My Only Bapak Experience
About 25 years ago, inspired by the book “The Beauty of Fractals,” I started writing code to make some of these marvelous images (e.g. Mandelbrot Set). This soon spread to other areas of mathematics visualization, and I wrote reams of code based on chaotic orbits - the path traced out by a point moving under the influence of a formula. After some promising results, I hit a roadblock. (For those who know, the orbits went periodic – which was fatal). I abandoned this series and moved on to other types of image.
Several years later, Bapak appeared in a dream and said: You should get back to the project you abandoned. I argued that it was dead in the water – couldn’t I do something else? No – Bapak was very specific – it had to be that particular project.
So after a long period of resistance, I revisited my code, and within a ridiculously short time, found a simple solution to the problem. In addition, code that had been written to produce a particular effect and which absolutely did not work 20+ years ago, no matter how much I checked and double-checked, suddenly worked perfectly without changing anything. I have since become used to an ongoing stream of “coincidences” and “serendipity” and have learned to accept what the computer is telling me. Even “mistakes” often turn out to be interesting. I have started exhibiting this work with positive results.
Moral of the story: If you are fortunate enough to be given marching orders by Bapak, do what he says and don’t delay!
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Reflections and Realizations
I sometimes wondered why children of Subud members don’t take the latihan as seriously as their parents, especially in the case of my own children. My first born child had a rebellious start to life. He has now found his tribe and spiritual understanding through meditation. He is more content and his life has opened up in a positive way. The other children have done the latihan on and off for years and know the benefits, but carry on with the latihan of everyday life without going to latihan’ on a regular basis.
Recently, when reflecting on this conundrum, I was given some insight, during my latihan, that I found reassuring. This coincided with re-discovering a message sent by a Subud friend, 20 years ago.
Over a long period of time I have understood and experienced the latihan awaken my soul, and I have constantly received subtle guidance to become a better person, sometimes in spite of what I do, or because of it. In the case of my children, they have awareness of what it is to be good human being and they work on life challenges as best they can, just like me. This is the latihan at work within them, teaching them to deal with difficulties in are reflective, quiet and sometimes, surrendered way.
This is exactly what the coming of the latihan is all about, it is broad in scope, the guidance within me is no different from that within my children. God will nudge and encourage them, in the same or a different way, as he nudges and encourages me.
My daughter has no memory of the event described below, although I remember it clearly. I am shown the latihan is at work within her and her siblings, in their every day life. Thank you God.
Message from a friend: A lady who lives near our group (l will call her Zee) was opened years ago and lapsed, and has now come back to the latihan. This was after meeting your daughter at a party! Zee was chatting with your daughter and it emerged she was in Subud. All evening Zee had been thinking what a special person your daughter was, what a fantastic quality she had and what wonderful parenting she must have had! Your daughter said a few things that made a very deep impression on Zee who decided to try the latihan again. Zee had a lot of difficulty with the latihan and with Subud people, but we did manage to persuade her that this was a very fortuitous coincidence, and perhaps God was trying to tell her something.
We have a lovely little group here so I trust she won’t be put off again.
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Growing Old in Subud
“…And for members who are old – there are many elderly members now – in their case, they do not have to attend the group latihan; they can do it at home. The important thing is that, even if they just do latihan by sitting and calling God’s name, they will be continually bringing their soul to life; they will be using their soul. That is necessary because the evidence shows many old people lose their minds. And when someone is about to die, someone in Subud, if their mind is feeble, they will forget to say, ‘God is Great.’ They forget because their mind has gone. But, if they continually feel their soul, then in their forgetfulness, the words come, ‘Allah’, but this time the word ‘Allah’ comes from their soul. This has happened many times… So, it is also necessary for helpers to be with dying members.”
Excerpt from Ibu Rahaju talk 17.06.12 Code 12 CDK 1 Final translation Raymond Lee
Many years ago when I was a young Community Guardian for the Office of the Community Advocate, one of my tasks was to pay a weekly visit to a disabled war hero as his legal guardian. He lived in a particularly well run nursing home, where the staff were thoughtful enough to provide the men with photocopied money for their wallet. They also ensured that the ladies had their beads on and handbag with them when, after they had been showered, they were brought nicely dressed to the general sitting room to pass the day.
There my gentleman and I would sit reading the papers together, sometimes we went for a little walk in the garden and then we had a cup of tea. Unlike the others, he wasn’t senile, but needed supervision so the locked ward was the best place for him.
One of the residents was a very elderly Subud lady ~let us call her Martha ~she was senile, seemed quite contented with her lot and often acted as though she was welcoming the rest of us to her home with polite small talk about the weather.
One day when I arrived early, Martha’s voice could be heard shouting loudly from the bathroom while she was being showered. “Oh she always does that” said the ward nurse.
