Footnote response to Lucas Horton's positive message which couldn't fully pry me free this morning – see http://positivelife101.blogspot.ie/.
Early today, despite my husband’s apology following his terseness in one of our petty territorial "fridge wars," I sank into utmost sadness while he went to work. I was uncharacteristically tearful on and off for hours, burdened with a sense of hopelessness about his loud voice. Increasingly, I wondered why I was wallowing in such inflated drama and if I could justify my sorrow! My rational mind knew this was absurd, but I couldn't shake the feeling. A simple spill of water at noon caused me to look down at the brass-buttoned thrift-store knickers I'd finally worn today after many times shedding them for other pants.
I'd purchased them near the vast Navy base in Coronado.
As I discarded them, wondering if a fallen soldier, one in mourning or one with PTSD had owned them, I felt a deep despair dissipate. Putting on my regular denims felt like putting myself back on and I've since felt light, comfortable and self-possessed, relieved actually, and wondering if a tobacco scent I couldn't trace earlier was somehow related to a former owner of the knickers ("jamaica's" or whatever).
I remembered that Bapak had said to be cautious wearing other people's clothes. That's where I'd end this, except that I felt to do the latihan to clear any force. I almost instantly perceived a distinctly tangible young woman and resonating last name, and felt myself extend a kejiwaan hug of comfort and grace while the tears again rose in me from nowhere. Beyond the welling up of compassionate, mature love that poured out of me to her spirit, details of my latihan perceptions of her are unimportant to this narrative. What is important is how abundantly I felt the latihan easing the pain and loneliness of a merely mortal, dead-end awareness or lack of awareness of Infinite Spirit.
How fortunate to know this Great Belonging.
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This experience relates to a period of my life between the ages of 22 and 24, during which I completed my time at Cambridge and was let loose on the world at large. It was also when I first heard about Subud but didn't know it! I remember reading the front page of the Daily Mail which ran an excited story about the healing of film star Ilaina (Eva) Bartok by a "mysterious healer from the East". I read it briefly but then forgot about it as it didn't tie in with any of my interests at the time.
As it happened, this time also coincided with a turbulent and somewhat miserable period of my life, when I realised I wanted nothing to do with the Law, in which I was supposed to have been trained to a small extent, and was still trying to come to emotional terms after an unhappy affair with a Roman Catholic girl had finally foundered on religious rocks. So I took a series of odd jobs, usually working during the winter months and then spending six months each summer roaming around Europe and starting to become interested in philosophy and spiritual matters.
It seemed to me that none of the established religions any longer had any "inner" content or meaning - some of them preached lies and distorted their history, or obviously misunderstood their own tenets - and I came to the conclusion that I would have to travel to India and find a guru. But I had considerable doubts that, say, something like Yoga or Hinduism was suitable for Westerners, and I was really working myself up into a considerable lather about life, the Universe, and the whole damn thing.
Then one night I had what I believe is usually called a lucid dream. It was incredibly sharp and in bright colour, and the symbolism was obvious and easily understood. In this dream I was walking along a dusty road, and on either side of me there were herds of wild animals trying to get onto the same road, but they were not allowed to and I knew I was protected. Soon I came to a clearing and entered a sort of oasis, with beautiful flowers everywhere, a fountain with crystal clear water falling into a stream, and a solitary gentleman seated on a bench by the stream. As I approached him, I saw he appeared to be of some sort of Asian extraction. His expression was incredibly calm and serene. I went up to him and asked, "Is it possible for a European to obtain enlightenment?" and he replied "Yes, and I will show you the way". Then I woke up shaking and saw the morning light was just beginning to brighten the sky. Over 50 years later I remember every detail as if it had just occurred.
I had no idea what this meant, but remember that a feeling of profound satisfaction lasted in me for several days afterwards. Then a week or two later, I had arranged to meet a friend in the English town of Guildford. Those who may be familiar with Guildford will know the main street is very steep and I was waiting at the bottom of the street. Suddenly it began to rain quite heavily, and I decided to run all the way up the hill to shelter in a second-hand bookshop I had previously visited several times. Normally, I would have dived into the nearest pub, but my legs seemed to have a life of their own. I went to the philosophy section to have a browse around, and saw a title I hadn't seen before.
Opening it up, there was a frontispiece photograph of an Asian man seated on a bench in a rose garden, whose name was Pak Subuh. The name of the book was "Concerning Subud" and the author was J.G.Bennett. The photograph in the book was exactly the same as the man I had met in my dream. And that was the moment my life truly began.
