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Subud Vision - Feedback

Hadrian Micciche - Both Simple and Complex

Being a Buddhist in Subud. From Rosalind Priestley, September 26, 2007. Time 22:54

Hadrian, I know it isn't easy to be a Buddhist in Subud. Before he retired, for forty years my husband was a professor of Buddhist philosophy (though not a Buddhist) and he often had the experience that students became very interested in Buddhism through his lectures and approached him privately to ask about his own practice. At that point he naturally told them about Subud. Over the years perhaps twenty or thirty of these enquirers were opened, but few, very few, stayed. First of all, some were put off by all the 'God' terminology. Many young people who take religious studies at University are trying to get away from the narrowness of their own theistic backgrounds, and Subud takes them right back into that mindset. Secondly, they were put off by encountering the wilful ignorance and judgmental attitudes of some Subud helpers and members on the subject of Buddhism. Subud members commonly accept Bapak's remarks about Buddhism as truth, without bothering to do any fact-checking. But it is obvious to any serious student of Buddhism that Bapak's understanding of Buddhism was no more extensive or sympathetic than one might expect from an Indonesian Muslim of that time.

I am somewhat amazed that you have persevered as a Buddhhist in Subud. I would be interested to hear more about your personal experience.

From Stefan, January 3, 2008. Time 14:24

Hi Hadrian,

One of my ambitions this year is to develop a short ("neutral") introduction to the Subud latihan followed by succinct personal accounts by practitioners from different backgrounds, such as atheist, Quaker, Pagan, humanist...

I second Rosalind when she says "I am somewhat amazed that you have persevered as a Buddhhist in Subud. I would be interested to hear more about your personal experience." I'm somewhat in awe of your ability to take what serves your spiritual growth despite the narrow or misinformed perceptions that many Subud peers may have about Buddhism.

I hope you'll write something about your experience of the latihan. Would you also consider if it may be used in a spectrum of personal views from Subud members with contrasting practices/faiths/backgrounds?

With thanks from Stefan

From Helissa Penwell, January 4, 2008. Time 0:6

Stefan,

Several years ago I wrote the brief introduction which is on the Outreach cards that were adopted by Subud USA. I can tell you from that experience that there is no such thing as "a neutral introduction" to Subud. The biggest issue that members made a fuss about was the word "God"--some people didn't want to use it at all and others were adamant that any intro not mentioning God would be meaningless. We temporarily got around that by issuing two cards, one using "God" and one without, so people could have their pick. I also used "Great Life Force", but I'm sure that some people don't like that either. And besides all of that, I need to mention that trying for "neutral" often results in bland, so that you don't capture the reader's interest; plus some readers would only join something that they feel is from God, while others are turned off by that. Sigh.

What I envision is something like a website where we would introduce Subud and say all of that-- that there's no agreement among us even as to what Subud is. The only agreement seems to be that doing the latihan is beneficial. Perhaps we can agree upon a few facts, such as names and dates and general history; but as to the deeper meanings of it all, well that comes down to personal experience and opinion. We might as well just lay that all out for people from the beginning. Then we can follow that non-explanation explanation with member's personal comments. Let a whole bunch of people each say what Subud means to them, and then post it all so that the readers can see for themselves that the latihan is a unique experience for everyone that does it and that each person is free to form their own opinions about it. I also don't think you'll have any success trying to lump Subud members under any kind of label and have them agree on anything, but if you try I might have fun debating in the Pagan group--haha!

Helissa

From David W, January 4, 2008. Time 2:11

Hi Helissa

Your post reminds me of few things:

1. An image I have of an intro do Subud site which has on the home page just two buttons:

• if you like the word "God"

• if you don't like the word "God"

Each button would lead to a different explanation.

2. By my research about 50% of the people in the world are happy with the word "God". Also, about 50% of the people in Australia. I don't think the standard alternative "Great Life Force" does much for anyone, since it only seems to be used by (a) Theosophists, and (b) a Japanese Buddhist sect.

3. There is a Subud web-page which lists various member experiences. God-mention seems to be again about 50%. You can see it here:

http://www.whatissubud.net/whatissubud/experience.html

I think what is most missing then, is the "neutral" intro, because the current introductions have a lot of God-mention, and--even worse--use the word "revelation". Most of the people that like the word "God", don't like contemporary people who claim they've had one.

The English word "revelation" is a translation of the Indonesian/Javanese word "wahyu". It's accurate in a kind of literal way, but misses the cultural sense of the word: in Java, "wahyu" is about as commonplace as PhDs are in the West. Not everyone has one, but several thousands of people receive "wahyu" every year. Therefore, to translate it "revelation" is quite misleading.

Best

David

From Helissa Penwell, January 4, 2008. Time 2:39

David,

Or maybe even better--

We could have everyone who comes to the site take a personality questionnaire of likes and dislikes, and then we could have a computer-generated Subud introduction come up that was specifically tailored to appeal to them!

Too funny!

;-)

From Helissa Penwell, January 4, 2008. Time 3:0

.....and, David, I also want to mention--

The "Great Life Force" might also appeal to folks interested in Native American Spirituality, New Age philosophies, shamanism, and neo-pagan religions.

Helissa

From David W, January 4, 2008. Time 19:1

Hi Helissa

I think that New Agers might find "Great Life Force" okay, because the New Age is so informed by Theosophy. However, try this... Google "Great Life Force", with the quote marks. If this was really a popular Pagan or New Age term, you'd expect to find New Age or Pagan sites in front of Subud sites, but you don't.

I have certain heard and seen the word "God" in conversation. It's unavoidable. I have never heard nor seen the term "Great Life Force" in conversation or in print before google allowed me to search the crevices of the world for it.

We're not supposed to be inventing religion, and yet we are.

Best

David

From Philip Quackenbush, January 4, 2008. Time 22:2

Hi, Helissa,

You said:

"I also don't think you'll have any success trying to lump Subud members under any kind of label and have them agree on anything, but if you try I might have fun debating in the Pagan group--haha!"

I've known for a number of years that there are Wiccans (neo-witches) in Subud, but I didn't want to rock the boat by "outing" them in a group like mine where they've been existing very much sub rosa for so long. I was also around to see Hadrian struggling as a Buddhist for some degree of acceptance in the group, which, at the time, only had what a now-deceased subscriber to Subudtalk called "Godders" being vocal in the group. But now the Subud house here has been rented at non-"latihan" times to what appear to be a group of Wiccans that include Subud members, so I sometimes wonder what the "Godders" think about it, if they know, or if they don't know. In any case, it may represent some progress in breaking through the rigid shells of the "Subud fundamentalists". Maybe the "latihan" "works" after all!

The interfaith church that I used to attend fairly regularly until I got tired of commuting that far had a couple of recovering-Catholic Pagans producing some of the services. It's the only one of its kind in the world, apparently, unless another one can be Googled now, but there are other interfaith movements around besides Subud, which could only nominally be called that, IMO.

Peace, Philip

From Helissa Penwell, January 5, 2008. Time 0:43

Hi Philip,

Actually it was David who first labeled me with that term. We were having yet another skirmish in our continuing battle over the reality of the forces when I said something about believing that everything is alive and has consciousness, and he replied that I must be a "pagan". Well, if the Birkenstock fits. Not that I've ever danced skyclad around a bonfire, or anything, although I have friends who have. Our family celebrates Winter Solstice instead of Christmas every year, but that's as close as I've come to embracing any actual pagan ceremonies. My bent is toward the Eastern religions; that online quiz about What religion are you? (David can give you the site) said I was strongly Hindu with Buddhist overtones. Whatever.

I'm always shocked to hear how closed-minded some Subud members/groups are. I thank TheGreatLifeForce/God/Other that I've spent my whole Subud life here in laid back Sacramento. I hope you're right about seeing signs that things are loosening up up North, and hopefully everywhere.

Helissa

From bronte, January 5, 2008. Time 0:57

I am among those whose conditioning rejects Wicca. It also rejects spiritualism.

Lately it seems to be rejecting religion, though I call myself a fanatical religionist, with deep Christian beliefs.

The expressions of Islam and Christianity which get reported in the press are off-putting, compared to the caring humanity which can be found in some groups of believers of those faiths, among others.

All of them contain believers who think they are The Only Ones.

So does Subud, and I'm probably nearer to that category.

Yet now that I am an outcast to Subud, but not to the latihan, I begin to feel that all these belief systems and control systems for people are just stepping stones, and limit us. Until we get to the broader perspective, they are just limitations.

The reality is broader, unlimited, indescribable.

I like the story of the three hermits on an island alone, with no dogma or teaching, just an affirmation of their unity with ALL. A priest went to see them to teach them the prayers and dogma. After leaving in his boat he saw a light on the water, approaching him. It was these hermits, on foot, to tell him they'd not managed to remember what he'd told them.

He simply replied that, obviously, they did not need it.

Well, I don't say Subud will show us how to walk on water, but it seems to be able to take us to places in our selves and in life that the average dogma and ritual does not.

From Hassanah Briedis, January 5, 2008. Time 10:31

Hi All, I am so glad to see this conversation taking place. I have lurked in the closet for many years, not daring to tell my Subud acquaintances what my real beliefs are. The Subud community as I experience it in Australia is, at least overtly, monotone and one-dimensional when it comes to its supporting structure of religious belief.

It is such a relief to hear others discussing both the latihan and a non-theistic belief system in the same breath. I am also getting the impression that there are a number of conversations going on on different feedback pages, and many of them are interlinked and relevant to each other. It would be too much work I guess, but I would like to see some of these discussions collapsed into one, around the nature and experience of the latihan.

Good to look in on your feedback page Hadrian, and thank you very much for your article, a subject long overdue to be opened up.

Hassanah Briedis

From Stefan, January 5, 2008. Time 10:37

Hi Helissa, Bronte, Philip et al

Good to hear your thoughts.

I want to quote some of Bronte's entry to bounce off ...

"I am among those whose conditioning rejects Wicca. It also rejects spiritualism."

I grew up in a Jewish family. My rabbi and my closest uncle cautioned us kids not to have Christian friends! Childrens stories equated witches with scary malevolence so prejudiced me against Wicca and Pagan practices. My maternal grandmother however was an active spiritualist, and helped open my mind to mysterious stuff. She met my Subud friends after I'd been opened and get opened herself when she was almost 80.

"Lately it seems to be rejecting religion, though I call myself a fanatical religionist, with deep Christian beliefs..."

Similar. I don't reject the idea of a universal consciousness, which many call God. In the latihan I sometimes experience what seems to be unconditional love. But I feel more and more disheartened by the "tribal" aspect of organised religions which have to prove their spiritual superiority.

