This books discusses the concepts of self, Carl Jung’s concepts of psyche, self discovery, self actualization, self liberation, self determination, self assertion, self discipline, among other.
Chapter 1 Rumi & Concept of Self Rumi was a 13th century poet whose poems have captivated many from all around the world. Rumi's poems seem to be a combination of what a scientist, scholar, lover, self-seeker, Sufi, Hindu, Jew, and Christian, among many others, are trying to communicate and are searching for. This can be seen in his writing: Christian, Jew, Muslim, shaman, Zoroastrian, stone, ground, mountain, river, each has a secret way of being with the mystery, unique and not to be judged. Rumi, because of his life’s circumstances, traveled a great deal, having the opportunity to become familiar with various cultures and religions. He was a scholar, and familiarized himself with different aspects of science of his time. These could have been factors that contributed to Rumi’s ability to identify with different groups and cultures which helped with the process of understanding differences and an expansion of mind, resulting in observation and learning rather than judgment. As a result, he might have been able to become more tolerant of people who were different from him. He seems to have been able to find more similarities than difference among people of different groups. He seems to value humans not according to any specific culture, religion, or anything in that nature, but rather according to how they valued their source of being and creation and how they connected with their true self. He seems to value awareness and have contempt for ignorance. These may have been the main reasons why Rumi felt such a deep connection to a man named Shams. Many of Rumi’s poems show his love and connection to this man. A pure spiritual and emotional love that is deeply observed in Rumi’s poems. In his writings, Rumi’s words seem to connect to the uppermost position of a human being. Rumi’s world seems to be that of a fully developed human, that of the deepest layers of psychology that science has not yet reached, in some ways. It seems to be the world of a human who is mentally and spiritually advanced, and is not bound by social, personal, and cultural limitations. He seems to have a free and liberated mind, with no attachments, obsessions, irrationalities, etc. Therefore, it seems as if his poems and writings come from a pure source, a deep being, a mirror free of dust, a sky free of cloudiness, perhaps what Carl Jung would call the Collective Unconscious. That may be why so many people can identify with his poems and have their own personal interpretations of them depending on what stage of development they are at and what their needs are. Today, Rumi’s poems can be heard in many places throughout the world. It seems like one of the reasons for Rumi's reputation is that he is able to articulate the extremely personal and often mystifying world of the deepest layers of personal growth, the part that seems to be the core of everyone’s being, and the different layers of the self. In his poems, Rumi seems able to communicate with everyone and to be able to touch the reader’s innermost thoughts. Relating Rumi’s poems to the concept of the self, Rumi seems to have used a number of words that can be related to this concept. Words like self-worshipper, self-seeing, and self-knowing are used in his writings and poems. (1) Rumi views both the words self-worshipper and self-seeing in a negative light. He seems to relate a self-worshipper to someone who is conquered by the ego, or the less mature form of self. He seems to see a self-seeing person as someone who has an inflated and imaginary sense of self-importance, which turns into an elusive feeling of being better than others. Rumi seems to use the word self-knowing in a constructive way, explaining that whoever knows herself is able to accept herself and knows her place in this world. It is not until one learns about who she is, what her weaknesses and strengths are, what her limitations are, and what her needs and character traits are that one is truly able to learn what her role is and what steps she is supposed to be taking. Knowing our self involves seeing our self objectively. If we want to learn about who we really are we have to be honest with ourselves and not to use any justification or rationalizations to explain away our thoughts and behaviors as automatically right. We have to learn to recognize our own motivations and intentions for what they really are not what we present them to be. Whatever level of self-knowledge we are in, we must look at ourselves as integral and multifaceted individuals. When we apply this awareness to our daily life, we come to realize and discover an authentic internal universe within us that can guide us to a more mature level of our self. In the more developed form of psychology, knowledge of oneself and self transformation is an unavoidable component. Self reflection upon what one thinks, feels, and does creates a sense of awareness and self knowledge that is empowering. An internal sense of power that lessens insecurities and feelings of inadequacies. We need to become educated about a psychology towards the rejuvenation of our internal condition in order to renovate our traumas, complexes, hatred, phobias, anxieties, resentment and all sort of psychological flaws that cause us damages. Self psychology encourages us to go deep to the root of the problem within ourselves and to try to make an effort for the healing. In psychology, the word self-worshipper, or self-narcissism, portrays the character trait of someone who has an exaggerated sense of self-love. Freud, called the father of psychology, thought that a moderate degree of narcissism is necessary for all humans. He was the first to use this term in psychology. Many psychologists believe that a reasonable amount of healthy narcissism helps the individual fulfill her needs, but it has to be balanced. In psychology, excessive narcissism is diagnosed as a personality dysfunction and a disorder (Narcissistic Personality Disorder, or NPD). This disorder is characterized as someone who has a grandiose sense of self-importance, and is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, beauty, or ideal love. Other characteristics of NPD include excessive need for admiration, and taking undue advantage of others to meet one’s needs through arrogance and excessive pride. These extreme forms of self-admiration may be the result of inner feelings of insecurity that could be rooted in childhood. A moderate form of self-love and self-value is essential in the process of self-discovery. Someone who truly learns to know herself is more able to value her core being. This is where the concept of self-esteem arises. In psychology, self-esteem or self-worth is described as an individual’s subjective evaluation of herself. It includes beliefs and emotions that are related to the individual. A person with a healthy sense of self-esteem starts to learn about herself and sees and accepts herself as an entity with strengths, weaknesses, potentials, and limitations. Self-esteem is a basic human need, and plays a paramount role in the progression of life. It is a nurturing force that helps the individual move forward rather than backward. One would be able to acknowledge her true value when she learns to acknowledge and discover her being’s real meaning in this world. She is living in reality, rather than in fantasies. She is content to be who she is while being aware of her limits. When it come to the concept of self, Rumi, continuously in his writings, seems to communicate a sense of self and the experience of love through this self. As an example of how Rumi seems to be expressing the concept of one’s true being is this poem, translated by Nader Khalili. In this poem, Rumi seems to be encouraging the reader to become one, and to unite with her deeper sense of self instead of focusing on the basic level.
Roya Rohani Rad has a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology and a Masters in Applied Psychology. She is a member of American Psychological Association (APA), Virginia Psychological Association, and Applied Psychological Association. In addition, she is the founder of a not-for-profit foundation, www.SelfKnowledgeBase.com. Dr. Rad lives in Virginia with her family.