An Unintended Opening
When a young Californian Subud brother came to visit me in Denmark we went, among other places, to the Moesgård Museum of Prehistory in Aarhus. I wanted to show him ”The Grauballe Man,” a two thousand year old male corpse found in a bog. When the farmer found the body so well preserved in his tar pit, he actually reported it to the police as a possible old murder case. But the police handed it over to the Museum, who declared that the man had lived in the Iron Age in 200 B.C, when he had been strangled or hanged, maybe as a sacrifice. Now he lies as if asleep on his right side with the legs half folded in his exhibition case, to be contemplated from all sides.
His darkened, perfectly preserved skin shows his entire naked body in clearest details, including hairstyle, three mm facial stubble and perfect finger nails, toe nails and nipples. With eyes closed, his face looks peaceful. Some call it the most well-preserved corpse in the world, thanks only to Mother Nature.
We stood silently there for a long time, surprised and awed. Then I asked my Subud brother: ”I wonder where his soul is?” ”I was thinking the same thing!” he said. We looked around and into the adjacent halls and found that we were quite alone. ”Well, should we try and test about it?” I asked my friend. ”Okay,” he replied, and we then stood quietly for a little while, waiting for the inner receptiveness. When we felt well prepared, we began - ready for an answer.
We stood there, immobile and silent, for maybe ten minutes till we felt finished. I then asked my brother what he received. ”At first,” he replied, ”I felt heavy and sad, aware of his soul still close to his body, imprisoned in the hall of the Museum. This lasted for some minutes, but then slowly, gradually, his soul was set free from his body and from the showcase, and then moved out of the museum and into space, free of this world!” I could only say to him, ”Your account matches exactly what I received - in every detail!”
We were both deeply moved, and agreed that, through the will of Almighty God, this had turned out to be a completely unexpected opening, with only two Subud brothers as His humble tools. And all of this unfolded with us just standing there, outwardly totally passive and revealing nothing!
As a post script, I recall that Bapak mentioned in a talk, I think in Paris, that since we are freed of our nafsus at the moment of death, it is easier, if God wills it, to open dead people than the living because the dead are then free of any resistance to getting opened in Subud. But Bapak added that if the closest relatives of the deceased are alive it is correct to ask for their agreement.
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Near Death Experience
A Subud sister I knew many years ago once had a serious accident as a result of which she went into a coma, during which she had a Near Death Experience. She told us that she went to this beautiful place where she was surrounded by angels. She was so happy and at peace there that she really wanted to stay. She was told though that it wasn't her time to die yet, that she still had a job to do on earth and that she had to go back.
I can't remember whether the angels told her that she should become a nurse or if it was Bapak who told her this, but after she got better she trained as a nurse and apparently was an exceptionally good one who was loved by many patients.
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More Lightning Strikes (1)
Reading about the experience with lightning in the last Reminders, I remember recently watching a program about an American man who was struck by lightning while lying in bed (!). He was in coma for several days, during which time he had the most amazing NDE. He described himself as an atheist and as having been a harsh and cynical man who, before he had the experience, had enjoyed hurting other people’s feelings.
During the NDE he relived his entire life and was made to experience how he had made every single person he had met in his life feel - a very painful experience for him. He said that it was as if his own self made him undergo this recognition, which reminds me of Bapak saying that our own self will punish us when we go against our soul.
When he came around this man had completely changed. He had become full of love and compassion for his fellow human beings and he had also become a very good psychic who now helps other people with finding lost loved ones.
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More Lightning Strikes (2)
In the early sixties, after I was opened, I worked in a transmitting station and one day observed a medium size black cloud approaching fairly low. This was before satellite communication so the station had a huge network of antennas and played a important role at that time. It was about 8 pm and I had just come on duty for the night shift. My instinct/sixth sense told me an unusual lightning strike was imminent. As the senior person, I had to make an instant decision and, realising that making phone calls was too risky, I gave a somewhat controversial order to shut down the whole station. Within a couple of minutes, while my colleague and I were lying flat on the floor in the rest room, lighting struck, and I have never seen anything like it in my life before or since. Huge fire balls were running along transmission lines and continuous fire jets jumped from one line to another. There were even fire balls running along the ground in the transmitting station.
