Some Realities of Islamic Healing
How it works
Firstly, all praise is due to Allah, who, by the nature of his grace and mercy to mankind, has created an environment in which mankind can prosper and heal the wounds of his birth in pain. His reality is slowly dawning and the self-isolating consequences of evil, stinginess, greed and oppression are slowly becoming evident and obvious. This awareness is not just occurring to the psychologically astute and the so-called advantaged class, but is also obvious to the religiously educated and also to the poor and oppressed, many of whom would prefer to shoulder the responsibilities of their stations in life that the consequences of being among their ignorant and fearful oppressors. It is however, the responsibility of the able among the psychologically and spiritually aware to share their knowledge, and it is being done. As their awareness increases, so does the awareness of the masses, because they are establishing learning and teaching networks wherever they go, and their learning and teaching is increasing exponentially because of the valid and life-affirming nature of their interests and activities. Indeed Allah rewards and increases the reward of those who would do good; and the power of evil is by its very defeatist and self-defeating nature, decreasing, all appearances and threats to the contrary notwithstanding.
That being said and done, the credit truly belongs to the Divine, who puts people in difficult circumstances that, by comparison, they may learn to appreciate the benefits to be had from a faithful, peaceful, godly and goodly life. And it is through the appreciation for this life that our gratitude grows and through gratitude comes increase and further devotion.
A life devoted to good works, constructive activities and heavenly education is truly what people are seeking, and once provided through proper spiritual orientation, becomes sufficient and all-consuming enough to create the moment by moment guidance that trusting, believing people need in order to feel constructive and perpetuate their lives in a meaningful and beneficent manner.
And what better work is there than bringing this selfsame faith and positive orientation to others in need? The current difficulty with this ideology is that teachers are teaching by rote what they do not fully embody or encompass within themselves and by heart. By rote and by heart. When the same teachings that often become controversial creating doubt and conflict are put forth by a teacher of heart, the success of the astute students is guaranteed. But when the teachings are perpetuated by rote, the personal issues of the students and the teachers are not cleared and therefore still present and the personal agendas get in the way, inevitably causing distortion and misunderstanding which then becomes the central issue and conflict of interpretation arises. It is due to the differences of unclarity that conflicts arise, because in the reality of clarity, there is clearly no conflict at all. And that's the state to which we wish arrival, and from which we wish our students to teach.
It is by the very nature of the divine increase of good that the faithful become powerful healers in any and all walks of life. Because we are willing to acquire and sow the genuine seed of peace and spiritual power, the seed then must grow by the very nature of the water that the divine sends down. (rain=rahmah). Plant the seed and it will grow but the seeds must themselves be fertile and this means that they must themselves have come from the fertile fields of practical reality. And by that we mean the hearts with which the minds are in tune and to which are subservient, not the other way around. It is the prevalent belief that enslaving the heart and body to the mind, often referred to as "training", is the way to the achievement of goal oriented success, but our life-experience is proving that such successes are transitory and of no lasting value or fulfillment. Also becoming evident is that the other way around, as difficult and improbable as it may seem, is actually the way to lasting success. When the mind actually understands and surrenders to the heart, it becomes evident that there is sufficient peace and love to go all the way around the world many times over, actually encompassing and embracing all of humanity in the divinely expanded self.
But in order for this wonderful transformation to occur one must pass through, with peace and surrender, the chambers of one's own demons and fears, and this is never easy. It is for that purpose that help is actually sent, in the form of divine messengers and guides, that the folk may find their way out of the darknesses of their own personal illusion and into the light of the reality of infinite divine mercy, love and compassion. Those who accept this help reap the benefit and reward of their choice, as do those who, for some personal reason and fears of their own, choose to refuse it for the time being.
