What Subud Means to Me...
Amalia Inger Holm,
Denmark & Indonesia
An unfolding - like breathing or walking...
After doing the latihan for thirty plus years, I have come to the
conclusion that it is simply an attempt or a process by which one's
life is gradually touched or moved from within. I seldom have spectacular
"spiritual" experiences, rather I have indications or
intuitions, which are often (certainly not always) right or appropriate
in their outcome. So life becomes somewhat of an adventure - like
what's next? So there is an unfolding of something; maybe of what
is already 'written inside', destiny or whatever. From another perspective,
I have a very deeply rooted conviction of Subud and the latihan
being 'so right', but in a very natural way - like breathing or
walking. I also feel that one day Subud will have a very big impact
on the world. I don't know the steps by which that will occur -
those will also unfold - and so I don't need to worry or feel overly
responsible for that; rather just do what unfolds in front of me!!
Rahman Connelly, Australia
Shopping for God...
I grew up hearing a lot about the non-existence of God from my parents,
and a lot about the existence of God in various school and social
activities - although there was never any proof of what religious
people took for granted. "God is like Father Christmas" my intelligent,
well-educated parents told me, "you grow out of it when you get
older". That seemed right, because I couldn't feel or experience
this thing called 'God', least of all in church. But at the same
time I was aware there was a dark and empty chasm inside me, the
existential vacuum, which the believers just didn't seem to have.
So when I left school I went shopping - for God. I must have tried
everything going in London at the time - every religion, every cult,
every secular society. And a few years later I found Subud, and
God, or perhaps Subud - and God? - found me. And gradually that
yawning vacuum was filled, as the Subud spiritual training brought
me a living contact with my own unconscious and with the universe
out there, too. So the experience of God, as a gentle Energy working
within me, proved my parents wrong: but as they had had no such
experience I have been grateful ever since for their honesty, because
without that I would never have gone looking for God.
Salamah Pope, Australia
The core of all religious experiences...
To stop the influence of the heart and mind and all the passions
associated with them is not easy. It is the ultimate Spiritual Quest
and the core of all religious experiences. In Subud, this possibility
is present and it is considered a gift since nobody can do this
without that the intervention of the Divine. The practice of the
Latihan is personal and covers a wide range of possibilities according
to the inner capacity of the practitioners.
Rohanna Salom, USA
Lightness and closeness to God's love...
I joined Subud in 1971 after migrating to Australia from the UK.
I heard about Subud from a friend just before leaving in 1970. It
all sounded pretty weird to me and I thought no more about it. Then
I started feeling dissatisfied with my life and wrote to my friend
asking how his experience with Subud had gone. Somewhere in his
reply was a single sentence that said Subud works 100%. I was so
intrigued that I sought it out for myself. I found the whole concept
of my own direct link with God amazing. I was convinced that this
was something special and all I'd have to do is leave it all to
God. Later, I realised that I have a part to play in the process
and I need to also make some effort. After all this time (much longer
than I thought in 1971) I am starting to feel a small difference
in how I am and act. I am less intense and not so angry so often,
and there are moments of lightness and closeness to God's Love.
A while ago, I had the opportunity to travel for Subud. It was then
that I appreciated just how wide Subud is and how it can encompass
all cultures and religions and ways of life, from a Muslim goat
farmer in Java to a Christian executive in Sydney. We can all be
as one in our worship through the spiritual exercise of Subud.
Rasjad Johnson, Australia
Love for all human beings...
I have been doing the Subud spiritual training for forty years.
I joined Subud at the age of 28 - when I was still unmarried - because
of its very simple principles and uncomplicated way of communicating
with God. I must only believe in God - which I did ever since I
was a boy - and surrender myself to Him - which I have been trying
to do in my adult life. Subud has given me the way to strengthen
my belief in His existence and to make me surrender my will to the
Will of God - and let His Will be Done. The impact of the Subud
spiritual training was and is amazing. It has seeped inside my personality
gradually and almost unknown, beyond my rational knowledge and understanding
only after I have experienced the changes - to the better - of my
life and character. Subud has dissipated my anger and gradually
replaced it with a feeling of love, not only for the persons close
to me, but also for all human beings and later in my life, for all
creatures of God. My love horizon has expanded to a width and depth
which I did not think it possible, considering the hostile character
I inherited from my ancestry. Life becomes a continuous chance to
help others, done willingly and without the wish to be rewarded.