I thought Buddhism might be an exception, but from my son who is a Tibetan Buddhist monk I learn that shisms, bitter rivalries and quarreling factions are just as common among Buddhists as in every other faith. When we humans get into tribes we start acting up, like football hooligans.

I'm hoping that the Subud tribe can somehow move past this stage ...

"Yet now that I am an outcast to Subud, but not to the latihan..."

Bronte, is this perception changing at all, seeing many others "coming out" as dissenters? You are dialoguing with a global gang of Subud freethinkers who are keenly interested to learn about your experience and (I imagine) are regretting the narrowmindedness that you encountered.

"I begin to feel that all these belief systems and control systems for people are just stepping stones, and limit us."

So do I. I move closer and closer to the outlook that is called "Earth religion" or Pagan. The mist shrouded moon, woodsmoke, sunlight patches through dancing leaves, singing at Solstice, noticing the peaceful aspect of "wildness" - these feed my hunger for enchantment, mystery and beauty. Yet I'm reluctant to identify myself with any "tribe" because I don't want to reject or compete with other beliefs. I'm like an interfaith member with no particular faith, and a lot of sympathy with atheists.

Somehow - finding so much substance in the latihan - I haven't handed in my Subud badge, though I've often wondered about it. But I'm very fortunate with my local latihaners (one of whom is a dedicated longstanding Subud member and Atheist)

Stefan

From bronteb, January 5, 2008. Time 12:0

Stefan

Thanks for stimulating my understanding of my own beliefs.

I have to ask "Why Not Wicca etc"

And my only answer comes well within the "Subud Speak" that I have made mine.

The concept of Man being superior to all other creation is truly a Christian one. Bapak, with all his talk of the "nafsu" left us little option but to have some of the same.

Yet in Subud there are many anecdotes about people paying respects to the spirits of a place, even Bapak's stories defer to the spirit of place now and then if I recall.

Indeed, the very idea that there are such spirits riles some people, either because they don't believe in the non-material world, or because they do. Go figure.

My reaction to people who want to pay respects or even obesience to spirit of places or things is definitly Christian sourced. Meaning : We must only give Obesience to God. In more general terms, we must never be submissive to things, or powers, lesser than ourselves. So the nature spirits are lesser than us? Yes! Bapak's Hierachy of Forces explanations leave no other option. Neither do many beliefs I have read about.

And in Subud I believe some have experienced the reality of this. But having said all this, I must declare I believe we owe respect to all creation whether or not it is controling us, like the climate and environment, and evil people, do, or we are controlling it. It is that respect which I believe is part if the "inner training" that is part of Subud.

Even Bapak half-jokingly is supposed to have said that nature had a task to look after him, as I think I saw happen when he flew out of Adelaide once. As the plane took off, in came the nasty weather, to replace the mild pleasant weather we had while Bapak was here that time.

Pity the weather can't be a bit kinder to the people having Subud National Congress here this week, who are roasting in it so far, being day 1 today. Oh well, it doesn't know it's duty to all Subud people, just Bapak.

If this matter of getting a right relationship to all nature, as well as other people and ourselves, is really part of Subud, (and I believe it is) then let it come.

I have barely begun to get my relationships right to anything or anybody.

From Philip Quackenbush, January 5, 2008. Time 13:37

Hi, Stefan,

You wrote: I move closer and closer to the outlook that is called "Earth religion" or Pagan. The mist shrouded moon, woodsmoke, sunlight patches through dancing leaves, singing at Solstice, noticing the peaceful aspect of "wildness" - these feed my hunger for enchantment, mystery and beauty.

Well, I'm reading a book on chaos theory published about 20 years ago called Chaos [oddly enough]: Making a New Science, that explains, from the viewpoint of that (still) new science, why that's so: Straight lines (and linear thinking) are inhuman, which is why nobody really wants to inhabit a bauhaus building and prefers the lines of a Ferrari to a Model T Ford. The human brain, being a part of nature (as is the "latihan") works on fractal, or "nested" principles, so what you see in nature is a reflection of what's having the experience, i.e., a part of nature itself, and that's how the universe works, as Mandelbrot discovered in the Mandelbrot set (to circle back to the dynamic geometry at the "heart" of chaos theory). So, IMO, you're getting "closer" to Reality than any theology (which is just words without the music) can express.

Peace, Philip

From stefan, February 6, 2008. Time 7:29

Thanks for that affirming observation Philip. I used to be plagued by buzzing thoughts, which made the outside world seem rather remote. When I first started moving in latihan I was spun around like a spin dryer and was left with an unfamiliar respite from the monkey mind. These days I love thinking (and recently, writing) but I'm having an intimate and passionate affair with the natural world which at the same time seems miraculous and mystical!

I see in your writing a great capacity for reaching below the surface of things to reveal hidden connections, to challenge lazy assumptions, cut through crap and liberate peoples' thinking. It took me awhile to get used to your irreverent humour but I've come to appreciate your insights.

HI HADRIAN

Have you seen the dialogue about whether Subud is a form of meditation? (see recent entries under my feedback on Lilliana Gibb's article). In my article about Buddhism I mentioned my friend who values latihan and sitting meditation but I hadn't realised how many other Subud practitioners also meditate and find the two complementary. I'd be very interested to hear your take on this. Do you consider latihan to be a form of meditation?

Stefan

From Philip Quackenbush, February 6, 2008. Time 19:44

Hi, Stefan,

You said,

"I used to be plagued by buzzing thoughts, which made the outside world seem rather remote. When I first started moving in latihan I was spun around like a spin dryer and was left with an unfamiliar respite from the monkey mind."

This was true of my early "latihan" as well, once I got off the floor after six months of "doing" my "latihan" there. I subsequently was introduced to a form of moving yoga (from Tibet? Nepal? Somewhere in the Himalyas) that included spinning, which in a book I read later explained that it gets the chakras "spinning" in synchrony, but that too much of it dissipates energy by "throwing it off". When I stopped doing the yoga except for the spinning occasionally (a maximum of 21 turns, always to the right; as I recall my "latihan" had me doing it to the left originally, but when I was doing the yoga and had a hiatus on the way to a congress, my "latihan" "took over" and did the yoga series [all of it, not just the spinning] for "me", as I had learned it, with much greater freedom as my last "latihan" for that congress; I had had about 15 "latihans" in a week, including those in the local group.

I took it as a "sign" that I was doing the "right thing" at the time. I have subsequently come to understand that the "latihan" is always based on learned behavior patterns of one sort or another; the human body is limited in its capabilities of motion, as is the brain in terms of thoughts, though they may seem virtually infinite when not observed closely. Anyway, when I was introduced to the form of qigong that a Subud member from Oz or NZ had discovered in China that was basically indistinguishable from "latihan", except for its lack of theological overlays that limit the "receiving" (as any beliefs of any sort will), my "latihan" went from being about three minutes of relatively inactive "receiving" to about 30 seconds to a minute or two of quite active movement that virtually always starts with a small number of spins (to the right now).

I make no claim to being "right" about what was happening, but my "latihan" seemed to have become more "efficient". Since attending the Menucha Subud retreat last year, though, my active "latihan" time has sometimes increased to a full half hour or more, depending, apparently, on the circumstances of my life at the particular time, but almost always begins with a couple of spins to get things moving in harmony, as I currently interpret it.

I think it's important to keep in mind that the body contains far more intelligence than the brain does, especially the frontal cortex that is the seat of thinking (the cerebellum contains 80% of the neurons in the brain, the midbrain and neocortex only 20%); in fact, there are more neurons in the intestines than in the brain (which might have something to do with "gut feelings"), but every cell contains its own intelligence and awareness, so the "latihan" process can then be seen to be an attempt by the whole body to get back in balance with the rest of itself and its environment.

One simple technique that I've found to be useful for getting the "monkey mind" "off my back" when I'm not in a situation where doing "latihan" might freak out somebody watching it (though I often do it in the open at rest stops or destinations on trips with no such reactions seen from others) is what are known as "crown pulls", where you simply pull your fingertips across your forehead from the towards the sides with a moderate pressure, then progressively further back on the head until you reach the back and repeat as felt to be necessary. The fact that it seems to work for me may be simply a result of the placebo effect, believing that it will, but, then so may the "benefits" of the "latihan". I still find Sgt. Shulz' philosophy from Hogan's Heros to be valid in all circumstances: "I know nuthink....nuthink." Enjoy.

Peace, Philip

From Stefan, February 7, 2008. Time 8:0

Hi Philip,

My spinning latihans were back in 1971. My mind is generally more user-friendly these days, but it's always good to hear what helps people restore their own calm. I am still emotionally sensitive (heart like an ocean on a really good day, but more often like a puddle!) So I'm very grateful to have - in addition to latihan - a number of simple things that help me when I'm tightening up. One of them is connecting with my cats and writing cat poems, though I can't expect the same thing to work for everyone else.

Good to hear what works for you. I've done a little Chi Kung, Tai Chi, Yoga and other things. So far they haven't "stuck" in the way latihan has with me, though I realise I haven't gone deeply into them.

Stefan

From Philip Quackenbush, February 8, 2008. Time 21:41

Hi, Stefan,

"Good to hear what works for you. I've done a little Chi Kung, Tai Chi, Yoga and other things. So far they haven't "stuck" in the way latihan has with me, though I realise I haven't gone deeply into them."

Well, like Siti Rahayu once said, it's a easy "spiritual" path compared to most. When I think of the advaitins racking their brains over Sanscrit terms to gain enlightment through knowledge (it can be done, but, Oy, what a way), I'm grateful that I didn't have to "seek" that long to get rid of my major confusions about life, though, like the plaque that was hanging on the wall in the house I grew up in said, with a carved image of a bearded rabbi, maybe, "Ve git too soon oldt, und too late schmart". And the "standing on stake" qigong I did was really effortful, but worth it in demonstrating to me that (dare I say it in "mixed" company?) I am "God" (which I didn't fully realize at the time, and probably still haven't in its "fullness"), which is sometimes hard to remember as I go through through the daily illusions that my consciousness creates for my amusement and evolution of my overall understanding of Myself. But, then, in the non-dual sense, you're just as much "God" as I am, and so is everbuddy else.

Peace, Philip

From Stefan, May 5, 2008. Time 19:51

Helissa, I just reread this discussion and want to come back to one of your postings (Jan 4, 2008)

Helissa:
Several years ago I wrote the brief introduction which is on the Outreach cards that were adopted by Subud USA. I can tell you from that experience that there is no such thing as "a neutral introduction" to Subud.

