A few months ago, I had a very strong and beautiful receiving that I am still finding is reverberating through me and helping me heal.
I was lying on my bed at night, getting ready to sleep, and, as is my wont, allowing myself to 'go into spirit'… connect with spirit in the quiet before sleep. Sometimes it is nothing much, sometimes I feel a real glowing connection. This night a ball of light appeared from the darkness of my closed eyes in my darkened room. It came gliding towards me and straight into my heart. I felt myself cradle it with my inner arms as if it were a precious baby and in fact I then knew that I was holding baby Jesus in my arms (as a ball of radiance). It felt like I was holding divine love… an amazingly wonderful feeling in itself. Yet more happened... I became conscious that I was standing before a ship, a beautiful, old fashioned, wooden sailing ship - as if I was getting ready to embark in it, with my ball of light.
Then my attention was guided to my left where I saw an ocean with seas that were rough and there was another ship there which was fast approaching, and which then was side by side with the ship in front of me. I saw the dark figure of a man on the other ship, who looked like a pirate. At the same instance a voice said: "That is the ship of Sinbad." And it was a totally different kind of ship with the kind of energy of the brigands of old. "Sinbad," the voice repeated. Then, again, slower and with more emphasis on the word: Sin Bad… SIN BAD! Then I got what the voice was telling me. Not just the words, but the intention behind the words. Sin Bad was the old fire and brimstone way of religion - the judgemental and punishing way. And this baby Jesus in my arms and the ship in front of me was the way of LOVE, of unconditional love, unifying, non-judgemental, not about being right or
Once I had fully understood, the voice again spoke: "So which ship do you wish to sail on?" "I choose the love boat!" I answered. (Aware that it was not the same as the 70's TV series…lol)
The thing is… I am finding out just how much I valued 'being right' and hated 'being wrong' and I am slowly becoming more aware and dropping my old internal sin-bad attitudes in favour of loving myself and others without those limiting feelings. I did not realise how ingrained in me the 'old way' was.
- - - - -
One day, some years ago on the evening of last day of the Ramadan Fast, I went to my local group and received the latihan with the other women. As I’d already had some beautiful feelings of peace and inner freedom after fasting for the month, I was more than grateful; I was not expecting or hoping for any more blessings. However, towards the end of the latihan I had the following experience:
I was standing peacefully in one part of the room by myself with
closed eyes when with my inner eyes I suddenly became aware of a large bird
the same size as me standing right next to me. I was astonished when it
conveyed to me without words but very clearly in some kind of
telepathic way that it was so happy that I had noticed its existence. It told me it had been with me all my life and loved me dearly, and that it would accompany me for the rest of my life, helping me whenever it could. The feeling it conveyed was one of complete love for me and joy that at last I had become aware of its existence.
I’m not sure what kind of bird it actually was but it looked to me like an eagle as it had a sharp curved beak and claws and brown feathers. The experience has stayed with me ever since and has inspired me to paint the attached picture. (See the Miscellany section of the Gallery on this website.)
After meeting this bird I became interested in investigating more about
the symbolic meaning of eagles. I learned that in Native American
Indian culture eagles symbolised messengers who were able to convey
a person’s prayers to God.
- - - - -
When I was in my late thirties, I was in my apartment when suddenly a “voice message” came to me. It said, “You will marry when you are 48. ”Wait a minute,” I said, “What am I supposed to do in the meantime?” No answer came. I got married when I was 48, except that I had forgotten the
message. It was only later that I remembered it.
One day, for no reason, I received the hand of the Buddha, known as the Compassionate One. I held my hand up the way the Buddha did in the statues and received the Compassion of the Buddha. I travel a bit, and will often hold my hand up in this fashion when passing strangers.
- - - - -
Two young men from abroad were staying with me. One was a Subud member and the other one, his friend, wasn't. They were having lively
discussions about the existence of God. The friend was an atheist and was challenging the Subud brother.
Two days later the friend went on holiday to Scandinavia while the other one went on to stay in my country. After about three weeks the friend came back and I invited both of them over.The Subud brother and I noticed that the friend was different since he had returned from his holiday. He was much more quiet and, frankly, seemed a bit shell-shocked. Later that day he shared with us what had happened during his holiday.
