Journal of Religion and Health

, Volume 51, Issue 4, pp 1202–1215 | Cite as

Mevlana Jalāl-ad-Dīn Rumi and Mindfulness

Original Paper

Abstract

The use of mindfulness-related methods for the treatment of a variety of psychological, somatic and interpersonal problems has increased dramatically in the last decade. Almost all mindfulness-based therapies include the practice of meditation in addition to various cognitive and/or behavioral techniques. The source of inspiration for mindfulness has traditionally been Buddhism, while Islamic thought has not been present in this development despite the similarities in philosophy and a growing need for mental health support among Muslim populations throughout the world. It is in this context that Sufism and especially Rumi’s teachings seem to be promising both in terms of research on consciousness and in terms of culturally sensitive methods of healing. The aim of the present article is to highlight the commonality of mindfulness-based therapies and Rumi’s religious philosophy. Introducing concepts, images and metaphors based on Rumi’s universe can constitute a meaningful alternative to Buddhist-inspired practices in the transcultural clinic, especially in encounters with clients with Muslim background.

Keywords

Mindfulness Transcultural Psychotherapy Rumi Sufism Meditation 

References

  1. Atran, S. (2002). Neuro-theology: Brain, science, spirituality & religious experience. California: University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Baer, R. A. (2003). Mindfulness training as a clinical intervention: A conceptual and empirical review. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 10(2), 125–143.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Baer, R. A., Hopkins, J., Krietemeyer, J., Smith, G. T., & Toney, L. (2006). Using self-report assessment methods to explore facets of mindfulness. Assessment, 13(1), 27–45.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bremner, J. D. (2007). Neuroimaging in posttraumatic stress disorder and other stress-related disorders. Neuroimaging Clinics of North America, 17(4), 523–538.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Brown, K. W., Ryan, R. M., & Creswell, J. D. (2007). Mindfulness: Theoretical foundations and evidence for its salutary effects. Psychological Inquiry, 18, 211–237.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Cahn, B. R., & Polich, J. (2006). Meditation states and traits: EEG, ERP, and neuroimaging studies. Psychological Bulletin, 132, 180–211.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1975). Beyond boredom and anxiety. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  8. Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1990). The psychology of optimal experience. New York: Harper & Row.Google Scholar
  9. D’Aquili, E., & Newberg, A. B. (1998). The neuropsychological basis of religions, or why God won’t go away. Zygon, 33, 187–201.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Davidson, R. J. (2003). Affective neuroscience and psychophysiology: Toward a synthesis. Psychophysiology, 40(5), 655–665.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Douglas-Klotz, N. (2002). The key in the dark: Self and soul transformation in the Sufi tradition. In S. G. Mijares (Ed.), Modern psychology and ancient wisdom. NY: Haworth Press.Google Scholar
  12. Eco, U., & Weaver, W. (1998). Serendipities: Language and lunacy. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  13. Elsass, P. (in press). Buddhistisk psykologi. Copenhagen: Dansk Psykologisk Forlag.Google Scholar
  14. Friedlander, S. (1992). The whirling dervishes: An account of the Sufi order known as the Mevlevis and its founder the poet and mystic Mevlana Jalalu'ddin Rumi. New York: State University of New York Press.Google Scholar
  15. Froggett, L. (2001). From rights to recognition: Mental health and spiritual healing among older Pakistanis. Psychoanalytic Studies, 3, 2.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Greeley, A. M. (1989). Religious change in America. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  17. Gutierrez, O., Luciano, C., & Fink, B. C. (2004). Comparison between an acceptance-based and a cognitive-control-based protocol for coping with pain. Behavior Therapy, 35, 767–784.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hayes, S. C., & Plumb, J. C. (2007). Mindfulness from the bottom up: Providing an inductive framework for understanding mindfulness processes and their application to human suffering. Psychological Inquiry, 18(4), 242–248.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Hayes, S. C., Strosahl, K., & Wilson, K. G. (1999). Acceptance and commitment therapy: An experiential approach to behavior change. New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  20. Helminski, K. (2000). The knowing heart: A Sufi path of transformation. Boston: Shambhala.Google Scholar
  21. Ivanovski, B., & Malhi, G. S. (2007). The psychological and neurophysiological concomitants of mindfulness forms of meditation. Acta Neuropsychiatrica, 19, 76–91.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Izutsu, T. (1983). Sufism and Taoism: A comparative study of key philosophical concepts. University of California Press.Google Scholar
