psychology.
Lecture 1: The Morphology of Concepts
Lecture 2: The Concept of Space
Lecture 3: The Concept of Shape
Lecture 4: The Concept of Surface and Color
Lecture 5: The Concept of Matter
Lecture 6: Dynamics
Part II: Turning Toward God goes deeper into the phenomenon of spiritual chivalry discussing the goal and spiritual models, spiritual states and practices, moral reasonableness: passions vs. reason; and imbalanced reason and learning to read the Signs with illustrations from the Sign of God's Presence and traditional psychology. In this part the emphasis is on reason ruling over our passions but a reason that itself must be balanced.
Lecture 7: Traditional Psychology
Lecture 8: The Goal
Lecture 9: Spiritual Models
Lecture 10: Spiritual States
Lecture 11: Spiritual Practices
Lecture 12: Moral Goodness or Reasonableness: Passions vs. Reason
Lecture 13: Imbalanced Reason and Learning to Read the Signs
Part III: The Healing Work is the core of moral healing and the greater struggle. Moral healing works on two basic principles: preventing the development of vices (nahy an al-munkar) and commanding to virtues (amr bil maruf) in all three major areas of the self: how we think, how we act and how we feel. We begin with preventing the development of simple vices, and then how to manage compound imbalances and personality disorders using the Sign of God's Presence as it relates to traditional psychology. We end this part with learning how to command ourself to the three major virtues: wisdom, courage and temperance so that if we win the battle in the greater struggle, a sense of justice and fairness will be born that we will manifest it in our relations to self, others, and God.
Lecture 14: The Healing Work
Lecture 15: Simple Imbalances: Preventing the Development of Vices in How We Think
Lecture 16: Simple Imbalances: Preventing the Development of Vices in How We Act
Lecture 17: Simple Imbalances: Preventing the Development of Vices in How We Feel
Lecture 18: Compound Imbalances and Healing Techniques
Lecture 19: Commanding to the Good Through Acquiring Wisdom
Lecture 20: Commanding to the Good Through Acquiring Courage
Lecture 21: Commanding to the Good Through Acquiring Temperance
Part IV: Moving Toward Intuition is the next stage of the spiritual struggle where we see how as morally healed we relate to God through theoethics, gaining knowledge of His 99 Most Beautiful Names. We then examine how our individual sense of fairness and justice can be manifested in our relations to others through socioethics. Finally, we examine the spiritual heart (unveiled because of our victory in the greater struggle), the instrument of intuition.
Lecture 22: Theoethics 1: Forty-nine of God's Most Beautiful Names
Lecture 23: Theoethics 2: Fifty of God's Most Beautiful Names
Lecture 24: Socioethics and Wisdom
Lecture 25: Socioethics and Courage
Lecture 26: Socioethics and Temperance
Lecture 27: Moving Forward with the Spiritual Heart as Instrument of Intuition
Each lecture is followed by an exercise(s) which is either a mnemonic device or an important part of adab or manners in regard to our prayer rug, for example. Each student is asked to practice the exercise from the time they finish one lecture until they begin the next and to keep a record in their diary about how well they succeeded. This diary, then, is their final exam.
Students who successfully pass through the course will receive a certificate from the Institute of Traditional Psychology that certifies that the student successfully completed the Institute of Traditional Psychology's Course on Moral Healing.
The student may take each part separately. The cost for each part is $100.00. We accept visa or mastercard or you can mail in a check or money order. The certificate, however, is only given to those who complete the entire course - i.e. $400.00.
This course on the Sufi Enneagram is essentially the journey of the Monotheist who holds the world view "there is no god, but God" or "there is no deity, but God". It is to see the universe and all that is in it as aspects of the One God. The world view of Monotheism (tawhid) forms the underlying basis for traditional psychology, in general, and its personality paradigm, in particular. The Monotheist (hanif) regards the whole universe as a unity, as a single form, a single living and conscious thing, possessing will, intelligence, feeling, and purpose, revolving in a just and orderly system in which there is no discrimination no matter what one's gender, color, race, class, or faith be. All comes from God and returns to God. A polytheist (mushrik), on the other hand, views the universe as a discordant assemblage full of disunity, contradiction, and heterogeneity containing many independent and conflicting poles, unconnected desires, customs, purposes, wills, sexes, sects, colors, races, classes, and faiths.
The Monotheistic world view sees the universal unity in existence, a unity of three separate relationships: our "self" and God, our "self" and nature, including other human beings, and the our "self" with our "self". These relationships are not alien to one another; there are no boundaries between them. They move in the same direction. Some other religious world views see the Divinity or even the plural of the Supreme Being as existing in a special, metaphysical world of the gods, a higher world as contrasted with the lower world of nature and matter. Other religions teach that God is separate from the world, created it and then left it alone. In the Monotheistic world view, God has never left and is the goal of our return to our Center, Origin. Here we fear only one Power and are answerable to only one Judge; turn to one direction (qiblah), directing all hopes and desires to only one Source.
A belief in Monotheism gives us a sense of independence and liberation from everything other than God and a connectedness to the universe and all that it contains. Submission to God's Will alone liberates us from worshipping anything other than God and from rebelling against God.