From Issue: 972 [Read full issue]

Psychological Health

One may live for a very long time without complaining of bodily aches or pains, but it is unlikely that one will pass a day without experiencing something that causes anger, anxiety, sadness or gloom. This is due to the intrinsic essential nature of the soul and its volatile essence and changeability. And it is for this reason that man should do his utmost best to protect the soul from (external and internal) emotionally disturbing events and keep it in its best possible condition. And just as when the body is afflicted with painful symptoms or illnesses, it can only be helped by treatments similar to it in its physical nature such as medicines or special diets that bring about its cure; so the treatment of the disordered soul that complains of psychological symptoms requires a spiritual (psychic) kind of therapy that is similar to its nonphysical nature.

Furthermore, just as the body can be treated either internally through prevention of certain foods or externally through the use of medicines and special diets, so the soul can also be treated through these internal and external approaches. One suffering from psychological disturbance can fight his symptoms internally by developing within the soul thoughts (of an opposite nature to the ones that sustain the problem) that neutralize the symptoms and desensitize their provocation. Externally, one can listen to the advice of another whose (therapeutic) discussion (or counseling) would calm the agitated soul and treat its abnormality.

So a person who cares about the health of his soul should spare no effort in benefiting from these two (internal and external) means to protect the soul from being dominated by negative psychological symptoms that upset his life. It is vital to do so, since the psychological symptoms may become severe and lead to bodily disorders.

Compiled From:
"Abu Zayd al-Balkhi's Sustenance of the Soul: the Cognitive Behavior Therapy of a Ninth Century Physician" - Malik Badri, p. 33