But God's Reward has always come, in unexpected ways. By giving,
my live has become richer, spiritually as well as materially. With
utmost gratitude to God, I am being guided by His unseen Hand to
lead a life which is relatively comfortable, ever since I - and
seven years later, my wife - joined Subud. We have almost reached
the age of 70, with three happily married children and four lively
grandchildren. The Subud latihan has put my life on track. It was
by the Grace of God that I received it. And because it is a God
given grace, only those who are willing to accept it will receive
it. Only one of my three children and their spouses, and one out
of ten brothers and sisters in my family have joined, something
which is not to be pitied but to be accepted because it is only
His Will that is done and not ours.
Muhammad Kuswanda, Indonesia
It also brought me many benefits...
When I was a university student I was given an unexpected spiritual
experience and knew that God really exists. This filled me with
tremendous joy and gave me a completely new outlook of life. But
this uplifted state gradually faded away and I found myself still
full of impurities and dirtiness. I earnestly looked for something
and encountered Subud. I felt nothing in the first few latihans.
Then I had a strong reaction accompanied with a feeling of freedom
and the conviction that my soul was being liberated by the working
of the Power of God. I have now been in Subud for 46 years. My life
in Subud was a journey towards inner transformation, which was sometimes
intense and painful, requiring a lot of patience, but it also brought
me many benefits like peace, happiness, harmony and spiritual awareness.
My latihan still keeps going ahead and I am rather sure that it
will continue even in the hereafter, as it is part of myself.
Rozak Tatebe, Japan
A means of worshipping God...
For me, Subud is a means of worshipping God freed from the trammels
of the heart and mind. This gift was given to me many years ago
in the company of others, when we received the latihan kejiwaan
of Subud in the presence of Bapak Muhammad Subuh Sumohadiwidjojo.
In that half-hour of time, our souls were aroused from their long
sleep and began their worship of God. In talking about this contact
with the Power of God, the only analogy that comes to my mind is
the Pentecostal experience of the apostles of Christ. Like those
first Christians, we received the Holy Spirit "and began to speak
with other tongues as the Spirit gave utterance". Unlike those early
Christians, "devout men all", we were a nondescript, ordinary crew
of sinners, who certainly, on the face of it, did not deserve to
receive God's gift. An additional miracle, and another sign of God's
compassion and mercy towards humanity, is that this gift from God
can be given to anyone who wishes to receive it. Simply by standing
in front of people who have previously received the holy contact,
and having an open attitude towards what will follow, a person can
receive the latihan kejiwaan of Subud. Some people make quick progress
in Subud because their lives and the lives of their ancestors have
been relatively free from wrongdoing, so that the development of
their soul has little to impede it. Others, like myself, do not
have such an easy time of it, and must learn to be patient in the
expectation that, if God so wills it, we will at some stage in eternity
return to Him.
Lester Sutherland, Canada
I found my path!
During my high school and university time, I believed that my mind
could grasp anything that a mind could grasp. Religions and gods
were an invention of people to cover their weakness of mind. Still...
something in me drove me to seek for more. For years and years,
I tried to...I read hundreds of brilliant books and testimonies
for and against religions, spiritual practices, atheistic dissertations
as well as expressions of faith. I was in Yoga, Zen, sleepless meditations,
sittings and walkings, hunger fasting exercises, vegetarian food,...
nothing of it was enough to satisfy my inner drive to search for
more. Krishnamurti's teachings led me to abandon any spiritual exercises
and any hope for further spiritual evolution... This is when, about
20 years ago, I fell on my knees and with full humility admitted
to myself that I just could not get it. Shortly after, by a coincidence,
full of skepticism and even irony, I happened to listen to some
explanations about an exotic movement called "Subud". In my mind
I dismissed it immediately as another religious fad. Suddenly however,
the words struck me: "in Subud, you don't need a guru, you don't
need dogma, no teachings, no beliefs, no special efforts, no liturgy,
no special training". Then, came the words: "you surrender to the
Source of all, to the Creator, to the Highest Authority, however
you name It... you may simply call it God". I didn't need anymore
an intermediary between me and the Supreme Power of Life. It was
enough to surrender my soul to One Almighty God ...and not to anything
else in between. I realized that I found my path!
