A Spontaneous Worldwide Sharing of Spiritual Experiences
THIS website came into being with a momentum all its own. It began with the email sharing of personal spiritual experiences between a very few friends – mostly, but not entirely, members of Subud – and developed into a regular newsletter now reaching more than 1,500 people all over the world. It continues right up to the time of this writing (March 2014) and looks set to do so into the future. God willing, for as long as they keep coming in, it is my intention to maintain the email circulation of new stories every other weekend and to add them to this site shortly thereafter.
The consensus is that these postings, with the exception of artists and published authors, will generally be on an anonymous basis, and I hope you may be moved to contribute your own story to firstname.lastname@example.org. The feedback has been wonderfully encouraging.
Bringing together and creating a permanent record of this precious collection by means of a website was the next logical step, and here I must record the immense debt of gratitude I owe to Sebastian Paemen, both for the inspiration to do so and for his great patience and support in helping to make it a reality. Creating this site will mean that this treasury of personal testimonies will be available to Subud people everywhere, now and always.
At the same time, provision must also be made for those spiritual brothers and sisters who have not received the Subud contact but who may find their way to this site, and to whom some of the terms used throughout will be unfamiliar – words such as ‘Bapak,’ ‘latihan’ and, of course, ‘Subud’ itself. In addition to pointing such friends towards the official Subud website at www.subud.com, therefore, I will also incorporate here a short extract from my book The Dawning – see www.thedawning.co.uk.
The term Subud is a contraction of three Sanskrit words – Susila, Budhi and Dharma – which can be summarized to mean ‘right living from within according to the will of God.’ Another explanation is that when the name was first received, it brought with it its own meaning: namely, ‘from God, through God, back to God.’
At the heart of Subud is the latihan kejiwaan, two Indonesian words that simply mean ‘spiritual exercise.’ Exercise (or ‘training’) is the English word that comes closest to expressing the meaning of the Indonesian word latihan, although most Subud people, regardless of nationality, still prefer to use the original word latihan.
This latihan, or spiritual exercise, was first received by Muhammad Subuh Sumohadiwodjojo, the Indonesian now known around the world simply as Bapak. Bapak originally called it ‘training for human life,’ but later changed the name to ‘spiritual training,’ to which people seemed better able to relate. The Subud membership encompasses people of all religions and of none.
The way of the latihan is a way of purification and self-realisation, based upon total surrender to Almighty God. It is a way that progresses of itself from a source deep within a person’s inner being as a result of nothing less than a direct personal contact with the power of God.
The transmission of this contact from one person to another is known as the Opening.
Bapak (photo:Simón Cherpitel)
'Once the whole of your inner feeling has been brought to life, you will be able to feel your true nature. Then you will be able to tell what is right for you and what is not, which part of you is noble and which is base, and which part of you is your true individuality. You will know the true way to behave. This is what this latihan is for - it has come from God; it is God’s help.'
New York City
18 May 1967
Understandably enough,people who have never had any spiritual experiences can sometimes feel uncomfortable when listening to those who have, or, for that matter, reading about them.
Nevertheless, Ibu Rahayu (Bapak's daughter) regularly urges us to share experiences and has said that they can be a sign of inner growth.
As usual, however, there are two sides to every story, and Ibu Rahayu's remarks are nicely balanced by something Ibu Ismana said at Ascot in 2007 during the celebration commemorating the 50th anniversary of Subud coming to the West. She told us that she'd had several spiritual experiences, but that her husband, Haryono, Bapak's son, never had - despite being closer to God than she was. Ismana thought that people have experiences because they need them. She felt that her faith in God was not as strong as that of her husband and that therefore she still needed proof, while he didn't.
It was Sebastian Paemen who drew these subtly complementary observations to my attention, adding "That will bring us all down to earth!" Amen, bro!
It is now my privilege to invite you to dip into the riches that follow. Please share them with anyone you feel may benefit from such Reminders of Reality.
Love and blessings,