  23. Kabat-Zinn, J. (1990). Full catastrophe living: Using the wisdom of your body and mind to face stress, pain and illness. New York: Delacorte.Google Scholar
  24. Kabat-Zinn, J. (2003). Mindfulness-based interventions in context: Past, present and future. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 10, 144–156.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Kilic, C. (2010). Posttraumatic growth in the Turkish population. In T. Weiss & R. Berger (Eds.), Posttraumatic growth and culturally competent practice. NY: Wiley.Google Scholar
  26. Lamprecht, R., & LeDoux, J. (2004). Structural plasticity and memory. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 5, 45–54.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Lazar, S. W., Kerr, C. E., Wasserman, R. H., Gray, J. R., Greve, D. N., Treadway, M. T., et al. (2000). Meditation experience is associated with increased cortical thickness. Neuroreport, 16(17), 1581–1585.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Leary, M. R., & Tate, E. B. (2007). The multi-faceted nature of mindfulness. Psychological Inquiry, 18(4), 251–255.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Lewis, F. D. (2000). Rumi: Past and present, east and west: The life, teaching and poetry of Jalal al-Din Rumi. Oxford: Oneworld.Google Scholar
  30. Linehan, M. (1993). Cognitive-behavioral treatment of borderline personality disorder. New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  31. Linehan, M. (1994). Acceptance and change: The central dialectic in psychotherapy. In S. C. Hayes, N. S. Jacobson, V. M. Follette, & M. J. Dougher (Eds.), Acceptance and change: Content and context in psychotherapy. Reno, NV: Context Press.Google Scholar
  32. Martin, J. R. (1997). Mindfulness: A proposed common factor. Journal of Psychotherapy Integration, 7, 291–312.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. McEwen, B. S. (2000). Effects of adverse experiences for brain structure and function. Biological Psychiatry, 48(8), 721–731.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Mirdal, G. M. (1994). Åndenød. Astma i psykosomatisk perspektiv. Copenhagen: Munksgaard/Rosinante.Google Scholar
  35. Mirdal, G. M. (1998). “Le corps est l’organe de l’âme et de l’esprit”: La psychosomatique chez Søren Kierkegaard. In I. J. Caron (Ed.), Kierkegaard Aujourd’hui. Denmark: Odense University Press.Google Scholar
  36. Mirdal, G. M., Petersson, B., Weeke, B., & Vibits, A. (1998). Asthma and menstruation: The relationship between psychological and bronchial hyper-reactivity. British Journal of Medical Psychology, 71, 47–55.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Murphy, M., Donovan, S., & Taylor, E. (1997). The physical and psychological effects of meditation: A review of contemporary research with a comprehensive bibliography, 1931–1996. CA: Institute of Noetic Sciences.Google Scholar
  38. Newberg, A. B., & Iversen, J. (2003). The neural basis of the complex mental task of meditation neurotransmitter and neurochemical considerations. Medical Hypotheses, 61(2), 282–291.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Newberg, A., Pourdehnad, M., Alavi, A., & D'Aquili, E. G. (2003). Cerebral blood flow during meditative prayer: Preliminary findings and methodological issues. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 97, 625–630.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  40. Newberg, A. B., Wintering, N., Waldman, M. R., Amen, D., Khalsa, D., & Alavi, A. (2010). Cerebral blood flow differences between long-term meditators and non-meditators. Consciousness and Cognition. doi:10.1016/j.concog.2010.05.003.
  41. Reinhertz, S. (2001). Women called to the path of Rumi: The way of the whirling dervish. Prescott, AZ: Hohm Press.Google Scholar
  42. Rosch, E. (2007). More than mindfulness: When you have a tiger by the tail, let it eat you. Psychological inquiry, 18(4), 258–264.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Schimmel, A. (1988). Mystical poetry in Islam: The case of Maulana Jalaladdin Rumi. Religion & Literature, 20(1), 67–80.Google Scholar
  44. Segal, Z. V., Williams, J. M. G., & Teasdale, J. D. (2002). Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for depression: A new approach to preventing relapse. New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
  45. UNESCO. (2007). 800th anniversary of the birth of Mevlana Celaleddin-i Belhi-Rumi (Maulānā Jalāl-ud-Dīn Balkhī Rūmī), poet and philosopher (1207–1273). http://portal.unesco.org/en/ev.phpURL_ID=31181&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201.html.
  46. Walsh, R., & Shapiro, S. L. (2006). The meeting of meditative disciplines and western psychology. American Psychologist, 61(3), 227–239.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Wilber, K. (2000). Integral psychology, Consciousness, spirit, psychology, psychotherapy. Boston: Shambhala.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of CopenhagenCopenhagen KDenmark

Personalised recommendations