A KALIMANTAN JOURNAL, March-April, 2012
By Arifa Assariah
Before visiting Kalimantan I was based in Cilandak for a week. From there I went to latihan at Pamulang and saw Ibu Rahayu and then took a trip to see Bapak’s grave. That was where the experiences I’ve written down all started. I began a journal from then on and have transcribed my notes, tidied them up, cut back on some things and added others. What follows are extracts from that journal.
BAPAK’S GRAVE 13/3/12
When I entered the enclosure that housed Bapak’s grave I noted Ibu Sumari’s grave and Ibu Mastuti’s but went over to Bapak’s grave and soon knelt down beside it. Resting quietly beside it. I closed my eyes, ready to pay my respects to Bapak… not sure what to do… or not do. I went to my quiet place. Soon I began to feel things.
I felt great sadness on one hand, anger on the other. I felt Bapak there, by my side. He asked me whose sadness: if it was my sadness, my anger. I said no to both.I felt the ancestors’ web within me. Bapak asked if he could give it back to the ancestors for me. I gladly accepted and immediately felt better.
Then I felt more heaviness in my heart… this time abject loneliness. I asked Bapak, Why? Why this loneliness? He responded by showing me my true nature. I felt light, soft, gently flowing and in flight. I felt others around me, constant companions; with loving, embracing energies.
Then he showed me what it was like being in my body. It was very different: The opposite in fact.
Bapak said I would be lonely as long as I didn’t keep connected with my soul.
The whole time I was at Bapak’s grave I was crying… it felt like an enormous purging of grief: missing those I had loved who were dead, missing Bapak. I asked Bapak if he’d called me to his grave, as that is how it felt.
“Ya, Ya,” he said.
Why? A word I’ve been asking lately, Why… or… Who am I? To be more precise… and Who am I not?
“It is this question, or these, that caused Bapak to call you,” responded Bapak.
I flung my inner heart open to show Bapak … who was not impressed with my bravado. I stopped, realising how aggressive and defensive I felt. So I waited to feel what was next. Bapak then said that he’d like to take me on a journey and that going to Kalimantan would enable to experience this.
He talked about what we can offer the world. How it is if we shift gear into our true inner I – and how that expresses the world, both inside and out. The world is not a separate thing, he said. We can arrange the layers within, so they fall correctly. We are upside down, i.e, the material is on top.
If we do it inside, we do it in the world - even if we can’t imagine how it works or manifests.
He also indicated that we were connected somehow, not in the father/daughter way, but in a way I cannot explain: somehow equal but not the same in capacity, etc … I guess equal but different kind of equal.
He reminded me of all the times he had come to me in dreams over the years. Many of them came back to me, clearly. He explained some of the dreams more.
Reminding me of being equals: in the dream we were sitting opposite each other over a wooden outdoor table. He said, “Look into my eyes.” I did, at first nervously. His eyes smiled at mine. We are equals, they told me. Physically, our eyes were level with each other.
Kitchen window: I was in the kitchen of our family home in Bowral when my husband was alive. Bapak came in through the back door, said hello, but carried on to the window on the other side of the room, crashed through it and fell out. I panicked. What if Bapak is dead, wounded, gashed, bleeding? I sat there unable to move. Bapak reappeared through the back door, smiling and chuckling away. He showed me a small cut on his thumb. “I only did that to show you,” he said.
He reminded me that the dream was about creating your own reality. In my fear, dreadful things were happening. But Bapak could have actually gone through the experience of crashing without even a scratch, or he could have, as in my imagining, been broken, battered, bruised, even killed by it. In other words, our choice is in how we deal with the happenings of life. That dream had helped me go through the life that was coming: Luthfi’s death, Rachman being disabled, etc. I was able to deal far more lightly with those things I think, although, as with Bapak’s thumb, I too had cuts - more than just the slight scratch!
Spaghetti: I dreamt that I was at a wooden outdoor table (again) with a few people and Bapak at the head… it was lunch and I’d made a kind of mix of food in a bowl. Bapak was eating plain spaghetti. He asked to share my food. I felt that my food was not ‘up to standard’ to share with Bapak. He laughed and said. “Your food is half asleep, but this spaghetti is fully asleep.” Later that week, somehow, I learned that Bapak liked plain spaghetti and had been offered some at around that time but had returned it.
Bapak reminded me of that and indicated I still had more waking up to do… during this trip.
