By Hussein Rawlings
Over the years, my experiences have usually occurred while receiving the Latihan sitting, or lying down. Only rarely have they happened during Latihan, as this one did in the 1990s.
I had been moving about, then came to a standstill, waiting for what may follow. Suddenly I became aware of a man close in front and no sooner was I aware of him than in one sure movement he swiftly cut me open from chest to navel. He immediately inserted his hands into the cavity, deftly moving organs out of the way with one hand while the other, with the knife blade held close against his first two fingers, moved the knife deep into my chest. The moment it happened I felt the Power of God that guided him, the authority with which he acted, the skill and assurance of his hands, and even knew how the blade was held against the fingers. There was no fear, only surrender. As one hand reached behind some organs I felt the other extend the blade beyond the fingers and cut something away. Then he removed both hands, and something from my body. He quickly ran his thumb down the cut, sealing it. Then he was gone, leaving me to Thank God.
On arriving home I went straight to the bathroom and inspected my chest to see what marks were left. Nothing. Not a trace on my body. I was just the same, but some of my experiences became deeper.
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Dream of Impending Death
By Hussein Rawlings
I once had a dream alerting me that a colleague of mine would die. In the dream we were playing rugby, (a game that often appears in my dreams to represent the ‘game of life’). I looked out from the position where I was playing, and saw my colleague take a particularly hard tackle - so hard that the game stopped while the medics attended to him, and then carried him off the field and out of the game. All the time my colleague was saying “It’s not fair, it’s not fair!” When a player is injured to the extent that he has to be carried off the field then clearly that game is over for him. For this reason I understood that to be ‘carried out of the game of life’ indicated death, but he was only 38. Shortly afterwards he became ill, and after a progressive wasting of weight and energy he died. This dream, a year in advance of the death, presaged it with a deterministic inevitability.
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Dream of Dead Cousin
By Hussein Rawlings
My cousin, married with two teenage children and who was the same age as me, died in her forties. Her maiden name had been Corn. Some two or three years later I dreamed I was standing on a low rounded hill at the edge of a rolling paddock of young corn shoots, green and about 6 to 8 inches high, growing in the rich dark soil. As I looked out over this promise of a bountiful harvest my cousin appeared walking out from a gazebo a few yards to my left, smiling that delightful warm smile so characteristic of her. She looked so alive and relaxed and real. Even in my dream I knew that she had died, so I thought ‘this must be her spirit or some apparition, so I will test it’. I moved towards her, greeting her as if she was alive, and holding out my hand to her, fully expecting that as I took her hand I would confirm the insubstantial quality of this figure in front of me. She took my hand warmly, and I was surprised at how real it was, and the warmth that flowed from her palm. Then as I stood smiling, holding her hand and about to speak, she evaporated before my eyes. When I awoke I felt very happy for her.
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The Three Jinn
By Hussein Rawlings
Late one night, after midnight, while receiving the latihan (doing Zikir) in my home – it seemed the house and room no longer existed. I was suspended above treetops in a tropical region, in the presence of three giant beings (jinn?). One was about twenty stories high, and the others were smaller at about only ten and twelve stories high!
The canopy of an extensive tropical forest extended out below, and I felt a cool, clear tropical air. None of the beings said anything, but all three were observing me. The experience lasted only a few seconds.
I did not know that such giant creatures existed but, but as we discover in these sorts of experiences – no matter how out of the ordinary – it all seems to be perfectly normal and natural at the time.
I had always intended to visit Kalimantan, whenever it seemed ‘right’, but in the thirty plus years since I first formed a readiness to go there, it just never seemed to fit during any of my visits to Indonesia. But with this experience I felt these beings held some kind of guardianship responsibility for Kalimantan, and I was being invited to visit. I felt the way would open easily now.
