My mum who just died was my birth mother and I had known her for 15 years. Although I would have loved to have more time with her, I do feel that we were given the time we needed - longer was not necessary in fact. We put things right, built bridges and made a relationship. Desirable perhaps, but not essential: an amazing gift nevertheless and one I am so grateful for. She was also adopted and never traced her mother, and I feel that this is a huge ancestral issue (abandonment, rejection, not being raised by your natural mother), which has been running for generations but has ended with me and her - how fortunate is that!
I have had a lot of experiences in latihan which have led me to understand its effect on me, including 'seeing' the moment my mum walked away and knowing the negative effects it would have on us both but not being able to stop her, and the consequent feeling of powerlessness. This led to a lot of searching to be loved, which meant sleeping around, thinking that if a man wanted me then maybe he loved me. But of course the void within, that lack of self-love and acceptance, cannot be filled. Even if every single person in the world loved me, that would still not be enough!
I was so enormously blessed to find Subud, because I know absolutely that I could not have changed that belief myself. It was too powerful and too embedded. But the years of latihan have changed the core of me and now I do love and value myself, I understand why I was as I was, and I forgive myself too. Work in progress of course, because we all get knocked off our perch and have relapses. But I have made huge movement in the right direction, and I am sure that what we do here affects our ancestors.
A couple of years ago, for example, I had a latihan where I was capering around (on my own luckily!) up and down the room at great speed with a feeling of lightness and having shed burdens. It was partly to do with my divorce, and a realisation that it was a putting right of things that were wrong; that wrongs I had committed were being wiped clean by letting my husband go; that payment was being made and that the cycle of bad behaviour and its inevitable repercussions would not continue. (I know that my mum had had the same issue as me, regarding men, and I am sure it went way back down the line).
I was aware of a group of ancestors looking down at me, and I 'said' (in my head), - "Wow, this is great, I've really been weighed down for nearly fifty years and now the ancestral burden is being lifted. It's been really heavy going." And the group of my ancestors said "Pah, fifty years? That's nothing!" And I realised they had been waiting for this for a very, very long time. I felt in them a slight jealousy that I had this freedom when they hadn't had it, but also a great feeling of relief and gratitude.
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I was so touched by the story in the last edition of Bapak and Mary appearing as parents to a Subud sister. It happened to me too: Mary appearing in latihan, holding me and telling me I do have a mother - Her. I cried buckets!
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Two Butterfly Stories
One. My mum's name was Vanessa. During her funeral last Wednesday, part of the eulogy contributed by a very dear friend of hers, who was in fact mum's godmother, noted the fact that Vanessa is the name of a genus of butterflies which includes the Red Admiral. She talked about butterflies being beautiful, strong, resourceful and hard-working; a delight to have among us - very much like my mum.
At the end of the church service, we saw that there was a Red Admiral butterfly on the chancel steps, just in front of the pew in which sat this dear friend. The butterfly had been there throughout the entire service, and stayed whilst we all went to look at it, before flying gently away. It was a very touching moment and being in a beautiful light church with the sun streaming through the stained glass windows, it really felt like a physical reminder of the link between the afterlife and this one: a grace from Almighty God to reassure us. Mum's godmother was really bowled over by this. It touched her deeply.
Two. I just wanted to share with you a little incident that took place last night. We go to a gorgeous place in Topanga, California, for latihan on Tuesday nights owned by one of our members. We were just closing up for the night, and after locking the door the key flew off its chain and fell on the concrete below. With three of us looking we just couldn’t find it anywhere. I even turned on the light from my iPhone and started looking, scanning around the concrete floor outside the building. Suddenly a huge butterfly/moth landed right on the key! It just sat there and wouldn’t let go. Amazing, and very cool.
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A long, long time ago, in the last century, my then husband and I were attending different churches searching for the inner vibration/holy ghost. So we were interested when we heard about the Subud latihan, and, after the three months wait, we were opened. My husband soon knew he needed a new name. For my part, I was happy with mine because, when being confirmed at about age 11-12, I had felt a large ball of light enter the top of my head, travel down my body and out through my feet to the universe beyond the stars.