Stefan:
After numerous determined attempts and much discussion I've reached the same conclusion

Helissa:
The biggest issue that members made a fuss about was the word "God"--some people didn't want to use it at all and others were adamant that any intro not mentioning God would be meaningless. We temporarily got around that by issuing two cards, one using "God" and one without, so people could have their pick. I also used "Great Life Force", but I'm sure that some people don't like that either. And besides all of that, I need to mention that trying for "neutral" often results in bland, so that you don't capture the reader's interest; plus some readers would only join something that they feel is from God, while others are turned off by that. Sigh.

Stefan:
Yes indeed, and every word has emotive connotations that draw in some people and scare off the rest. Words such as "spiritual", "soul", "transcendent", "inner-self", "numinous", "dynamic meditation", "transpersonal"... yet avoiding all iffy words it's hard to convey anything about the depth and potential of the latihan. Sigh

Helissa:
What I envision is something like a website where we would introduce Subud and say all of that-- that there's no agreement among us even as to what Subud is. The only agreement seems to be that doing the latihan is beneficial.

Stefan:
Er... do we even agree on that? I think it's fair to assume that most members either perceive a benefit or hope for one. The many who have fallen away might see it differently.

Helissa:
Perhaps we can agree upon a few facts, such as names and dates and general history;

Stefan:
Option A: Subud came to the world as a result of a unique spiritual awakening by one man, who discovered he could pass on his experience. He described it as a gift from God to train the soul.
Option B: (as researched in David Weeks's "History or Myth")
Many Javanese holy men claim to have received illumination in the form of a ball of light decending into them ("Wahyu"). Spontaneous movement, perceived as emanating from the "inner-self", has also long been practiced in Java. One man who had received Wahyu was invited to the west to pass on such spontaneous movements and the international association that resulted is called Subud.

Helissa:
Let a whole bunch of people each say what Subud means to them, and then post it all so that the readers can see for themselves that the latihan is a unique experience for everyone that does it and that each person is free to form their own opinions about it.

Stefan:
Agree strongly. This would be an antidote to the tendency to emphasise the founder and his words and ideas, which (I believe) currently deters so many members and potential members. Rather than ressembling a cult of Bapak, Subud will be seen to empower people to develop autonomy and express themselves as individuals. What'll we do to see this come to fruition?


From Philip Quackenbush, May 6, 2008. Time 7:19

Hi, Stefan and Helissa (and David),

Y'all said,

Helissa:

Perhaps we can agree upon a few facts, such as names and dates and general history;

Stefan:

Option A: Subud came to the world as a result of a unique spiritual awakening by one man, who discovered he could pass on his experience. He described it as a gift from God to train the soul.
Option B: (as researched in David Weeks's "History or Myth")
Many Javanese holy men claim to have received illumination in the form of a ball of light decending into them ("Wahyu"). Spontaneous movement, perceived as emanating from the "inner-self", has also long been practiced in Java. One man who had received Wahyu was invited to the west to pass on such spontaneous movements and the international association that resulted is called Subud.

===

While Option B is clearly more historically and culturally accurate, it would be even more accurate to put "holy men" in quotes, since it's only assumed by some that they're holy (whatever that may mean to someone).

Peace, Philip


From Luthfi Dixon, September 30, 2008. Time 19:23

Having just done my usual 'sort-of' Ramadan (mostly breaking fast not later than 3p.m., often earlier), I find that, also as usual, certain perceptions are heightened, and I have certain experiences.

What does seem very clear to me is that the 'inner Subud' - well, that may seem silly, because Subud by its very nature is 'inner', but I'm talking about the inner spiritual reality, not ideas and theories - is very much Islamocentric. Now, you may be appalled by that, because Subud is open to everyone, and you may, indeed, be a Buddhist.

However, those that have full inner consciousness in Subud (and they, like it or not, form an unseen but definite kind of 'Illuminati') are totally, utterly, completely normative Islam. If you ever have inner experiences where you clearly meet such people, whether it is Bapak or someone else, the way that Subud is inwardly closely tied to an Islamic reality becomes utterly clear.

I'm not saying that's right - it's just reality. And, I may add, it is a totally uncompromising reality.

Now, you may argue about it as much as you like. I have sometimes argued about it (using my mind), with such people. But it's quite clear that I am using my mind and emotions, whereas they ain't.

Yes, someone like David Week will doubtless say that this is all just an illusion. But then he thinks anything 'spiritual' is an illusion. The basis of Subud is inner experience, nothing else. Very few people understand the process of getting properly conscious from your inner self, which is the whole point of being in Subud, otherwise we might as well just continue debating from our minds till infinity and beyond. However, anyone who honestly tries to talk about the process of getting conscious usually gets slated on a forum like this - because the whole standpoint of the forum is based on examining Subud from the mind, not the inner. I prefer, in general, a mix of the two approaches, in trying to find the truth about Subud matters. However, to actually get somewhere inwardly, the mind is of no use whatsoever. And when you do start to get somewhere inwardly, you'll notice Islamic 'references' everywhere.


From Andrew Hall, September 30, 2008. Time 20:41

Hi Luthfi,

Congratulations for entering the Lions den! Here on the final night of Ramadan and all!!

I hope that anyone talking about their own experiences and understanding here in the Subudvision forum gets a patient and generous hearing. Being human, Subud members can rush to judgement, our egos can get involved, and misunderstandings can happen.

From my perspective, I think the most common fault is that we often don't hear what others are saying, and the person talking feels ignored.

That being said, I disagree with you that you are unwelcome. If you want to use Subudvision to (your words) honestly talk about your experience of getting conscious, then I think you will find a mostly willing audience. You will certainly find people who want to talk about their own experiences, who disagree with you and who appear rude, but there are kindred souls aplenty.

When you claim something about Subud, I can appreciate it is real for you, but you do not speak for me.

I am referring to your perception that the inner Subud is Islamocentric, that those who have full inner consciousness in Subud are "totally, utterly, completely normative Islam" and your claim that if we have inner experiences about such people, it will show this Islamic reality.

I want you to know that this isn't my experience in Subud. My Subud experiences that mean the most to me are when I have experienced or received compassion, forgiveness, gratitude, praise and love. And I experience these in a way that is very real and far broader than just me.

I agree with you that using just our mind to talk about Subud may miss something important. One thing that does strike me about Subud culture is the aversion to using the mind at all. If someone has a complaint or a thought, my Subud brothers usually dismiss it as coming from the mind. I think this diminishes us and I personally don't like it. I feel it infantalizes people.

Just another voice in the choir.
Andrew Hall


From Luthfi Dixon, September 30, 2008. Time 22:39

Hi Andrew,

Just typed a lengthy reply, but when I sent it the whole thing was deleted because I forgot to put my email address in.

Never mind. Anyway, I wouldn't disagree with the compassion and love stuff you spoke of. However, from my perspective, I believe that inner experiences can also wreck your life, no matter how pleasant they sometimes seem to be, simply because they can be so out of kilter with your outer life. When there is no witnessing whatsoever of what you experience - then that way lies madness.

'Tis an unfortunate fact that Subud is a recipe for schizophrenia: this does not mean, however, that the latihan is not real. And people who don't have the latihan doubtless have plenty of unavoidable recipes for schizophrenia through the situations they encounter in their lives. In any case, there is a strong element of mental healing delivered by the latihan; perhaps one of the principal raisons d'etres of Subud is the manner in which it soothes the mind, which is constantly assaulted by the materialism of the outer world - a materialism which drags most people down to hell, frankly.

There is also a strong elemnt of secrecy surrounding everything to do with the inner, and that, too, is perhaps unavoidable to a very large extent; however, Indonesians are also by their nature secretive. Anyway, most of us will never have a clue as to what is really going on, lol.


From Webmaster, October 1, 2008. Time 4:46

Helpful hint from webmaster

If you forget to put in your email address or any other required detail, as the previous contributor did, and you get a message about it, just hit your browser's Back button and it should return you to the previous page without losing your typing.

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From Philip Quackenbush, October 1, 2008. Time 7:11

Luthfi Dixon says:

"What does seem very clear to me is that the 'inner Subud' - well, that may seem silly, because Subud by its very nature is 'inner', but I'm talking about the inner spiritual reality, not ideas and theories - is very much Islamocentric."

Well, while it's a no-no in Subud circles to be contrary, I'm gonna break the "rules" here and do just that - It's seemed clear to me for a long time that the "outer" Subud is very much Islamocentric. Its terminology is largely a corrupted version of what is found in Nakshbandi Sufism, and following the suggestions contained in its language (all languages have inherent types of suggestion by their very structure [try not using the verb "to be" for a day or two, for example, and note the effect on your perceptions and attitudes]), one is bound to come up with experiences that relate to that terminology, hence, for people really "in to" the "latihan" as supposedly "explained" by the founder of the cult, one limits one's experiences to that which one accepts as an "explanation" for them.

To the extent that one can be detached from such suggestions (by looking "outside" the cult for other views of the process, for example, which often turn out to be more accurate and "enlightening" than what the founder has said, IMO) it becomes possible to free oneself from the Islamocentric attitudes that often prevail in the cult. Without changing the structure of the organization, it is largely impossible to so free oneself, because the structure determines the boundaries of the experiences that can be had by following the forms and assuming the attitudes prevalent and dominant in the cult, just like a cookie cutter determines the shape of the cookies that are cut out of the dough, which may be much greater in extent and/or amorphous initially.

This is not to say that there's anything inherently "wrong" with following the generally-Islamic forms and attitudes that prevail in Subud, but by being aware of the inherent limitations of such an approach, it becomes possible to go "outside the box" when one is ready for it. Otherwise, a "latihan" practitioner is likely to remain "stuck" for long periods of time before those attitudes can be shed or altered appropriately.

Peace, Philip


From Stefan Freedman, October 1, 2008. Time 9:36

Philip, when you use "the cult" to refer to Subud is this meant as a a provocation? It doesn't explain why it's so easy to express dissent or to rebel (as many of us are doing) and still be welcomed and liked in Subud circles.

This website, which welcomes critique on all the cultish aspects of our organisation, is gaining credibility and forms the basis for a recent WSA report, asking members and groups to evaluate Subud's norms and see how we might evolve ourselves.

Absolutely agree about "outer" Subud having Islamic tendencies - Ramadhan, selamatans, many refs to "Almighty God" etc. However a growing number of members are expressing an uneasiness about our inherited culture, with a suspicion that this is a factor in Subud's lack of success in gaining or keeping new members. Not even practicing Muslims are attracted by "Sublam". It really is up to us (grass roots)to broaden Subud so that the latihan hall becomes a welcoming environment for freethinkers, agnostics, Hindus, Pagans etc.

