Here’s an interesting interview with one of the western shaykhs of the Halveti-Jerrahi silsila brought the the West by Shaykh Muzaffer Ozak Jerrahi of Istanbul. Sh. Ragip better known as Robert Frager is a distinguished psychologist and the author of a number of books including Essential Sufism and Heart Self and Soul.


WIE: Does that temptation take on different forms as one progresses on the path?

SR: Yes. For instance, if we stay with the stages of the nafs, what happens next, after the regretful nafs, is that we come to what’s called the “inspired nafs,” the inspired self in which the wisdom of the heart, the wisdom of that inner light, begins to come more and more into the personality, into consciousness, so that we really have an alternative now to the forces of the ego—which is intuition, a sense of guidance, a sense of connection to truth. The problem is that the lower forces are still somewhat in action. The reign of the ego is not by any means over, and the biggest danger, of course, is that the ego can begin to use the wisdom and the light for self-aggrandizement, for inflation, rather than for self-diminishment. Ideally, one says, “This light isn’t mine, this wisdom isn’t mine. It’s something that comes through me. It’s something from another source.” But the ego wants to say, “This is my wisdom. I know.”

There is an interesting book that’s just recently out by Mariana Caplan called Halfway Up the Mountain—which is a bad metaphor because it’s probably an endless mountain—but it talks about many of the dangers of having spiritual teachers who are halfway up the mountain, but have somehow stopped at this stage. It’s the most dangerous stage of all because if the ego gets inflated with real wisdom, real light, it’s very hard to change things. Because the light is real, the wisdom is real. The only problem is that the ego begins to attribute it to itself, not to something greater than itself. And so the self gets firmer, crystallized even; but what we want, of course, is for the self to become more transparent, less of a “thing,” lighter.

Full interview and introduction here.