Bapak in bed: I dreamt I was in Bapak’s bedroom, a large and airy room. He was in bed. I was concerned that he might be naked, but was relieved to see he was wearing pyjamas. He got up, came over to where I was and sat on a chair. He asked me to wash his hands. I was able to wash the tips of his right hand fingers but that was all. This dream occurred after Ibu Sumara died and there was talk of Bapak looking for his next wife. He explained to me that he was checking to see how much I was able to deal with the masculine at that time. Not very much it seems.
Enjoy Everything You Do: (Dream) I was at a concert in Sydney, an amateur night of Subud people getting up and performing for Bapak and his family and us. I found it boring, embarrassing and banal. I looked at Bapak. He was watching and listening with full attention and no judgement. He looked happy and serene. He turned to me. As he looked at me, I realised he was telling me Enjoy Everything You Do. I said, “Is that what you mean?” He replied, ”Ya, ya.” I was judging. I was looking at a person and not really knowing them at all. How then can I judge? So the message was to not be critical, but to live life responsive to and responsible for my own enjoyment of it. I can complain about the dishes… or enjoy myself doing them. Same dishes. Different quality of life.
Virgin of God: One of the strongest and most powerful experiences of Bapak I ever had was in 1975 at the Congress in Wolfsburg, after I met Luthfi and knew I was going to marry him. I was an unmarried mother. Subud guidelines via Bapak’s moral code was that all sex before marriage led ‘down’. So I guess after being in Subud five years I still felt myself to be perhaps ‘tainted’. Not sure, but anyhow…
I was lying in bed in my room at night when I saw the figure of Bapak enter the room. It was his vibration. At every slight movement forward, he vibrated, shimmered and somehow all his atoms seemed visible. He was also virtually see-through. But it was definitely him. He came up to my bed. Very close. His voice boomed through me. Again clear and strong and yet totally like a vibration. “Virgin of God,” he said. Then he disappeared. At the time I took it to mean that somehow God saw me as virginal, i.e., not sexually touched. Bapak explained: “It doesn’t matter how stained we feel by life; in spirit we remain intact.” God in us is ‘pure’.
There had been other dreams but these are the ones Bapak chose to remind me of.
1pm: Just arrived in Kalimantan. At Eco Village. Completely emptied bowels… good omen? It is raining, coolish and quiet. Just perfect. I feel so relaxed already. Alone, except that I feel Bapak right here, right now. “Ya,” Says Bapak.
I feel empty enough to listen… as I’d received I was to do before I left for this holiday. Listen. That was the word. Not just to words. Nor was it a feeling of not talking with people, only listening. No, the kind of listening that is akin to being aware of and allowing the inner/outer experiences to penetrate.
It feels possible now that the anger and sadness that I carried, the emotions that covered who I really am and that I wore as ‘me,’ have gone. I feel more open and allowing now. I still feel that I don’t know who I really am. I realise that I still have my own sadness and angers, though.
I lie down on the bed and quieten myself… and Bapak’s presence is there. He seems to stand near, on my right side when my eyes are closed. Bapak quickly goes through the forces: Material quiet; vegetable strong but at peace; animal quiet too. It’s possible, therefore, for the human element to breathe and feel itself better, and beyond that … the spirit, soul of the true human being… then on to the Angelic en route to Source. “It can be done in three weeks. Good. Then you will be the right way up!” (laughter) Bapak’s laughter within me is so joyous and total, like a child’s - a total wash of joy. “Then the world/life on earth/this existence will make sense… and the real job of living will be able to occur in daily life. This is Bapak’s bestowal.”
4p.m. Left for Rungan Sari, which I was told by some was a short distance from Eco Village, and quite far by others. Earlier in the morning I saw my friend arrive from one side and leave from another (from Rungan Sari) so I decide the other side must be the short cut and set off. After a long winding walk through scrub, with no signs, I find a larger path and set off to the right, working out that must be the way. I find myself at a Dayak village. It is a surprising find as it just appeared out of the scrubland almost like a mirage. I wander past small dwellings, dogs, children playing and a couple of tiny shops and even buy some vegetables off a wheelbarrow stall. Then there is the river. It is all so beautiful. The small village. The people quietly busy. I ask people, Subud? They point to a house to the left, on the river. Guest House, they say. I go there. I call out. A man comes to the door and bids me enter. He sits me down at a simple arrangement of chairs around a coffee table and brings me ice-cold water. His name is Bachtiar. He is a Subud member. This is an early Subud guest house from when they were building Rungan Sari. It is a distance from the compound which, I discover, is the opposite direction from where I have been walking. I laugh. That is not unusual for me… to go in the opposite way I’m meant to be going. I am not just upside down but my directions are opposite… this is a reminder, surely. It is also a great adventure. But the light is fading. Bachtiar offers to drive me back to Eco Village on his bike. I am grateful as it is a long walk back, and I’m not sure I would know how to find my way back in the dark through the barely discernible walkway and no signage. I hop on the back of his motorbike and zoom (slowly) along the same paths back. With the wind cooling me as we ride, I feel so happy.
