Cascadia Poetics LAB logo


The Life Forces with Solihin & Alicia Thom

My 2004 interview with Solihin & Alicia Thom, about their book: Being Human: Exploring the Life Forces that Shape Us and Awaken an Inner Life. They discussed  their notion of the “Life Forces” and how they are applied in their approach to healing they call “Ontological Kinesiology.” The interview originally aired March 28, 2004, as Global Voices Radio 434.

In segment one they talked about cranial osteopathy, its limitations and their map of how they believe each person sees the world and how illnesses are opportunities to update our own personal maps. Solihin Thom talked about Subud and how that organization’s practice of Latihan helps what he called “the great life force” to awaken within practitioners. He told the story of how he first heard about Subud and his extraordinary feeling after simply hearing the phrase: “Subud is about surrender to the power of God.” Click here to listen to part 1 – 10:00.

In segment two Alicia Thom talks about being born into a Subud family, joining the organization when she was 17 and about how Subud founder Bapak would often discuss the life forces, and how she did not have a clear idea of what that meant until much later. He talked about matter having energy and that how that energy can be seen as a force. The life forces, he said, include 1) The Material life force, which includes the body and genetics and which he said can be viewed as the cellar of a house and that inherited disease can manifest more easily if the influence of this force is too strong; 2) the Vegetative life force, the metaphorical living room of the house which enlivens us and including the autonomic aspects of the human being; 3) Animal life force, the part of us that is our power, the part that acts, and usually out of instinct and survival, including sexuality; 4) the Human life force, energy created by our thinking, logic, analysis and creativity, the impetus for culture. It loves knowledge, but it can make us arrogant and isolated through arrogance. 5) The Noble life force, the part of us that serves as intermediary between us and the divine. Click here to listen to part two – 13:02.

In segment three they continued their discussion of the noble life force, which they believe comes to us when we are surrender to the divine. Solihin says it is something that lifts us out of our pathologies and gives us hope. When likened to experiences with hallucinogens, Solihin clarified that experiences on such substances is not akin to the noble life force. He also discussed the caduceus, an ancient symbol of healing which originated with Asclepius and described an experience related to that symbol from his own life, an experience of a broken caduceus, how that manifested in his life and how it was healed.  Click here to listen to part three – 10:45.

In the fourth segment the discussion of the caduceus continued, with an explanation of the staff representing integrity and the snakes wrapped around it representing flexibility. The connection to the divine and capacity to be aligned is represented by the staff part of the ancient symbol, represented in the human body by the spine. The snakes and the flexibility they connote, represents our ability to transform ourselves. The discussed other aspects of the caduceus and aspects of surrender as experienced in the spiritual practice of Subud known as the Latihan Kejiwaan and discussed how they see the tragedy of September 11, 2001, to be an opportunity. Click here to listen to part 4 – 12:08.

GVR 434 Show Opening
GVR 434 music between main interviews
GVR 434 Closing credits
GVR 434 Promo

More interviews at American