Helissa Penwell


Mini Biography

I first learned about Subud in Husain Chung's psychodrama class when I was a graduate student in psychology at Pepperdine University. I knew immediately that it was something I had to do. After graduation my husband, Mark, and I started our applicant period at Hope St. Hall in L.A. with all its hippy-dippy, pot-smoking craziness. However, within a month we moved north near Sacramento, and we continued with that very different center and its older helpers, former Gurdjieff members. That was '67, and we've stuck with it. The latihan is at the center of our lives. Our two daughters are opened. Group life has been both a source of fun and satisfaction and one of aggravation. I love the individuals in Subud, but I worry about how we function as an organization and whether we are becoming too inflexible and stuck in the forms of the past.

All along I've focused on bringing the latihan into my life. I'm still interested in psychology, and I've found testing to be particularly helpful in doing Jungian Shadow work, as well as in exploring and healing childhood wounds. Right from the beginning I was taught from within about the forces, e.g. I would dream about an animal alongside humans who were manifesting that animal's force in their behavior. Gradually I've come to better recognize the different energies that make up our personalities and how useful they are when they're controlled and how destructive they can be when they're not. From early childhood I started remembering past lives, and awareness of new ones pop up all the time. I like to ask for guidance about how a particular life is revealing itself in my present one and what I need to do to complete any karma involved--what's the lesson. I have a sense of a whole "village of people" who live in my innerself. Every time a past life, or a force, or some buried part of myself becomes more conscious and begins to act in harmony with all the rest of me I feel more whole and alive. It's all so exciting and entertaining, and I see no end to it. I've been greatly blessed to find the latihan and to experience the awakening that it brings. I wish more people had the opportunity to be opened.

The Introductory Period pdf, html

In many places the Subud population is in decline. Some say that the 90-day Introductory Period is an obstacle to attracting new members. Others defend it as having benefits for the applicant. This article examines some of those claims, suggests one possible compromise solution, and urges continued discussion of this topic.

Latihan Communities and Organization: a Dialogue pdf, html

Two editors explore innovative possibilities.

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