In 2006 I had made the so called Raja Pilgrimage as thanks for deliverance following a very difficult twelve year period that began the year Bapak died. This pilgrimage comprises visits to Bapak’s birthplace in Kedjungati , to his house at Bogata Kalisari when he received the Wahayu (Ascension), and to his grave at Suka Mulia. Before this visit our Government had issued a travel advisory against visiting Indonesia due to bird flu, volcanoes, and active Islamists. My wife held these concerns also, “…and you expect to go there and come back smiling!?” But this was the first opportunity for me to make this visit since my period of difficulty had ended in 1999, and I felt this opportunity had been given to me. So I did go, and yes, I did come back smiling, for it was one of those visits when “every door opened” as I approached it. I returned having kept my promise to God and feeling blessed by the experience of having been to those places.
Some months after I returned and was talking with members about my visit, and I noticed my wife looking somewhat wistful. When asked if she would like to visit those three places of Bapak’s life she agreed she would. So we completed arrangements for a few months later, to leave about a year after my own visit.
My experience of meeting the three jinn occurred after these arrangements were made. I asked Rachman Mitchell about accommodation in Rungan Sari and he told me he would be there at that time and I could stay with him. However, shortly before we left Rachman told me he was unable to be in Kalimantan, but insisted I use his house, putting me in touch with his servant and advising on managing food, etc., for all of which I was very grateful
After accompanying my wife on that tour, she returned home as planned, while I continued on to Kalimantan on a flight containing a number of Subud members. Hartati gave me a ride to RS. I settled in and ate, sat up late, going to bed around midnight. I was lying in bed with sleep still not approaching when a ‘sakima’ (latihan of blessing) came over me and I knew that something was going to occur. Into the darkened room came three round disks of light, each about the size of a side plate, all moving in together with the disks arranged in a column with one above the other. One of them had a distinctive pattern (no doubt I’ll come across it again sometime, and learn its significance). The other two were just of light. The three disks came just inside the room, staying for a few seconds arranged vertically at the foot of the bed, then all left together. I felt that those same three beings had welcomed me now that I had actually arrived in Kalimantan. I gave thanks that I could come, that so many arrangements like leave, accommodation, and transfers had been ‘taken care of’, and that I have been made so welcome.
I passed four days there, days which were full of experience and meaning for me. After four days I felt everything shut down within me and knew my visit was over, so I left that day and returned to my own country.
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At The Messiah
By Hussein Rawlings
Every year since they were seven or eight years old, I would took our children to a rendition of Handel’s ‘Messiah’. We sat in the cheapest seats, at right angles to the stage (and soloists) and close to the choir and orchestra. They could see the different instruments and learn their sounds as well as enjoy the performance.
This annual event – which was an exciting night out for young children – became part of their musical education as well as learning the story of Jesus. Years later, when in their teens and listening to other ‘music’, they always requested we include them whenever they heard us discussing an upcoming performance of ‘The Messiah’!
One year (1997), after they had all grown up, my wife and I and a son went to the annual performance. On this occasion we had premium seats directly facing the stage. I recall as we were shown to our seats that the person I had to sit next to was somewhat larger than normal and spilled into my space. “I hope I don’t have to jostle for my rightful space all evening” I thought as I settled into the seat and felt the hostility of my neighbour at being squeezed out. After a while I felt that person become adjusted to their own area and their annoyance lift.
When the performance began the sense of connection I usually felt with The Messiah was missing. The soloists, choir, and orchestra were all excellent, but seemed ‘far away.’ Although we were sitting where the acoustics were believed to be very good, they seemed inferior to the cheaper seats where we usually sat.
As the performance continued I still did not feel any connection to the music. The whole performance remained ‘remote’ – as if there was an invisible pane of glass separating me from it – however as I was feeling the latihan strongly within I decided to instead just surrender to it. While doing this it seemed as if I was given an understanding of the Christine doctrine very clearly as the work unfolded. Actually, I already had a good knowledge of Christianity and its theology – from an Anglican education where I had excelled in Divinity – but suddenly I was understanding the theology, or sensing its origins, with unexpected clarity. (For those unfamiliar with ‘The Messiah’, the arias of the soloists, and the choruses and anthems of the choir, are all derived from Biblical quotations, comprising a full rendering of Christian theology).