Later on in my Subud life I met two members who had had similar types of experience at about the same time, one in the USA and the other from Viet Nam. It seemed Bapak (Pak Subuh) had been doing some recruiting!
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When I about was 12, which would make it 1957, I was walking down the road to go to the pictures with my dad. It was dusk, late summer. I saw in the sky all these coloured geometric shapes - cubes and spheres - joined together. However, I don’t think Dad did and now I can’t ask him.
I was interested in yoga and associated subjects from the age of 15. I started a Tibetan meditation system when I was 21. This was too effective and brought me into a crisis: One night I was aware of my body expanding very fast and clouds appeared in the corner of the room; an Eastern man appeared wearing a turban with a large jewel and he had a black goatee beard. He introduced himself as Ak Ali Bakar. I freaked out and stopped the meditation, but it was like putting a cork into a bottle.
I got very depressed and went for an interview at the Jungian Institute. The interviewer said there were many young people like me and suggested a club in St Georges Hospital, then gave me some names of Jungian analysts. Whom I could not afford.
I really had no one to talk to about all this. I was in a terrible state, yet nobody seemed to notice. So I prayed for help. This was Christmas 1969, and at the time I was working part time in the Post Office helping with the Christmas rush. Part of my beat was Cricklewood Lane in North West London. During lunch time I would go to the library.
One particular lunch time was going to change my life: I was looking in the small selection of books on different spiritual beliefs. There was a book on Egypt and its cult of the dead, a book I had often seen. Then there was this book on something called Subud. I had never seen this one before and yet it had been in the library for several years. Which to take? I had read about Egypt so I took this mysterious book by John Bennet - “Concerning Subud.” I had some downtime before I had to return to work. Well, I ripped through that book in two hours. Amazing!
What to do? Look it up in the phone book. Good grief, there was an address there - 342 Cricklewood Lane, if memory serves me well. I pick up the phone, but who will answer? God? No, a cool female voice telling me that there are meetings for applicants in Monmouth Road, Notting Hill Gate. I go to the next meeting. What a relief: people I can talk to who don’t think I am nuts. Prayers answered. Thank you, Lord, God, Great Spirit, Allah.
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Beyond facts, fiction and our five senses there lies another world - mysterious and invisible to our normal faculties - and just because we do not see it, we should not assume it is not there. It’s like the sky during the day when the intensity of the sunlight prevents us from seeing the stars. So it is with this invisible world, the lower forces of this world have clouded our ability to see the future and the past, even where we came from and where we must go at the end of our present existence in this world.
We are fortunate if we have glimpses of this mysterious world and often receive messages and indications of future events via premonitions, dreams and visions. My dear Subud brother, Rusely, who is no longer
with us was gifted in this way. Many years ago I left my native country for greener pastures, and my entire family was sad to see me go, especially my mother, but Rusely assured her that I would return one day. I was skeptical at that time, but I did return years later against all advice and common sense as a war was raging and life was insecure, insecurity being one of the reasons that made me leave in the first place.
For many years, at the risk of being ridiculed, Rusely kept saying that this war would come to a dramatic end in a way no one could foresee. Most of us were amused and even his own son said, “Dad, the only way peace can arrive is when the country is divided and a 250 mile long wall is built!”
When visiting my native country again I met Rusely and told him that I had made the decision to return. He was overjoyed and confessed that he had received this on the day he came to my home to bid goodbye nearly 25 years ago, On the day I was returning, Rusely invited me for lunch at his home and we had a long conversation and a latihan together. He was aware that time was running out for him and asked me to keep in touch with his family if something should happen. He also said that someday his only son would join Subud but asked me not to pressure him in any way regarding this matter.
It was time to leave and I said goodbye to all the family members present, and as I was leaving Rusely called my name and said, "I will see you on the other side." I thought it was a parting jest, yet it turned out that it was the last time I would see him. He passed away within a week.
I returned a year later and settled down in my native country. Ten years later the civil war came to a dramatic end. No expert in the West or Pandit in the East had foreseen the conclusion. The whole world and the news media was caught off guard. Those of us who knew Rusely remembered his words very well. A few years had gone by and I happen to contact Rusely's son for some information. To my total surprise he indicated that he was ready to join Subud, and he was opened three month ago. He was over fifty years old and with children of his own.
These events that took place over a span of many years may sound unrelated, yet I am convinced that they are connected in a mysterious way in the mysterious world we know very little about.
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Here is what I received in latihan on 9th October 1983:
"Nathaniel, just listen.
