Making Peace from the Heart

July 7 – August 25, 2022
CLASS COMPLETE – Please check with Admissions on when this may be offered again. 

We invite you to join us in Making Peace from the Heart, a new online course on communicating from the heart as we teach it at the University of Sufism.

Our goal is to present Sufi perspectives and tools for healthy, functional communication as a foundation for forming loving relationships within the family, at work, and in all arenas.

How Do We Make Peace from the Heart?

Our focus in this new course is very personal: how to communicate, how to talk, and how to listen with an open heart in a way that brings love, harmony, and healing to our relationships. 

We learn how to navigate challenging conversations in a variety of settings—at home, at work, with friends, and in public speaking.

The teachings are practical, grounded, and immediately useful. This course provides an opportunity for personal healing and practice with new tools, so you learn to communicate with respect and empathy while at the same time nourishing your heart.

What You Will Learn Each Week

Week 1: Identity 

Identity: Who am I? What are the defining threads of my identity? Who am I, especially in difficult conversations and relationships? Why do I at times become so terrified by conflict with others?

Week 2: Story

What is the story I tell myself and others about who I am? How has my story influenced my experience, my communication style, and my relationships? What parts of my story are stuck to me like glue? How can I get over this?

Week 3: Listening

How do I bring my full presence when listening to others? How do I listen to both the words and, behind that, to their hearts? How do I discern truth from my own interpretations and pictures? What blocks me from being fully present and open-hearted? In this class we will examine perceptions, interpretations, and the distinction between intention and impact. All of these themes are key to moving from conflict to harmony and understanding.

Week 4: Feelings and Needs

How do I deal with my feelings? I can barely express them. In what ways do my feelings stem from my early life experiences? What is the path to healing my emotional pain and unmet needs? What do I need now in order for my relationships to work better for me?

Week 5: Requests and Demands

How do my requests and my demands serve or block healthy communication? How do I transform my demands? Even more, how do I heal the demanding parts of myself?

Week 6: Speaking

How do I speak from my heart, from wisdom and guidance, and without blame or judgment? How do I express myself without a difficult conversation becoming an argument or a contest? How do I open up a conversation where we can all look at our contributions rather than blaming and judging each other?

In the final two webinars, we introduce basics of Sufi peacemaking, getting to resolution. Once people are heard and needs are addressed and requests are made, now can we get to:

Week 7: Forming Agreements (Shura)

What do I do after the issue/s have been identified? What if everyone doesn’t agree? How do we make sure that everyone’s needs get addressed? How do we make agreements that are tangible and actionable? How do we make sure that we follow through on our agreements in a timely way? In general, how do we avoid recreating the same difficult situation?

Week 8: Reconciliation (Sulha)

How do we heal our relationships? How do we break through to love and unity? How do we step into self-responsibility? What if I don’t want to forgive? What if I still don’t trust them? What kind of relationship are we left with if it’s not fully healed? Do I always need to do this with the other person, or can I do some of it on my own? At what point do I need to bring in outside help?

Making Peace from the Heart is open to anyone from any spiritual path or no path, from any religion or no religion, and from diverse backgrounds and cultures. There is absolutely no need for prior training or experience.

We, the course instructors (Nura Laird, Abd al-Qadir Davies, and Mahabbah Young), are offering these teachings because we’ve needed them! To make peace from the heart is to move beyond false dichotomies of communication—such as between a dominant, coercive, and one-sided manner, or an accommodating or evasive manner—which are not what’s needed to build solid relationships. These teachings open up new possibilities for all of us, so there is no need to feel daunted by inexperience.

All are welcome!

Nura Laird is a faculty member and chair of the Department of Peacemaking at the University of Sufism. Nura has been a student of healing and Sufism since 1977. She has extensive training and experience in community and family mediation and in teaching and counseling children and adults. Since graduating from the Energy Mastery School in 1992, Nura has worked professionally as a mediator, spiritual counselor, teacher and seminar leader internationally.

Nura is especially inspired to help restore the real love and peace to families, and to guide her clients and students to bring more love and peace into our world.

John Abd al-Qadir Davies, LL.B., M.Litt., M.S., Ph.D., faculty member at the University of Sufism, has led or partnered in conflict transformation and peace building initiatives in over 25 countries.

He has trained thousands of professionals in conflict transformation, prevention and multi-track diplomacy, including political leaders and diplomats, UN peacekeepers, police, educators, religious, traditional and civil society leaders. He has conducted extensive research on the impact of spiritual and secular techniques in promoting peace, which has been published widely.

Mahabbah Kimberly Young, MD, MDiv, is a full-time practicing family physician with a focus on OB/Gyn care, specifically outpatient women’s health care and prenatal care. She received a Masters of Divinity in Spiritual Peacemaking in 2017 and a M. Div. in Spiritual Healing & Counseling for Physical and Emotional Well Being in 2019 from the University of Sufism.

She actively practices hijama and has been given permission to teach hijama. Additionally, she completed the Basic Mediation and Introduction to Restorative Justice courses at SEEDS Community Resolution Center in Berkeley (Services that Encourage Effective Dialogue and Solutions). She is also a faculty member at the University of Sufism.

Making Peace from the Heart

With Nura Laird, Abd al-Qadir Davies, and Mahabbah Young

We invite you to join us and prepare to be a catalyst for healing and
deepening your relationships, while empowering others to do the same!

Thursdays from July 7 – August 25, 2022
CLASS COMPLETED – Please inquire with Admissions about next offering.

Note: This course can stand alone and give great benefit on its own, and can also serve as an introduction to the University of Sufism’s Peacemaking Masters program, though it is not a requirement for the Masters. It is less intense, less thorough, and much less demanding than the Masters program.