Inwardly I was accompanied by the latihan throughout the evening, and as each new aria or anthem set out some new aspect of the doctrine of that religion, my understanding of it peeled back to new and deeper levels. Each time this happened I naturally gave thanks for this fuller understanding. It was as if I participated by sitting and receiving the understanding, and also observed all this happening within me. Understanding and Feeling seemed united, and as my understanding filled out during a particular piece, so was a prayer released in thanks. I did not think the prayer, but only followed the feeling of what to pray. The prayer already existed, as it were, and I merely gave voice to it. When the performance was about two thirds over my prayer extended to include the followers of that religion, asking that they also be enabled to come to this understanding for then they would truly know the value of their faith. I felt the sincerity and aspirations of many of those present, not only around me but throughout the auditorium, for my feeling seemed to have widened to include them all without any effort on my part. So I was also aware of restrictions or limitations in their understanding, and prayers just kept rising from within on their behalf. It mattered not that many present may not have been Christian, and simply considered themselves present as music lovers, for I sensed the soul’s aspiration irrespective of the mind’s outlook, and prayers just kept coming on behalf of them all. And as these prayers flowed through me I understood that a prayer exists for every situation, awaiting only for someone to give voice to it!
While I was experiencing this within, I noticed a man in pale green garments standing slightly above me, about 3 or 4 metres away in front of me. Although the auditorium sloped down towards the stage, he appeared above us all, his feet at about the same level as my head. He stood slightly to my right, so that I remained ‘facing God’ in this condition of received prayer. His head inclined to the left to look at me. He observed me but said nothing, remaining motionless with his right arm across his body, holding his left arm which hung relaxed at his side. He was not a tall man, though very strongly built, and had a strong and forthright open face. He emanated a unity of both spiritual and physical presence. Where his wide sleeve hung on his right arm I could see his wrist and part of his forearm. “How strong he is,” I thought. “His wrist is as thick as my forearm.” As I ceased following my prayer to look more closely at him, and take in what I could feel of his attributes, he disappeared from view.
After the performance I asked my wife and son if they had experienced difficulty connecting with the performance sitting where we were, but they had felt fully engaged and found the acoustics very good.
Not long after this, and quite unexpectedly, I (whose religion is Islam) was invited to attend a discussion group of ordained Christian Ministers (practicing and retired) where theological issues and doubts they could not raise in the company of parishioners were aired
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An Artist’s Story
By Robert Mertens
I have a memory from when I was very little – maybe just one or two years old - about a dream that came, perhaps several times, and that
I have remembered throughout the years, and when I see a little bit of it appearing in my work, a feeling of beauty and gratitude comes with it.
I am floating in a very dark space. The darkness is more profound than the darkness I see with my eyes closed and more profound that the darkness in a room completely sealed from light. More absolute and dimension-full than ordinary dark: a dark filled with a feeling that is indescribable in terms of light. It was a dark of feeling, quietly embracing me in comfort and peace, a quiet of feeling in acceptance.
At some point I began to see tiny points of luminous light floating in the dark. The points were floating to and fro as if moved from within, and trailing little tails of their many colors. Some of them seemed to have more than one color inside. At some point the little lights became brightly colored little light fishes. Paradoxically, the light was the fishes and the fishes were the light.
When I awakened from these dreams, there was an atmosphere of happiness and wonder in the room and in me. Throughout all the years years since then and until now, I still get a sense of that atmosphere. A happiness, gratitude, and contentment when that kind of image appears in my work.
I often make pictures between 10:00 PM and 3:00 AM, when the atmosphere in my studio is something like that in those dreams.
These early experiences, that I now consider "spiritual," continue to be the foundation of my motivation to go down the stairs to my studio to begin a night’s work. I have been calling it my "work," but I think calling it my "play" is more accurate.
Here are a couple of my pictures that I think illustrate something of the above.
The first is called World Peace.
The animation was made from one of my layered Photoshop images.
It was made with my direction by my Subud friend Matthias Dussan, also a member of our San Joaquin Valley group.
When viewing my World Peace animation, I suggest that you do it first with the sound turned all the way down, and then with the music at low volume.