I like your perception that our founder's Islamic roots created a tendency for people to experience and communicate their spirituality in Islamic terms, though this too is being widely questioned now with a view to free us up and move our culture forward.

Luthfi, I wonder if that's what you meant about Subud being "inwardly" Islamic? My latihan (and the vocation that has sprung from it) takes me in very different directions from Islam. It draws me close to aspects of Buddhism (compassion, equanimity), Paganism (spirituality in nature, appreciation of cycles of renewal), Hindu -ism (accepting destructive as well as the sustaining aspects of Divinity), Taoism (the wisdom of paradox, the need for balance) and humanism. Along with this, a growing distaste for the social control elements of most religious practices.

I can believe and accept that your latihan moves you in Islamic ways but (like Andrew) can't confirm that "inner Islam" describes my unfolding prompted by the latihan. I have to question your assumption that what you experience applies equally (if we did but know it) to all sincere, longterm latihaners.

Stefan


From Luthfi Dixon, October 1, 2008. Time 10:22

Hi Stefan!! How was South of France? You lucky dog (a typical Sublam greeting). And Halim - glad to see you are still alive, your sudden disappearance on SubTalk seemed most uncharacteristic, but it's clear all the action has transferred here.

Most of my replies are delivered instantly, off the cuff, in a typically Sublam fashion. I agree completely about the Sublam baggage, Stefan - and I am also convinced you will never get rid of it. It amused me that, in the local latihan a few nights ago, every man present (except one, who never sings or says anything, and never has done, but then there's always one - and a very nice chap he is too, I might add) was singing, muttering, groaning etc :Muslim words and/or phrases. Yet none of us is a Muslim per se, and indeed one or two of us might be regarded as somewhat anti-Muslim in many respects. Now if that is not evidence of the Islamocentric nature of the inner Subud reality, I dunno what is. I already anticipate Halim's reply, and let me say immediately that I dismiss it without reservation, lol. No, Halim, it is NOT because they have read too many Bapak talks and are regurgitaing it in the latihan. They are saying these Muslim words and phrases because they are prompted to do so from their inner selves by the power of God. What? God? Oh dear no!! Good Gawd, you can't say 'God' here in Subud Vision!! What will the neighbours think?

Stefan: though I love yer dearly, and simply must wend my way to the Fens so we can have a good laugh again, it seems to me that you'll do anything to run away from inner reality, and try anything under the sun, from clog dancing to Pagan Bopping, as part of that never-ending process. I might hastily add that I, too am guilty of running away from inner reality very often. And I simply will not accept the justice of some of the things I have had to put up with inwardly in Subud. But then, that's my lil battle with the 'higher ups', and isn't a lot of what we see here in SubVision simply a reflection of people's inability to fully surrender inwardly, like we were told to do on the tin?


From Sahlan Diver, October 1, 2008. Time 18:13

Luthfi says: "....SubVision simply a reflection of people's inability to fully surrender inwardly, like we were told to do on the tin?"

The submission is supposed to be submission to the action of the latihan, on the basis that it works in a way that is inaccessible to the mind and the will. It is not supposed be unquestioning submission to the outer trappings of Subud, the cobbled together collection of relgious beliefs, spiritual ideas and so on which have come together to make up "Subud culture".

So if someone says that Subud Vision, or anything else for that matter, is a reflection of their inability to fully surrender, I don't see how they can possibly know that for any individual because they would have to know the inner reality of that individual. On what basis can they claim to be so authoritative? All they have to go on is that the person is querying or questioning matters that have up till now have been tacitly accepted as being right. To mark someone up as being "not fully submitted" because they question Subud matters (many of which might not even be spiritual matters) is surely too facile a basis on which to judge people. Should we just put up and shut up and go around mouthing spiritual platitudes instead and then everyone will admire us for our great spiritual sagacity? That sort of thing would be playing at being spiritual, mere posturing, and we know what happens when religion goes that way - one minute they are busy boasting about how devout and pious they are, the next minute they blow themselves to pieces and callously take as many innocents with them as they can.


From Philip Quackenbush, October 1, 2008. Time 20:18

Hi, Stefan,

You said,

"Philip, when you use "the cult" to refer to Subud is this meant as a a provocation?"

To paraphrase the Buddha, who used the word upset, if you're provoked, it's because you're provokable. I feel the word cult applies to the SUBorg because it conforms (or did, last time I looked) to 21 out of the 25 parameters of a cult that David Week listed on SUBtalk a while back. Maybe he could re-post them for SUBvision edification. If the org. gets down to the point of, say, 50% conformance to those parameters, it might be evidence of sufficient progress to warrant not using the term, but so far, it seems to me that at least the Old Guard elements of the SUBorg are still promoting it on official sites and in the available literature (led by the projected 50-volume blue "Bible" of the founder's lectures [I still wonder if the same crowd are planning a similar New Testament of the daughter's lectures]), down to the materials handed out and promoted to applicants.

As I keep stressing, until a restructuring of the org. takes place, the inherent freedom that some of us experienced in the "early days" will continue to elude most members and the lack of it repel quite a few potential applicants, as well as maintain the current dropout rate of c. 98%. The alternative, of course, is to wait until all of the Old Guard die off and "comes the Revolution, Comrades, but the new 60 is 80, and there's a UK guy who claims that physical immortality is just around the corner, since life extension is becoming exponential, so I wouldn't count on it.

"It doesn't explain why it's so easy to express dissent or to rebel (as many of us are doing) and still be welcomed and liked in Subud circles."

In my experience, it depends on where and to whom and how much you express dissent. When I "received" at a SUBretreat that I should offer myself up as a returning "helper" for the local group, the reaction by the "helpers'" group was mixed (it was never "tested", I got tired of waiting for it to happen, and "received" to bow out. When I asked about some of the founder's sexual proclivities in front of an Old Guard member three or four years ago, I got such a violent reaction that it seemed prudent to never mention it again (but here I am doing just that), despite the fact that a psychiatrist member, before apparently departing the org. on that basis, pointed out that it's very important to know whether a leader does as he or she recommends, since one who doesn't is almost always a congenital liar.

"This website, which welcomes critique on all the cultish aspects of our organisation, is gaining credibility and forms the basis for a recent WSA report, asking members and groups to evaluate Subud's norms and see how we might evolve ourselves."

Rotsa ruck. That's why I'm still hanging on on this site, since the SUBtalk site seemed to become rather irrelevant after the demise of its main contributor and the growth and relevancy of this one. May it be so.

"Absolutely agree about "outer" Subud having Islamic tendencies - Ramadhan, selamatans, many refs to "Almighty God" etc. However a growing number of members are expressing an uneasiness about our inherited culture, with a suspicion that this is a factor in Subud's lack of success in gaining or keeping new members. Not even practicing Muslims are attracted by "Sublam". It really is up to us (grass roots)to broaden Subud so that the latihan hall becomes a welcoming environment for freethinkers, agnostics, Hindus, Pagans etc."

It seems to me that that's happening to some extent with the younger members influence. Those in to "indigo children" now claim that 100% of new births in the West are now them ("We have met the enemy, and he is us").

"I like your perception that our founder's Islamic roots created a tendency for people to experience and communicate their spirituality in Islamic terms, though this too is being widely questioned now with a view to free us up and move our culture forward."

More than a tendency in the early daze. I got personally sucked in to the Muslim fad against what should have been my better judgment. As a nominal apostate, those who follow the strict letter of the Koran are no doubt slavering at the possibility of killing another one (I happen to think that that verse was probably only intended to get the Islamic cult started in the face of considerable early opposition and persecution; like the chronological evolution of the alcohol prohibiton, it should have been superseded by a later "receiving", but temporal lobe epileptic episodes, like those that Muhammad and Paul apparently were subject to, can't be commanded, although they probably do "lift the veil" (one or three of several) while more often than not being heavily filtered by the "receiver"). Not a pretty picture, despite the prevalence of peci's at virtually every SUBgathering.

Peace, Philip


From Philip Quackenbush, October 1, 2008. Time 20:51

Hi, Luthfi,

You said,

"Most of my replies are delivered instantly, off the cuff, in a typically Sublam fashion. I agree completely about the Sublam baggage, Stefan - and I am also convinced you will never get rid of it. It amused me that, in the local latihan a few nights ago, every man present (except one, who never sings or says anything, and never has done, but then there's always one - and a very nice chap he is too, I might add) was singing, muttering, groaning etc :Muslim words and/or phrases. Yet none of us is a Muslim per se, and indeed one or two of us might be regarded as somewhat anti-Muslim in many respects. Now if that is not evidence of the Islamocentric nature of the inner Subud reality, I dunno what is. I already anticipate Halim's reply, and let me say immediately that I dismiss it without reservation, lol. No, Halim, it is NOT because they have read too many Bapak talks and are regurgitaing it in the latihan. They are saying these Muslim words and phrases because they are prompted to do so from their inner selves by the power of God. What? God? Oh dear no!! Good Gawd, you can't say 'God' here in Subud Vision!! What will the neighbours think?"

Well, if you take that scenario in "Subud" terms, all that "Muslim" stuff could merely be "purification". I once "received" that my "mantra" was "Allah, Allah, Allah." So, if your tongue is flapping like that, it's nothing special. The founder of the cult in one of his lectures said that it wasn't Islamic, that it was the closest that the human tongue could come to expressing the "power of God."

If you take it from a scientific viewpoint, first of all, it can be, and often is, merely imitation, not only psychologically but from the standpoint of physics, since the "latihan" "opening" and all subsequent group "latihans" involve induction by those practicing in the group, like the flow of air currents or water in a river, but in this case, it's the vibrational resonance of proximal bodies.

Also, in another lecture the founder stated that everything comes from "God."
IMO, everything is "God," so there is no separation between anything (the basic illusory nature of perception in "this world" that the Hindus speak of being that "separation"). I just bought a toy that illustrates that fact, one of those "spiky" rubber balls, "God" being the main part of the ball, and the spikes the various manifestations that emanate from it, which are still part of the ball).

But all of this, including the founder's statements, are just speculations based upon personal experience and encountered data, so it's not necessary to take it too Siriusly, since everyone has their own perspective at a given point in space-time (or time-space, which is sometimes experienced in "latihan" and elsewhere/when). What is important, IMO, is to realize the differences and not only allow them, but celebrate their contribution to the Whole. That, IMO, is where the SUBorg most needs to change, in eliminating its hierarchical nature, and realize the basic equality of all persons and phenomena in the ultimate Unity that can be expressed in the org., but can't be under the current structure.

