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Michael Irwin - How I Latihan

Observing but not indulging in thoughts. From Mike Higgins, August 5, 2007. Time 21:28

Michael, I enjoyed your article. From my perspective, "letting go of mental activity or stopping thoughts" is a subtle control mechanism, it is a form of resistance to "surrendering" to the latihan. For me, the key to the latihan is to observe and accept everything that arises, let it be, not indulge it (if it's appealing) or reject it (if it is not). So, in the case of thoughts, I would simply observe them rather than get caught up in them - no, I do not always succeed at this endeavor. I've found that surrender in latihan requires constant vigilance, committed attention to everything I am feeling and thinking. This is a relaxed yet focused state of awareness rather than directed mental concentration.

[Because it referred to "The Latihan Of Subud, Dissociation And The Neurology Of Spiritual Experience" by Hassanah Briedis a following paragraph was moved to that author.]

From Mike Higgins, August 7, 2007. Time 3:25

I'd like to comment on another point you raised, which I think is an important one.

You said:

"A more significant obstacle to letting go completely is a particular kind of fear. The source seems to be a fear of losing control, even of being embarrassed by my possible behaviour."

If you can do the latihan by yourself then you can rule out the second option you mentioned, i.e., "being embarrassed by my possible behaviour." There will be no one around to judge your behaviour. If you still feel this way while alone, then you're dealing with: 1) Irrational ingrained social inhibitions that you can release, or (2) The fear of death, which can be (a) ego death and/or (b) physical death. Obviously issues #1 & #2a are easier to overcome than #2b. I've managed to get fairly clear of #1 & #2a but have farther to go with #2b. I don't know, maybe it would take a near death experience to get completely over that hump. At any rate, I think it's important to understand your own obstacles to spiritual/psychological growth so that you may gauge your success at overcoming them.

From Michael Irwin, August 7, 2007. Time 18:56

Your choice of the "losing control" passage is spot on. I do latihan alone about half the time. Embarrassing myself at the time of latihan, alone or not, is not the problem. The fear of going mad and not being able to continue to be responsible is. I think that is in part the fear of ego death which is at the heart of the problem. By the way, I donít expect to ever solve this dilemma. Apart from the pain it would cause those I love, I could care less whether I die tomorrow as long as itís quick. If I were actually facing a less than quick death I would expect that I would have all the usual panics Ė why not? Iím human.

From Mike Higgins, August 8, 2007. Time 23:25

Well, if you're afraid that surrender to a higher intelligence will bring madness, then I think you're correct that a lack of faith/trust is what's holding you back. Bapak surrendered to an even bigger, brighter cloud than you did and he didn't go mad.

From Michael Irwin, August 9, 2007. Time 22:39

I'm not Bapak.

From Mike Higgins, August 10, 2007. Time 21:14

We each have to listen to our own intuition... mine has shown me that change doesn't bring on madness but resistance to it can. I understand that Bapak also thought he might be going mad when he first received the latihan.

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