And what, you might ask, was this genteel lady shouting at the top of her lungs?
Martha’s soul took charge and the latihan started up while she was enjoying a warm shower.
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White Beings Helpedthe Surgeon Operate
I left Indonesia at the very end of 2003 in a quite terrible way, after an assault in which my eyes were seriously injured. I did not want to leave, but it seemed there was no other way at that time. It took many years to rescue what could be restored of my vision and after four operations the Danish eye hospital gave up on me, saying that I must learn to live with what was left, which was very little. I despaired many times, regretting that now I could not write musical scores or give flute concerts like before. I could not play classical music because I could not see the notes.
I refused to accept that I would go blind in one eye and looked for solutions abroad. I have a lot to be grateful for and many people to thank, but the story I am going to tell here is one when I felt that Bapak was directly helping – as he had probably been helping all along.
In 2008 I went to Hawaii for two operations, thanks to a huge fundraising effort by Reynold Feldman. He had sent my records to his eye doctor in Honolulu to see if a further operation would be possible. Before long, a surgeon from The Retina Institute of Hawaii replied, inviting me to visit Honolulu for an operation. In what felt like a true miracle, a fantastic
surgeon operated on both my eyes; he saved my left eye by setting an artificial lens into the ‘forechamber,’ and also prepared the right eye for an artificial lens which was later inserted by a Danish surgeon.
When I first met Michael Bennet, the surgeon in Hawaii, I gave him a big print of my painting of The Madonna of the Mountains and also my CD. He thanked me and said, “Well, you were meant to come to me. And here you are”. He was very kind and also quite young. I felt blessed.
Within a few days later I was being prepared for the first operation, the one that no Danish ophthalmic surgeon had dared perform. I was sedated, but was half awake for part of the time and wanted to talk and tell the surgical team what I was seeing. I saw white clad beings surrounding us, and behind the surgeon I saw Bapak standing there and smiling. I wanted to tell them that I could also see angels and the Virgin Mary and Christ and other high beings, but Michael Bennet said, “Shut up, be still, this is
very delicate.” I then fell asleep and did not wake up till hours later,
Someone with a sort of kepi, an Indonesian cap, approached the bed, and I cried out, “Thank you, Bapak, thank you!” A voice said, “I am not Bapak, I am your surgeon!” And I saw that it was Michael Bennett, who was bringing me something to eat and drink and telling me that everything had gone well.
When I left the hospital, I was somewhat bewildered and it took a while to come to my senses again at a time when I was walking around wearing big glasses to protect the healing. But I wanted to tell the surgeon what I had seen, and when I returned for a check-up I told the nurse what I had seen. She told Michael Bennett, and when I later met with him for a further check-up, he told me, “It was amazing! The operation went very well and you have a new eye, the lens can last for many years. Thanks for telling my nurse about what you saw! I have never experienced anything like that operation! I was quite shocked. During the whole operation I felt that someone stood behind me and guided my hands, I never did anything from my own will! I was never in doubt about which instrument to use, and you know, those instruments are really tiny. It was extraordinary!” I said, “It was Bapak guiding your hands!” And he laughed and was happy.
I should add that Reynold Feldman had asked many people to pray and do latihan during the operation! And it certainly worked wonders, for which I am eternally grateful! As already mentioned, after a month and a half the second operation was performed and the right eye was made ready for an artificial lens to be put in later.
Before I left that wonderful island, I was invited to give a thank-you concert of my own music in a beautiful church. In the distance, through a huge window in front of me, I saw a row of dolphins swimming far out in the sea.
Aisha Inger Holm
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Finding the Latihan
This story starts when I was a young boy growing up in post-war Brixton, surrounded by the echoes and reverberations of war. I was the youngest of seven children and we were quite poor but not too poor. I was just another of the skinny kids who rough-housed around the block of flats, belonging to the tribe of kids who lived there. Now and again I became aware of “another me” inside – looking out of my eyes and listening through my ears. I never remarked on this or spoke of it as I assumed everyone had this.
I did quite well at school – even though I hated it – and my parents had great hopes of me going to university and becoming some kind of professional. I just went along with this until when I was around fifteen that “other me” woke up and came in full time. Now I was told to leave school. I didn’t like school but this was pretty scary, especially as my parents and teachers were not at all pleased and told me I couldn’t leave. But I just insisted and did leave before I was sixteen to the great despair of everyone.