I feel no fear or worry here. The feeling is so peaceful it is incredible. So soothing: Like being connected to a soft, loving mother all the time. Safe.
If this is my first lesson here it is: follow the path into the wild unknown… there are many paths to follow… the journey is not linear… it is an unfoldment… I do not need the ‘right’ destination or to be right… just a curiosity to explore… the unexpected is its own unfoldment and I learn on the way… ‘mistakes’, so called, often lead to wider experiences.
Now the Muslim call to prayer is being sung soulfully over the intense high toned dirge of the cicadas. It sounds like the call of yearning in the last moments of light as dusk pulls darkness as a shroud over the Eco village; filling the night with mystery.
THE FATHER PRINCIPLE: As I write this it is hard to recall in entirety… but I’ll do what I can.
Bapak came early this morning, and took me to meet/reconnect with my spirit father.
It felt like the bible story; the return of the prodigal son. The feeling was immense. To be welcomed home so lovingly, so openly, so totally forgiven as if there was no need to be forgiven, was a deeply moving experience. In fact, I was appreciated for ‘repenting and humbly coming home’. It was shown that I came home through letting go of the past, through forgiveness of others and asking forgiveness of my own sins against others… forgiveness and repentance. Again reminding me of Christian prayer and the sentence: Forgive me my sins as I forgive those who sin against me. And I realise how impossible it is to just do one or the other… it has to be both, at the same time. For, in truth, we are both sides: the sinner and the sinned against.
I was finding it overwhelming, all the feelings of love and admiration I was feeling over the way I had overcome the inner and outer struggles of my past. I found it hard to accept the renown bestowed upon me for my achievements when I had spent most if not all of my life thus far concentrated on my own faults, guilts, etc. - rarely on my achievements.
This is the wise father, it seems: Allowing us enough rope to fall, and so proud of us when we rise up again. But for the child: to fall, then take the
journey home, is in itself a feat. To admit that in my father’s eyes, I feel myself a failure… and still come home: Humbled. With nothing to offer. And to be thus made a fuss of. It is beyond humbling. I don’t know if I can ever explain or express adequately what I felt. But I see how amazingly accurate is the parable of Jesus, to what I experienced.
It feels like my journey is about learning the true nature of the Father, the Mother and the Child… but we shall see.
Still 2nd Day
I walked, this time the right way, into Rungan Sari… A very short walk indeed! I passed Amalijah and Wayne’s ranch (yes, he’s American and they have a small ranch between the Eco Village and Rungan Sari (the main compound). I saw the stable and their yearlings…the smell of horse rising pungent in the warm air.
As I entered the compound I came face to face with one of the two latihan halls opposite me. It also doubles as part of the International School, and is in the centre of one of the central circles of land, surrounded by a narrow road. On the outer side of the road, from my left and right, are houses. I bore left and came quickly upon the rest of the school.
As I entered the school I met Emily, the Art teacher, coming towards me. (Because I am an artist I'd written to her before I came, but had no response.) She invited me to help her with her next class. I agreed. She also invited me to help out with other classes, so I shall come again tomorrow morning. She asked me to bring her ideas of my own to take over a couple of her classes and teach them. So I went back home and started thinking up ideas.
ARROGANCE AND PRIDE
I asked my inner, what ‘makes me’ feel uncomfortable with some of the Subud members here, especially those who feel they are special in some way; more money, closer to the ‘Royal Family’ but not the RF themselves. (my nickname for Bapak’s family here, as the behaviour of many people here is that of subjects to Bapak and his family). Arrogance and Pride was the response. Three fingers back at me, I thought; using the American Indian saying (If you point a finger out, then three fingers are always pointing back at yourself).
I realise I shall not be comfortable in my skin until I put my own arrogance and pride in their right places, i.e., self-confidence and pride in self, rather than my wont of seeing myself as better or worse than.
I did a latihan to let go of all arrogance and pride in myself, my line of ancestry and past lives. I felt lighter after!
But now I’m off to school to help Emily. Yesterday’s class was interesting. I felt uncomfortable, so I’m not sure of my place or what to do. But I shall persevere and see where it takes me. Or stop.