Before he'd left he had prayed and asked, 'God, if you exist, then give me a sign during this holiday.' One day he was driving his car in Denmark when he had a freak accident. During the accident he was flung out of his car in a most peculiar manner. The car ended up severely damaged. Had he stayed in it he wouldn't have survived the crash; as it was, he only had a few bruises.
Bystanders who had seen the accident happen, and later the police, spoke of a miracle and that they could not believe he had survived this accident; they all agreed that he should have been dead. He then thought about his prayer and had started to question his old belief system. That's why he had been so quiet and withdrawn.
I have lost touch with both of them since, but I am pretty sure that the friend who had the accident would not forget this experience for the rest of his life.
- - - - -
My sister Judith died 6 February 2013 after a difficult two years for her and the family. Her last few days passed with close family with her all the time so she was never alone and was surrounded by familiar voices/atmosphere, though she outwardly couldn’t acknowledge this. And for the last two days before she died she looked truly beautiful - completely at peace - with everything stripped away.
My sister, though not in Subud had asked questions about it, which I mention as a background to an experience to do with her, which happened three days after she died - in the time before the funeral, three days later.
At Loudwater we had arranged to have an evening watching and listening to a Bapak video,so we went along and the recording began and Bapak began talking. As I was looking towards the image of Bapak speaking – he was projected large on the latihan hall wall – out of the blue I had an inner awareness of my sister standing to the right of the screen looking at Bapak for a little while with a puzzled look and then she turned to where I was sitting, still with this puzzled look on her face, and looked back to the screen indicating Bapak there and said, ‘Why is this here? It’s here (where I am).’
I inwardly answered, ‘This is the latihan.’ Then the inner image faded and she was gone. This was all in the space of seconds in time.
Such a short simple experience . . . but since then, the deeper it goes.
I have through it an awareness, a confirmation of the reality of the latihan and the amazing gift I have been given. A proof for me that there is no boundary in the latihan between life and death if we face Almighty God in all our actions, together with the reality of Bapak as a channel for the power of God, and that through this grace we can be the same if we can truly surrender to the power of Almighty God. It is only the lower forces trying to – we letting them - control us, that can block this from being shared with all of mankind. This is for me such a ‘mind blowing’ thing. It is so easy to miss the subtlety and depth of the latihan experience if one is, as Bapak has said, ‘not at home’.
I realise now that I was, in that moment, able to see my sister with my inner eyes and hear her with my inner ears and reply to her and now I have more of a ‘real’ understanding of what Bapak says about not just looking but ‘seeing’ and why he used to test these questions about our eyes, our ears etc., so much.
What a gift she has given me.
- - - - -
I had the good fortune to be married for 48 years. A few years after my wife died, at about dawn one morning, we were suddenly together again. I said, 'How wonderful to be together again.' She said, 'Yes,' and then I was enveloped in a quality of love that I never knew existed. Then I awoke and the glow was still with me.
On another occasion I tested by myself, 'How will it be for her when I die?' Then I tested 'How will it be for me?’ To my surprise they were both exactly the same: very joyful and lively and worshipful. I was surprised at the lively bit, but look forward to it!
- - - - -
When I attended the World Congress in Spokane it was my first opportunity to see any of Bapak’s family as I had been opened some time after his passing away. I was thrilled when I saw Ibu Rahayu and other family members, and felt deep respect for them. I still remember one morning I was walking through one of the corridors together with my husband, while Ibu came from the other direction walking towards us. She just smiled so lovingly when she looked at both of us. That made my day!
Towards the end of congress, I felt a strong need to present a gift to Ibu, as a personal gesture of gratitude for her presence. On the very last day, when everyone was already packing and cleaning up, the Subud shops were about to close and only the Indonesian one still had some items to be sold. After a long debate with myself I decided to buy a large silk scarf with a batik print. I also wrote some personal words on a postcard that I included. I was very
nervous to approach Ibu herself so I first asked her sister Ibu Yati, if I was allowed to address Ibu Rahayu. “Go on, she’s here, next to me,” Ibu Yati replied and so I squatted in front of dear Ibu and offered her my present, thanking her for everything. She kindly thanked me and I felt relieved that my present was accepted.
