Finding a House (2)
After about three years my wife and I started to look for a place to buy. We drove around and looked at many houses. During these house search trips a funny thing happened. Several times I saw a picture inside me of a large 1930’s villa with white painted walls and a leafy drive. It hadn’t been
looked after well and needed a fair bit of work. I didn’t really know what to do
with this and after a while more or less ignored the experience.
We couldn’t find a place we liked in the suburbs we’d been looking in and the feeling started to arise in us that we had to move ‘further away’. This was a bit of a shock because we really liked the area we lived in. So we started to look in other suburbs, although the feeling of having to move even further away persisted. After a while, the penny seemed to drop: we seemed to be getting the message that we had to leave Melbourne.
My wife and I by then had developed a way of trying to feel guidance in our daily life without testing about practical matters but just by trying to be aware of how our inners responded to things. So we didn’t test about where to live but tried instead to be in touch with our inner feeling and feel what felt right or wrong while going along.
One day I was doing some gardening outside the Melbourne Subud Hall when out of the blue I felt like wanting to rise up in the sky and fly far away. When I looked up I saw an aeroplane high in the sky above me and heard my inner voice say, ‘Why are you here, doing the gardening? You’re going to leave
this place and never see this Subud Hall again and also never see M. again.’ M. was a Subud sister who was also working in the garden several yards away from me. I was really shaken up by this and wondered if this meant that I was going to die.
Some time later, however, everything became clear: the feeling of having to leave Melbourne and fly away seemed to indicate that we had to leave Australia. It also became clear that it was England we had to move to. I felt very happy and excited about it, but my wife had doubts. Although English herself, she had become very fond of Australia and found it hard to leave. Eventually she tested about it and the receiving was overwhelmingly positive, which made it easier for her.
Initially, we stayed with my in-laws in the UK and after a while started to look for a house. After looking at several places, one day we came across a large white 1930’s villa with a leafy drive and needing a lot of work - the place I had ‘seen’ in Australia two years before! I had completely forgotten about it. We moved in soon afterwards and it was the first house we lived in England.
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I’m usually sceptical about experiences of angels, ghosts, and so on. Even Bapak’s tales of spiritual beings leave me saying, ‘Oh yeah?’ However, one such occurrence that happened to me just a year or two after joining Subud in 1968 really changed my life. It also made me realise that our usually rather romantic image of angels may sometimes be wrong
It was near the end of Ramadhan which, as an experiment, I had undertaken along with others in the South London Group (Kingston upon Thames).
At the time I was temporarily homeless, sofa surfing as it’s now known, staying at a friend’s house. About two or three in the morning I was awoken by a tall man, attired as an ancient knight or warrior and brandishing a spear. I was terrified as it soon became clear he intended to thrust the weapon into my
chest. I fought as hard as I could to defend myself despite a vague feeling that
eventually, if not now then another day, this being (or angel as I later realised he was) would succeed in his task.
Eventually, having battled successfully to save my life, I came to my senses and, convinced the man was real, ran upstairs to my host’s bedroom and charged in to warn him and his wife of the intruder. They, of course, had
heard nothing and thought I was deluded or going slightly mad – or maybe, as
fellow Subud members, wondered if I was having a crisis. Eventually I calmed
down and described the experience to my friends, although it was some time
before I realised its significance.
Some while earlier I’d had a very realistic dream in which I was standing on the rim of a large arena or stadium. It was empty, apart from me and a lone figure in Arabic robes standing in the centre and looking around. Then he
spoke, in a deep penetrating voice, ‘Pay heed to the Lord and fear the wrath to
come!’ When I woke both the sound and sense of his words resonated inside me and, in a sense, continue to this day. Some while later I realised the man was Muhammad (I knew nothing of him at the time of the dream) and embraced Islam. The later experience with the knight, or angel, was a test of faith (which I failed) to show me I had a long way to go before I could truly submit to God.
I’ve had no more experiences of angelic or supernatural beings
since then nor do I particularly want them. I do wonder, however, if a similar
thing happened again, would I pass the test today?
http://www.sunnysongs.co.uk/ (children's songs)
http://www.songtales.co.uk/ (adult songs and autobiography)
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Experiences in Church
My parents were Christians and as a child we sometimes went to church. This never did anything for me and when I was a teenager I concluded that Christianity, and probably other religions as well, had once been alive but
had gradually lost their inner content. I felt lucky that I'd I found the latihan at a young age and I was convinced that this was the inner content that the religions had lost.
Unexpectedly though, over the years, I had three experiences which showed me that Christianity is not as dead as I was convinced it was. The first experience was when my future wife and I were in church rehearsing the
wedding ritual together with the vicar, a week before our wedding. My wife had been particularly keen on getting married in church, and I just went along with it because I knew that this would make her happy, but inside me I felt rather bored about the whole thing. Anything related to the church seemed to me an empty shell, something from the past.
I was in for a surprise when I found that at some stage, when the vicar told us to kneel down during the rehearsal, a fine and pure ray of energy seemed to descend upon me from above. It was subtle, but unmistakably there, and it felt like a gentle blessing that had come over me and which had touched me inside. When we left the church I told my wife what I had experienced, and I could only conclude that Christianity was not as dead as I thought it was, and the experience has changed my attitude towards Christianity and the church for good.