Jan Duniewicz, Canada
The reality of God...
The bottom line for me is that I do not believe I would be alive
today if it were not for Subud. I had worked myself into such a
hole around the time I joined Subud, that I do not believe I would
have survived but for the latihan. For first few years I was in
Subud, the latihan was like a lifeline I held onto every day as
I walked through utter darkness. So, these days, if I feel dissatisfied
with Subud and the latihan, I must remind myself of where I would
be if I had not come into Subud. Of course we all wish we could
progress more quickly. Many of us expected to become princes on
the earth within a year or two of entering Subud. It seems the transformation
from sows' ears to silk purses takes a little longer. Nevertheless,
I am a much happier and more capable person now than I was when
I joined Subud. I am much more able to accomplish what I wish to
accomplish, to have my life become what I would like it to become.
This is a sign to me that my life has become more an expression
of my real nature, which also means that is closer to being what
God wills for me. Subud has enriched my life in many, many ways.
The finest people I have met in my life - the most exciting, the
most adventurous, the most courageous - have been in Subud. I have
got to travel the world and to know intimately people from all around
the globe because of Subud. I have also become convinced of the
reality of God and a life beyond this life. Subud for me is the
great adventure, in this world and the next.
Harris Smart, Australia
Something I've searched for all my life...
The latihan of Subud is something I've searched for all my life.
To me it is the "Pearl of Great Price" and I consider myself one
of the luckiest people on earth to have received it. I have always
believed in a supreme power, but since I received the latihan, I
have proof that God really does exist - for I can feel the closeness
of His power whenever I am in a quiet state. The struggles of life
are many, but with the latihan I am given guidance and strength
to cope, and for this I am deeply grateful. If not for the latihan,
I would have been wandering in the wilderness, groping in the dark,
trying to find the true meaning of my life on this earth. Now I
am able to follow God's will and face my reality, however hard my
journey, knowing that God is with me ... even unto the ends of the
Simone Melder, Australia
A slow contentment burns within...
In spite of my early worldly success in most things I attempted,
I was left with a growing sense that success was only superficial
and so failed to satisfy beyond the brief moments of glory. I sought
something with greater meaning than success and looked first at
religion and later at esoteric philosophies. My own experience of
orthodox religion, though providing the comforts of secure doctrine,
ritual, and ceremony, was that it was unable to give me direct access
to a higher power that could give deeper meaning and guidance in
my life. Esoteric approaches too seemed shy of my goal and though
promising much, relied too heavily on strengthening my will in ways
that seemed to be another version of worldly accomplishments: achievement
without illumination. In Subud I eventually discovered the path
that was to be mine for the rest of my life. I found direct experience
of something higher which changed the course of my life's journey.
Because it is not a religion, but rather goes to the essence of
all religions, it can be inclusive of all, avoiding doctrine, dogma
and a priesthood that prescribes action and virtue. And above all
in its inner action and outer consequence, the practise of Subud
is geared to the capacity and aspirations of each individual. If
one allows it, the Subud latihan while slowly cleansing the inner
of wrong action, offers direct guidance in everyday life and the
gradual recognition of an inner self that is separated from the
cycle of passions and desires. A slow contentment burns within,
and the ordinary ups and downs of life, which we all experience,
have lesser power to disturb or deceive. I feel united with mankind,
and in a small way, united with the power of God.
Ridwan Blond, USA
Subud means life...
In a word, Subud means LIFE. Just as my heartbeat is a sign that
I am physically alive, the pulse of the latihan is a sign of my
inward life. When I was opened in 1959 I felt inwardly dead, and
I'd had asthma for ten years. But at the opening, I felt my chest
suddenly free, and my inward life, like a bird freed from a cage,
soared forth. I have never again had asthma. My life within my life
is my joy of living with the latihan.
Rosalind Orchard, Canada
An inexplicable sense of love and closeness...
