Blessing the Ancestors
In the afternoon I had a strong feeling to go to the Friday night latihan. It seemed a little unusual that I would have a feeling to go as I usually only go once a week on Sunday morning.
My latihan began with physical movement in the form of deep breathing, stretching, walking on the spot, swinging of my arms. My awareness was in feeling the life within the movements as if along with the physical movement there was a movement of an inner feeling within the physical parts. My body felt filled and delicious. These movement were not accompanied with any sounds from the voice. Only a quiet awareness of my being.
Then about half way through the latihan time, things changed. All movement stopped. There was only the feeling of well-being from head to toe and all parts in between. Then, to my surprise, I felt Bapak in front of me and then I could see him. Next, with an inner voice with authority that I recognized as my own and different from the voice I hear when I am thinking something, I began to ask Almighty God to give his blessings to my father Lucas and my mother Amanda and then to my two sisters Helen and Anita. All of whom have passed.
What came next was seeing my wife Hasanas' mother Hazel and she looked happy, and the voice asked Almighty God for blessings on Hazel, whereupon Hazel asked for forgiveness because she had no idea what her daughter and son-in-law were into (meaning Subud). Then, Hasanas' father appeared and again he looked so happy and peaceful and the voice asked that he receive God’s blessings. Then, so powerfully that it brought tears to my eyes, this inner voice accompanied by my outer voice, but not loudly, said ALLAH and this Allah was like a wave that rolled out for generations to ALL of Hasanas' ancestors. I was able to see some smiling faces and feelings of happiness in people I did not know. There was one women in particular that stood out. She was so thankful for the blessings because her life had been filled with worry and depression. She was so happy and was giving praise to Almighty God.
At this point I was again aware of Bapak and in English Bapak said, "Tell Hasana to test and feel how are Hasanas' ancestors now."
With a feeling of thanks to Almighty God and to Bapak my latihan ended.
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Latihan with the Sick
After living in the same house for many years my husband and I decided to move to another property in a different part of the country to be nearer our grown family. We didn’t know anything about the nearest Subud group in the new area but saw in the Subud Directory there was quite a large one so were not concerned about future latihan opportunities.
While waiting for contracts to be exchanged, before confirmation that we would actually be able to move I had the following experience:
I had a dream where at a Subud congress I was asked to be responsible for the quiet room where people who needed to rest could stay until they felt better. I thought the room was empty but then I saw there was an elderly gentleman lying down on a bed who seemed to be neglected and in need of help. I approached him and asked him if there was anything I could do for him, but as I grew near him his lively brown eyes opened and I saw it was Bapak. He laughed at me as if it was a huge joke that I’d mistaken him for an invalid. He replied that I could get him some potato soup and I said I’d immediately go and get some for him.
The next day I went to group latihan as usual and as the latihan proceeded I felt Bapak enter the room and stand in front of me. Suddenly my mouth opened and I said ‘Bapak Muhummad Subuh!’ I felt he was asking me to do something, but was not sure what it was, although I replied out loud: ‘I am at your service, Bapak.’ Another person in this latihan told me she was aware that Bapak had entered the room so I knew it was not my imagination.
Soon we did move and when we arrived we discovered this group was spaced out over a large geographical area with members living as far apart as forty miles in some cases. Latihans took place in two different venues for this reason, but as soon as we arrived I was contacted by a helper who lived very near me. Because of her exhausting work schedule she couldn’t manage to get to the main group latihan but instead did latihan in the homes of a house-bound invalid and another elderly lady with precarious health who had no transport. She asked me if I would like to accompany her to do latihan with these ladies in their homes, and whenever possible we were also able to take two of these ladies in our car to latihan at one of the main venues. They were very pleased because before this they had been feeling rather cut off from the main group. While doing latihan with the invalid lady I received: ‘This is your place, this is your vocation,’ and always feel really happy accompanying her and we all have very beautiful latihans together. Formerly I’d worked for many years with patients on hospital wards and with elderly people who felt isolated from society, so doing latihan with these ladies seems very natural to me.
I realised that by helping out in this way I was able to give very practical assistance to these three ladies and it dawned on me that this was what Bapak meant by asking me to give him some potato soup. It simply meant supplying down-to-earth service to others who need it.