About two years later we went, together with some relatives, to Midnight Mass at Winchester Cathedral. I enjoyed the singing and the beautiful architecture which surrounded me but hadn't felt anything deeper (and hadn't expected to experience anything deeper) until we came to the Holy Communion and
the bishop put the wafer on my tongue. Again, totally unexpectedly, a similar
fine and gentle blessing descended upon me to that which I’d experienced during our wedding rehearsal. This time I particularly felt it in the middle of my chest.
The third time I experienced something in church was last year when one morning I went to my local church for Holy Communion. For the third
time in my life I experienced being touched by this gentle blessing and I felt
clean and peaceful afterwards. When I came home, my wife - who didn't know that I had been to church- said to me: 'What has happened to you, your face looks so clean?'
I have heard of other Subud members who had similar experiences in church, particularly related to the Holy Communion. I know one brother, who is a Catholic, who is aware of some churches where the blessing of the Holy
Communion is particularly strong and he always feels the latihan there during
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A Healing Visit
I recently shared with a few friends the link at
http://www.medjugorjetoday.tv/9843/man-saw-mary-in-hospital-near-medjugorje/ which tells the story of a miraculous healing arising out of a
vision of Mary. Two of them replied as follows:
“Funny thing . . . I felt that fluttering joy of what I call Yeshua and/or Mary. I
usually only feel it in some churches or places where the Faithful live or work,
and wondered why. Went over by my computer and here's your email about Mary and Medjugorje!”
“I could not read this story about Mary out loud to my husband without stopping to suppress my sobbing. I cry deeply like that whenever I read of the apparitions of Mary. Watching that beautiful movie 'The Song of Bernadette', affected me that way too. I so identified with Bernadette's experience I felt I was in Mary's presence.
“Even though I'm not Catholic I find much spiritual fruit in saying the Rosary. Subud testing with the Helpers once confirmed this: we received that the Rosary contains all of humanity’s spiritual needs.
“I had lapsed in my Rosary and re-started it recently. I was rewarded with a violet light appearing in my third eye while my eyes were closed during the prayers. That happens when I feel very close to God.”
Perhaps some of your readers would also like to go to the link.
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Remembering A Healing
From childhood, I suffered intensely from periodic bouts of pleurisy, a condition of the lungs causing intense pain when trying to breathe. The doctor always had to administer strong pain killing drugs in order for me to take a breath. This severe condition continued on into adulthood.
About a year after entering Subud, I awoke one morning with the worst case of pleurisy I had ever experienced - so bad that even the strong pain medication would not touch the pain to enable me to take more than tiny breaths
The doctor said he would have to put me in the hospital. The night before I was to go, I slept deeply and awoke drenched as though I had been flung into a river. When I arose, however, I was well.
Twenty years later someone told me that they had pleurisy and I suddenly remembered that I had had it but had not remembered it until that moment. This made me remember that Bapak had told us when Almighty God
removes an illness it is so completely gone that you will forget you ever
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Sleeping It Off
Before I was opened I suffered from insomnia. I found it very difficult to fall asleep and stayed awake many hours during the night. Luckily I liked reading and I developed an interest in Russian literature, going through the great masters in the middle of the night.
Shortly after I was opened I kept falling asleep during the latihan and the men in my group started to tease me about this. They sometimes had to wake me up after the latihan was finished and everyone had gone. These latihan naps were really beneficial and nurturing and I felt refreshed and healthy afterwards. It felt like as if I was making up for all these months of sleep deprivation. It didn't take long before I was sleeping normally again and the insomnia was completely gone.
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Angel on a Bus
From the time I was a child I have been hearing about angels, and a few months after I was opened in the late fifties I took a short term assignment working in the hill country in the historic town of Kandy. Acting on a tip from a person at work I went looking for this place away from town where an old lady ran an affordable guest house.
It was getting dark and since only the main roads had street lights I was somewhat on edge, anticipating a problem I would face in the shape of stray dogs that would harass a stranger on foot in those days. As the bus approached the area I looked around and behind me there was an old man dressed in white. I told him the name of the street and asked if I was close to the right bus stop. He seemed to feel my anxiety and said, “Don’t worry. You have one more halt and when you get down walk back towards town.” I pulled the cord to ring the bell, stood up and turned round to thank the fellow, but there was no-one there. I could swear he never passed me and in those days buses had only one door.
Amazingly, I felt the latihan and was calm. I then met a person at the top of the street who guided me to the right house. Over the next fifty years I had similar experiences, say one in every decade or so, but this first one left a mark in my memory that has never faded away.
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Walking Like Mary
The last ‘Reminders’ jogged my memory about a story I heard while I was in Canada concerning a test Bapak did during his first visit to Montreal. I had met the Grads in the sixties, and while testing the women Bapak had asked her Mrs G (can’t remember her first name) to step forward and walk like Mary, the mother of Jesus. She received and walked forward taking slow, attentive steps and with every step she called out Allah. Bapak explained that, through her awareness and surrender, the real Mary did exactly that.
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The Highest Women in Heaven
Bapak once said that you can't be a true Christian if you haven't yet met Mary and that you can't be a true Muslim if you haven't yet met Fatima (daughter of the Prophet). This could be said to dovetail with a hadith in which the Prophet Muhammad said that the highest woman in heaven was Mary and the second highest was Fatima.
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