It was an awesome display of nature. Everything was over so quickly, and we soon put out the burning wire and cables, although several transmitters were permanently damaged. One in particular, communicating with the Middle East, was so badly damaged that the huge tuning vanes were welded together. I remember praying and thanking Almighty God for sparing our lives while lying on the ground.
On another occasion, I worked at an airport that was a sea plane base and which played an important role during WW II. The buildings overlooked a huge deep water lake full of fish, prawns and crabs. There were even a few crocodiles to keep you honest! I spent many hours fishing and rowing a canoe during my stay in this beautiful place.
This incident happened while I was away at the main latihan center 90 miles away. When I returned next morning the buzz was about an event that was both a tragedy and a miracle witnessed by people at the airport. Two fishermen were out on the lake fishing when a dark cloud suddenly appeared near them. Sensing danger, they rowed furiously to get back to land, but lightning struck and when the boat reached the shore one man was dead with burn marks and the other was untouched! Fate and destiny?
Mas Prio had a belief, which he repeated when visiting us: "There is a Jin at the tip of the lightning strike.” And when I was in Cilandak I heard from Indonesian Subud members, later confirmed by an Indonesian international helper, that Bapak had advised that if caught in a lightning storm and you sense danger, one should say, "We are the children of Bapak Muhammed Subuh Sumohadiwidjojo. Please do not harm us."
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The Symbol Lives
I have learned through experience that we individually create the Subud symbol within ourselves. When our jiwa has fully penetrated the material level (our body) we have the first and smallest circle completed within. When our jiwa has fully penetrated the vegetable level (our feelings) we add the second circle of the Subud symbol
within. The third circle is the animal level (our understanding), the
fourth is the regular human level (our awareness), and the fifth is the rohanni level (our true self). Over the years I could feel the development of my inner feeling gradually growing bit by bit. Then something surprising and more dramatic happened.
One afternoon at home a few years ago, I was moved to do a latihan. I had been actively seeking to draw closer to God and asked God to help me surrender more deeply. In my latihan I stepped forward and received an exquisite feeling of bliss and expansion, it's hard to describe in words just how wonderful it was. I then proceeded to step forward again and felt the same feeling of bliss and expansion. I was moved to do this seven times (yes, I was counting) and then my latihan gently came to an end. It was a wonderful latihan, but the amazing thing was how I felt afterwards. A transformation had occurred in my inner self. My mind was completely quiet and my heart was at peace. I felt very alert and alive and totally present in myself. The pressure of the nafsu was gone. Wow, did I feel good! The monkey was finally off my back.
Later I understood that what I had received was the “spokes” in the Subud symbol which represent the roh ilofi, the holy spirit. I am truly grateful to God for this blessing. From the time of that latihan my life unfolded in a new direction, my latihans became deeper, my receivings in testing more clear and sometimes came as words straight into my understanding. In everyday life I could now feel the aliveness of the latihan in my body especially when I walked.
I privately celebrate the anniversary date of this special latihan every year, it is indeed a great blessing which has forever changed me.
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Full of Light
One of the entries in the latest Reminders of Reality reminded me of my impression of Subud members during my applicant period as I waited outside the latihan room at the Subud house in Los Angeles. It amazed me that after all these strange sounds that would come from the women’s latihan, the women themselves would walk out as calmly as if they had been reading a book in there.
Also, when I witnessed the women walking about the house, they appeared to me transparent and full of light; it seemed that they were floating.
Anyway, like the person writing in the Reminders of Reality contribution, I didn’t really have any questions at that point. I knew Subud was for me.
