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Hassanah Briedis - The Latihan of Subud, Dissociation and the Neurology of Spiritual Experience

Subud and Mental Health. From Edward Fido, November 29, 2007. Time 6:54

Interesting and extremely brave article there, Hassanah.

My experience in my past life as a Subud member is that, not only did most Helpers not know anything about mental illness, the brain and how it is effected by same, a lot of them were quite eccentric personality wise. Quite possibly "nuts" in my nonclinical opinion. How could they possibly assist anyone else?

Pak Subuh himself was quite succinct about mental illness and his advice to Subud members on same. I must say I thought it, especially the way it was brought out as gospel in many cases, downright bloody disastrous.

You were, I consider, extremely fortunate to be where you were when what you detail happened to you. I could tell you some real horror stories from many places. Because real people are or were involved I obviously cannot.

Nutty Helpers, believing in what is equivalent to the medical science of the Middle Ages (humours, leeches etc) have been quite a problem in various parts of this country and abroad to my knowledge.

Most traditional religions/spiritualities: Buddhism, Yoga and Sufism, for example, have been up to speed with the medicine and science of their time.

The Dalai Lama once convened a group of scientists working in mental health on the matter. I believe a book came out of it.

As I say, I admire your honesty and courage. I would be even happier if you were a medical doctor or medical scientist working in this field because I would really value a comment from someone at the cutting edge of research here.

I have not read any of the other reviews because I know a few of the people and have a rough idea of what they might say so thought it best commenting raw.

When I consider the work done by someone like Jon Kabat-Zinn (a practitioner of Zen and medical scientist) in terms of stress reduction, mental health etc and I think of the basic scientific and medical ignorance of some of the Subud Old Timers still around detailing what happened in Cilandak 40+ years ago or Javanese jamus etc. I know there is something radically wrong.

I believe one of the great cure alls for all ailments amongst Subud members up here is colonic irrigation.

I rest my case.

All I can say in terms of Subud in regard to mental health is what the Duke of Wellington is reported to have said of his troops:

"I don't know about the enemy, but, by God, they terrify me!"

From Hassanah Briedis, November 29, 2007. Time 7:6

Thank you for your response Edward. I appreciate feedback on the article and the issues involved. In fact the other responses are very interesting to read, and I recommend them. Some people have found the information about dissociation very validating of their experience.

Good to hear from you, and best regards, Hassanah

From Edward Fido, November 30, 2007. Time 1:25

Actually, having read the comments, Hassanah, many, but not all by the usual suspects, I am even more impressed by your bravery in going through your ordeal as you felt led and the fact that this bravery actually paid off.

Comments by some that helpers who don't know what's going on when someone is going through dissociation or other psychological problems, rather than a purely spiritual crisis, should be sacked seem to be pretty wide of the mark, because it would probably mean most helpers being given an immediate dismissal notice.

One thing most of us who joined in the Dark Ages didn't realise was that the sheer intensity of the latihan could precipitate anything. It was a basically uncharted sea.

Most traditional spiritual paths - Sufism for example - or religions - Buddhism for one - do have a "healing" element in them but it is not emphasised at the expense of the whole.

My gut feeling is that, if something goes wrong with one's mental health, or if one realises at some stage one carries a deep emotional scar which is poisoning one, that is a sign that the Almighty is opening a way to help, or, possibly a total cure and personal reintegration after a seeming breakdown, crisis, whatever.

But it is not easy and I think it would be difficult to replicate the sensibility and support of the Melbourne Helpers and Group at the time you went through your ordeal.

I am always glad to hear something good happening to people after ordeals.

With my best wishes and regards,


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