Eventually I tested and the difference in feelings was so profound that I wrote to Bapak immediately and got my husband to drive me to the city centre post office that night! I was at home alone when I opened the reply from Bapak, my husband still to return from work. I put the letter into my bra so that if should I die before his return he would know my name.
Four years later I was widowed, and early the next year went to Cilandak with my baby son, to whom Bapak had given a name before his birth. Soon after arriving in Cilandak, I wrote to Bapak asking for a new Islamic name. Bapak replied, saying ‘NO! Subud is for mankind and not for Islam.’
Yeah, I felt stupid!
Three or four weeks later, in latihan, I felt a thick tow rope tied around me, neck to toe. It fell off when I accepted the next prophet and a new name was written on the seashore. I only registered the first three letters before a wave washed the name away. I wrote to Bapak again explaining my experience. This time, Bapak gave me an Islamic name and I and three others became Muslims while in Cilandak. Had I not not had this experience myself I would not have been able go through all the negative feelings back home of me having another name, legally changed, and an Islamic name at that.
Regarding my son, Bapak said his father had not been a Muslim so no Islamic name for him. The story goes on.
About 24 – 25 years later, in the late 90s, a Subud friend phoned to tell me, ‘Last night I dreamt of you for the third night running.’ He was a doctor, a GP, and as a nurse we had chatted about work many times. He had told me that when he dreamt of someone three consecutive nights the next day he heard that they had either died or had a terminal illness!
I called out, ‘It’s my name!!! It‘s my name!’ My husband, today of 41 yrs, asked what all the noise was about. He was surprised to say the very least, but the next day said, ‘Why not?’ I wrote to Ibu Rahayu, and she received a 4th century Christian name for me. No legal change this time. Employers just say nothing when I place my educational certificates in front of them, interspersed with name changes and marriage certificates and then ask to be called by a ‘preferred name.’
It took me another 6 - 7 years to look at Christianity again, waking up at 3 a.m. one morning to Google the Alpha course, to find one in our town starting the very next day. I followed the course, and was again baptised/ submerged.
I attend both church and latihan and say both God and Allah in latihan but try not to in church.
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Using the Latihan to Influence Others
Once when someone I loved was on a destructive path and I knew interference would be counterproductive, I decided to offer prayers for them, supported with a three day fast.
Before going to bed each night I prayed for their protection and guidance, and offered my fast the next day in support of my prayer. Then I would fast all day until dinner. Later that evening before bed I would repeat the prayer and my promise to fast in support of it during the following day. Each evening for three days, (the normal prihatin approach, except not for a material goal, and continuously for three days). After the third day I received news of a change in life direction and a move to another country.
Mas Adji visited a short time later, and without me mentioning it, when we were alone he spoke along these lines:
‘So you know how to use the Latihan to influence others. That is good as long as you do it in the right way, as you did by turning to God and offering the prayer and fast through Him. Always this must be done through God, then everything is by God’s permission and consent. If we just do it from ourselves direct to the other person it becomes a form of magic, influencing them from our own will. Then we cannot say if it will last, or what the consequences will be for them, or for us’.
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With Mas Adji in Bali
At the 2001 Bali World Congress I was walking to where Ibu was going to give a talk, when a vehicle pulled alongside me with Pavoritti blaring on the CD player. I ignored it and kept walking and the vehicle followed me for 4-5 yards before a voice called my name, saying ‘I put Pavoritti on especially for you!’ It was Mas Adji.
I climbed in and he asked, ‘Where are you going?’ (as if he did not know!)
‘To Ibu’s talk.’
I no longer recall what he said, but it was clear I would spend the evening with him (which I must say I was very happy to do), and listen to the talk later. I recall only the first few words after I got in the vehicle, and his comment at the end of the night, ‘We meet for breakfast’.
‘Yes Mas Adji.’
We met in a hotel dining room and after we had each selected our breakfast, he went off to get a drink. I waited for him to return before beginning mine, and suddenly felt an ‘injection’ of fine latihan spreading thr
ough my chest. I turned and there he was a few yards away, grinning. He had done it, and he knew that I knew it.
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Visit to Mas Adji’s Grave
After Mas Adji died I visited his grave at Suka Mulia (after paying my respects at Bapak’s), and offered up a prayer for him.