When I was young and before I knew of Subud, I was already deeply
concerned at the state of the world and what I saw around me. And
it seemed to me then as now, that the root cause of all the evils
came from faults existing within each human being, and that only
through curing this condition, could the world become a better place.
So when, back in 1961, I first heard that the action of the Subud
latihan could slowly bring about a kind of inner healing within
each person, I felt that this could indeed be the answer. If it
was, then I would give my life to it. So I joined Subud and waited
to see what would happen .. I remember that from the very first,
I was absolutely convinced that the Force directing the Subud latihan
was beneficial. Indeed, I knew beyond doubt, that "it"
understood me deeply and completely. Along with this, my relationship
towards others soon began to change radically. I lost any feelings
of prejudice or distrust that I had held previously towards people
of other races, religion or skin colour, and I also found I no longer
felt any sense of separation between people of my own age and those
who were elderly. I also began to experience an inexplicable sense
of love and closeness towards others with whom I did the Subud latihan,
even though outwardly we often had little in common. In the years
that followed, an ever wider sense of oneness took place within
me, and I would like to end with a quote from one of Bapak's talks
that I found only the other day, which exactly confirms this:
Ilaine Lennard, UK
"In this exercise we truly experience things that human beings
in general cannot or do not experience, which lead to a change,
an improvement, a correction or repair of our character. And this
repair is something that can only be done by the power of Almighty
"For example, if you have a person who lacks a feeling of love
for his fellow human beings, this lack - which is a flaw in his
or her character - is truly what is called a sickness of the soul.
This is the deep sickness we all worry about. The real sickness
is that inability of a person to love other people and to feel
compassion for other people.
"Now it is this lack that can be cured by the latihan exercise.
And this is something that generally is not possible for a human
being: to cure or heal her or his character. Brothers and sisters,
at this moment this illness of the character that Bapak has described
is playing havoc with the world, without people in general being
aware or conscious of it. The world in this situation cannot be
brought to a state of peace unless this illness of the character
can be cured.
"This is why this latihan exercise is so important, so crucial
to mankind today, because it enables to change something within
ourselves that cannot be changed in the normal course of events.
This exercise is far more important and is far greater than something
that will cure our illnesses, something that will temporarily
give us a better position ... its importance is much greater than
that because what it does is correct our character and give us
the ability to love and have compassion for others..." Bapak in
Los Angeles July 25, 1981
God constantly sends us His grace...
I grew up in an atmosphere of love and even veneration - from my
parents and especially from their own parents - and from many people
among me, especially old ones, during my childhood. Until school-time
I was spending plenty of time in the countryside... Then came school-time...
and my life in a city. It became obvious to me that this world wasn't
so loving and caring as the world of my childhood. My own imaginings
about "good" and "evil" weren't the same... So, my experience in
this, so called "adult" world began... But God is always kind and
merciful. He constantly sends us His Grace, always manifests His
Love and Protection. The question is just to be aware of this. Subud
opened this awareness for me. And in the Latihan Kejiwaan of Subud
I am learning how REALLY we can love - Him, Our Lord, ourselves,
other people anywhere, all creations on the globe and elsewhere
as well. And how it is to really be grateful for all trials which
we are facing on our path for a more simple, true human life, even
on this planet. That is, mainly, what is Subud for me.
Sandra Lykhatska, Ukraine
Subud found me...
I did not come to Subud, but Subud found me. One and a half years
ago, a dear friend of mine abroad who I had not seen for over ten
years, dreamt about me, and contacted me to say that he had to tell
me about Subud. What he told me resonated in my heart. I thought
this was what I had always been looking for, searching for a spiritual
way. Having left the Protestant church very young, I had searched
for not only spiritual ways, but ways of action in this life. Six
years before I started doing the latihan, I had a kind of vision
which I could not forget, and in that vision, I both "saw" a child
and harp falling down from Heaven, and I "saw" Christ and an Asian
man who I could not identify. I painted that, and wondered who he
was and what he represented until the day I first saw photos of
Bapak, the very first to receive the Subud latihan. I acted on my
vision and went to Nicaragua to work with children through music
and art. Some years after, Subud came to me. Now I have been doing
the latihan for almost a year, and amazing things are happening
in my life. In latihan I am gently and sometimes not so gently being
relieved of many burdens, both mental and physical, I am being healed
from physical weaknesses and sort of "cleansed" inside. For me,
Subud is a way to go and there is no going backwards now, wherever
this will lead. I am getting help from a source I always knew about
and which was always inside of me, but which I had been looking
for in the outside, material world. I had a lot of fear. Now the
fear is gone. ItŪs a journey in a sometimes unknown land which without
the latihan I would not have dared to enter. Now I can go "where
only the angels can walk", and the surprising thing is, it's not
so difficult, and I am walking along with many brothers and sisters
from all around the world.
