This is a woman's firsthand account of a Sufi halvet, a forty-day retreat conducted in complete isolation, along with strict fasting from sunrise to sundown. Voluntarily confined to a sparsely furnished room amid the bustle of Istanbul, Michaela OEzelsel will occupy her time with reading the Qur'an and works of Rumi and Ibn 'Arabi, and with praying and practicing the powerful Sufi exercise known as zhikr, the rhythmic repetition of names of God or other sacred formulas, accompanied by movements of the head or body. In intimate detail Dr. OEzelsel shares her experiences as she strives to attain true "Islam" in its meaning of surrender or unconditional acceptance of the will of God. Her daily journal ranges over the frustrations of noisy neighbors, power outages, and a poorly heated room; her inner longings, doubts, and memories of the life course that has brought her to this moment; and the most inspirational philosophical insights, dreams and visions, and ecstatic raptures. The second half of the book is devoted to the author's psychological and cultural commentary on her experiences, including observations about the me
Michaela M. OEzelsel was born in Germany. She has a B.A. and an M.A. in Clinical Psychology from the University of North Carolina, and Ph.D. from the Goethe Institute, Frankfurt.
"This is a superb book. I felt as if I were with OEzelsel in her cell throughout the forty days, journeying with her doubts, cries, and torment in not knowing what was happening in the world outside while feeling the compassionate words of Rumi, Ibn 'Arabi, and the Qur'an."--Bob Banner, Gnosis magazine