I seldom see visions, but once had a very impressive vision during the group latihan.
The latihan started as usual, but after a while, I noticed that a ball was floating a few meters in front of me in the darkness. It was brownish dark grey in color, the size of a soccer ball. I wondered what it was, and came to realize that it was the earth and that I was looking at it from a distance.
I felt it was strange, because if the ball floating in the air is the earth, where am I now? If the ball is the earth and if I am looking at it from the distance, I must also be floating in the air, in space - but how? I tried to find continents and oceans, but could not recognize any details. Nevertheless, the ball in front of me still felt like the earth, and I continued watching it while doing the latihan.
Then the scene changed. I was still doing latihan, but now standing on the earth. It looked like before sunrise and was still dark. My eyes gradually focused in the dark and I noticed a lot of people in front of me.
To my surprise, they were all lying face down on the ground, with bodies partly buried in the earth, moaning and groaning. They struggled to rise up, but could not raise even their heads, probably due to the weight which seemed to be pulling them downwards. I felt that in their inner they were calling for help, but they looked as if deprived of even the capacity and strength to pray to God.
It was a miserable and distressing sight, but I could do nothing about it. All that I could possibly do was just to continue with my latihan. So I did. I tried to surrender myself to God as much as I could, and I began to feel that the latihan was getting stronger and brighter. Then a strange realization came: although I was doing my own latihan, by so doing I was also surrendering to Almighty God on behalf of those who were unable to surrender by themselves as yet. Then the latihan finished.
I have refrained from telling this experience to anybody, because its content appeared rather outrageous, but I told it once to Sudarto when I visited Chilandak. He said that this experience was the indication of my future direction, and added that, in reality, most human beings were still deeply buried inside the earth and that even many Subud members have not yet attained the surface of the earth and have not been able to raise up their heads above it.
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It has happened to me sometimes that I experience what I can best describe as an 'inner wish'. It's an unexpected wish for something which suddenly pops up and seems to come from a different - and purer - place than the heart, where wishes and desires normally come from. Perhaps this is what Bapak called 'the inner heart'.
Many years ago I unexpectedly felt the wish to shake Bapak's hand; I had shaken his hand before, several years earlier. Sometime after this, another wish suddenly popped up, and this was that I really wanted to be tested in front of Bapak. I didn't really know what to do with this because I lived very far away from Indonesia and Bapak seemed to be getting too old to travel at that time, so I didn't think much about it, although those two wishes seemed to stay there in the background, somewhere in me.
Unexpectedly, not long after this, we learned that Bapak was coming to England for an eye operation and that, afterwards, he was going to give some talks at Anughraha. While at Anughraha, it was announced that Bapak would like to meet visitors from abroad in the library. I went over to the library where we all queued up to shake his hand.
The next day Bapak gave a talk. Half way through the talk he asked if ten helpers from abroad would like to come to the front to be tested by Bapak. So I went to the front and joined in which was to be the most powerful latihan and testing experience that I ever had.
Later, on the boat on my way home, I remembered those two wishes and realised that they had been fulfilled. Strangely enough, it was if something in me had always known that they would be.
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The following is a true story of something that happened 1998 when Hypatia and I were living near Seattle, Washington.
As is so often the case, we were rushed. I had arrived home from work late, and we had a long drive to latihan. We hurried about getting freshened up, finding car keys, the usual. Hypatia wasn't going to do latihan that night, but wanted to come along for the ride. She grabbed her gold chain -- a constant companion -- but it was too tangled up to deal with in the rush so off we went, chain in pocket.
This gold chain was quite special. It held a beautiful gold Subud symbol, a gold Cross, a ring of semi-precious Lapis Lazuli, and a special gift -- the famous Catholic ‘Miraculous Medal’ of Catherine Laboure, also in gold. The
real value wasn't the gold of course; it was content and meaning of the Subud symbol, the Cross, and the Miraculous Medal.