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A Taste of the Hereafter
Some 40 years ago I remember having a very dynamic group latihan when I can remember a member going through a very strong cleansing process, which was quite usual at that time. In fact, in those days the exercises were fantastic, and on that day I arrived home from the latihan in a somehow strange state. On my way home I observed a number of unusual aspects of daily life, and I was able to feel and sense the state of the people around me.
When I arrived home I told my wife about the state I was going through, which seemed to me to be something of a Subud crisis, even though I felt well and was completely conscious. Munirah started to feed our child (now 45 years old) and I went to bed. Suddenly I felt my left arm moving, but it was not my physical arm - it was the spiritual arm within my physical arm that had moved. Amazed, I watched my arm, and I had the feeling of having two left arms: one physical and the other spiritual.
A moment later I began to realize that all of my spiritual body was leaving my physical body and with an unusual feeling of euphoria I felt myself rising up with a feeling that I was leaving for my true home. I cannot tell how long this sensation lasted, but what I do know, and was absolutely conscious of, is that my spirit flew upwards, and I felt an amazing state of happiness, knowing that I was leaving for my true homeland, until I heard a voice saying, "It is not the time yet, you must come back!"
I felt unbearably depressed at having to return to the material world and I did so in a state of inner pain. Like a child that has to regretfully obey an order, I had no other choice but to come back. At that moment I realized the big difference between this material world and the spiritual world. In such a world there are no computers, or clothing, or money, or material possessions, so much needed in the present world, but my strongest memories are the state of freedom and happiness in the spiritual realm and the sadness and heaviness I felt back in this world of ours.
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It was in 1975, I think. My wife and I were living in beautiful surroundings, near a small Subud group with some wonderful people. My wife got pregnant with the child she had wanted. Soon after, she decided she wanted to move. I didn’t. We had moved from a large city, a concrete jungle, and I was now enjoying every day of small town life. I had even grown a large garden behind our house, not bad for a city boy.
One night I had a dream. I was on a large Indian reservation. Bapak was there. I don’t think he was in a suit. He looked at me and said, "You’ve got to go." Case closed.
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.Don't Ask Me How
When I started a friendship with Evelyn, I slowly discovered through her confiding, that her husband badly abused her. One evening as I met her at the school where our kids were performing. She took me aside and whispered that things were bad with him that evening. The fresh red stain I saw on the sleeve of her white blouse was proof.
It was one sunny late afternoon, months later that I bumped into her as I came out of our local supermarket into the parking lot. I asked her how she was and she told me that she was divorcing her husband. She said she was still in love with him, but the one thing she could never stand was that he had cheated on her.
Then she told me that she was going on vacation.
Don't ask me how I knew this, but at that moment I knew that her words "going on vacation" actually meant she was going to commit suicide. Also I knew that after dinner that night I was going to call her and speak with her regarding this. Listening to her I felt very calm.
At home, at 9 PM the time felt right and I called her. "Evelyn, I know what you really meant when you said you are 'going to go on 'vacation'".
"You were really telling me that you are going to take your life."
I heard the sharp intake of her breath. "How did you know that?" Her voice was incredulous.
"I don't know; when you said that those words about your 'going on vacation', I just knew."
She went on to tell me her suicide plan. We talked and she finally agreed she wouldn't drive anywhere or harm herself in anyway that night. When I was satisfied that she meant this, we hung up. The next morning I was able to get her psychiatric help.
In the end she kept her agreement. Months later she sent me a card of thanks, saying that the night she'd planned her suicide, she hadn't been in her right mind. And she was really glad she didn't follow through with it. She is alive to this day, married to another man who I believe she feels much more compatible and safe with.
I was awed by the unexpected knowledge of what she really meant by the words "going on vacation". It was a gift that just dropped out of Heaven into my being. I think of how it is said in religious writings that God knows everything about us, what we think, feel and experience. And that He loves us, caring for us always.
