Balance and Harmony
The Ninth Annual Sufism Symposium was held in Bellevue, Washington on Memorial Day weekend, 2002. As in previous years, Sufism Panel Forum held a panel discussion on spirituality and psychology on Friday afternoon. The theme of the panel was Balance and Harmony, as was the Symposium. Three of the four panelists this year were from the local Seattle area. Rahamana Lynn Larkin, MSW is psychotherapist, a student of Sufism, and a core member of SPF. Her talk, entitled "Achieving Balance and Harmony" focused on the spiritual practices of purifying nafs, as understood in Sufism.
Jeffrey L. Eaton, LMHC, also a local psychotherapist focused on the relationship between Buddhism and psychoanalysis in a talk entitled From nowhere to now-here. From his perspective, meeting psychological pain with mindful awareness brings us into a state of presence in the here and now that allows us to grow.
Ron Greeley, M.A., is a Seattle area professional coach and psychotherapist. He recommended a six part-practice for being in the world in a state of harmonious action. These included focused Intention; Desire, which motivates change; Commitment to stay connected to intention and desire, Decision to act in the world; Remembering to return to ones commitment when distracted; and Sitting, the capacity to stay with oneself through ones experience.
The fourth panelist , SPF co-director, Amineh Amelia Pryor Ph.D., focused on "Inner Jihad,", the struggle to achieve balance and harmony by overcoming the lower nafs, thereby finding Unity in experiencing the Divine within.
It was very interesting to discover the continuity of themes between the four presentations, despite the diversity of traditions and disciplines represented. Each panelist recognized that the experience of harmony depended upon an inner effort toward self-knowledge and a connection with a spiritual principle that went beyond the limited manifestations of the individual personality.
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