The Polished Mirror

Refik Algan, Turkey

Originally studied medicine and worked as a medical consultant. Refik Algan is now a Sufi teacher, writer and translator of mystical Turkish classical literature.

(Submitted by the author)

Are all dream systems relativistic, or can there be a single, absolute dream system in which no symbolism is presumed? One of the main characteristics of an operating dream system, even if it be mostly relativistic, is its accordance with the function and structure of the brain itself.

Therefore, even a relativistic dream system (such as that of a particular Sufi order) sooner or later has to pass from relativistic imagery to certain points of contact with the objective world, and finally, one has to end at an absolute destination, which is the brain’s naked structure itself, i.e. the ‘hardware’. At a certain stage dreams will begin to reflect certain objective features of the nervous system. As the Turkish poet Yunus Emre said, “We found it all in the body.”

These points of contact with the objective world are closely related to the problems of objectivity, free will, and predestination. On the other hand, although there may be an absolute dream system beyond relativistic approaches, the seeker’s own previous psychological structure translates this into his or her own relativistic system, and this goes on until the absolute and objective features begin to dominate.

The objective world
Although dreams are not the only criteria, the frequency of the appearance of absolute themes (that is, those relating to the divine) within the seeker’s dreams indicates the degree of his or her closeness to the objective world. Here is where the interval between the subjective and objective begins to diminish. At last, being freed from relativistic and personal dreams, the brain can see the outside world as it is. Then the inside and outside have become one and there is no veil of ignorance between them.

From then on, as has been traditionally expressed, “The mirror has been polished” or cleaned of dreams. In modern terms, one has reached objective consciousness. This is the state where the outside is reflected onto the inside without distortion.

Do dreams come to an end here? Is there also a symbolism, perhaps even an absolute one, for the objective world?

On the one hand, the outward world and its events may be grossly distorted by our subjectivity.
As we undergo the process of cleaning the mirror of the heart, we move from subjectivity to objectivity. We free ourselves from the gross distortions of our egoism. Eventually we may begin to approach the seeing of that Divine Interpreter to whom the real meaning of all things is clear.

As Muhammad said, “The world is like a dream that a sleeping man sees.”

Image credit: Arkady Golod:



Submitted by Claire Terry on Mon, 08/22/2011 - 23:43.

Hello Mike,

If you'd like to send an e-mail to me with your contact details via the 'Contact us' page, I'll gladly forward it to Refik for you.

All the best,

Submitted by Anonymous user on Thu, 08/25/2011 - 05:30.

Thank you Claire.

I'm staying at the Kalyon Hotel in Sultanahmet until about midnight on Saturday 27 Aug.

Please ask Refik to send me his emaail address on telephone number.

I'd like t call himbefore I leave and after that keep in touch by email.

We have exchanged emails over the years but I can no longer contact him at the last email address I have. It's been 17 years since I have been to Turkey and we saw each other in person.

Thank you for your generousity and assistance in making this reunion a possibility.

Michael O'Donovan

Submitted by Claire Terry on Tue, 08/30/2011 - 10:24.

Hello Michael,

I've just received an e-mail from Refik, requesting your e-mail address. As I don't have it, if you write to me at:
claire AT artoflivingguide DOT org, I can put you both in contact, as I don't want to post Refik's address here.

Best Regards,

Submitted by Claire Terry on Sat, 08/27/2011 - 11:20.

Hello Michael,

You are very welcome! I'm sorry, however, but I've only just read your most recent post, so I really hope it's not too late ... I've just forwarded your message to Refik - please do let me know if you have a successful reunion!

(If, however, you don't manage to meet each other today, if you send me your e-mail address via the 'Contact Us' page on this website (NOT via this comments section, please, as I can't see it), I can then forward to Refik, and at least you can be in touch that way.)

Good luck and please let me know how you get on!

Best Wishes,

Submitted by Mike O'Donovan on Sat, 08/20/2011 - 17:13.

I would like to contact Refik Algan; we are old friends who have lost contact.

I will be in Istanbul from 22-28 Aug.

Can someone give me his email address?

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