The purpose of the Sufi Healing Order is to awaken humanity to a greater realization of the power of the Divine Spirit to heal, thus to bring about a better state of physical, mental and spiritual health, and so to fulfill the law of God. The basic principle of the Sufi Healing Order is that the soul is the Divine Breath: it purifies, revivifies and heals the instrument through which it functions.
The Sufi Healing Order is one of the five concentration activities of the Inayati Order. The Healing Order secretariat describes it as “an international spiritual order dedicated to nurturing and developing the spiritual healing ministry in our time.” This is an initiatory path which may be entered with or without initiation in the Inayati Order. Visit the Sufi Healing Order website at www.sufihealingorder.org for more information.
The major activity of the Sufi Healing Order is the Healing Class and Circle, held in Rochester once a month, usually on the third Thursday at 7:30 pm and is part of the Core Curriculum. The Healing Class presents teachings related to spiritual healing and the Healing Service is a prayer ceremony which prepares participants to share healing energy. The names of those who ask to receive these prayers are read during the ceremony. Names may be submitted only with the permission of the subject. The service is open to Healing Order initiates and to sincere inquirers. The Healing Service is generally preceeded by readings, discussions and practices relevant to healing. The Sufi Order of Rochester Healing Order activities are coordinated by Wadud Henry Cretella, along with those ordained or training as Healing Conductors.
(click here) to contact Wadud for more information.
Spiritual retreat is an important part of spiritual development in this path. The Sufi Healing Order offers individual and group retreat experiences that can provide deep healing opportunities. Retreat offers the retreatant the opportunity to leave the world of everyday responsibility and focus on the process of inner healing. One need not be an initiate of the Inayati Order to take a retreat in this tradition. Retreat guides will customize the healing retreat experience to the needs and orientation of the retreatant. There are a variety of opportunities available for one who wishes to make a healing retreat, including retreat centers at the Abode of the Message (New Lebanon, NY) and at Light on the Hill (Van Etten, NY). Locally, healing retreats are available at the Garden of Peace, guided by certified Healing Retreat Guides Wadud Cretella and zaynab FitzPatrick. Other retreat guides are available in the community, as well.
COMPASSION AND SELF-COMPASSION: essential for healers
I have always said that a healer must take care of him/herself first in order to best care for others. Many health professionals are temperamentally “Fixers” and “Pleasers” and sometimes will put their own priorities last. Girls in our society are often socialized to be “Givers” more than boys are, and encouraged to help others first, even if it’s to their own disadvantage. This is changing in the 21st century but not fast enough.
With the findings of quantum physics about the interconnectedness of the universe, with the world’s globalizing economy, and also with global problems of climate change increasing annually, recognizing the common humanity and interconnectedness of people is increasing. We must all have compassion for others, for our precious planet, and for ourselves.
All the great world’s secular traditions and religions have included kindness, compassion and love as precepts for living a good life. Compassion means having kind and loving thoughts for another’s happiness and well-being (including their physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health) whether or not they are suffering — and for yourself, in self-compassion.
Sometimes people find it hard to do self-care, to believe they deserve happiness, to receive love. Some have harsh superegos, judging themselves, comparing themselves to other people, being afraid of failure. Underlying all this is the potential for mindful awareness and the potential for creating or recognizing love and kindness. As previously mentioned, care of oneself is the precondition for being kind to others in the best way and for healing. One must accept, acknowledge and enjoy the goodness in oneself.
Science is finding biological roots of compassion. One component may be the Vagus nerve, one of the cranial nerves which affects many parts of the body and influences the parasympathetic branch of the autonomic nervous system. The parasympathetic system slows heart rate, and influences digestion, speech, sexual behavior, and nurturing behavior. The Polyvagal theory suggests that the vagus nerve is involved in social affiliation, empathy, sympathy and compassion. Studies have shown this. It affects how you handle feelings evoked by others’ suffering and whether or not you’ll feel motivated to help
There are three main components of self-compassion:
1. Mindfulness (being aware of your suffering);
2. We share common humanity: we all fail and suffer
3. We can be kind to ourselves
PRACTICE: SELF-COMPASSION BREAK: recognize a moment of suffering and bring kindness to yourself.
Pick a challenge in your body, medical or non-serious like muscle aches, for example. Recognize this is a moment of suffering. Put your hands across your heart, feel self-compassion, repeating “May I be kind to myself” for a couple of minutes. This is not to get rid of pain, rather to meet it with kindness because it’s a struggle. Then take your hands off your heart area. You can return to this practice any time.
ASK YOURSELF THIS QUESTION: What would it feel like to not need anything to be any different in this moment? (There is no particular answer.)
ASK YOURSELF: In the presence of suffering, could I have enough clarity of mind to ask myself “What do I need?”
PRACTICE: COMPASSION MEDITATION (adapted from Sharon Salzburg)
1. Appreciate your own goodness. Think of things you’ve done out of good-heartedness and take joy in those memories
2. In silence, think some phrases asking what you want most for yourself. Examples:
* May I have Mental Happiness (or Peace or Joy);
* May I live in safety;
* May I have physical happiness (or Health or Freedom from Pain); <>
* Or choose any other phrases that work for you.
3. Do one phrase at a time, repeating it slowly in a gentle rhythm
4. If your mind wanders, bring your attention back to repeating the phrases with no judgment or criticism.
5. After a few minutes, visualize yourself in the center of a circle surrounded by people who have been kind to you or who have loved you and given you inspiration. Feel yourself receiving their attention and love.
6. Then let the circle dissolve, and keep repeating the phrases for a few more minutes.
7. You may find that you slowly transform your old critical relationship with yourself to one more filled with loving-kindness towards yourself.
And you may find that your healing activities for others or for the world increase and give you a better sense of your purpose in doing them.
PRACTICE: YA MUID (moo-eed’)(restoration)-YA MUHYI (moo-hee’ with guttural h)(regeneration). This is a Sufi healing practice to return to the pristine state and heal, making things better than they were before. Can do 11 times out loud, 11 times silently inhaling Muid, exhaling Muhyi.
Thank you Alia Eileen Yager
The Sufi Order of Rochester Center for Sufi Studies, 494 East Avenue, Rochester, NY 14607, the Carriage House behind the AAUW mansion (Carriage House is 492).