You all know about the Subud symbol and the Cross, but the Miraculous Medal was apparently designed by Mary herself, and given to Sister Catherine Laboure circa 1830, at the Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, in Paris. Catherine saw our Lady standing on a globe, with dazzling rays of light streaming from her outstretched hands. Framing the figure was an inscription: O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee. Then Mary spoke to Catherine: "Have a medal struck upon this model. Those who wear it will receive great graces, especially if they wear it around the neck."
We arrived late at latihan, and Hypatia sat in a lounge area outside the hall in the basement of the church where we rented space. There were tables and chairs set about, since the hall was used as a senior center during the day. There were newspapers spread around, and Hypatia sat there chatting with an applicant and another lady. She made an attempt to untangle the chain, but it was a mess, and would have to wait for another day.
The rest of the evening was uneventful. Latihan was refreshing as usual, and we drove home quiet and content, glad we had made the effort to go despite the late hour and the long drive.
The next morning, Friday, Hypatia looked for her chain as she dressed but it wasn't in it's usual place. Then she remembered she had taken it to the latihan hall, and had tried to untangle it. "Must be in my coat pocket," she thought. A quick look -- not there. She asked me if I had seen it. Again, no. I scurried off to work, confident that it was just misplaced.
Friday evening the chain was still missing, and Hypatia was quite worried she might have left it at the Church, the last place she remembered having it. We scoured the house finding nothing, and decided she just might have set it on the table in the lounge where it could have gotten hidden by newspapers and forgotten. We decided to get up early Saturday, search the whole house again from top to bottom in daylight, and if necessary return to the hall to search the lounge for the chain. We tried to comfort ourselves by thinking no-one would steal a chain with a religious medallion from a Church basement, and certainly not a senior citizen.
The daylight search proved fruitless, even though we had just moved in and the house was still quite bare, leaving few places for a gold chain to hide. The shelf where it was usually laid was quite empty except for a few odds and ends. Both of us looked it over more than once. Clearly, the chain was missing.
We hurried to the Church and found it open. The caretaker was around. We searched the lounge, but all the tables had been moved and stacked. The lounge was clean. The caretaker let us in to the church office where they kept a lost-and-found. He was certain it wasn't there as nothing had been turned in recently. He was right: nothing but the usual collection of easily forgotten accessories. We were depressed.
The drive home, as I recall, was rather quiet. We had recently experienced another loss of a different kind, and it was all too much. And how could someone steal a religious medal from a Church basement in a nice neighborhood? And maybe even a senior citizen at that!? It was more depressing to think that this was the way people are these days. I felt sick and discouraged.
The rest of the day was grim. The loss took the color out of the day. It wasn't about gold or money; that chain was Hypatia's! It really belonged to her! Dammit all anyway, I thought. As we retired for the night, Hypatia, to her credit, said "Oh well, if I'm really meant to have it it will turn up somehow." Yeah, right, I thought.
The next morning I awoke early and went downstairs to work on the Subud website, www.subud.org. It was the only thing that never failed to pick me up when I felt like life wasn't worth the trouble. I actually managed to get some old problems fixed and went back upstairs to tell Hypatia the good news a couple of hours later.
I walked into the bedroom, where sunlight was shining through the windows; fairly uncommon weather for Seattle. Hypatia was still asleep, and as I walked towards the bed something caught my eye on the shelf where she always placed her chain when she retired. I froze. I felt like I had been splashed in the face with cool water. My breath stopped for an instant and I became aware of a light sensation – that I was witnessing something extraordinary, something I personally didn't deserve. There, on the shelf, with the sunlight shining directly on it, was Hypatia's chain. All the precious symbols were there, and the chain was completely untangled!
I picked it up, scarcely believing my eyes, and woke Hypatia. We both felt dumbfounded that we had actually witnessed even a minor miracle. We don't know if it was the Subud symbol, or the Cross, or the Miraculous Medal, or all three that brought the chain back; but back it was. Order had been restored to our little corner of the universe, and our life of surrendering everything to God could now go on.
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