The second is called Night Vision for Peaceful Horizon, which can be seen at https://www.dropbox.com/s/k0yr3sn63c1qtli/Triangle%2C%20Night%20VisionA.psd?dl=0.
By Rohana Darlington
Recently, during this past month of the Ancestors, I had a strong dream where I was approached by someone who gave me a box of documents, saying, “You need to have this, as you’re the only one who can deal with it.” When I looked into the box, I discovered it contained archives of my family history. As I’m the only member in my family practising the Latihan, I felt this might be a reason why I’d been given this box, and naturally I wondered if anything pertinent would happen to me during the upcoming month of Ramadan.
However, as you’re supposed to let go of any expectations or wishes during the holy month, I did my best to surrender this and just got on with the fast as usual. Then, on the tenth day, during a Latihan at home timed to coincide with Subud Britain’s and Zone 3’s General Latihan, I had the following experience. After a pleasant Latihan praising God, towards the end I was filled with a strong feeling of remorse, anguish and desperation. I started to cry out aloud, “Have mercy upon me, a miserable sinner, O Lord!” Tears of repentance welled up in me, then a feeling of relief as I was made to say: “Christianity saves!”. Then an image of several dolls, like those Russian dolls which slot into each other, appeared in my mind’s eye, smaller and smaller ones inside each other, and I was shown that this represented a chain of my ancestry, and that this experience seemed to originate in one of my deceased female ancestors. Nevertheless, it was also a cleansing for me.
What is interesting to me is that this happened in Ramadan and since converting from Christianity to Islam on my marriage to my husband Mashud, 51 years ago, we have always fasted together in the month of Ramadan. (Apart from when I was pregnant). Yet Christianity has been the religion of most of my ancestors, and I myself was baptised as a baby and later confirmed in the Church of England after joining Subud. I have always felt close to Jesus and do not feel becoming a Muslim has weakened this feeling. Also, I always understood that when fasting the feeling of repentance usually comes towards the end of Ramadan, not as early as on day ten. As I had no more of these feelings of repentance as the fast proceeded, I decided to offer my general repentance on my own initiative, towards the end of the month, but did not receive any more than I had already been shown on the tenth day.
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Parousia: The Second Coming
By Alena Kennedy
Ever since I was opened about 35 years ago, I have been receiving the word Parousia in my latihan. When I read Emmanuel Elliott’s books: “Revelation Subud” (1991. Dawn Chorus. Los Angeles) and “The Dawning: A Grace Untold” (2009. Dawn Chorus. Gloucester), I realized that this receiving has been shared by other Subud members. Emmanuel explores Parousia in the light of his personal experiences and revelations; the messages received in Fatima, Garabandal and Medjugorje and Bapak’s responses to questions and concludes that: “The Latihan is a Manifestation of the Second Coming” (p 112. The Dawning…). The Second Coming of Christ has been prophesied both in Christianity and Islam.
In recent months I have sometimes tested around the meaning of Parousia and how it applies to me in my life and to Subud. Here are some of my receivings, which I don’t claim to be correct but which may be of interest to other Subud members who may have had some insights into this.
What is the essence of Parousia? Worship of God by all human beings, regardless of their belief systems and backgrounds. It is what Christians refer to as the Holy Spirit manifesting in us: in our minds, our feelings, our thoughts and in our actions, enveloping us with the love of God.
It is happening now in the latihan
The purpose of Parousia is to bring all people together in worship of God and into a new period of ‘Heaven’ on Earth. It is a period of time in our history when we may live in harmony without being dominated by the lower forces. We may start to realize more deeply our humanity: our potential as human beings created by God.
For it to happen for me I have to make space by clearing my heart and mind. This includes changing my habits of negative thought and action. Love of God and accepting God’s love is the key to changing myself.
Parousia will happen when anybody has the attitude of patience, acceptance and submission towards God, not just in Subud but anywhere. However we are fortunate to be in Subud because we have received a direct contact with the Creative Life Force. We also have explanations by Bapak and Rahayu which help us to recognize the processes which we are experiencing.