Peace, Philip

Peace, Philip


From Luthfi Dixon, October 1, 2008. Time 22:16

Yees, yees, sort of..umm... I dunno. When I did 'Dispatch' the issues I was concerned with were almost all to do with enterprises, since we had several 'major' ones on the go at the time. The last one expired recently, of course, R.I.P. Anyways, point I am trying to make here is that any 'controversy' I may have provoked was mostly in that area...ummm..have just remembered 'White Ladies, Villa Rahayu - White Elephant?', the headline for my article about the hugely expensive and little-used (by Bapak)house on the exclusive Wentworth Estate which had been bought for Bapak by British Subudians. White Ladies was the house's original name, Villa Rahayu the new name post-donation.

Anyways, again, and here I am probably trying vainly to cover my spiritual ass (not from you lot, lol, from 'them above' - and stop mentally calling for the men in white coats!! It's most distracting!!), I mostly didn't have any views on the structure.

The other night, after group latihan, with a peaceful and somewhat blank mind, resonating with pleasant latihan, I stood outside smoking me pipe (quel relief), and into my mind came a little voice saying quietly 'what are they complaining about?' It was referring to Subud Vision. Well, I tried to answer, but I could think of absolutely nuffink. Zilch.

Members of Subud Vision might try that little test. After your group latihan, when you are quiet, ask yourself what everyone on S.V.is complaining about. The answer/s, or lack of them, and the way you feel about the whole matter just after the latihan, might be illuminating.


From Merin Nielsen, October 2, 2008. Time 11:40

>>… those that have full inner consciousness in Subud (and they, like it or not, form an unseen but definite kind of 'Illuminati') are totally, utterly, completely normative Islam. If you ever have inner experiences where you clearly meet such people, whether it is Bapak or someone else, the way that Subud is inwardly closely tied to an Islamic reality becomes utterly clear. … I have sometimes argued about it (using my mind), with such people. But it's quite clear that I am using my mind and emotions, whereas they ain't.

So, you’ve spoken with people who have full inner consciousness in Subud.
Does that imply you yourself are spiritually developed, or just lucky?

>> Very few people understand the process of getting properly conscious from your inner self

But you do, apparently.

>> And when you do start to get somewhere inwardly, you'll notice Islamic 'references' everywhere.

Having had none, I’m mortified.

>> It amused me that, in the local latihan a few nights ago, every man present (except one…) was singing, muttering, groaning etc :Muslim words and/or phrases. … Now if that is not evidence of the Islamocentric nature of the inner Subud reality, I dunno what is.

I’m surprised that you value evidence of this kind, which involves interpreting outer phenomena.
If all the men were chanting Buddhist prayers one night, would you take it as meaning that God had
converted to Buddhism? (By the way, my latihans are amusing too -- full of Hindu mutterings.)

>> and isn't a lot of what we see here in SubVision simply a reflection of people's inability to fully surrender inwardly… ?

You seem to think so.

>> After your group latihan, when you are quiet, ask yourself what everyone on S.V.is complaining about.

Partly the Islamocentrism. Partly the brainwashing.


From Luthfi Dixon, October 2, 2008. Time 13:11

Ha, amusant comeback, Merin. Glad to see a bit of irony and humour on S.V, it seems to be getting increasingly po-faced.

Perhaps the main problem with talking about one's inner experiences is that people immediately say you are somehow claiming to be 'superior' in some way. So, really, perhaps it is an utter waste of time talking about inner experiences - which only goes to show that a forum like this is utterly irrelevant to inner needs, and addressing inner needs is surely the core of Subud. I would like to make it clear that I do not in any way regard myself as inwardly 'superior'. However, those that know, know. Those that don't, don't. It's nothing to do with being superior - it is all to do with the fact that there is only one true inner reality, not umpteen versions of it, just as there's only one God. But,yes, reluctantly, I have to say also, from my experience, that those who do not yet understand the reality of the inner Islamocentric business just haven't got anywhere yet. And, just as I don't speak for you, you don't speak for me. It's not a matter of argument - we just have our own different views, and arguing won't change the inner reality, whatever that may be. I'd like also to add that I was brought up as a rationalist/humanist, and my weltanschauung is still very much skewed that way - that, and a taste for satire, which is why I appreciated your comeback.

I'm actually not at all happy with the inner Islamocentric business, though it is a very different kind of Islamocentrism that you get, say, in the Muslim world generally, certainly different from any kind of extremism. But I find, for example, that it is incredibly effective to say, inwardly, the three Islamic prayers that I know. The inner protection and sorting-out you can get from just reciting those prayers is extraordinary. There isn't any kind of inner compulsion, re Islamocentrism, but, for example, you will never really get anywhere inwardly if you don't do fasting to some degree. It's like trying to climb a mountain without doing some fitness training first.

In the end, the fact is this: we find ourselves in a world where we are, knowingly or unknowingly, under attack the whole time from forces which most people are utterly unaware of - chiefly the material force. The latihan gives us at least a core protection from that, to a greater or lesser extent. Moving on from there, to get conscious inwardlyu, indeed tro achieve one's salvation, is usually a very difficult business. And those that truly have some clue about it do, and those that do not do not. The only way you can really know when someone is relating the truth, with regard to inner matters, is by recognising the ring of truth in what they say. But one cannot make the blind see, or the deaf hear.


From Merin Nielsen, October 2, 2008. Time 13:46

>> ... perhaps it is an utter waste of time talking about inner experiences - which only goes to show that a forum like this is utterly irrelevant to inner needs, and addressing inner needs is surely the core of Subud.

Addressing inner needs is surely the core of practising latihan. Subud is an organisation for addressing outer needs connected with that practice, and this forum is mainly for talking about Subud.

>> ... I do not in any way regard myself as inwardly 'superior'. However, those that know, know. Those that don't, don't. It's nothing to do with being superior...

An intriguing distinction.

>> But,yes, reluctantly, I have to say also, from my experience, that those who do not yet understand the reality of the inner Islamocentric business just haven't got anywhere yet. And, just as I don't speak for you, you don't speak for me.

You’re just speaking about me, and thousands of others.

>> I find, for example, that it is incredibly effective to say, inwardly, the three Islamic prayers that I know. The inner protection and sorting-out you can get from just reciting those prayers is extraordinary.

Meanwhile, the Christians, the Hindus, the Buddhists, and so on -– if only they all knew!

>> The only way you can really know when someone is relating the truth, with regard to inner matters, is by recognising the ring of truth in what they say.

In other words, you can only know the truth (with regard to inner matters) by recognising it as the truth. I agree. And you can only know falsehood the same way.


From Luthfi Dixon, October 2, 2008. Time 14:34

Hmm, okay Merin, have a go, lol. I agree with your last statement, anyway. Perhaps we can leave it at that.

I was just reflecting, earlier, that my rattling on about the inner was somewhat stimulated by a strong feeling of cheerfulness that I've had since the end of Ramadan. But, basically, and unfortunately, it's usually a mistake to talk about the inner. One means well, but people always take it the wrong way, and in any case perhaps I have been careless and not written in the right way.

Carry on latihanning - those on S.V. that still do, anyway. Pip pip!!


From Hassanah Briedis, October 5, 2008. Time 11:37

Hi Luthfi,

thanks for your cheerful 'rattling on' as you call it! I appreciate your forthrightness. I guess alot of readers just read, but don't reply. Replies are usually generated by a particular response to a particular statement. My response is to your sentence:

"The other night, after group latihan, with a peaceful and somewhat blank mind, resonating with pleasant latihan, I stood outside smoking me pipe (quel relief), and into my mind came a little voice saying quietly 'what are they complaining about?' It was referring to Subud Vision. Well, I tried to answer, but I could think of absolutely nuffink. Zilch."

The key words in your description that triggered my response were 'blank mind' and 'pleasant latihan', followed by an inability to think logically or remember relevent issues. It reminded me of my article on dissociation and its link to the latihan experience, (in Subud Vision) and the experience you describe is a good one for demonstrating that link.

Dissociation, which is a universal experience in humans, but under certain conditions becomes more extreme, is defined as the uncoupling of the processes of memory, identity, thought and consciousness in the brain. The normal links between those functions are broken or uncoupled, temporarily. If the latihan is seen as a form of dissociation, it makes sense that in that immediate post-latihan state, you couldn't assemble either your memories about the issues or your ability to think clearly about them, and you couldn't access your sense of there being anything important to think about.

There's nothing wrong with this of course, in fact it's very relaxing and eases the tensions in our lives. But the fact that you felt like that does not mean that there aren't some legitimate concerns about the way Subud is evolving. It just means that in that state none of it felt important to you. The risk, in my opinion, is in interpreting the effect of that dissociated (latihan) state as a message of truth. It may simply be that at that moment those particular brain functions (described above)were not working in an integrated way.

Anyway, I wanted to point out the excellent example of the dissociative effect of latihan. Please excuse me for using you as a guinea pig! With respect, and best wishes,

Hassanah Briedis


From Philip Quackenbush, October 5, 2008. Time 22:8

Hi, Hassanah,

You wrote:

"Dissociation, which is a universal experience in humans, but under certain conditions becomes more extreme, is defined as the uncoupling of the processes of memory, identity, thought and consciousness in the brain. The normal links between those functions are broken or uncoupled, temporarily. If the latihan is seen as a form of dissociation, it makes sense that in that immediate post-latihan state, you couldn't assemble either your memories about the issues or your ability to think clearly about them, and you couldn't access your sense of there being anything important to think about.

"There's nothing wrong with this of course, in fact it's very relaxing and eases the tensions in our lives. But the fact that you felt like that does not mean that there aren't some legitimate concerns about the way Subud is evolving. It just means that in that state none of it felt important to you. The risk, in my opinion, is in interpreting the effect of that dissociated (latihan) state as a message of truth. It may simply be that at that moment those particular brain functions (described above)were not working in an integrated way."

IMO, this could be one of the most important statements, if not THE most important statement, to ever appear on this website. It encapsulates in very few words precisely what's "wrong" with Subud as well as what's "right".