Amalia Inger Holm, Denmark & Indonesia
One is transported to another world...
I am in Subud because the latihan is such a wonderful experience.
Sometimes one is transported to "another world" or one
gains a glimpse of another reality, which is profoundly sublime
and awe-inspiring. Sometimes the experience is cathartic and one
is left with a feeling of vibrant peace. Sometimes, it is just silence.
At other times it is illuminating and one has flashes of insight,
self-knowledge. However, I don't want to give the wrong impression:
at least in my experience often the latihan is just quiet. After
a while it becomes like taking a bath, something natural that one
has to do on a regular basis. In my work I am an academic and a
professional skeptic and, for me, it is very important that there
is no dogma or teaching in Subud. This means that one is free to
just let the experience happen in a spontaneous way.
Garrett Thomson, Colombia
"I am experiencing the reality of it"...
Before my father died I said to him, "I'm going to do something
that will bring you a feeling of peacefulness". Then I did my latihan,
and he was opened. Afterwards we sat together, neither of us speaking,
for the pervasive inner quietness that enveloped us made words superfluous.
The next day when I visited he said, "When I was young they talked
in Church about 'the peace which passeth all understanding' but
I never knew what it meant. It seemed a poetic but empty phrase,
but since last night I am experiencing the reality of it." A day
later he told me, "In my life I always looked outside myself. Now
I know to surrender to this power which is felt within. Thank God
I have received this before I die. And thank God you have discovered
it while you still have life to live."
Hussein Rawlings, New Zealand
The loving community...
Subud is the loving community where I found the latihan. The latihan
is where I am able to completely let go of my mind, and my thinking,
to fully experience being me, who I really am, right now. It is
where I am able to fully surrender all stress and all complications,
and to reside in blissful presence. I am able to look within for
guidance on life. I am able to discover myself, and be me.
Rosada Martin, USA
I have never been abandoned...
For me Subud is what it is often referred to as a Contact; a contact
which I have been experiencing almost physically since the day of
my opening eight years ago. I became a kind of arena for a struggle
between low and higher forces, between something which does not
want to surrender and pulls me down and something that pushes me
upwards. Those eight years are a story of my falls and rises. I
have experienced unforgettable blessings and severe punishments
which repeat themselves when repeated mistakes were made. It is
amazing how strong this grasp of worldly forces can be. We keep
making mistakes, though we know what we do or feel is wrong . When
I do something wrong I feel the Contact withdraw from me and the
feeling is very painful. It is as if I am surrounded by cold emptiness.
I know God can come closer when my inner space is being cleared
from impurities and He can withdraw again when I am filled with
worldly influences. When life becomes too hard and I do not feel
this connection any longer, I start praying which means just talking
to God. I tell Him I understood His lesson and ask Him for Help.
I have NEVER been abandoned! My life did not become easier, just
much more interesting than before. That is Subud for me. And that's
all there is to it.
Alla Belinskaya, Ukraine
A dimension I simply cannot fathom...
The sea can be fascinating. So can life, and that's fine, but the
latihan of Subud adds a dimension I simply cannot fathom. Sometimes
it makes me want to scream inside, in a way that makes me really
grateful. The latihan imposes no more than I'm willing to accept
- inviting me to realise a developing, dynamic aspect of life. In
doing so, it points to a higher perspective and a broader context
than those of my thoughts and feelings. So am I happy with fascination,
or prepared to experience an ocean that's deeper and wider?
Merin Nielsen, Australia