Lover: exploring Sufi concepts of love and death in psychotherapy
In Sufism (Islamic mysticism), one needs to be in love to enter the path of spiritual actualization, for love is said to be the primary way to break free from the chains of the 'ego.' To do this, one must release one's conditions and fully accept the self. After which, one might comprehend the unity of existence, which results in 'ego death,' the end of the thought of 'I' as a separate being. In this process, love and death are intertwined in an unrelenting embrace, each triggering the other, ending in an eternal state of being where all is experienced as 'one.' As such, the Sufi is the ultimate Lover, and in the process of becoming, one realizes that one already is and has always been Love. In this journey, auto-ethnography and fiction blur the Magic and the Real to form a medium for literature-based research to blend with the colours of lived experience. Here, I suggest an alternative perspective of the self to inspire greater spirituality in dominant therapeutic approaches. As Sufi concepts of love and death are explored, the relationship between these concepts will depict a release of collective conditions, related judgments, and emotions as a healing process. The extent one can integrate what emerges from the inquiry into person-centred literature on the self and psychotherapy is considered; suggestions are made for a Sufi inspired therapeutic avenue.