I agree with the idea that the "latihan" is a form of dissociation, and would further suggest that it may not be anything beyond that other than an opportunity for new and "better" neural connections to take place for the body to achieve a more functional state without the interference of the "ego", and in the case of "testing", or "receiving" to get messages from the body's subconscious data bank that may be useful, depending on one's degree of "purification", i.e. non-blockage of the messages by one's thoughts or desires. Insofar as people are telepathic or "psychic", messages from sources "outside" the body may be accessed as well, but there is so little discipline involved in most of the "receiving" that I've come across, both in Subud and elsewhere, that it's usually highly unreliable. In that respect, it's probably best to emphasize to people "testing" that there's no guarantee that any answers may be "right," because of the lack of procedural discipline and checking the results against other known data. If such methodology is instituted within the cult, it could become truly useful to society as a source of information and "problem" solving. Meanwhile, it's "best," IMO, to not believe anything until it's shown to be "true," including what I say, as Gotama said (a nod to you here, Hadrian).

It could be that my reply would be better written to your article than Hadrian's, but so be it. One thing that occurred to me after I read it was how important it is to keep kids away from the "latihan" until their brains have developed to the point where they can handle it, because a large enough dose of the process that engenders dissociation could possible actually prevent (for a while, at least), the actual development of the neural pathways
that provide the links that make associations possible.

Recent research that I've come across on neuroscience (I wish that I had kept the references, but I didn't) shows the plasticity of the neural pathways, such that the brain continues to evolve (for example, creating more links between the pre-frontal cortex and the limbic system, resulting in more compassion as one ages) until death (and perhaps beyond, like hair growing on a corpse). So, overindulgence in the "latihan" process may (and probably does) produce too much dissociation in one's life, which makes it difficult to function "normally", in my experience and observation of others.

Granted that the founder of the cult has pointed out some or much of this in various lectures, when one is in a state of dissociation after "latihan", nobody is paying much attention to what is being said, instead likely "swimming" in the "feel good" feelings, something that both the founder and his daughter have encouraged by, for example, encouraging that one be in a "latihan state" while listening to or reading their lectures. Consequently, the "message", if rational (which it may be, but often isn't, when an attempt is made to discern carefully what is falsifiable), doesn't usually get through, and if a problem is being addressed, can't be seen or solved rationally, because the rational functioning is in abeyance.

Peace, Philip


From Luthfi Dixon, October 6, 2008. Time 5:48

Hi Hassanah,

I was aware of all this mental dissociation thingy, because it had been extensively punted on Subud Talk by someone who, basically, didn't think that the latihan was anything other than a type of neural disturbance, as Philip also likes to see it - and the former person, and possibly Philip also, don't believe that there is any such thing as the 'spiritual', in the normative Subud sense.

Well, that's all fine and dandy, but of course it completely invalidates the latihan as a genuine spiritual experience which can, apart from anything else, provide you with genuine insights - something that is above and beyond the mind, and which can provide insights for the mind.

If you believe that, okay - but one has to wonder why you are still in Subud. This is the point where the arguments of the neural dissociation rationalists become somewhat specious, in my view.


From Hassanah Briedis, October 6, 2008. Time 7:36

Hi Luthfi, thanks for your reply. No, I don't mean that the latihan has no spiritual component. If you read my article (pronounced reed, not red), I try to be clear that my thesis has to do with HOW the latihan phenomenon is processed through the brain. IN other words, wherever it comes from and whatever it is (spiritually) it still requires the brain and its neurons in order for us to register that we are experiencing something. My suggestion is that the mechanism being used is similar to the mechanism that institutes dissociation, which is just a fancy name for 'a change of state of consciousness'. I don't think anyone would argue that the latihan is an altered state of consciousness from the norm.

And the reason I've gone to the trouble of writing the article and arguing my ideas, is because I really believe that this link between altered (spiritual) states of consciousness and dissociation needs to be better understood, in order that people who have dissociative illnesses can make more informed choices about how they live their spiritual lives. I speak from personal experience.

I discovered after several decades that being spaced out all the time had nothing to do with being spiritual. I now live an effective and useful life as a therapist for people who've been abused as children, a job I could not have done until I learnt to control my dissociation, which included latihan. My spiritual life is now expressed in the form of love and compassion for people who suffer, and acts of kindness to other humans. So I do understand that people have differing ideas about what 'spiritual' is, and I do not want to tear down others' beliefs about the latihan, just to ask them to consider how this phenomenon might be 'routed' through the brain and body.

with best wishes, Hassanah


From Philip Quackenbush, October 6, 2008. Time 8:10

Hi, Luthfi,

You wrote:

"I was aware of all this mental dissociation thingy, because it had been extensively punted on Subud Talk by someone who, basically, didn't think that the latihan was anything other than a type of neural disturbance, as Philip also likes to see it - and the former person, and possibly Philip also, don't believe that there is any such thing as the 'spiritual', in the normative Subud sense.

"Well, that's all fine and dandy, but of course it completely invalidates the latihan as a genuine spiritual experience which can, apart from anything else, provide you with genuine insights - something that is above and beyond the mind, and which can provide insights for the mind."

And what is your definition of mind, then? Does it involve the brain, or not, and if so, in what way? Without such a definition, it is likely impossible to be sure we're talking about the same thing. For example, Christian Scientists and Buddhists both use the term "mind" as basic to their cosmologies, but their views of the term may differ radically, and to understand where they're "coming from" is, again, impossible without some understanding of how they define, or at least use, the term. And BTW, what is the "normative" Subud sense of "the spiritual"? Even if Subud is defined as "we, ourselves", as the founder of the cult said on more than one occasion, I suspect that there may be nearly as many understandings of what is "normatively spiritual" as there are members, since there is no official definition of the word within the many publications of the cult, to the best of my knowledge, and yet it is used constantly in conversation and even legal documents.

I should say that, despite my reluctance to use the word "spiritual" to describe phenomena in or from "latihan", since it seems to be such a wastebasket term without definite characteristics that are more easily and/or specifically defined by other terms, I have had "genuine insights" in the "latihan", but have no need to attribute them to anything "spiritual." It should also be said, though, that many of the insights I'v had mature or gain clarity "outside" of the "latihan" through (dare I use the word?) cogitation, reflection, or the (probably badly translated, like many others in common use within the cult) SUBterm, the "thinking mind."

However, it is always difficult to determine what the origins of some "receiving" might be when the brain is befuddled by some mind- (there it is again, dammit) altering substance, such as alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, even caffeine and nicotine, to say nothing of numerous prescription drugs, so I suspect any "receivings" (including my own) that may involve such substances. Have you had your local "helpers" tested for drugs recently (and I don't mean "tested" in the normative Subud sense)? Or observed the "receivings" of heavy smokers and coffee drinkers in relation to those of those who don't use either tobacco or caffeine? Worth a scientific study, I'd say (but where does one find a control group within the membership?), if we're to make any "progress" in our "receiving" (although, IMO, the progress doesn't come in the "receiving" per se, but how well the "receiving" is understood, how accurate it is, and how it's put to use, together with whatever results from its use and if and how that alters one's life, whether for the "better" or the "worse", if at all).

Peace, Philip


From Luthfi Dixon, October 6, 2008. Time 8:31

Hassanah: I buy into Pak Subuh's definition that the brain is a bystander during the latihan, but we are able to stop the latihan at any time if we want to. I don't think one can really define 'how the latihan is processed through the brain', because that is to attempt to analyse the divine, and I am afraid all such attempts are doomed to failure, though people can delude themselves that they are a success.You cannot pin down the workings of the divine. If you were able to, then God would be a phenomenon subject to scientific analysis. You cannot, however, put God under a microscope, a fact the Cern Project scientists totally fail to comprehend.

Philip: yes, I did mean the brain when I referred to the mind.


From Hassanah Briedis, October 6, 2008. Time 11:21

Hi Luthfi, I'll have one more try at explaining what I mean, and after that we'll call it quits! There is a difference between the mind and the brain. I am very specifically talking about the brain, which is a big lump of grey jelly inside your skull. If you were standing in the latihan hall doing latihan, and someone reached into your skull and scooped out your brain, you might continue to 'receive' the latihan, but you wouldn't know about it or be aware of it at all. The brain is the central processing unit of our body, without it the body might, theoretically, keep working, but we wouldn't be aware of anything. In the same way, a person can have eyes that work perfectly and receive light rays, but if the part of their brain that decodes those signals is damaged, they don't know that they are seeing.

My interest in the latihan phenomenon relates to which part of the brain 'tells' us that we are receiving this 'movement of the life force'. MRI scans show us that parts of the brain 'light up' (ie, receive additional flows of oxygen) when that part is being used. I am interested in which part of the brain 'lights up' when a person does latihan, in other words, which part of the brain is active in 'telling us' that we are feeling the feeling of latihan.

This is totally different from trying to understand the latihan itself or analyze it with the mind, which I think is what you are referring to in your last post. I am interested in the latihan as a sensory phenomenon which we are aware of happening in real time. In this sense the Subud exercise is very different from some forms of meditation, it is a much more physicalized experience.

I don't know if this is any clearer. It will probably make it much less interesting to you too!!! But to me, it's very interesting, because if a Subud person would allow themselves to be tested in an MRI machine while doing latihan, we might learn something about which part of the brain lights up during the experience, and that would link in to other spiritual experiences as well as, possibly, phenomena such as dissociation. And that would help us understand the needs of members with mental illness, and so on.

Best for now, Hassanah


From Luthfi Dixon, October 6, 2008. Time 12:20

Call it quits? The mind never lets go, lol. But, as it happens, I have little to add - except that, as regards the post-latihan perception that started this exchange, it was either a valid perception that, perhaps, related to some factors which are underlying the expressed S.V. dissatisfaction with the Org, or it ain't valid. The fact that we are able to rationalise with the mind only when we are not in that 'dissociative' (or whatever you called it) state does not mean that only mental rationalisation is valid, as far as truth perception is concerned. Perhaps we can agree on that.

I was also reflecting, this morning, on my way to the newsagents to get my Daily Express (never could stand the paper, but it has improved of late, and the reason I buy it is because of the exciting 'Gossip From The Gallops' bit in the racing section - 8.20 points up over the last week, since I discovered it), that we are all (including moi) quite keen to talk about the faults of Subud, but rarely, if ever, keen to talk about our own faults, and possible psychological reasons for having a good moan. A little quid pro quo in this area might be a bit more honest, might it not?

So as you see, this one will run and run for a while yet, in all probability - as a betting man, I'd say it is a very long odds-on certainty. 1 to 10 on!! 10/1 the field!!


From Sahlan Diver, October 6, 2008. Time 12:43

We will never be able to run Subud effectively unless we can get out of the habit of wanting to mix up organisational faults and personal character faults in one big muddled basket.