"Bapak cannot do it alone; he needs the help of all the Subud members. The earth is very hot now. It is close to a very dangerous edge, if it goes over it will be smashed at the bottom. You must help cool it down.”
“The universe is filled with a cool light, it has always been there; you can’t see it, just like you can't see light until it is reflected off something. Wherever Bapak is it's cool, but Bapak cannot cool the whole earth down by himself. Subud members have a responsibility to cool things down wherever they are. The only way is to set aside your passions, then this light which usually goes right through the earth, will begin at once to reflect off your inner self. It is not necessary to fear or be concerned about coming events. It's only your job to be a reflection."
That was the end of the message.
Speaking only from my own experience, Subud has been mostly just the looking at how is my job, or am I happy, what's my talent, can I get on this committee or that, these people don’t understand, or he/she is really close to God, and so on.
After this message, however, I feel that I have come out of childhood and that I have the same responsibility as the prophets, except that my capacity is not as great. I can only do my part and know that this is all that is required of me, as small as it may be. It only matters that I do my part, and I know that this is all that matters for each person in the world.
A few days after the first experience - of hearing the inner voice explain about the Great Life Force and how it goes through everything and how if we surrender it is reflected back into the world - I heard the voice again and this time it told me to feel my hands.
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“Feel the life of your hands, just feel the life in your hands. Do not think about it just feel them. Be simple about it.” Then I was instructed to feel each part of my body.
The voice then said, “This is your temple and it is a gift, and inside this gift there is the life within. If you feel and are aware of the life in your being as you are doing something like washing dishes or drinking a coffee or eating or sitting on a chair then the life within will connect with the thing you are doing.”
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“Everything wants to be in contact with the Great Life Force, but the human is the only way the things in this world can experience the contact. It’s like you will open the thing you are in contact with or fill the thing with the inner contact and bring harmony to it.
This is a blessing for all of the things in contact with someone who has received the inner contact with the Great Life Force. This is what is meant by doing the latihan diligently. It’s up to you to train and magnify your training so that your inner experiences this world.”
This was the end of the instruction. This training does not just happen, I have learned that I need to be awake to the training and practice. When I go unconscious of the training (Latihan) my actions are useless.
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In the early eighties while on an extended visit to Jakarta, I went for a stroll in the back streets near Wisma Subud. As I drew near to an elderly lady standing by a gate -- a lady I’d seen at latihan and at Bapak’s house -- I greeted her. She responded by firing a question at me. Then, as though I’d given the correct answer, she swung the gate open dramatically and said “Come in!”
I regret to say that my aging memory no longer permits me to recall her name, so I shall respectfully call her Ibu. There was a mysterious atmosphere about all this which I’ve experienced a few times in Java. As though she was told I was coming, I was made to walk there, an opportunity was presented, and it was up to me to go with the flow. And go with the flow I did.
We drank a glass of tea brought by a maid, and then she said she had something to tell me. It seems that a few years before, she’d had a spiritual crisis and hearing about it, two western ladies had come to the house and asked her questions as though she was an oracle. They’d asked her to tell them about the Djiwa (I’m using the old Dutch spelling as she used it) and asked her “Do you believe in Angels?”
Recalling it all, she said to me “I thought to myself I’m just an old lady I know nothing. But I look inside and I ask God to give the answer and I saw on the wall writing started to happen so I read that to them.” It said:
“The Djiwa is God’s Ambassador on Earth. It is the first and last witness to your intentions which are written immediately on the Djiwa even if you don’t carry them out. The Angels surrounding us assist the Djiwa and read what is written there. The good intentions and deeds as well as the bad are all there for them to read.”
As a response to what she’d witnessed that day, Ibu continued “The Djiwa is God’s Ambassador in everyone. God is not one millimetre away from us. God is in us. Now that we know this, of course we will try to be good in our lives. This is the Source of Subud. You just do your latihan regularly and God fills you with what he wishes you to have. You don’t have to ask here and there. You in the West, you test everything. If you want to go to England, go to England! You don’t need to test. If it is hard, surrender! If you test everything where is the surrender?”
It was not a coincidence that I had pad and pencil in my handbag. I’d discovered only days before that I was to be a reporter in Subud—and so I was for some years afterwards—and stories started presenting themselves straight away. It was as though Ibu knew this would be reported one day. “Write this down” she commanded before she started talking about it. And so I did. Although this conversation took place twenty nine years ago, the timing of reporting it was not mine. It was filed away and I am led to it now in 2012. Apart from feeling that the time is right, it also feels to me, as though time is short.
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