Face it. As a woman, my long Subud life has included many years of being the local crisis case. For years, the helpers worked with me and supported me. I was very touched by the care and concern they showed me. Finally I think they wondered why I hadn’t made as much progress in my latihan after years of their help. I couldn’t blame them. In fact as time went on, the content of my latihans grew more stressful for me even though they felt beautiful at the same time.
For years I perceived that all the “people” that were expressing themselves in my latihan were my ancestors. However, it was much, much later that the light finally dawned on me and I realized I had multiplicity. All those “ancestors” actually proved to be many parts of me that had experienced multiple traumas growing up. At the time of each trauma, a part of me split off leaving another part to deal with what was happening. That is one way that alters develop. Thank God we all are given this way of dealing with otherwise unbearable experiences if we should need it. This sure put a different spin on things!
So for a very long time, it seems like forever in fact, I’ve been a devoted healer of all these parts of me. And truly, I know I’ve come a very long way. I thought the best I could ever do was clean houses, which I’d have been lousy at. But, instead, for the past 15 years I’ve come to be able to facilitate healing for people who come to me for holistic energy psychotherapy services. Can you imagine me going from inept house-keeper extraordinaire to practitioner? I am truly blessed from doing the latihan which enabled this to happen. I love the work I do. My own experience helps me to help others who’ve found themselves in similar or other circumstances, trying to find their way out of their netherworld. The latihan guides me and protects me as I do this work.
Gradually, circumstances led to my becoming an isolated member. I lost touch with my Subud brothers and sisters. And I also found that to do my precious latihan regularly would rock my boat so much, it would prove to be very hard for me to show up for my clients or anything else. So now I do whole latihans only rarely. I do a number of cleansing latihans daily since I work with very wounded and ill people. And before bedtime, I might do a two minute latihan. I pray a lot throughout the days and evenings and am blessed to have experiences and guidance that touch me.
However, over the months I began to feel that my alters seemed to be plateau-ing in their growth and not growing up and changing in the way I thought they could and I became discouraged. So! One day I told my young and trusted psychiatrist, David, this and said I’d like to sit down and call forth any part of me, or an angel, or one of my spirit helpers to receive help and guidance about this. Because I’ve done this many times in therapy before, David agreed this would be a good idea.
So I sat in one chair with David to my left, and faced an empty armchair in front of me. I said my prayer and asked for the right alter or spiritual helper to come forward. And so I began.....
At first I thought I saw a figure sitting in the chair. I could hardly make it out. Then I could see she was a woman. I realized how very beautiful she was in her raiment of brilliant colors. Possessed of such inner beauty that I could tell that in the spirit world, she was a Queen. I finally recognized her: Ibu Siti Sumari, Bapak’s second wife. How taken aback I was and yet how natural to see her sitting there so regally. I remember when she was living; all the Subud ladies would follow her everywhere. However, at nineteen, I felt too shy and undeserving back then to join in. Suddenly sitting with Ibu in the present, I had the sensation of growing so tall that I reached all the way up to the blackness of the heavens where I could see the planets looming largely. She began to talk with me about my spiritual progress in positive and kind terms.
Several of the wounded inner children within me seemed to take shape outside of me and came over to me, and one after the other, laid their heads in their arms, laying upon my lap and asked for healing. I saw Jesus who has helped me through the years. I saw he was praying for me as I did this.
Suddenly I saw Bapak out of the corner of my eye, sitting off a ways to the right. I could hear but not see that another man was sitting next to him and Bapak was talking animatedly to him.
I knew something was up when I saw Bapak! I’ve always been aware how deeply my Subud brothers and sisters loved him. And some women were even in love with him! But me? Oh no. He was a man. Even though there are many men I truly love including my husband, sons, family, friends, and clients, for some reason I was scared of Bapak. Strangely enough I seemed to project onto him my old experiences as a child where I’d been abused by men.
Meanwhile Ibu continued. She pointed to the two large white flowers that she wore pinned to her blouse, one on the left side of her chest and one on the right. They were beautiful white flowers with each petal tip tinged with pink, very much like water lilies. She said to me, “I wear these beautiful flowers because I love God and I love myself. I dress myself beautifully. This is for my worship and my love for God. Ibu said my name aloud and then said, “God loves you very much.”
Ibu continued telling me more about my progress and the work I do in the world. I saw a motion from my left and sure enough it was Bapak again, talking to that other man. Now Bapak was looking, not at me, but in my direction. He was smiling and talking about me to the other guy, making the OK sign with his fingers. I could see he was telling me, very indirectly, that he liked what was going on with Ibu and me. And what she was saying to me. He was giving his approval!
Gradually towards the end, he looked sort of at me, but not exactly at me. He was smiling widely with his great warmth and humor. I knew he wasn’t looking directly at me because part of me was scared of him as a man and he went along with this.
Finally, he did look right at me and simultaneously gestured at me, smiling and making a sound which meant “You’re good!” This made me smile because as a child I had always struggled about whether I was good or not. As he did this he smiled, puffing away on his big cigar, making big clouds of smoke, enjoying himself immensely.
