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Dirk Campbell - Subud and Psychology

Psychology can be helpful.. From Stefan Freedman, July 7, 2007. Time 13:22

I was drawn to psychology at a very early age (14 years old) because I was so troubled and mixed up. Feelings and impulses at war with each other, mind like a rummage sale, nights full of wakefulness and terrifying dreams. It was Bennett's "A Spiritual Psychology" more than any of the books specifically on Subud that drew me to try the latihan and I had thought of myself as an unusual (possibly defective) Subud member, because my passion for psychology continued after being opened. After 37 years of regular latihans, I'm still learning and (I believe) benefitting from reading other peoples life experiences, and how they move towards wholeness and integration.

I'm very heartened that Dirk challenges the idea that we "shouldn't" need psychology if we follow the latihan. I was open to the possibility that surrender was all we need, but, like Dirk, have observed that for almost all Subud members, the signs of emotional and psychological conflicts persist after many years of trying to surrender. In some, the need seems very acute for tools to help the individual understand and navigate the storms of relationship, emotion and our human psychology.

I would not propose (and neither does Dirk) that a Subud member "should" study psychology, but I would be very pleased to see a recognition that it could be helpful to a Subud member and is not necessarily a distraction arising "from the nafsu". Psychosynthesis is an example of a psychological model which respects the unknowable and mystical dimension of experience. Assegioli, it's founder. wrote an introduction which could almost be an introduction to the latihan.

Thank you, Dirk

From Dirk Campbell, July 7, 2007. Time 14:23

Ah, so that’s why you’ve always been so emotionally mature, Stefan (in marked contrast to myself!) - I have often wondered.

While not proposing that Subud members study psychology, I certainly do propose in my article – though perhaps not emphatically enough - that the general contemporary psychological model be incorporated into the Subud as a replacement for the rather less functional Javanese one. My point is that the discoveries of psychology, particularly since the 1960s, are more effective than the traditional oriental models, do not conflict with spirituality and are, in any case, gaining currency within Subud. So why keep the barriers up?

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