Later in the day I wandered over to Rashid Carre, an artist and a Frenchman. His house is gorgeous, an architectural masterpiece. He showed me his artwork, what he had around his house, explaining about the architecture… the high ceilings, the through drafts that make it cool without the use of fans or air conditioners… and he talked ‘the talk’… Bapak says! Perhaps more than usual, who knows… for he is translating Bapak’s talks.
One of the many topics was the arrogance of the Jews. It seems Bapak’s interpretation was that God gave rules and regulations and stuff to Abraham – for all of mankind – but the Jews kept it for themselves, decided they were the chosen people and, finally, in their arrogance and pride, felt they knew God and what God wanted, etc. It happened again with Moses. Then with the Christians, then the Muslims. So here we are, doing it again (I say). Bapak said the latihan was for all of mankind, but we in Subud keep it all for ourselves, barely bothering to allow anyone else in these days.
Rashid also spoke about Bapak talking about our souls not being able to fully inhabit our bodies at birth because of the ancestral muck passed down, so perhaps only the material part of the soul can squeeze into some bodies (which I find hard to believe is true). But, Rashid said, in Subud our souls can be expanded, or shifted… like we can die from one level to be born on the next. That was rather interesting to hear as I’d experienced something that resonated with that at the Christchurch Congress, when I felt I was dying in a latihan and at the end was reborn into a new place, and that my name hadn’t come with me… which was when I got my new name. (Then I did nearly die, and that really shifted so much again).
Suzanne and I went with Simon Dick, to Se Gohong, the village by the river. We met Yadi, who was to take us on a water trip to see the Urangutangs. Simon dropped us off and went back. I found it really hard getting into the long, narrow boat… but, ungainly, I finally managed to collapse myself into it without overturning the rocking boat.
The trip through the waterways of Central Kalimantan, flanked by scrubby trees and bushland, was timelessly graceful and peaceful. The quiet chugging of the engine, our slow progress, the endlessness of the scenery, lulled my senses.
Very quickly I was flooded with the memory of this same river 30 years before, 1982, when Luthfi and I came to Kalimantan at the beginning, when it was just land. Luthfi had really wanted to see the place. I came reluctantly as I was forced to leave my children behind. But now, as the boat moved through the water, I cried for the beauty of that first trip with Luthfi. I’d fallen in love with the river then, as we travelled 18 hours by the then water bus trip to Tienkeiling from Palankaraya. It had been magical. I wept for the memory of it. For the loss of my husband. For the years of missing him. Then Bapak in my head said the word, Mother. Luthfi had been a very loving man; nurturing, accepting and constantly loving and accepting me. That was mothering! I had not had that from my own mother, who had given me to nannies at two weeks old, so she could go to work. I had taken nurture where I could, more from my father as he had been more ‘present’ than my mother, who was always a distant figure for me, and who died early too.
As I felt that, and experienced the pain it brought up, I silently screamed into the water in front of me (fortunately I was sitting in the front and couldn’t be seen and the sound of the motor drowned any noise). After emptying myself of the emotions I felt, I felt a feeling of being filled with loving, nurturing spirit of the mother. I calmed down into the feeling and soon I felt normal. We then approached where the Urangutangs were and had some interesting sightings.
Later in the day, when I got home I rested. I felt my abandoned baby and the feeling in my brain was that everything; both mother and father, was functioning in only one side of my brain, the left.
I was told it was time to go on a journey to the baby. I was frightened and reluctant to face the pain. Suddenly I felt myself (all this on an inner level) pulled by my arms by a strong presence. I plummeted into pain and darkness. I felt swamped by the pain.
Then faces appeared - of women I didn’t like. I felt anger against them. I was given to understand that these women reminded me of the nannies who dealt with me without warmth and love, and of my sister, who was cold towards me. Then I was shown faces of women I love, and I felt the feelings of love, acceptance, caring, support and unconditional love between us. Those, I was told, were the qualities of the Mother.
I was then told I was going to meet Mother and to let go of old mother. I surrendered. As I did, it felt like my right brain was kick-started, like a bright light ignited it, and I felt my head connect in both sides. I could feel the expansion on my right side, inside my head. It felt light, new and innocent - expansive. Mother God.
Almost immediately after, I saw something ‘floating’ inside my body. It was a large shape, like a tadpole, floating upside down through my body, from inside the base of my stomach to my throat. It was dark in shape. Shadowy. I turned the shape inside so that it was right way around. I don’t understand what it means and nothing happened, no explanations occurred. Perhaps the baby didn’t come into the world properly, grow properly in the world without the nurturing of the mother. Having thought that, a great peace came over me: a sense of calm and of ‘all’s right’. I felt held in the soft arms of my spiritual mother. After a little it finished and I got up. Time for a swim.
