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Merin Nielsen - Genuinely Open

Offer Latihan Free From Trappings? From Stefan, January 3, 2008. Time 17:51

Offer Latihan Free From Trappings?

Hi Merin,

Rereading your article I find myself agreeing with almost everything. Only thing I'm still unsettled about is whether it's honest (or advisable) to describe the latihan simply as "an exercise that might be spiritually healthy."

In favour:-

I've just been leading a dance residential and took part in early morning Tai Chi sessions that one of our caterers offered. Some of those who came along were regular practitioners, most - like me - were checking it out. No applicant meetings, no philosophy, no enrolment or commitment required. Just try it and see.

I'd like to see the latihan made as easily available and free from baggage as that.

Two reservations:-

1) But it may not be comparable because the latihan can initiate a process akin to "detox". I heard from a friend who was opened last year that her first experience was excruciatingly intense, though she decided it was valuable and continued. At Ascot one young member told me she's stopped telling friends about Subud because "two of them joined and both went into crisis". I asked if they had support from the group or the helpers and she said something like "Not really. Her friends just couldn't cope with it and stopped coming". I don't know what to make of this as it's beyond my first-hand experience.

Is it then advisable to have some preparation, and support in place? Shouldn't people thinking of trying it know that for some very little apparently happens for a time while for others, latihan can leave them feeling open to the point of vulnerability?

2) If latihan is "an exercise which is spiritually healthy", what is there to distinguish it from thousands of others? In my (still limited) experience the latihan has a quality which vividly distinguishes it for me.

However - I'm arguing both sides now - this second reservation is one I might be able to release. Better, I think, to claim less and invite people to draw their own conclusions after having direct experience.


From Merin Nielsen, January 4, 2008. Time 1:8

Hi, Stefan,

I think there must be some formal arrangement for applicants to be told about the range of possible effects (or non-effects) of practising latihan, and perhaps how best to respond to any undesirable effects. For this practical purpose, as well as for helpers to get to know the applicant before opening, it seems that a waiting period is needed, though I reckon that something less than a month should do.



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