God Told Me So
I believe anything can be discussed with a small child accorded to their level. Concerning death, for example, I tell my little four year old that someone is going back to God, and that one day we will all be reunited again and be together forever. It is comforting for her to imagine it like that, while at the same time I believe that it is true.
I have a favourite aunt Mara who visits us two or three times a year and whose mother recently turned 93. Imagine my surprise when out of the blue, at the beginning of September, my little girl told me: "Aunt Mara’s mummy went back to God." Sure enough about two weeks later I talked to Mara, and she told me her mother had indeed died in early September. I asked my daughter how she knew that Aunt Mara’s mummy had gone back to God, and she said in a very matter of fact way: "God told me so."
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As we go along on this spiritual journey, it slowly dawns on us that whatever gift we receive through our experience are ones that just happens, not because we earned them or deserve them or made some effort. My insight is that you are in the righplace at the right time and we are given these blessings so we can survive what’s around the corner.
In the mid-sixties I belonged to a large Subud group and much was happening with Bapak visiting us after some time. One Sunday evening, Bapak gave a long talk and while we were waiting for Bapak to leave Mas Usman announced that Bapak will meet with the helpers next morning. I believe most of the helpers heard it but Monday being a working day posed a problem to many, although none voiced it.
Next morning we arrived by 10 am and Bapak and Mas Usman arrived a little later. After we had greeted Bapak and sat down, Bapak promptly asked, "Where are the rest of the helpers?" Only about a dozen were there instead of the entire number which was over thirty. To this day I wonder about what happened. Was there a gross miscommunication, or was this the way it was supposed to happen? One of the helpers explained that it was a working day and most would be at work.
Unperturbed, Bapak said he would test the helpers that were present and what we expected was the usual group testing for the men and women. What happened was quite different, however, and Bapak pointed to just one helper and asked him to come forward.
One by one, first the men and then the women, Bapak started to test each helper individually, sometimes commenting about the helpers receiving, etc. Halfway through, Mas Usman asked me to step forward and Bapak asked me to relax and then to laugh. The laughter came and Bapak kept saying “Louder,” then again “Louder.” I responded and the laughter became louder to the point that my lung capacity had reached its maximum. It was as if my chest cavity would explode and at this point I really let go. The next thing I was aware was that I was far away with no awareness of my physical body.
I heard Bapak's voice very small, very faint, "Finish, Finish,” and then “Enough, enough.” Slowly, I returned to normal and Bapak asked Mas Usman to help me to my seat. Bapak continued to test the remaining helpers. I felt detached from everything and one brother commented afterwards, “Wow ! You nearly brought the tiles down.” The same brother invited me for lunch and we hung around for a while, although I was only truly back to normal the next morning. Looking back to that day, it was as if each of us had received something special, though we rarely spoke about it. It was too precious.
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A Surge of Energy
At the close of one of Bapak's trips to New York in the early 1970's, I went along to the airport with a small group to see Bapak off - something I normally skipped doing.
People were milling around, everyone keeping a distance from Bapak although he had invited people to sit in the empty chairs. There was one vacant seat next to Bapak and I sat down. When it was time for Bapak and his party to board the plane, he stood up and moved to the beginning of the single row of seats. Those of us who were sitting also stood. Doing this is a normal 'mark of respect' for an older person, and I gave this action no additional meaning.
Bapak then went from person to person in the row, greeting each of us in turn and shaking everyone's hand, saying, "Thank you" and "Goodbye". I noticed that Bapak always turned his head to the side rather than look directly in a person's eyes as he shook hands; he especially did this with the women. Something in me understood why.
As Bapak shook my hand, I suddenly felt a powerful shot of tingling energy rush up my right arm, stopping above the elbow. My arm felt like it had just experienced a surge of electricity.
Every once in a while, I recall that experience and the accompanying intensity of the sensation. At the time, I didn't have a clue what this meant and 42 years later I still remember the power of this energy with a sense of awe. Many years down the track it suddenly occurred to me what that experience could possibly mean - my latihan had moved up my arm just pass the right elbow.
Before the experience of shaking Bapak's hand and feeling that powerful surge of electricity in my arm, I had been receiving intense latihans in my hands, to the point that when I emerged from the latihan hall, I was unable to touch anything until my hands were washed. I was compelled to walk with my arms raised at the elbow like a surgeon directly to the sink to wash my hands. When this was completed, then and only then, was I able to touch anything. The hand washing ritual continued for months if not a whole year. It's so long ago now, memory fades a bit.
Bapak would requently test, asking us to feel the latihan in different parts of our bodies; your lungs, your hands, head, legs, etc. He explained the reason for this was so each of us could feel, for ourselves how far the latihan had progressed within our physical bodies.
Many still find 'body testing' valuable and a signpost in identifying
the progress of the latihan within their being. In my current Subud group body testing questions are still requested.