I did my 20 laps, then I met Halim briefly, Maya’s husband. Then two other volunteers, from USA - Cedar and Ruslan. We chatted happily for a while then I went home.
Back home, there were preparations under way for a party that night, for the school teachers and volunteers, of whom I was a fledgling.
It was a delight, excellent food and plenty of it. A big vat of fresh young coconut juice to drink. The stage was ready for music, with a backing musician. Over the evening many of the teachers got up and sang – it was joyful, delightful and encompassing. I couldn’t help but think that this evening was also celebrating with me, the shift that has occurred and which is so vast for me. A crazy thought!
At the end of the evening I met Nellie… she works for YUM and invited me to help her with her art class on Wednesday afternoon. Cool! She is a gorgeous Australian woman, so warm and open hearted. (A volunteer and non-Subudian) Her mother is Greek and father Italian (or other way around). It seems that there are many good, human works being developed here. It is heartening to hear stories of how people are working towards harmonious and better conditions for people and the ecology round about.
The energy here is extraordinary. Gentle yet powerful and it brings one to one’s feelings and inner truths. I have already been told that in Kalimantan the energy seems to allow you to face yourself.
The 11 a.m. latihan was wonderful. I sang and moved with such a feeling of womanly grace and beauty. At the end I received a couple of things. One was to let go of S, who I felt disturbed by, from the inside of me. I knew her a long time ago and realised there was stuff inside me still. So I did. I felt something leave and felt much quieter and more at peace towards her. It felt like an old hurt I’d harboured.
The second was an understanding of the tadpole that I’d seen inside of me was my sexuality upside down… and later, in my room, there was more work..
After latihan I sat and chatted with people for a bit. Rashid Carre came up to me and said he’d viewed my website and to come visit the next day. Also after Sunday latihan, people gather at a Warung close by, which is run by my Eco village woman, Murtianna. She is a gorgeous, sunny, sweet Indonesian lady who looks maybe 28 but is 46! I couldn’t believe it! But she has two teenage daughters so I have to, I guess.
Lunched with Hermia, her son Somali and his wife, two other volunteers, Halimah and Michael and Halim and Maya.
Then went to rest, which turned into a process. I felt the masculine aggressor within and the feminine victim, but gently. But then there was a kind of physical shift in the base of my spine and I felt something release. That's all, except that Bapak said to me, “The story is over. It’s not a personal story any more, it’s a universal story”. That means if someone needs to hear something, then a part of my story may come up, in suitable form. I’ve been conscious that my story is finished - as if I’ve got to the core of the issues that the story has been showing me - and I pray that all that needs healing and sorting, gets done here. Again, Bapak said that by healing myself I heal the world, but, again, I do not get that. How? But I don’t get any clarity on the how of it. Every time Bapak is around I feel he is really here with me; it also feels so normal and natural and comfortable. Like greeting a friend. I hardly question the fact that it is all in spirit as it has a sense of reality about it that I cannot explain.
Last night I had a dream in which I went to my father’s house. I remember that before we got to the house there was an area outside the house filled with empty boxes, just left there, higglety pigglety: from moving in? Or for moving out? I don’t know. I was with someone. We somehow started a fire. I felt we had to put it out as it was dangerous. And then I was in the house. There was some talk about the landlord, but I forget what.
My father seemed happy but a bit doddery or demented. He was living with two others, a man and a women, both much younger than him. He would have been in his late 70’s/80. They were all moving out. The house was filthy, like it had never been cleaned or tidied or cared for. I thought it was nice that the two younger people had let my father share the house with them, but none of them had lifted a finger to keep the place clean and in good condition. In fact, it appeared that I was left with what was a mammoth task, and I began to hoover the grimy, filthy carpet. But their hoover was in bad shape. It too hadn’t been cleaned and the nozzle to clean with was the wrong kind, it was a small round one, bunged up with old dirt. So I had to clean the hoover and change the top to the large flat kind. Then it began to clean. The carpet under the filth was a rusty red colour. It looked like good quality wool. While I was doing this I realised that Emiria was in the house. At first I thought she was there to help me clean, but I soon realised that she was cluttering up the house some more with her stuff.
By the end of the dream I’d managed to clean only a part of one of the rooms… and there were many, many rooms to do.
(Continued on page 24)