It is promised by the ultimate destiny of mankind that all shall soon come to know, and that there is nothing unforgivable other than the obstinate refusal to surrender and accept the grace and mercy of forgiveness itself. But for the time it is the duty and love of them who understand this principle, the principle of spiritual transformation through surrendering the mind to the heart, to do their best to pass it on, and it is in this spirit that I write this treatise on the nature and efficacy of spiritual transformation as the means to free and heal those who were previously enslaved by the darknesses of birth. Such is the true nature of genuine surrender and Islamic healing. And it is not the exclusive property of Islamic healing, being also adequately represented by the spiritualists and mystic healers of all faiths and paths. However, it has been my experience that there is no earlier faith or path that cannot benefit from and be strengthened by the additional understanding and methods brought by the newest faith on the planet which adds to and confirms what is true and useful, and sets straight and corrects that which has, by the very nature of man's sincere efforts, gone astray.
All the reading and writing in the world can only confirm the existence of this transformational potential in the being of mankind, but cannot actually bring it about. It requires the actual catalytic presence of the transformed being in order to authentically verify the discovery and strengthening of this potential. It is for this reason that these precious beings, many of whom prefer to remain wrapped in the veils of anonymity, are considered so valuable and sought by the seekers of wisdom. And, because the time has come, their numbers are, thankfully, increasing moment by moment and exponentially. It is for this reason that the faithful have faith. It is not simply in blind trust, although that in itself is not to be disparaged, but by the observation of the actual reality of the growth of spiritual awareness and strength that is occurring all around us. All it takes is a shift in personal attitude toward spiritual awareness in order to perceive its growth.
The Whole-Way House
The Islamic Way to Spiritual Fulfillment
through Residential Healing and Education
The proposal is that if there were, and there is, a plan for successful healing of "re-entry" individuals, it would be enthusiastically and generously funded, because up 'til now, the plans that are or have been funded have delivered even slightly less than fully satisfying results, being only partially successful in the supposed battle against recidivism. So here's where I'd like to throw in my two-cents.
As many people know already, it is not a battle against a negative that wins the battle, but a struggle for the accomplishment of the positive. It is the common opinion of Muslims that with only a partial deck of cards available, only partial results will ensue. In short, this means that the faith and practices of Islam, as well as religion and spirituality in general, must be included, at least as options, in any plan hopeful of true success. It has been written by serious governmental think tanks that the influences of the moderate and progressive Muslims and Sufis must be included, encouraged and supported in order to truly win the battle against terror, and this conclusion holds even more true on the personal levels of winning the battles against our inner terrors that drive us to self-hatred manifesting as crime and other violent, antisocial and self-destructive behaviors.
I'm sure that many of the plans are truly adequate but that certain elements, not so easily come by, have simply not been available. But humanity is progressing toward its inevitable destiny, and new discoveries and practicalities are being embraced on a daily, moment by moment basis. There are several aspects to what I deem to be a 'complete' plan, and I'm sure that other folks with even more experience in this field will have much to add to it in order to 'flesh it out' so to speak. So rather than reiterate or attempt to devise a complete plan on my own, I'd like these fundamental elements to be thoroughly grasped and incorporated into the basic plans already implemented, partially successful and seeking improvement, since, in my opinion, without these elements a successful plan is not complete.
First, a genuine residential plan that is full to the brim with the three essential elements of genuine healing and education - 1. A full spiritual education curriculum, 2. A full philosophical education, 3. Daily practices that work and become wholesomely addictive.
Let me break that down even further.
1. for people of any religious persuasion or none at all, a basic education in the fundamentals of religious teaching is necessary so that personal choices are made, concerning the acceptance or rejection of various religious persuasions, with a full deck of cards, i.e. a complete understanding of the information. This will avoid the possibility of choices made from prejudice and expand the spiritual possibilities and wisdom potential of the residents. This is not as difficult as it might seem to some, who envision four years of study in a college of comparative religion. When explained in a simple and commonly accepted context, it does not take an astute and willing student a long time to grasp the fundamentals. And for those who've already decided on a course of religious or spiritual study, the essential materials will be available. By that I mean a well stocked library of religious classics and spiritual teachings for use by the residents and day students. So much for number one.