Perhaps I should add that three years earlier, when first around a group of Subud people at a friend’s home, I had experienced the energy coming from them so powerfully that it literally caused me to start shaking. At the time this was frightening, although they were very supportive. After three more years of hell on earth, I was ready to become an applicant, and some forty years later still have had no cause to doubt the reality of the latihan and the rightness of the path I have been blessed with.
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Several times in my life I have experienced that inwardly we are much more connected with each other than we realise. I've experienced this both with Subud members and with (non-Subud) relatives. Recently I had a dream, just before I woke up at 5am. In the dream I met three Subud brothers, two of whom live in a different part of the world and I haven't seen for years. We hugged each other, full of love. I could feel that our chests were wide open, and we were so pleased to see each other that tears filled our eyes. One brother, who I had more or less forgotten about because he doesn't go to latihan that often anymore was particularly pleased to see us again and tears kept flowing from his eyes. He said that he had gone through a very difficult time and I could see he had suffered a lot. While we hugged I could feel his pain and loneliness, and the joy of meeting each other again, at the same time.
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The Latihan that Touches Everything
These were five different experiences in my spiritual journey, proving that the latihan comes in many ways. Each one was like a new aspect of the whole and yet related.
Nearly a dozen years after I was opened, my first born, a son, had just started to walk at the age of fifteen months. Once he figured out how to walk he never crawled again and soon learned to run. It was at a time I was working long hours on an important project, so I got to see him only at night. I would watch him for hours as he ran around and mumbled baby talk, and I sat on a comfortable chair after dinner and relaxed and sometimes felt the latihan come on its own. I felt this loving feeling of a parent towards an offspring and sometimes was aware of a tight feeling in my breast. Immediately my son would respond by stopping playing and crawl into my lap and give me a hug. I wondered about it but never asked questions, and as time went by I almost forgot about it.
I have been to many talks and testing sessions given by Bapak and only once have I been late. On that occasion I was delayed by a road accident, so that I walked into the hall quite late. I found an empty seat up front, and Bapak was almost at the end of the talk. He was talking about the duality of creation at every level, except for the Creator. Even plants could be male or female, he observed. He said we should be able to receive the reality of this now through the latihan.
He asked the men to receive and feel the state of a young woman. We started to receive and I could feel my chest area tighten up. In the second test, to feel the state of a mother, I could feel the bosom expand, so much so I was tempted to feel it with my hand. Too late - Bapak said finish. Then he asked us to feel the state of an older woman. I could feel the whole chest area collapse, as if the air was slowly let out of a balloon. I tried to hold back the laughter but with little success. Bapak pointed to me and said, ‘Ya,ya.’
One day, during a visit to a Subud family, while the women folk were preparing the food, I sat just outside the kitchen/dining area, relaxing and quietly feeling the latihan. The youngest member of the family, a three year boy walked by, and I said ‘Hi!’ He went past me, then turned around and came back, climbed into my lap and kissed me on the cheek. No surprises this time as I experienced the familiar feeling.
Time had passed and my wife and I were visiting old friends, the husband a faithful and dedicated Subud member and the wife a Subud drop-out. While we were talking and exchanging news with the wife, I was paying little attention to the conversation. Again, I was just relaxing and feeling the latihan when the teenage daughter of the house came down the stairs and sat next to me, then leaned over and put her head on my lap. Having no daughters I felt a deep sense of parental love towards an offspring. I watched as the eyebrows of the Mom went up. I did not offer any explanations.
I was in my early seventies and I was visiting another country with another helper. It was a fruitful visit, and we were taking it easy the evening before our departure. After dinner, a bunch of older men Subud members walked in and asked whether we could have one last latihan. It was something we could not refuse. After Latihan came another gentle request: Can we do some testin
We agreed on four test question and my partner suggested two others. When it came to my turn I remembered the test about duality, and as we tested one member was able to receive exceptionally well and moved like a female, even singing in a female voice. I later found out that this member was married and had children.
Sometimes such experiences are given to us when we least expect and some will say there is no scientific proof. Yet for those who experience them, they are as real as the very air we breathe.
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