The spirit of Christ is manifest in the Holy Spirit or latihan. So in Subud we experience the coming of the Holy Spirit, not necessarily the Christ in physical form. Christ was a human being who had the perfect human soul. He was completely surrendered to God and followed the will of God.
We are in a time now when the empire of material forces envelopes us like a blanket, clouding our judgement and constricting that which is good. Our continued surrender towards God, practice of positive thought, forgiveness and love will help us to protect that which is positive and good and create freedom and space for us to be ourselves until this phase passes. It is important for us to question our motives and our impulses (as Bapak constantly reminded us: which forces are influencing us?). The lower forces should work with us under our direction. Rather than act under the direction of our egos we should act for the common good.
Regarding the ‘tribulations’ and intervention by God, as predicted by Mother Mary at Garabandal, Medjugore and other places, I have felt that this will happen as a way of loosening the hold of negative influences and facilitating a raising of consciousness of humans to a higher level.
Mother Mary has a role in the coming events. She (according to my receiving) considers all of us to be her children, regardless of what religion we are in. She is casting out her mantle of love and gathering us in, and is alerting us to make changes in our lives and to find our true humanity. She is most importantly reminding us that God is our creator and that we can have a deep and meaningful relationship with God. Two key qualities that she wants us to develop are compassion and humility. She is warning us that change in the world must occur for us to reach a higher plane and that if necessary there will be a shake up to loosen control by the lower forces.
In my latihan Parousia is often connected with Manusia, so I feel that Parousia happens as Manusia happens. You can find out what Bapak says about Manusia (go to the online Subud Library: www.subudlibrary.net), but basically my understanding is that it is the realization of one’s true humanity. So Parousia is the realization of humanity of its higher potential, which I believe is what Subud is about.
To understand better the connection of the ‘Spirit of Christ’ with the latihan, I looked up some references by Bapak in the online Subud Library (www.subudlibrary.net):
1) And the movements in the latihan are not limited to the movements of your arms and legs and your voice. As you continue, it becomes wider and deeper, and reaches your heart and brain. In short, everything needs to move, your whole feeling and your whole body. Once you are able to receive that, your inner feeling will become clean, wide, noble and spacious; an example of which is the inner nature of Jesus Christ within whom dwelt the power of God.
That is why he was called a son of God.
Talk #11, from “Bapak’s Talks V 10”, The Complete Recorded Talks of Bapak Muhammad Subuh Sumohadiwidjojo. Published by Subud Publications International 2003. Code Number: 63 LAX 3. Copyright World Subud Association.
2) As the sun rises, the morning dew and the morning mist, as it were, disappear of themselves. It is the same with the radiance of this movement that exists within us. It is as though the nafsu, the working of the heart and mind, which are constantly disturbing us in our life, suddenly disappear of themselves, like morning dew. This experience is the proof that with the raising of the life that comes from the Power of God within our inner being, the nafsu is swept aside completely. This is the meaning of the term, “the vibration of life,” which in Christianity is called “The Holy Spirit” or the “Light of Christ.” In Islam, it is called the coming of the Roh Ilofi.
From “All of Mankind” Seventeen Talks by Bapak from the 1981 World Tour. Published by Subud Publications International Ltd. Aug 1, 1981. Code Number: 81 NYC 1. Copyright World Subud Association.
3) Prophet Jesus or Christ is known as the spirit of God. Why is he
referred to as the spirit of God? The reason is God is all loving and loves human beings to the point one can compare God’s love to that of a father to a son.
Final Translation by Raymond Lee. Code Number: 12 JOG 1. Copyright World Subud Association.
Based on my personal receivings and on what I have read I agree with Emmanuel that Subud is a manifestation of the Second Coming. (There may be other manifestations as well). On page 168 in “The Dawning…” Emmanuel writes that Bapak never referred to himself as a reincarnation of Christ (rather he denied it), but he has said:
“In Christianity it has been said that Christ has already come down to earth. This is not the Christ that you see in the pictures, for he has come down to human beings themselves at this time. Indeed, in Christianity it has become known that something will arise in the East that signals the return of Jesus Christ to earth and from here it will spread.”
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