I have not made a serious attempt to group the stories that follow into particular categories. Too many of them have overlapping diverse strands to make that an altogether satisfactory exercise. They are reproduced here more or less in the order in which they reached me, which does mean that successive postings will often relate to one another as contributors were inspired to pick up on a theme raised by a previous writer.
That said, this is a developing situation, with new stories coming in all the time, and it is my intention where possible to incorporate the later postings alongside those with which they resonate.
If you would like to send feedback to the contibutor of a particular posting, I will be happy to pass it on to the person concerned.
My cousin died recently, and I said farewell to her in latihan a couple of weeks ago. She was 32, and had a 13-year-old daughter who has been raised by her parents (the grandparents) for some years now, because my cousin had epilepsy and no job. She was living with a man who also had no job, so they were doing their best to support each other but were really low in every sense of the word. Her life, in other words, was not a success story. One day she went to take a bath alone, suffered an epileptic attack and drowned.
I offered up my latihan for her and knew it was to be our farewell. (I had not been able to attend her funeral.) I started to do the latihan and it was as if she had already been waiting for me. She appeared in a form that showed her without illness, without sorrow, without regret; she was her self that she could have become in this life at its highest level if all had worked out in the best possible way. She was healthy, beautiful, cheerful and the best qualities of her character were realized to the fullest.
A strong sense of nostalgia and remorse for her unhappy fate came upon me, but she kept on raising my head high with her hand and telling me very cheerfully: "Look at the light, not at the shadow, look up, look up, to the light, to the light!" We were communicating without words, and she made me understand or rather feel, how wonderful she is doing and how it can possibly be totally alright and acceptable to even leave a child behind. She also told me that it is wonderful for them - for all family members alive and dead - that I am doing the latihan and that I should keep on doing it. My great-grandparents and grandparents (my grandmother whom I used to talk to a few years after her death, and who also told me then how great it is for them that I am doing the latihan) were also there but only as companion to my cousin, they didn't interfere in any way.
Then we said good-bye. The scene changed for this event, and I saw her standing in a hilly landscape in tall grass and summer flowers; there was a huge tree through which the sun was shining - it was like a Tuscan scene. I could see the grass and the wooden floor of the latihan room meet right in front of my feet. On top of the hill I saw figures standing, waiting for my cousin. We said goodbye and we were all waving our hands, and slowly they were gone. And then the light that I thought was the sun started to come out from behind the tree as if the sun was going down at sunset. But it was not the sun, it was The Light itself, it was God or God's Love as light slowly accessing me, the whole room, everyone else in the room who were doing latihan, and I saw it poured out to the street, all over the world, and it came across my body, everyone else's body, so that we became transparent and full of light. I could also see my sister, her husband, her child and my baby too a few streets further away, for they were babysitting her while I was at latihan: they were all transparent and full of light, and then it came: "You are embodied light."
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I had an experience in 2004 when I started working in a small upscale boutique hotel called the Windsor Arms. I was hired as one of two night auditors, who ran the 29-room hotel from 11 pm to 7:30 am. The hotel had an atmosphere that I described to another employee as being like the seventh circle of Hell, and he agreed with me.
One night, after working there a couple of months, I was standing alone at the front desk, my colleague being off somewhere doing a room service order, when my eyes were drawn to look up to the mezzanine level balcony that ran around the lobby. I heard telepathically, “We’re glad you’re here”.
From that moment on the place became light and happy. Over the next six months, all the “heavies” who were working there either walked out, found another job, got in a fight with the owner and quit, or were fired. My manager left for another job and was replaced by a friendly, professional woman who transformed the reception area. The latihan affects the “outside world” more than we realize.
Actually, I recently saw a comment by Bapak where he said that if a billion people were doing latihan, the world would become substantially different. He also said somewhere else, that in the future there would be hundreds of thousands of Subud members. That’s amazing to contemplate.
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This is an experience I had quite early on in Subud, when I was travelling by car with some Subud members from Montreal, my home group, to Toronto, for a "pre-Subud Canada" meeting. I believe it was in the fall of 1965.
We were barely out of Montreal when the car developed some kind of mechanical problem and we pulled off the road into a gas station in Dorval, Quebec.
The others went in to consult with the mechanic, and I was left waiting in the small reception/office area in one of the two chairs. Outside the window I could see that there was a railway line and a crossing, and a train had stopped there.
Sitting by myself in the office, I suddenly began to feel very uncomfortable, and more and more I felt as if I was going insane. I tried to tell myself that it was just my imagination, but the sensation of turmoil inside me got more and more intense, until suddenly it reached a peak and I "saw" myself raising my arms up to heaven and I heard silently the words, "Go with God." There was a great feeling of release, all the turmoil disappeared and I felt completely calm, although a bit bewildered.
A few minutes later, the others came back into the office and told me that, shortly before, a school bus had been hit by the train, and all the children had been killed instantly. On the other side of the train there was a temporary morgue with all the bodies laid out on the ground. We had arrived 30 minutes after the event.
I realized that somehow I had been made to help those children to be released from the earth and go where they needed to go. I must have been visible to them, and in their terror, they had clung to me, and I could feel their state, and then the latihan had started and became a bridge for them to leave this world.
As we got back on the highway and drove on to Toronto, I sat in silence, overwhelmed. It was my first experience with death, and I felt it was a blessing to be able to help those souls with their transition.
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I got a call from a friend who had joined Subud a month before me, about 35 yrs earlier. He had moved overseas within a couple of years, and we saw each other every few years or so in different parts of the globe. But he was now back in town as his mother had died, and asked me to meet him for latihan. I went to his apartment/hotel and we did latihan in his living room.
It was a clear, light and joyous latihan, reflecting his years in Subud and the extent to which his mother’s soul had been raised by their latihans - his and his wife’s. Our latihan was characterized by soaring melodies and a sense of the fast rising journey of the soul. In one of us the melody would be lifted in glorious release and fulfillment, with the other holding a more restrained and rhythmic base, then the roles would change and the joy of soaring release would be taken up by the other. This happened several times during the 15 minutes it lasted. It wasn’t a latihan of individuals doing their own latihans, but was rather only the one latihan of beautiful and unrehearsed duets, with soaring and melodic cascades passing cleanly and unexpectedly from one to the other.
I felt humbled to participate - such deep fullness of worship. Thanksgiving and Blessings received. Witness to glorious release.
While putting on our shoes we looked and each other briefly, silently acknowledging the experience, but said nothing for what can one say!
As we left we found a maid standing in the hall, suddenly embarrassed and flustered at being found listening outside the door. I must say I was a tad surprised myself, for I had not for a moment considered whether our noise would carry.
“Oh excuse me listening,” she said, “but that was just so beautiful. Are you rehearsing for a performance somewhere? I’m really interested in fine music and would love to come.”
“No, there’s no performance,” I said. “Sometimes we even surprise ourselves!”
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