He often said we should not pray our requests on behalf of others, but just to remember the person and then offer up an Al Fatiha or Lords Prayer for them, (depending on their religion or our religion) because God alone knows what each person needs. It is sufficient, he would say, that we ‘bring them before God’ (which I understood as to hold the person in our feelings) and then surrender to God as we offer up the prayer on their behalf.
So I offered up an Al Fatiha for Mas Adji, and had only just begun when I felt the same strong injection of latihan and such a sense of his presence and love and humour, that a wave of emotion swept through me. I would have been reduced to tears had I not steeled myself to finish the prayer, (for I knew, despite his mischievious games, that he would have expected me to).
So even after death he was still applying his combination of love and latihan.
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An Unlikely Helper
When Mas Adji first began visiting groups, he was still feeling his way.
One evening, on one of his early visits, I arrived late from work, after latihan and all were seated around the room, about 4 x 12yards. Mas Adji was at one end and everyone along each side, as I came in the door, pausing to see where I could quietly sit before he began talking.
Suddenly I heard him call my name, saying ‘Help me!’ And in that instant I knew he was talking to me in my mind and that no one else could hear it, although it sounded like normal speech – not thought.
‘How can I help HIM?’ I wondered, and instantly knew all I could do was to sit beside him and stay close to latihan. So I sat at his right, about one metre away so as not to crowd him, just sort of swaying quietly as it began in me. After a short while he began talking, hesitantly at first and then warming to it.
Before that it never occurred to me that sometimes we too can assist visitors such as him.
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Things Mas Adji Said
Serious face, sentimental face. I prefer sentimental face. Serious face is not my cup of tea. Don’t be complicated. Join the Uncomplicated-man’s club.
Worry is imagination.
Ask permission from God before doing things, even picking a flower.
Mas Adji talking about losing his weight, said that he had to learn to like not to eat.
Keep your eye on the journey.
You should be clean, and take that cleanliness before God (when you go to pray) ; He loves you for it.
Bapak’s most common expression was one of Wonder. “Ooooooooohhhhhhhh!” , a sort of baby face expression.
If you are patient, a little is a lot. If you are impatient, a lot is a little.
“It is up to you how much negativity you want in your life”.
“If you are confused, you aren’t learning.”
“Once the understanding comes, don’t become a guru and teach others. Avoid teachers. The only teacher is your own inner, being taught by God.”
John and Jack are two people who have worshipped God long enough to get close to God, so God asked each one what they would do now that they’d been given this relationship with God.
John said: “I see that God is always good and making things good, so I will try to do good things everywhere I go”.
Jack said: “I see that God can always give what is good and true, so I will just surrender and follow God’s will .”
God said, “OK, that’s fine”. But the second is the Subud Way.
One should always do the Dawn Pray every day, but if you can’t do that, at least during Ramadan. We are invited to do it. If we build on our relationship to God it protects us from temptations and gives us strength to face life. Prayer should be something we like to do. Prayer is our friend. Our time, like everything else, belongs to God. We just have it on loan. In the end, God inherits everything.
It is good to see the light come and the day arrive. Your day is then right in front of you, something for you to do. We are meant to witness the process of the light changing. This is a kind of training for a human being.
If you have problems, problems will come to you. Don’t play the game.
When you pray, simply bring yourself to God. Don’t have anything else in front of you. You don’t have to seek God, he will find you.
Our attitudes are like a stairway we can climb up on, if they are correct.
You must face your life with a willing, happy feeling. If you feel hurt, despair, etc, these are because of things in you. Prayer helps us to face our life, it gives us strength.
Being grateful is an important condition for receiving grace
Being happy is a condition for entering Heaven.
You have to push things to keep them sparkly. The tendency of the nafsu is to slow you down and make you dull.
Dialogue with God: express to him how you experience his love for you. Change your perceptions by using the latihan to push back the nafsu so that you can open your eyes and see the reality.
Mas Adji told us several times about what Krishnamurti had said about Subud: “Subud is ok. The problem with Subud is the members; they don’t realize that Bapak Muhammad Subuh Sumohadiwidjojo got to the top of the Himalayas by Helicopter!!!”
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