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Stefan Freedman - Beyond Words and Images

keep the mystery - more later. From sabariah van beek, March 24, 2008. Time 15:51

Hi Stefan,
I like your writing.....I wonder if there's a need to change Subud terminology, or simply to broaden it to better reflect actual descriptions of our experiences? Since this is an age of awakening so to speak, it seems a good idea to be more integral of the religious, spiritual and other more psychological terminologies.
I hesitate however to remove the original sense of the latihan as worship - it is different than looking for a feel-good sense of attunement - it is in fact inner surrender, not willed surrender, and so we do not perhaps understand where it is taking us - to sell it as a way of letting go of excess baggage and tuning in to something higher may not in fact be the truth. Meditation does have an effect, yet people who meditate a lot also seem to become very stuck in their ways, and perhaps also a bit passive with regard to compassion or action for others....in my view anyway. The latihan is somehow more directly mysterious and our use of it takes more courage.....
I am planning to write some more later!
love,
Sabariah


From stefan, March 24, 2008. Time 20:32

Hi Sabariah,

It's good to hear you're interested in how we might broaden language in which we describe the latihan and take into account psychological terminology.

I'd like to answer two points you make

"I hesitate however to remove the original sense of the latihan as worship - it is different than looking for a feel-good sense of attunement - it is in fact inner surrender"

I agree that the latihan (for you, me and many Subud people) is much more than a feel-good session.

For me the latihan has been a rudder giving my life direction, a palpable contact with a source that has developed all my strengths and given me a deep sense of ongoing contact with a transpersonal force which I trust.

This may sound like another way of saying "latihan is worship of Almighty God" but I have become increasingly wary of translating my experience into overused words such as worship, God and especially Almighty. Why? Because they are so often heard in a rigid context. "Worship", for most people, evokes set rituals in which everyone does the same (that doesn't sound like latihan does it?). "God" is used abundantly by those who subscribe to a traditional and specific religious viewpoint.

These days many people hear the word "God" especially coupled with "Almighty" used by violent religious factions so I think this description, unfortunately, can give a misleading impression of Subud as some sort of quasi-religious cult. Unfortunately several governments do perceive Subud as a cult! Maybe what we need now is a diversity of decriptions, so that people can see Subud is very different from any fixed belief system which has standardised concepts and words.

You also wrote "people who meditate a lot also seem to become very stuck in their ways, and perhaps also a bit passive with regard to compassion or action for others"

I'm wondering how many people you know who meditate? I have a different impression. Most of my friends who meditate are very considerate, and active in the world; less stuck in their ways (in my view) than certain of my other friends and peers, including my Subud friends. Whereas some Western meditators in the 1960s seemed to want to achieve a permanent high, these days there's a very successful movement among Buddhists and secular meditators to become "engaged" with effective and compassionate action in the world. I believe our Subud association could learn a lot from their recent experience.

I'm glad you're planning to write more and look forward to reading your ideas.

I'm glad you responded
- best wishes from Stefan


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