Ibu finished by telling me, “You are doing your latihan well. You love God. You are sincere and patient. You are growing in surrender, faith and trust.”
At the very end, I was aware of a circlet of light upon my head. From it radiated long streams of light beaming out from me. Kneeling there, was a child named Olivia who is the 12 year old in me who was the one most severely abused. She lays her head upon my lap, her arms encircling her head. As Ibu taught me, I asked God if He would let her receive a healing. My left hand hovered just above her head while my right hovered over her neck and then the back of her heart. This repeated itself several times with Jesus beside us.
This was my experience with Bapak and Ibu Siti Sumari. I used to fear that Ibu Siti Sumari, Ibu Rahayu and Bapak didn’t approve of me and my Subud life. But with the help of this experience, I honestly know now that was never true. I give a laugh at Bapak’s playfulness and humor, the way he slowly acclimated me to his looking right at me. With all the thousands of Subud people and others that they have known and loved and guided, somehow they knew of me. Even now, so many years later. Unknown to me they have loved me enough to show me such tenderness and humor in this brief interlude with them. And to think they are still keeping track of me. Amazing! This I truly believe they do for all of us brothers and sisters. Their souls are bigger than I can imagine.
So this was my experience: wise and loving and even humorous. When I came to, I asked David to share with me what he had seen and heard during this experience. He said simply that inwardly he had experienced somehow being over-powered and placed in an altered state. And thus David, who I’ve never seen at a loss for words, said he couldn’t really remember enough to tell me. He said this with a bit of amazement. “I’ve been doing this work for over 15 years and this has never happened to me before! ......But in actuality, he remembered enough because he said to me, “I know this was very real.”
- - - - -
Many of us who have been doing the latihan for a long time experience that the latihan makes us inwardly more sensitive towards other people. I know a Subud sister who when she thinks about someone can sometimes feel what state that person is in. It happens to me now and then when I am about to phone someone that I can feel whether this is convenient to this person or not. Sometimes you sit next to someone and you can feel if they are happy or sad. These feelings tend to be very fine and subtle, unlike our emotions.
One morning I was sitting at my computer when I unexpectedly felt this disturbance and I seemed to be getting the message that A. was thinking about me right now and that she was really angry with me. This sister and I get on well and the day before we'd met at a Subud gathering. So I decided to test this out and see if my receiving was right and also to see if we could 'solve the problem' - if there was one. I rang her and asked how she was and what she'd thought of the gathering. After a while, she said to me 'You've really upset me with that joke you made yesterday, I am very angry with you!' I realised that I had been a bit clumsy and apologised, and she realised that it had to do with a particular sensitivity in her. We had a laugh about it and all was well again!
- - - - -
Experiences in Vietnam
I was opened in 1965, and when I graduated from college that spring the Vietnam War was raging. I decided not to keep trying to get a deferment from the draft, and was drafted that fall. I always had a feeling I would end up in Vietnam.
Our base camp, south of Saigon and on the north bank of the main branch of the Mekong River, was completed in early 1967, and our whole Brigade moved there. I worked in the battalion tactical operations center (TOC), luckily one level above having to hump through the rice paddies, but close enough to the action to know what was going on and to feel that my job was important.
Our battalion was back at base camp after an operation, and I awoke one night with a case of diarrhea and had to go immediately to the latrine. Even though the base was blacked out, I didn’t even take the time to find my flashlight. There was just enough sky-glow for me to find my way. The latrine was a small rectangular building with a door in each end, so obviously I headed for the nearest door. As I began to push the door open, I felt a slight resistance, and even though I was in a hurry, I had this feeling that I should go around to the other door, which I did. While I was inside I saw somehow that a white string stretched across the door I had first tried to enter, but for some reason I thought nothing of it
The next morning I awoke to the sound of a soldier coming into our tent and saying that the latrine had been booby-trapped the night before. Instantly I knew that the white string I had seen across the door had been tied to a hand grenade, and if I had pushed the door all the way open the string would have pulled the pin out of the grenade and it would have exploded. Many years later I read of this incident in a book written by the battalion Chaplain of that time, and learned that it had been one of our own soldiers who had set the trap, and that he was caught and punished.
It would never have entered my mind that one of our own men would have set such a trap, thus my not recognizing the significance of the white string. But I have always felt that part of the lesson was that sometimes we may receive some thing in such an ordinary way that we may not understand the true significance of it until later. I remember that I had to develop a feeling of self-awareness, quietness, and surrender in order to survive in Vietnam, in which state I fortunately was in that night. Vietnam was a good place to practice that. Miraculously, no one else got blown up either. How would I have felt if someone else had been injured because I had not recognized the string for what it was?
On one operation the battalion had to move to our area of operation by truck convoy. I can clearly remember sitting in the back of the truck and thinking we could be ambushed at any time. I had done all I could: I had my helmet and flack jacket on, my rifle was at the ready, I was sitting very quietly, but beyond that the rest was up to God. We arrived at our destination safely.
