What Programs Are Offered?

Here you can learn more about the two programs offered by Suluk Academy — Core Training and Graduate Studies. If you are looking for a listing of upcoming courses then please visit our Courses page.

Core Training 

The Core Training is the foundation of Suluk Academy. Throughout this two-year course, the Academy employs a methodical and heartfelt approach to the time-honored disciplines of breath, sound, light, movement, prayer, concentration, contemplation, and meditation, with an initial emphasis on the essential stages of purification and awakening of heart, mind, and body. To complement these disciplines, significant consideration is given to the training of the ego, the art of personality, and the cultivation of the heart quality, to provide for an integrative spiritual experience. All studies draw upon the prose and poetry of the Masters, Saints, and Prophets throughout the ages and across traditions.

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The Suluk Academy is intended as a supplemental training to one's spiritual practice; it is not a replacement for the unique relationship one has with one's personal spiritual guide or mentor. Due to the scope of the training it is recommended that prospective students discuss attendance with their spiritual guide or mentor. Those not presently actively working with a guide or mentor are still encouraged to apply, but will be expected to have a spiritual guide throughout the course of the training.

Program Structure

Each Core Training involves forty contact days and all core trainings cover the same curriculum. In Europe the Core Training is offered in a residential format at a retreat center, with six 5-day sessions and one 10-day session. In the U.S. the core training has been offered in two formats— a fully residential format, and a blended hybrid format.The fully residential format, currently at The Abode in New Lebanon, NY, consists of eight 5-day sessions over a 2-year period (four sessions per year). The blended hybrid format, which is not currently being offered, included five-5-day residential sessions along with fifteen one-day distance learning sessions provided through live web-based videoconferencing technology. 

Applicants should be aware that the curriculum is developmental in nature and at the time of admission, all students are asked to commit to full attendance. As part of the Academy’s curriculum, students receive practices and assignments to be explored during the interim period. These will include reading, journaling, spiritual practices, contemplations, and essays. Mentors are available throughout the period between session dates to answer questions and to support home study. It is important therefore that students be aware of what they are committing to in applying for the two year course.

Session Format

During a residential session, each day consists of two teaching sessions in the morning, followed by Mentor Group and Pod meetings in the afternoon. Mentor Groups are small groups of about 12-14 participants facilitated by a Mentor (the mentors form part of the Faculty). The purpose of these groups is to further explore the practices in a more intimate and experiential format.

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Following Mentor Group, participants meet with their “Pod,” a small group of 5-7 people who meet to process and share their experiences, or simply share sacred space. Each pod can decide how to use its time, and each person is encouraged to be fully present to themselves and others, putting into practice the ideals of moral culture and respect taught by Hazrat Inayat Khan.

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Each day also provides an opportunity for private time to study, rest or engage the practices. When possible, movement classes are offered in yoga and/or martial arts, to encourage awareness of the body and the need for physical expression. Evening programs such as zikr, sema (singing, playing instruments, dancing, recitation of poetry and prayers), concerts, Dances of Universal Peace, and sessions with special visiting faculty and presenters are offered regularly throughout each session.

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Participants will also have the opportunity for private interviews with faculty and  mentors on a regular basis.

Individual Study and Practice

The Core Training strives to balance individual exploration with development of spiritual community and group practice. In addition to daily group work during the sessions - reading assignments, journal exercises, and practices will be given in between sessions in order to facilitate a deeper engagement with the teachings. Each person is encouraged to discover how these teachings apply to their own life and to the ideal that one holds in their heart.

A three-day individual Suluk Retreat is a required part of the curriculum. The retreat can be scheduled anytime after the first half of the training—upon completion of Contemplation. This retreat must be completed by the final session in order for one to graduate. The individual retreat is a guided retreat and is scheduled by the participant and according to the participant's choice of retreat guide and choice of location. The retreat can also be done at a distance.

Faculty

Faculty for the Core Training include senior teachers from the Sufi Orders. Pir Zia Inayat Khan, founder of Suluk Academy serves as a primary faculty member and currently teaches during each session of the Core Training. You can also learn more details about the Suluk faculty.

Go Deeper

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For more about the external and inner structure of the Suluk Academy's Core Training , you may wish to read a transcript of Pir Zia talking about the Core Training. You can find out which new Core Training courses are coming up on our Courses page.

Graduate Studies 

Suluk Graduate Studies extend and deepen the training and experience gained through the Core Training. The Graduate Studies are open only to graduates of the Core Training (two-year and four-year course graduates as well as those in the Alif class that have completed the Supplemental Training). Graduate Studies at the Abode of the Message have been presented in paired sessions, with the first session emphasizing more traditional teaching and study, and the second as a group retreat based on the teachings of the first session. Graduate Studies offered in Europe combine both into a single longer session. You can review the topics of past Graduate Studies sessions by visiting our Courses page.

The Graduate Studies has presented the following programs:

  • Year One – The Chishtiyya Lineage
  • Year Two – Murshid’s Life and Teachings
  • Year Three – Pir Vilayat's Teachings
  • Year Four – Sufism and Buddhism

Next ... Core Training in Depth

Language category: English

A Living Heart

What I really love about Suluk Academy is that it’s the opportunity to work with a very dynamic process, and very beautiful people who are dedicated to the spiritual life—who are willing to go through inner transformation.

 — Aziza Scott