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I don't feel strong vibrations like your recent contributor, but my wife and I, and also one of the elderly ladies, in our group, certainly do feel the effect of World Congresses. We have much stronger latihans at such times. It always seems to be like that during World Congresses. I remember people mentioning this in the seventies. Stronger latihans too after a day of fasting, whether prihatin or Ramadan.
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The Touch of Grace
Reading the last Reminders triggered my memory.
Those who have been touched by Bapak, and there were many, are blessed. In 1958, during Bapak's very first visit to our country he took elaborate care to shake hands with everyone who had turned up at the Subud House to bid him farewell at the end of his visit. I too took the opportunity to shake hands with Bapak and say goodbye.
The next time I did a group latihan, I felt this tingling feeling in my right hand, right at the beginning of the latihan and this continued for a very long time, even years. Years later, I did talent testing with Bapak and received clearly, that my talents were in my hands and now both my arms were alive! Yes, I could almost do anything with my hands: fix cars, electronics, carpentry, plumbing and, later, even work with an electronic microscope that requires the skill of a surgeon. It is strange but true, even if I plant a tree it seems to do better. My sister in law, who lives next door, once asked me: ‘How is that we both plant the same vegetables and yours do better?’ to which I respond in fun ‘Pure magic in my hands.’
I am an old man now and everything in my body is slowing down and shows the signs, but thanks to Almighty God my hands are still very much alive and steady.
In the mid-sixties, Bapak was leaving again after a visit, taking off from the very airport I was working at. There were several cars all full of members who were following Bapak's car and I was in the car right at the end of the line with brothers and sisters of my age group. Halfway to the airport our car stalled after we came to a halt at a junction. The engine would not crank, so we all jumped out and I ran all the tests; we tried to jump start by pushing, but with no response. As time was running out we decided to park the car and take a taxi. As we were pushing the car looking for a parking spot, I gave a last desperate try. The car jerked and came alive and we were on our way.
When we arrived at the airport, Bapak and party had already entered the transit lounge! There was one last hope and I ran to the Airport Controller’s office and blurted out to the Big Boss: ‘Do not ask questions, we came to see a special person off and our car broke down. He is in the VIP lounge, Can you give me a note for five people to enter the VIP lounge? I will return and explain.’ Without any delay the Airport Controller wrote a note to the Security Officer, so that the five of us were able to enter the VIP lounge. When Bapak saw us coming he got up and shook hands with the others as I waited to the end.
This is the hard part to explain: as I stepped forward to shake hands with Bapak, it seems my inner took over and I was doing something I had trained for for years. I went down on my knees and at the same time Bapak flipped his hand and I kissed it. That was a long long time ago and yet to this day I can sometimes feel the vibration in my lips.. I have no questions.
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A Subud member for 13 + years, I often read "Reminders of Reality" somewhat casually, but this time I really connected with "A Surge of Energy".
Shortly after I was opened I began experiencing something similar to that which is described by the writer, only mine was (and is still) in my feet and legs. At first it was only on one side (the left, I think), and it was so strange - a vibration, not my circulatory pulse or a tingling (like a limb that "went to sleep") - that I was puzzled enough to ask my doctor and other healers to help identify it. They could not. Since it wasn't painful in the least, I stopped worrying about it and just accepted it, assuming it may be connected to the latihan. (Yes, I asked helpers about it; they were uncertain, too, but felt it must be connected to that.) It began to be felt in the other foot and leg, so at least I was balanced, which seemed like a good
Sometimes it has seemed not to be present, but recently it has returned with an even greater force. (Oddly enough, when I am actually doing latihan I am not aware of it.) Thanks for passing along this experience of the "energy surge"; the description is the closest I
have found to what happens to me - now regularly or maybe even permanently. The corroboration is much appreciated.
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When my children were young I read them tales from the Old Testament, the Ramayana, Grimm Brothers, and the Greek Classics, being careful not to instruct in any particular theology.
When my son was four years old and we were relaxing on the couch, he turned to me and asked, “Dad, am I real, or am I only a part of God’s dream?”
I was moved by the simple wisdom, and recalled my own childhood conundrum, when I was eight or nine. At the time the question consuming me was, “How can I tell if I am real or only the reflection of the one I see in the mirror?”
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I almost lost my dog Toby when he was a pup and hit by a car. His lung collapsed just when we got to the vet. The assistants said they had never seen a dog survive with that much injury. So we became quite close as I nursed him back to health. They are shockingly smart emotionally. He passed away at a friend’s house when I was having an MRI at the hospital. During the MRI I had a seizure and so was delayed in the ER before coming home. Toby’s legs had collapsed a few days before so I knew his days were short. He passed quietly, surrounded by other dogs, and the next morning I felt/saw him running up to me and into my chest. I can still feel him in my heart as part of me. They are amazing: he taught me how to be with other animals too and feel their connection. I sure hope we get to be with one another in the next world.
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