The Latihan Manual
Members need advice on all sorts of common problems. Good advice may be out there, but members don’t have ready access to it.
Let the international helpers consult with members and helpers in every Subud group to identify common problems and come up with some tried-and-true methods for resolving them. The results should be condensed into a little book, to be given to every applicant and member. They should also be posted on the Internet, with space for comments and suggested additions.
In the Subud population there are members with up to fifty years of latihan experience, during which time many will have picked up a lot of practical, useful knowledge. Sometimes this knowledge is shared within a particular group but does not find its way outside it. We need to find a way to collect all that knowledge and experience, and share it with the whole Subud world.
For example, some problems members may experience:
— not feeling anything in the latihan
— not being sure that what you are experiencing is latihan
— being bothered by the noise (people who are used to meditating are especially susceptible)
— being bothered by the latihan of one person specifically
— feeling that your latihan is always the same or ‘stuck’
— feeling that your latihan is out of your control
— feeling that latihan is loosening your grip on reality
— feeling that your latihan should be deeper
The manual could also offer advice in other areas, such as: preparing for latihan, using latihan in your daily life, dealing with a Subud crisis.
The lists above are just a start. In some cases, it may be more a matter of sharing ‘best practices’ rather than advice. It may not be a question of finding just one single piece of advice that works for every instance of a problem but of assembling a number of possible approaches from all those that have been shown to work. In researching answers to these and other questions, the impressions of newer members should not be neglected. Their memories are fresher, and their experience is more relevant to present-day Subud and the world as it is is now.
Quoting Bapak’s advice is fine but it’s not enough in itself. It may not cover everything, and it may not always be the best advice in the circumstances. This manual would only offer advice that has been found in practise to be effective. At the end of this exercise if there are still existing problems for which no effective advice is known, that is something to be explored for the next edition of the manual. In fact the manual would be constantly updated and an on-going learning experience for both compilers and readers.
The international helpers are the obvious people to do this job. They might find that if they have a specific task requiring them to interact with ordinary members, their visits to groups could take on a whole new life and significance.