2. available materials for philosophical education would be the classics of the various medical and spiritual philosophies such as the Nei Ching, classics of Chinese medicine - the idea would be that after spending sufficient time in personal study and self rehabilitation, there would be scholarships for interested student to pursue their interests into professional education and practice. Understanding the philosophies of health, diet and longevity would ensure the spiritual security of the students, from which point the underlying insecurities that motivated them to inappropriate or antisocial behaviors would be eradicated, leaving no further cause for the continuation of such behavior.
3. Daily practices would include those of the particular faith or discipline pursued by the student, and include prayer, yoga, meditation, self-contemplation, cooking and healing, not to mention any of the vocational interests that can be provided by many outside contributors. Journaling and the writing of life histories will be encouraged, but most of all the sciences of health, spiritual rejuvenation and knowledge itself will be the foundations of feeling good and being able to pass it on, causing an upliftment of spirits wherever these students may choose to go and in whatever vocation they choose to pursue.
The perpetuity of a truly successful system would be guaranteed if only it is started in the right way. In my opinion, there are very few people with the specific background and interest to be able to do this, but in order to start it, it only takes one. This method is not at all new in the Islamic world and will be supported by Sufis and genuine `ulamaa (scholars) the world over. This model has been implemented in many ancient as well as contemporary Sufi orders. It is the infusion of education into healing, and health sciences into education. Even though the Sufi way is the most prevalent and certifiable of these contemporary implementations, it is not limited to them, being implemented by the spiritual teachers of all faiths, and considered to be, even by the Sufis, quite universal in application and not at all sectarian. This means that even though we are Muslims and some Sufis actually doing the work, the students and residents would be under no obligation to accept the belief pattern of the teachers, even though its acceptance might be recognized as highly beneficial and chosen as the way of choice due to its efficacy and the examples set by the mentors.
It is the belief of this writer that the facts, when presented objectively and without personal bias, are sufficient to speak for themselves and that people, when presented with them in such a manner, are capable of discovering what works for them without undue force or persuasion. In other words, this way will work for Muslims and non-muslims alike, and is guaranteed to open the doors to a gentle productive, happy and rewarding life. Such is our faith that we feel no need to inflict it on others, simply presenting them with a curriculum of varied interests will be enough.
Any residential program with a truly trained Muslim Spiritual Healer at its head is bound to reap success. And even more, the model will be perpetuated by at least a few of the students who will take the special training necessary to carry on the work. All graduate will be allowed full access to resources and periods of return, for further education, rejuvenation and recharge.
And what do I mean by truly trained Muslim Spiritual Healer? In the work that I have learned to do, using the benefits gained from the practices that develop mindfulness and insight, it becomes easier to see into the root of the emotional and psycho-spiritual difficulties of the residents, which simplifies explanation, self-understanding and forgiveness. This creates a feeling of genuine trust. When the students learn to trust the teacher, they innately learn to trust that part of themselves that is responsive to the teacher and to their own needs.
The books and practitioners of now common psycho-spiritual healing are numerous, mostly and many stemming from the works of C.G. Jung, and branching into the modern world of enlightenment like a large and spacious tree. The particular flavor brought to the work by the Muslims in general and the OICO in particular is a truly integrated approach to the questions of universality that the presence of Islam in the United States seems to raise.
The financial plan is quite simple and already established. It's a model based on simple room and board. Residents will be supported by themselves or whatever program is sponsoring them. After a course of simple spiritual healing and participation in the life of the house/campus itself, the realization of the means to a life of peace will become evident and the desire to participate in it will increase. This is called the love of life and is radically different from the hatred and rejection that breeds contempt for others and the desire to self destruct.
The curriculum of each participant will be determined by mutual consultation and interest. With the proper resources at our disposal, there will be no paucity of reformative, rehabilitative activities, and with the special emphasis on, personal health, self realization and spiritual stability and healing education, the true and genuine love of life and peace will be instilled. A true Islam implies a constructive spiritual stability that is non-antagonistic and consoling to all peoples of all faiths. In this respect it is perfect for the innate nature of the American people, most of whom are naturally behaving according to the human principles of love and constructive cooperation so inescapable in our lives.
The financing of a sufficient campus depends upon the faith and generosity of the supporters of this program.