Our brigade was part of the Mobile Riverine Force, the first joint Army/Navy task force since Grant went down the Mississippi during the Civil War. The three battalions took turns at two-month deployments to the “mother ships”, large troop ships anchored out in the middle of the Mekong River from our base camp. Our battalion embarked at the beginning of August. A large pontoon was attached to the side of each ship, and anchored to that were landing craft similar to WW 2 landing craft, but made of steel, heavily armored, and heavily armed. These boats would transport troops in a convoy to an operational landing zone, then continue to support the troops with fire power and logistics. One of the boats was equipped as a command and control boat, a floating TOC, and was always part of the convoy.
There were four of us in my job slot, so we would take turns, two going out on an operation and two staying behind on the ship, then switching around the next time. My turn was coming up to go out on the next operation when, the day before, my platoon sergeant told me that one of the other fellows was taking my place. That was very unusual. He did not offer an explanation, and I did not ask for one, as an order was an order. The next day was the one time when the convoy was badly ambushed. Miraculously again, my replacement was not injured due to my destiny: he was just up for 36 hours straight with no sleep! (Vietnam was a good place to practice sleep prihatin).
In spite of being less than two and a half years “young’ in Subud, I was incredibly blessed by these experiences, because beyond the obvious they were proof of the reality of the latihan, and confirmed the truth of Bapak’s explanations and guidance, all of which I have carried with me the rest of my life. I have always wished I had thanked Bapak for the latihan when he was on this earth, so I will do it now. Thank you, Bapak, for following God’s will in helping to bring this latihan kedjiwaan of Subud into the world, this contact with the Holy Spirit which we have been able to have just for the asking. It saved my life in more ways than one.
- - - - -
All Expenses Paid
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, we were given many precious gifts while attending world congress.
- - - - -
A Financial Signpost
In the past I used to be familiar with a particular type of receiving that happened to me three or four times. It's a receiving in the feelings and it feels like suddenly, for several minutes, I feel really comfortable and nurtured, rather like having a nice warm bath. Some weeks after this experience always some unexpected material bonus would come my way. I would make more money than expected, for example, or inherit something, or whatever.
I hadn't had this receiving for many years when suddenly it happened again last year and I recognised it. Not long after this my wife and I unexpectedly went through a period when we were both making more money than normal.
- - - - -
Unexpected Signs of Connection
Quite some experiences shared on this website refer to a surprisingly strong connection between Subud members, specially at least expected moments. I can confirm this with some examples, although I am rather sure this sort of connection is not only between Subud people, but can exist between any human beings who somehow ‘know’ one another on a deep level.
Some time ago I was playing with the idea of setting up an international art gallery, having a handful of Subud artists in the back of my mind who might be interested to take part. One of them, whom I had only briefly met a few times but always felt naturally close to, spontaneously contacted me saying she had been thinking of me a lot recently, wondering what I was up to. The last time we spoke was over three years ago. Did she somehow catch my plans?
Or just the other day, when I was dealing with sad emotions and did an extra latihan at home, I felt a deep longing to be surrounded by Subud members from other parts of the world. The experience of being part of a wide international brotherhood can be such a powerful and uplifting feeling. Right after finishing my prayers, I found a most heartwarming message in my mailbox from a Subud brother on the other side of the globe, whom I had not been in touch with for quite a long time. I immediately felt much better.
A last example, and for me a very meaningful one, concerned a man who had been very important to me for a certain period but had disappeared out of my life. I didn’t want to see another man for years. When I opened up to the possibility of finding a new relationship, at some point the sadness about my lost love returned in full shape, though I thought I had left the mourning behind long before. I got rather desperate, wishing I could find out if there still was an opportunity to meet again, but X was living his own life far away, and I felt all I could do was surrender my emotions. Exactly at that time, out of the blue, X called me saying he was considering attending a conference in my country the next week and wondered if I wanted to meet. I just couldn’t believe it. It was like he had heard my cry for contact. So we met and had a very good conversation, which helped me to finally let go of him more completely. Even though we continue to live separate lives, it reminded me that we are still connected on another level.
- - - - -
On a Wing and a Prayer
My aunt was opened quite late in life, and lived to be 97 years of age.
One day I thought she might like to come with me when I took a turn at cleaning the latihan hall. To give her something to do I gave her a feather duster to dust the window ledges. So off she went straight into latihan - duster in hand.
She was living in a retirement home, and one day on my way home from work I felt her asking me to go to her. I was very tired and said to myself not today, but nevertheless found myself turning the car around, and there she was waiting for me at the gate.
I attended her funeral and sometime later, sitting on the sofa, I suddenly felt very depressed. I said to myself, I'm not depressed, have nothing to be depressed about. I then felt the presence of my aunt and straight away said a prayer and did a latihan for her.
"Whoosh." She was off, and I’ve never felt her presence since. Bless her.
- - - - -