I got a job in an office which mollified my mum a little, but I started to get the push from the “other me” to apply to join the merchant navy. So at the age of seventeen I found myself at the training ship TS Vindicatrix – an old hulk moored at Sharpness, near Bristol. My first voyage was around Europe and then over to New Zealand on an old general cargo boat – the Dunedin Star of the Blue Star Line. I was the Pantry Boy - one of the lowest orders of being amongst the crew of 56. We crossed the winter Atlantic and one day there was a big storm and no-one was allowed on deck as it was too dangerous. The ship was really rocking and rolling and the wind howled like a banshee. This was all pretty scary for me. Then my little voice said I had to go outside.
After some internal conflict I obeyed – not without severe doubt. I managed to get right round to the back of the boat beneath the poop deck where no-one on the bridge could see me. I crouched down, hanging on desperately to the rails as the whole world screamed in chaos and crashing noise. Then I was shown that this apparent chaos was in fact being orchestrated by what I came to call “The Great Life Force” as I didn’t believe in God – or not the God that was taught to me at school. I was told that this force could drown us all in an instant and the only reason we stayed on top of the water was because this force willed it.
I was shown that whatever happened, whether we drowned or not, I was safe, the force would be with me (sounds a bit like Star Wars!). Then I was told that something had been put into the world for mankind and that I should go and search for it. To help me in this search the shape of the “thing” was put into my chest so I would be able torecognize it.
We crossed the Atlantic then the Pacific and reached New Zealand. All through this time I communed with the Great Life Force and sort of developed a relationship. But apart from that I was just a normal young testosterone filled lad, excited at the prospect of meeting girls and seeing new things, just like the other lads in the crew.
Eventually we returned to England and I had three weeks leave and was soon to receive my man’s rating at the age of 18. I looked up an old girl friend who lived in Wimbledon and she took me off to Kingston, somewhere I had never been. We went to a pub – the Morning Star – and as soon as I got in there among this motley crowd of artists, musicians, beatniks and generally very interesting people, I knew that this was where I had to start looking for what the Great Life Force had put here for us. I never went back to sea and I never went home again.
It was now 1964, and Kingston was full of people into all kinds of the new esoteric movements and happenings. I met with and read about all kinds of practices such as meditation and Gurdjieff and some I tried to actually do. I used the shape that had been placed in my chest to test each different thing but I quickly found that whatever it was I was looking for, these were not it and it was not something I could “do”. Somehow it had to come into me from outside.
A bunch of us drop outs were squatting in a large Victorian terraced house in Surbiton and one of the guys announced that he was going to get some LSD – who wanted some? LSD was preceded by lots of fanfare by people like Timothy Leary who told everyone that LSD was the new thing to set us on our path. And I thought that maybe this is what the Great Life Force had placed in the world. I said to myself “This is too important just to take for fun.” So I went off and sat down by the Thames in a quiet spot and asked the Great Life Force – is this what I’m looking for? I got a clear answer – “no it isn’t – don’t touch it!”.
One of the things I came across in my search was something called Subud. I met several people who claimed to practice it, but this did not register with my inner “meter”. Eventually I met someone who was a bit of a local guru – into Gurdjieff, Subud, drugs and who knows what else. He had a small coterie of followers and he wanted me to join them. Using my inner model I tried to gauge what he was representing – it almost fitted but something held me back – some alarm going off inside.
One night I was awoken early in the morning and the air was deathly cold. Then came a loud scratching noise on the walls, then the bed collapsed! Terrified. I made my partner get up and put the lights on (what a hero!) and then I woke everyone up and made cups of coffee until the sun came up. I knew this was something to do with this guru and I felt to get away as far as possible. Not having any money, I phoned one of my sisters to ask for a loan. She was a member of her local spiritualist church and she immediately asked if I was ok. She told me that she had been informed that I was coming under the influence of an evil force, but that I could get away. So we took off down to the coast to Swanage, in Dorset and set ourselves up there. I was so shaken by this experience that I decided to stop this searching for “the way” as it was just too dangerous. I felt like a blind man blundering around in the jungle with little to guide me. After about nine months we decided to get married and then found that my partner was already pregnant, so we returned to London to be with her mum who had just been abandoned by her husband.
Then I found myself idly searching through the esoteric books in the local library. There I came across “Stairway to Subud”. I remembered hearing about Subud and took the book home. I started reading, and as soon as I came across the word “latihan” all the whistles and bells went off. I read no further. I knew absolutely that this was what I had been told to find.
The problem was that it was inside this thing called Subud and I have never liked joining things. But I determined that I would do whatever was necessary to receive this latihan and then go off on my way again. So I found someone who was in Subud and got a helper’s phone number. My wife decided she wanted to accompany me. We didn’t even discuss it, we were completely together. We both went and met three men helpers with their wives one Sunday afternoon over tea and bickies. I felt like we had come home.
But I was still determined to go off on my own once the latihan was in me. Six months later I was on the committee and have been in one role or another for over fifty years until the present day.
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