From another thread:
What support does this view have in Buddhist sources?cjmacie wrote:Apropos the sub-thread here on mental illness and bhavana, a further contribution from Thomas Cleary’s book:
Pages 152-153 (very end of Cleary’s commentary)
The opening statement of The Secret of the Golden Flower includes the provision that people should establish a firm foothold in the ordinary world before they try to cultivate the blossoming of the golden flower. This means that they should be able to function adequately in their own culture and society, whatever that may be. The golden flower practice is not primarily a therapeutic method for severely unbalanced people; it is a way of higher development for ordinary people.
Yet it is also true that some forms of neurosis are built into civilized society itself, and many ordinary people suffering slightly from mild neuroses are well integrated with their everyday world. The reason why the golden flower method is not particularly recommended for severely neurotic people, or for people with schizoid or psychotic tendencies, is that the enhanced receptivity and sensitivity fostered by the practice might exacerbate feelings of illness and fear.
The thoughts and images that compel the neurotic and psychotic could become more overpowering in the early stages of golden flower practice, when the "demons" of thought assail the mind as it relaxes its conscious set in anticipation of the attempted switch-over to nonconceptual awareness. Getting past this stage to experience penetrating insight into the essence and source of awareness itself, not associated with any content at all, would be key to any help the golden flower method could offer the severely unbalanced in finding a way out of their hells.
If people with uncontrollable mental problems do turn to the golden flower method for help, they could be better off with the guidance of therapists who have themselves experienced the original mind of humanity and can calmly view the various realms of thought and perception as so many planets in a vast and endless space. For their part, therapists to the mentally bedeviled need the unattached buoyancy and independent objectivity of penetrating insight, so the golden flower exercise could be useful to them in a very direct way in the investigation of processes of mental illness and liberation.