Simple (hypothetical) example: A helper is asked to meet an applicant, spends a great deal of time and care on the applicant, but then gets a little carried away and entuses a little too much about Bapak, not realising that the applicant was attracted to Subud because they wanted a solution free of guru-like teaching - now it's starting to sound like a guru movement and the applicant gets put off and doesn't return.

Was there a character fault involved? Not really - said helper was kind, considerate, caring - he/she just made a mistake in not tuning in enough to that particular applicant's mindset.
Was there an organisational fault involved? If this was an isolated incident, no. But if incidents like this of genuinely interested people being put off by what the helper says, however well meant it was, are common then there clearly is an organisational fault in that we need to train helpers in how better to deal with applicants. This has nothing to do with improving the helper's character, their character and sincerity is not in question. On the contrary we want to capitalise on their good qualities by improving their skill at dealing with people in an applicant/enquirer type situation.

Seems to me this is another example of a Subud-think tenet: "everything has a spiritual cause, therefore if we criticise anything in Subud, it can't possibly be a technical criticism of procedure, it must necessarily be a slur on someone's character, and hadn't we better look at the spec in our own eye first". A great opportunity to pontificate about moral rectitude but as an example of the spiritual, I'd say it's anti-spiritual because it acts as an effective blocker to any chance of improving anything for the benefit of our fellow man.


From Luthfi Dixon, October 6, 2008. Time 14:57

Hmm, that seems like a rather uncharacteristic rant, Sahlan. I was merely suggesting a bit of balance in our outlook....

As for applicants being put off by helpers, I'm sure this is true when helpers make the whole thing seem like a b****y ordeal (which Subud is, anyway, so they aren't being dishonest), but if applicants are such sensitive souls that any mention of Subud's founder, and what he said as our Spiritual Guide, puts them off, then perhaps they were never destined to be Subud members in the first place.

I'm not forgetting, however, that I'd rather there weren't any official 'helpers' in the first place, but I'm not sure I am right about this. It's still certainly how I perceive the matter, but maybe I'm wrong. I think we should be open to being mistaken in our views about such matters.


From Philip Quackenbush, October 6, 2008. Time 17:49

Hi, Luthfi,

You wrote:

"Philip: yes, I did mean the brain when I referred to the mind."

Well, you see, that's where the problem lies, innit. Both of my examples, Christian Science and Buddhism would not, to the best of my knowledge, define mind as the brain. Nor, I suspect, would the founder of Subud, since he had us "test" the movement of our brains in LA once (Santa Monica, actually:"Your brain. It moves...finish" if I recall correctly, Usman giving the English interpretation), which didn't use the common SUBterminology of the "thinking mind", so it may be reasonable to say that he meant something else by the term mind, but what remains up for grabs, IMO.

If we look at it from a "spiritual" perspective, he once told Varindra Vittachi (as recorded in one of his books) that the universe was nothing but finer and finer forms of energy, something which might agree with some views of contemporary physics (it agrees with me, anyway, with the caveat that my understanding is that there is no such thing as finer and finer forms of energy, there's only One energy, i.e. the Source, or "God", if you insist on using that heavily-loaded and prejudicial term, manifesting in various forms).

So, my perspective is that "mind" is one form of energy manifesting to our perceptions through the brain, which itself, of course, is a "physical" manifestation of the Source energy, keeping in mind (there it is yet again) that Einstein mathematically equated energy with matter: E=Mc2, before it was discovered that light often "travels" (i.e., manifests as moving) faster than the c standard. Of course, you're free to agree or disagree with that perspective, it mox nix to me, but I thought it might be worthwhile to lay it out for perusal.

Peace, Philip


From Philip Quackenbush, October 6, 2008. Time 17:55

Addition to my last message to Luthfi: Light also, under certain circumstances, manifests as "traveling" slower than c (186 thousand some-odd miles per second [when it "bends" traveling through glass, for example]).

Peace, Philip


From Philip Quackenbush, October 6, 2008. Time 18:11

Hi, Hassanah,

You wrote:

"...if a Subud person would allow themselves to be tested in an MRI machine while doing latihan, we might learn something about which part of the brain lights up during the experience, and that would link in to other spiritual experiences as well as, possibly, phenomena such as dissociation. And that would help us understand the needs of members with mental illness, and so on.

Where and when should I show up? I can't get to Australia by bike or bus, which are my only current means of transport. Could a session be arranged here (in Seattle)? One advantage might be that my "latihans" are currently quite short (sometimes 10 or 15 seconds), because more efficient, and also pretty much "on call" [I can go into alpha virtually instantaneously, IMO, but it's never been scanned to back up that opinion]) in my view, but there's still a tendency to move, which is a no-no for MRI's, if I understand the procedure correctly (I think I may have had one done when I fell on my face a few years ago to check for evidence of subdural hematoma; I doubt that a CAT scan would have cost 10 thousand bucks, even in the emergency room, including sewing up my face and a knee X-ray, but what do I know.?). I suppose it would be an fMRI, which might require a contrast medium, but, again, what do I know?

Peace, Philip


From Luthfi Dixon, October 6, 2008. Time 19:11

Philip, Shakespeare's words 'truly, thou art in thine old wandering mind' do come to mind...but then they often apply to me also.

Thing is, when I refer to 'mind' I am referring to the brain. If we refer to 'mind' as a type of consciousness in some way beyond the brain, we are merely projecting our model of mental consciousness onto something which is inherently different, and cannot be pinned down by our limited model.

Obvious example is that well-know phrase 'the mind of God.' Well, it is hardly controversial to observe that God doesn't have a 'mind'. When we say 'the mind of God' we are merely projecting our limited understanding, just as God was often depicted as an old man with a white beard. As Pak Subuh observed, he ain't an old man with a white beard, and depicting himself as such just shows our human limitations. The only way we can come to any kind of true understanding of greater, wider types of consciousness than that provided by our brains is through progress in the latihan, and if we do achieve a wider consciousness we will probably not describe it with that limiting word 'mind'. Rather, whatever we then have or observe is something beyond the mind, as the latihan itself is.


From Philip Quackenbush, October 6, 2008. Time 23:14

Hi, Luthfi,

You wrote:

"The only way we can come to any kind of true understanding of greater, wider types of consciousness than that provided by our brains is through progress in the latihan, and if we do achieve a wider consciousness we will probably not describe it with that limiting word 'mind'. Rather, whatever we then have or observe is something beyond the mind, as the latihan itself is."

Well, "Jesus" is quoted in the NT as saying, "by their fruits you'll know them", and frankly, although I still do "latihan" because I see some benefits from it, I don't have as much trust in supposedly the most "fruitful" "receiver" of the cult, M. Subuh, who has a track record of losing 98% of his "followers" (who may either see through his assertions or just find no "fruits" but only "thistles" in following the "latihan"), as I do in Edgar Cayce, who has a verifiable track record of 98% "fruits", as does his "reincarnation", David Wilcock. I just read a quote from Cayce in one of Wilcock's free online books at his website, divinecosmos.com, that addresses the subject of scientific measurement of "spiritual" data (which would seem to include a non-"physical" mind) as we measure "material" data:

When there is the same interest or study given to things or phases of mental and spiritual phenomena as has been and is given to the materialized or material phenomena, then it will become just as practical, as measurable, as meter-able as any other phase of human experience . [2012-1, yr. 1939]

Wilcock then proceeds throughout the rest of that book (there are 3 free ones online) to give scientific data about the nature of the universe (which I equate with "God") and our place in it.

So, if you think my thinking is too fuzzy here, or my "receiving" too "impure", you might try reading his books (and "readings" and blog) for greater clarity. As they say in Noo Yawk, "it vouldn' hoit."

Peace, Philip


From Luthfi Dixon, October 6, 2008. Time 23:33

Where's the evidence that 98% of Subud members have left Subud? You can't really count the chaotic mass openings of '57, when nobody knew what the heck it was really all about.

I am quite sure that the vast majority of Subud members don't regard themselves as 'followers' of M.Subuh. The latihan is not a process of 'following' anything other than one's own receiving.

S.V. seemed to be above the level of dotty ramblings, let's hope it stays that way.


From Merin Nielsen, October 7, 2008. Time 2:26

As Sahlan noted, distinct issues have got mixed together in this thread. "Understanding" is one. Human understanding has been constantly expanding, clearly, and many phenomena once considered utterly mysterious have become well understood. This process continues, and it's hard to be sure that any particular phenomenon is forever beyond understanding.

Now, many people insist that 'the divine' falls into that category. Some actually define the divine that way, or argue that it is not phenomenal in any case. No problem, except when they declare certain experiences to be divine in character. Then they are effectively saying that these things are 'known' to be beyond understanding. While there are always parts of reality that are not understood, it's peculiar to draw a line anywhere as a limit to further exploration.

The latihan experience has different parts, and some are understood while others are not. The parts that can't ever be understood -- those and only those -- would qualify as divine (based on the definition used here), so it's already obvious that not every part is divine -- although maybe some parts of it are. Who's to say? Meanwhile, the non-divine aspects of the latihan, whatever they might turn out to be, may as well be studied and perhaps usefully understood. I think this is a practical sort of undertaking that latihan practitioners would do well to support.


From Hassanah Briedis, October 7, 2008. Time 3:14

Hi Phillip, long time no see (ref to SubTalk). No, you don't need to come across to Oz, in fact you'd be far more likely to find someone doing research into the neurobiology of spiritual experience in USA. Google it and see what you can find, and then volunteer. That would be so exciting to actually get this research going. It would need to be done within a formalized university or hospital research setting, and I know this research is being done. The term I found it under is 'neurotheology'. Fascinating results coming in around religious experience and the brain.

For Luthfi, 'mind' is defined as the flow of energy and information around the brain. That's what 'mind' is. Flow of information though the activation of different regions of the brain. This includes emotion - the experience of emotion is generated by specialized regions of the brain. I know some of my most glorious latihans involved intense feelings of bliss, and my interpretation of this experience was that it was the latihan moving my feelings. But there's no way round this - those feelings of bliss were emotions, very intense ones, and I bet my emotion centre was 'lit up' like a beacon. It is the latihan, but it's realized into human experience through the brain.

Best, Hassanah


From Philip Quackenbush, October 7, 2008. Time 5:40

Hi, Luthfi,

You wrote:

Where's the evidence that 98% of Subud members have left Subud? You can't really count the chaotic mass openings of '57, when nobody knew what the heck it was really all about."

