To perform bayah at the hands of a shaykh is Sunnah, whereas to seek guidance is compulsory.
There are many shops like this who are trying to sell Tassawuff, don’t fall for it and only go for genuine Ulamah & Mashaykh
Also keep this in mind...
Sister, don't get confused.
Sorry for going against the grain but its neither Wajib nor compulsory to have a Shaykh. Tassawuff is one of many mechanisms to get to Allah (SWT), Jihad is another, Tableeghi Jamaat is another, studying in a Daul-uloom is another, joining an Islamic group or movement is another, doing charitable works is another and many of the methodologies of our times (Tassawuff & Tabeleegh) are based on personal Ijtehad of Ulamah and differ from the original ones parctised by Salaf.
There are Sisters on facebook who are helping out hundreds of Muslim women around the world and providing Islamic guidance and its their way to get to Allah (SWT). There are Sisters who make tea for people attending Friday prayers in remote parts of USA and its their way to get to Allah (SWT).
You can seek to benefit from all of them or one of them (exclusively). What is Wajib and compulsory upon you is to seek your Islamic knowledge from reliable sources.
Tareeqas didn't even exist in Islam for the first good few hundred years, post compilation of Hadeeth, post formulation of Schools of Fiqh etc.
Being in a Tareeqa is like being coached by an Expert Coach (there is a long post on this from me on SF somewhere about coaching and Tassawuff), summary as follows:
To understand original Tassawuff and what it entailed please read "The Sunnah Way of the Sufis"
A lot of what is said by Ulamah/Mashaykh must be understood in the context of India/Pakistan where primarily people adhered to (one Madhab) and lived a largely rural life in the times of Akabir. We in the west have a multi-ethnic, multi-Madhab, multi-lingual society and bombarded by Anti-Islamic propaganda. Even Western (Deobandi) Ulamah & Mashaykh largely speak in an Indian/Pakistani tone and that's why majority of Muslims in the west can't relate to Deobandees.
I apologise for disagreeing with our Brothers and Sisters in Tassawuff.
I am not knowledgeable in Tassawuff so its just a laymen's input. My understanding is that essence of Tassawuff is Tazkiyah (Islah in Deobnadi lingo) and it is this which is declared Wajib and it is Wajib (compulsory) on every Muslim man or woman. Not Bay’t or connecting to a Shaykh etc.
Shaykhl-Islam (Maulana) Hussain Ahmed Madani (RA) has written that Tazkiyah (Islah in Deobnadi lingo) can happen without a Shaykh and it theoretically can but it is extremely difficult and even well nigh impossible for most people. Plus why would you someone want to critique themselves? Doesn’t make any sense! We don’t mark our own homework, do we? Very few people are able to critique their own work, look at the articles which I wrote yesterday and it was obvious that I am incapable of critiquing my own writing!
That takes us to the next question which is that if Tazkiyah (Islah in Deobnadi lingo) is the main idea that it can be done in Darul-uloom setting, Maktab setting, Jamaat setting and anything else (suitable for it). Traditionally, one teacher did it all.
Tassawuff setting is more specialised (and more organised) but people like me (learnt our basics) from going in Tableeghi Jamaat and it taught us who to sleep, eat etc.
This cannot be undone and I am sure it will be greatly appreciated.