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Please, Dear God
One very early morning, while working at the Crisis Center, I received a call from a young man. This time he was really at the end of his rope, he said. He had no more hope left. He felt so low the only answer left was to take his own life. In fact he was about to. He had the means, he said - a gun. Had it in hand, in fact. And I could hear the particular heavy weight and metallic sound of it as he put it on the table.
We talked a long time and I thought that we might be getting close to the point where he was beginning to reconsider. As with just about all those who call or come to talk while I'm on shift, I felt closeness with him. However, too suddenly, I heard a click and I was left hearing an abrupt, unwelcome silence. He'd hung up.
That I hadn't been able to get him to give me his whereabouts or a phone number that had no block on it was not lost on me. I felt this sinking feeling in my gut. Clearly this didn't bode well.
The silence in the room was deep and poignant. It was completely quiet as I sat there alone. I was still in the flow of our conversation; somehow the energy around this man and myself was still strong. I felt very quiet inside.
I remember when he hung up, I swiveled my chair around towards the back wall now facing me. I prayed earnestly, "Please, Dear God, let an angel come. Please let this man be prevented from taking his life and may he please receive the help he needs."
For those times when my prayers feel like they "reach up to the heavens" and connect with God's presence I feel enormous gratitude. And I wish I could have this experience all the time, but honestly I don't. Sometimes my prayers feel like they "just don't get off the ground". But this time was different. There was so much energy present as I fervently prayed that an angel would come and stay his hand. That was my literal prayer.
Meanwhile my co-worker arrived for the next shift and I debriefed with her about the incidents I'd covered that night. Opposite the desk where she now sat, I sat on the couch, writing my progress notes on the work I'd done overnight. Perhaps 30 minutes went by, and the phone rang. She looked at me. "It's him," she said. A feeling seemed to go through us at that moment. Fortunately, bless her, she handed the phone to me, instead of handling the call herself.
His voice. It sounded different somehow. He said, "I just had the strangest experience. After I hung up with you, I went to use the gun and I couldn't pick it up. It was like something was preventing me. I just couldn't. I was gonna shoot myself and I just couldn't." He sounded a bit shocked, struck by this unforeseen turn of events. Those were his exact words, "Something prevented me."
I sensed a change in him; he seemed quieter now. I sat in amazement at his words and his improved state; at what had just happened; knowing and marveling at this answer to prayer.
I felt peace and thankfulness inside of me; a sense of assurance regarding this young man who might have reached his turning point.
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The Way Ahead
When I was about 10 years old I loved drawing. There's one drawing that I made in those days which I've never forgotten. I remember being in an unusual state when I made it. I felt very centered and in myself. The drawing was of a crowd of people, which filled the paper. Through the middle of the crowd was a clearly marked white path which ended at the horizon, and at the beginning of this path, at the bottom of the paper, was a figure seen from the back. This was me.
I also knew the meaning of it. It came to me while making the drawing and it felt very serious and solemn. I knew that in my life I had to follow my own way and go on a different path than most people and that this would make me different from others, leading a different life.
My mother, who has always been very religious, saw the drawing in my room. I remember her picking it up and staring at it quietly for some time. 'That's a very special drawing, I like it a lot,' she said at last. She gave me the feeling that she understood the meaning too, and that she recognised something in it.
I was opened when I was 19, after having looked for a spiritual path for three years..One day I remembered the drawing and realised that I had found the path through life which I had drawn when I was a child.
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A Timely Windfall
I have heard of many Subud members receiving help when they need money to attend big Subud events. So this is just another one. Some time before the Spokane World Congress I was worried about how we would be able to finance our trip and stay there. We were a young couple and worked quite hard, but, being musicians, didn’t earn a lot of money. Also, we had a little child to take care of.
I asked my local helper to test what should be my attitude towards the finances involved in attending the World Congress. Oh, I was just laughing and laughing at myself in that test. No need to worry! After receiving such an answer, I almost felt embarrassed asking this question. In fact, I never asked anything of this kind again.
Two weeks later, my husband unexpectedly sold two violins, which brought in exactly the amount we needed to travel to Spokane and stay in the hotel we had selected (the best one!). It was the first time he made that much money trading instruments, which encouraged him to expand his activities in that field. Needless to say that we were given many precious gifts while attending world congress.
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