Mailbox

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In today's Mailbox we reveal the identity of July's mystery man and announce the names of the four lucky winners as well as a new question for the month of August. We quote from e-mails sent by: Gina Cenkl, David Eldridge, Kristina Fallin, Annette Harris, Peter Young, Christine Takaguchi-Coates, Teodor Shepertycki, Mary Lou Krenek, Harold Jackson, Colin Law, and Charles Konecny.

Hello and welcome to Mailbox. Once again it's time to reveal the identity of last month's mystery Czech and announce the four lucky winners who will receive small gifts from Radio Prague.

Just to recap, we asked you to identify the Czech psychiatrist and psychologist who has been heavily involved in the research of non-ordinary states of consciousness, first using LSD and later special breathing techniques.

Gina Cenkl from Boston sent us this answer:

"Stanislav Grof is the person you are looking for. Born in 1931 in Prague, he wanted to be an artist and work with animated movies. After reading Freud's 'Introductory Lectures in Psychoanalysis', his interest turned to that subject. He started off as an orthodox Freudian but is not anymore. In 1954 he started working with LSD, combined psychedelics and psychoanalysis. Later became interested in near-death experiences, meditation, and shamanic procedures. He came to California in 1973, developed Holotropic Breathwork to bring you to 'non-ordinary' state of consciousness."

David Eldridge from the United Kingdom found this during his research:

"Grof's early work was with LSD but when that drug was legally suppressed he went on to study the same symptoms produced by the drug without its use. He was a founder member of the International Transpersonal Association. Finding something interesting to write about Grof is not easy, there is little of a simple and easily understandable nature that can be put into a few simple sentences, and the field of psychiatry presents a minefield of controversy."

Here is a personal comment from Kristina Fallin from the United States:

"On a personal note, I was introduced to Grof's theories in college. I had the good fortune of attending one of his seminars on breathing techniques, and was very impressed by his depth of knowledge on the subject. A lesser known fact is that his wife, Christina is also a highly acclaimed author as well as her husband Stanislav."

Annette Harris also from the United States adds:

"Stanislav Grof now lives in Mill Valley, California and conducts training in Holothropic Breathwork for professionals. There are some great photos of Stanislav Grof on the Association for Transpersonal Psychology website."

Peter Young from the United Kindgom actually sent us a poem inspired by our person of the month:

"Unlocking doors of perception

Into the mind's operation

For a new psychology

And healing psychiatry,

Prague-born prof

Stanislav Grof

Used the key of LSD."

Christine Takaguchi-Coates from Japan adds:

"He has published over 140 articles in professional journals, as well as many books, which have been translated into German, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, Swedish, Danish, Russian, Czech, Polish, Bulgarian, Greek, Turkish, Japanese, and Chinese."

Teodor Shepertycki lists some of them:

"Some of Grof's major writings include: 'Beyond the Brain: Birth, death and transcendence in psychotherapy', 1985; 'The Adventure of Self-Discovery', 1988; 'The Holotropic Mind', 1990; and 'The Stormy Search for the Self', 1990."

Mary Lou Krenek from Texas writes:

"Researching Stanislav Grof was quite interesting. He is one of the few people of interest in the monthly competitions that are living today and still making contributions in today's world."

Harold Jackson from the United States adds:

"There was a very informative show on Coast to Coast AM on Monday evening which discussed Grof's work in pioneering certain hallucinogenic agents in expanding the mind and studying our deep personal psyches."

Colin Law from New Zealand sent us this detail about Stanislav Grof's family:

"Stanislav has a brother, Paul Grof, who is a world famous psychiatrist and professor in Ottawa."

Charles Konecny from the United States sent us this candid answer:

"Those in the field of psychiatry dwell in a different world than I am used to. I like it better where one and one is two, up is up, down is down, white is the opposite of black. In psychiatry, everyone has a different opinion of what the ink blot says. I will say though, that Stanislav Grof is a very learned man."

Thank you very much for your letters and the time you put into the research. This month, Radio Prague's goodie bags go to Yaroslav Matsveyko from Ukraine, Priyanka Chakraborty from India, Peter Young from Britain and Harold Jackson from the United States. Congratulations!


And of course, I won't leave you without a new question for August, so if you haven't been lucky today, next time you have another chance.

This month we would like you to tell us who the first official world chess champion was.

As usual we await your answers at english@radio.cz or Radio Prague, 12099, Prague by the end of August. Until next week, good-bye.