Maybe not. I know that c. 5000 people were opened in SF in the early daze whose records were lost in a fire (if they had them to start with; I know of one guy who was never officially "opened" but accepted as a member for decades). The membership population seems to have remained much the same for decades, certainly in the US. give or take a hundred or so. Win a few, lose a few. Leaving out those who die, it may be more like 95 or 90%.

"I am quite sure that the vast majority of Subud members don't regard themselves as 'followers' of M.Subuh."

I wish I had your surety. I could just as easily assert the opposite, and without too much reading between the lines, his daughter seems to be encouraging that attitude in her lectures, implying that he knew what the "latihan" was better than anyone else and, like it or not, we were tied to him by the "contact" being gotten from him. Well, I think that any contact with any people, including other animals, plants and "material" objects is bound to have some influence, but a human being ideally should be able to choose what he or she finds relevant to their lives without any suggestion of anyone else or any other entity being either superior or inferior, which seems to be a common thread in most of my Subud experience: "We are low, they are high, we are dirty, they are pure, so they know better." Solly, Charrie, I don't buy it.

"The latihan is not a process of 'following' anything other than one's own receiving."

Agreed on that, at least, as long as one puts "receiving" in quotes.

Peace, Philip


From Philip Quackenbush, October 7, 2008. Time 6:40

Hi, Hassanah,

"Hi Phillip, long time no see (ref to SubTalk). No, you don't need to come across to Oz, in fact you'd be far more likely to find someone doing research into the neurobiology of spiritual experience in USA. Google it and see what you can find, and then volunteer. That would be so exciting to actually get this research going. It would need to be done within a formalized university or hospital research setting, and I know this research is being done. The term I found it under is 'neurotheology'. Fascinating results coming in around religious experience and the brain."

Thanx. Spent a while Googling, but no places, only documents. Looks like I'll have to call up a few hospitals that might have fMRI studies. UW Med School is the most likely, or Harborview Hospital, connected to them as a public teaching hospital, but there are others on Pill Hill that might be doing the research. Might have to sign a mind donation card (well, I might be willing to give them a piece of my mind, anyway).

Peace, Philip

Peace, Philip


From Luthfi Dixon, October 7, 2008. Time 7:48

Yet again my answer deleted because forgot to put password in and forgot to copy before sending. Never mind.

I do understand that members of S.V. clearly don't believe in any such thing as a spiritual power which comes from a realm beyond the passions, heart and mind. They seem to think that you can stick the latihan, which comes from beyond this world, into an MRA scanner, and it'll show up, lol.

However,one does have to wonder not only why they are still in Subud, but also what the point would be of setting up an alternative organisation. As I pointed out on Subud Talk ages ago, there are already Rationalist, Humanist and other organisations which fit the expressed views of S.V. members. Why not just join them?


From Merin Nielsen, October 7, 2008. Time 10:37

Hi, Luthfi,

In reply to your last posting, first, if you click 'back' on your browser, you should find the typed message once again.

Second, Subud Vision doesn't have 'members' -- there's a bunch of editors and there are the contributors, such as yourself.

Third, you say "there are already Rationalist, Humanist and other organisations which fit the expressed views" -- but obviously the latihan is appreciated by people irrespective of their views.

Lastly, you say "one does have to wonder... why they are still in Subud". I don't understand. If a person doesn't believe in a spiritual power as you describe it, why should it be surprising that they practice the latihan?


From Luthfi Dixon, October 7, 2008. Time 10:53

'If a person doesn't believe in a spiritual power as you describe it, why should it be surprising that they practice the latihan?'

Run that past me again?


From Hassanah Briedis, October 7, 2008. Time 10:58

Hi Luthfi, I don't think you've responded to the information I offered, other than to attack me personally by questionning why I am still in Subud, as if only people who think as you do should want to partake in the experience of the life force.

There is obviously no point in trying to explain anything scientific, but I will emphasize that most of the information I've given in these posts is not my opinion or belief system, they are scientific facts. I haven't made any pronouncements about spiritual matters or claimed to know about the spiritual nature of the latihan. I have merely explained some aspects of anatomy and neurology. I am surprised that such basic information about the physical world elicits such a fundamentalist reaction.

Anyway, despite that, I have still enjoyed 'locking horns' with you! Best wishes, Hassanah


From Sahlan Diver, October 7, 2008. Time 12:22

Luthfi,

You are presuming by saying that "I do understand that members of S.V. clearly don't believe in any such thing as a spiritual power which comes from a realm beyond the passions, heart and mind". As Merin points out, we don't have members, just editors and authors and contributors, with a variety of viewpoints, some which coincide, some which are in direct opposition. I, for example, am much more traditional in my viewpoint about the nature and source of the latihan than you might think. My personal concern is not with the latihan, but with the effectiveness of the organisation, past, present and future, in nurturing and spreading the latihan. That's why I contribute to Subud Vision. You say in an earlier posting you were concerned about "balance". I am concerned about getting things right. If this means that the "balance" is shifted towards criticising a lot of things that are wrong, then so be it,

Sahlan


From Luthfi Dixon, October 7, 2008. Time 12:24

Ok....'attack'...'fundamentalist'...really? Rather an extreme reaction there.

Anyway, it would be interesting to know why the S.V. members, other than myself, who have taken part in this discussion, wish to remain in Subud. What is it about Subud that they like, or get out of, that makes them wish to stay? What is it about the latihan experience that makes them wish to continue to receive it?


From Sahlan Diver, October 7, 2008. Time 17:31

Luthfi,

The problem is what you are saying makes no separation between what people think, and what their experience of and progress in the latihan is. Nowhere on Subud Vision is there anyone saying that their latihan is not valuable to them, or that they feel they are making no progress, or that we should change the nature of the latihan to introduce some sort of teaching or other spiritual technique. Certainly if someone wanted to write that sort of article, we would not reject it, we would publish it if well argued enough, but noone has offered this sort of article.

So we can assume they are quite happy with the latihan itself. In fact if you look at our current "question of the moment" page, the overriding impression is of people for whom the practise of latihan exercise is central, and about which they have no problem. I don't see that it is necessary to press them for further details - frankly it is none of anyone's business.

We can assume that the latihan will progress regardless of what we think, or we would have to say that the person who felt the most spiritual, or who made the most claims to be spiritual, or who followed a precise set of guidelines, was more likely to make progress, but that is against most members understanding of the latihan exercise which is guidance from within, bypassing the mind, thinking and personality.

So I'd like to turn the question round on you and ask you, if you wish, to list the SPECIFIC statements made by our contributors that indicate to you that they are disenchanted with the latihan and which make you wonder why they continue to practise it, to give them an opportunity to reply to a specific accusation rather than to extremely vague, imprecise casting of aspersions that have no foundation whatsoever. Of course, you are also querying why they remain in Subud. That is probably easily answered by what we know about the latihan, that it generally seems stronger performed as a group activity, also many probably like the social aspects of Subud as well. What sort of people would Subud be collectively if our only suggestion to someone who thinks there are things wrong in Subud and who wishes to speak about them is to suggest that they are only doing so for purely selfish reasons and that a motivation to identify what is wrong and want to put it right is inappropriate and therefore it would be better if they leave? I say again, and this is not a rant, that that sort of thing is not spiritual, it is the opposite of spiritual, an unwillingness to face and deal with reality, particularly where that reality is unpleasant for other people, preferring instead to opt out in a detached piety,

Sahlan


From Luthfi Dixon, October 7, 2008. Time 21:41

Detached piety? Moi? Lol. First time I have ever been accused of being pious, I think, detachededly or otherwise.

Well I might get back to you on this tomorrow. I rather felt that the discussion I've been involved in here has gone as far as it can, in terms of trying to answer issues and people trying to get across their points of view. It has seemed an increasingly impossible business. I have increasingly perceived that you people don't get it, just as you increasingly perceive that I don't get it. I think impasse has arrived, and I'm really quite glad to leave it at that for the moment, however long the 'moment' may be.


From Sahlan Diver, October 7, 2008. Time 22:3

Luthfi,

Just to clarify. Not accusing you specifically of being pious - just commenting on a general approach to avoiding problem solving, which is not uncommon in Subud,

Sahlan


From Michael Irwin, October 7, 2008. Time 22:13

Hassanah wrote: "For Luthfi, 'mind' is defined as the flow of energy and information around the brain. That's what 'mind' is. Flow of information though the activation of different regions of the brain." Later you said that this was scientific fact. Scientists bring a particular set of assumptions to any observation so for them, given their assumptions, mind is that fact.

My experience of myself suggests another possibility, that mind interacts with the physical body through the brain in a perfect analogue with neural firing patterns. So the assumption is made that those firings are mind. That is an assumption, not a fact. If I accepted the scientific world view that only those things that can be measured are worth ushering into the world of fact, then how could I be blamed if I then, given that limitation, talked about mind as only neural firings. I do not agree with the assumption that neural firings, useful as they are as a communication tool, experience the world. For me the experiencer experiences the world through the filter of those firings and so sees a limited and manageable world. Then routine scientists assume that that is all there is. It may be but I doubt it. That is my BS (belief system). I am not touting it as fact. But then very little is. Reality is a construct. Reality is what you think it is.


From Merin Nielsen, October 8, 2008. Time 1:28

Hi, Michael,

This is a central philosophical issue that Descartes and many others have focussed on, and I really like the clear way that you've addressed it. I make the assumption that you don't make, and for me the experiencer is 'the world'.

As a separate point, though, Occam's Razor more or less obliges any scientific theory to be pared down to what's testable -- so as a business rule of thumb, scientists must assume that that is all there is, even if their personal belief systems are otherwise. Philosophically sensible scientists never claim to be 'deriving facts about reality', merely 'constructing miniature working-models of portions of reality'.


From Hassanah Briedis, October 8, 2008. Time 13:8

Hi Michael, and Merin, I absolutely agree with what you are saying, and of course the complexities set in when discussing 'mind'. But again, I was making those statements in a very particular context of explaining some neurological brain science - versus - spiritual theories. Trying to differentiate between the two modes of making sense of the world.

Incidentally, it isn't the neural firings themselves that experience the world. It is the neural firings activating specific regions of the brain that allow us to perceive, respond and make sense of external (or internal)stimuli. Which is my whole point about the latihan and the brain. Wherever the stimuli comes from, whatever its nature and reality, we have to be able to perceive it in order to know it exists. To perceive anything, some part of the brain has to be activated.

I think, what this whole argument has been about, is the (spiritual)belief that it is possible to 'receive' without the activation of the brain (Brain, not mind). Well, that may be so, but my argument is that without the functioning of the brain, we certainly won't KNOW we are receiving. That's all I'm saying.


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