Only four years later, my life had changed completely. I was no longer married to my former husband and was staying with another man, living abroad. We were facing all kinds of problems and our relationship was not a happy one. I was taking care of two children; my child from the previous marriage and a three months old baby. We attended a big gathering in Baden, Austria, but I was only taking part on the side, as my children were constantly with me.
At one point I found someone to look after them so I was able to partially attend a talk Ibu gave to the women. I think there was testing as well, but I couldn’t stay all the way through and I don’t think I was in a state of really absorbing much at all. The pain about my personal situation was very alive in me and prevented me from really enjoying the circumstances. But at a certain moment I did notice something. Ibu was wearing a scarf around her shoulders and I recognized it as the one I gave to her in Spokane. I looked and looked, and seeing this scarf on Ibu was like balm for my inner wounds. When I told one of the other women, she tried to convince me that it was a sign of support and that is how I took it.
Again, seven years later, my life is very different from before. I am no longer in an unhappy marriage and I am visiting Indonesia. My now three children are back home, and I am invited, together with a close Subud friend, to stay at Ibu’s house during Christmas eve and the following night. We are having a quiet dinner and the next morning at breakfast I hear the men have already completed an early latihan. So when breakfast is finished I excuse myself and ask if I can use the big pendopo for latihan. Ibu had hardly said a word so far, but stood up immediately saying: “I come with you.” She puts on her sneakers and step by step, while leaning on me, we slowly move in the direction of the Pendopo while chatting. Can you imagine, doing latihan just with Ibu? I felt so privileged and had no idea why this happened to me. When our latihan was finished I told Ibu how much I loved her.
An hour or so later, we are ready for departure, on our way to visit Semarang. Before leaving, Ibu offers me a goodbye present. Guess what: a beautiful silk batik scarf and a personal card! How lucky I felt. I certainly have experienced life can have many surprises; bad ones and good ones. But in the end it’s all about how I deal with them. I keep working on that.
- - - - -
I spent last Ramadan in Indonesia. It was my first time there on my own. The start wasn’t easy, as I had a more than one day delay at departure and when I finally arrived in the apartment someone arranged for me in Jakarta, it turned out to be as good as empty, except for some cockroaches. There were hardly any guests in Wisma Subud, so I felt a bit lost at first. Soon enough though, I received all the help I needed to manage my stay and one of the main things of course, was to visit Pamulang for latihan. A car was arranged and I was looking forward to meeting Ibu again and experience the special atmosphere in the pendopo latihan hall, in front of the house where Bapak had lived and died.
On arriving, Ibu Muti kindly greeted me, saying that unfortunately Ibu Rahayu had been in bed for some days and wouldn’t get up for the next few days either. Since I would be travelling to Kalimantan after the weekend and only come back to Jakarta for a flight change, this would mean that there was no chance of meeting Ibu at all. I felt disappointment, as, now that her age is getting really advanced, one of my reasons for travelling was to see dear Ibu at least one more time. However, my latihan in Pamulang was absolutely wonderful and gave me all I needed for that moment. This made me feel so grateful and helped me to accept the circumstances without much effort.
Three days later I am off to Pamulang for one more latihan, before moving on to Rungan Sari. To my big surprise, just before latihan, Ibu comes walking out of the front door of Bapak’s home, smiling and beautifully dressed. The local ladies are lining up to greet Ibu one by one and I am waiting on the side, enjoying the scene. Then Ibu beckons to me, saying my name. I move forward and kneel down in front of her, crying with happiness. I put my head in her lap while crying and Ibu holds both my hands. She asks me how I am, and how my children are doing . . . but all I can say is how happy I am to see her. She looks in my eyes; very alive and happy herself. What a golden moment this is! I completely forget that there are other ladies waiting and I don’t feel like getting up at all, so that, after a minute or so, Ibu has to tell me to go!
It took me a while to get back to ‘normal.’ My whole being felt elevated, I was shivering all over and tears kept coming. Whenever I think of this moment it feels very special and it brings tears to my eyes.
- - - - -