Heart, Self & Soul: The Sufi Psychology of Growth, Balance, and Harmony, Robert Frager, Quest Books, Theosophical Publishing House, p. 74
The functions of the Sufi lineage
One of the important functions of
the Sufi lineage is to prevent half-trained dervishes from setting themselves
up as teachers. No one can set themselves up as a sheikh without formal
certification from their own sheikh. A sheikh will not fail to inform
overly ambitious dervishes that they have more inner work to do. Sometimes
sheiks point out the dervishes' faults directly. At other times, they tell
stories or anecdotes that make clear the level of spiritual attainment it
takes to become a sheikh.
This stage (the stage of the inspired nafs) can be the most dangerous stage of development of the nafs. For the first time, we are capable of genuine spiritual experiences and insights. However, if these experiences and insights are filtered through the ego, we can become tremendously inflated.
This can be observed among creative artists, writers, musicians, and scientists. Such people may experience inspired states and creative breakthroughs. The danger is that they may think that they themselves are the source of inspiration.
Most therapists and spiritual guides have to struggle with issues of inflation and the desire for fame and fortune. In evaluating psycho-spiritual guides, we need to use our intuition and our best powers of discrimination and discernment to distinguish the sincere from the phony, the gifted from the charlatans, the knowledgeable from the half-trained. A particular danger is that people at this stage believe they are finished, done with the need for any more spiritual training. There are many charismatic but misguided self-appointed spiritual leaders who decide they are fully enlightened when they achieve this state.