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Sandra Rimkeit - An Open Letter about Youth and Helpers

Loving a small town doesn't mean living there. From David W, September 9, 2010. Time 20:39

Hi Sandra

I too grew up in Subud. I compare it sometimes to growing up in a small remote town with unusual characters, in which everyone knows each other. It's like One Hundred Years of Solitude on steroids.

I love my parents. I love the people I grew up with. But loving them does not mean that I have to live in the small town I grew up in, even though they choose to remain. I choose not to conflate the people with the movement or belief system to which most of them have devoted their lives. It's not my job to save them, or myself.

So: I just live my life true to myself, which involves not adopting the beliefs or practices of my ancestors ;-). No matter how much I love them, and feel attached to them, or remember fondly my eccentric and wonderful childhood.

David


From gregory thomas, October 3, 2010. Time 23:33

Nicely put David. I am now, I suppose, also one of the Subud Diaspora. After 40years of living in the "small town" I too have now left for the larger world. I take only a small amount of luggage with me and it is carefully sorted and even so, I find I am still sorting and shredding. I will possibly come back sometime in the future but I still find the whole organisation so very, very dissapointing and in many ways pathetic.


From Michael Irwin, October 4, 2010. Time 19:32

Gregory wrote: "I still find the whole organisation so very, very disappointing and in many ways pathetic"

How would you feel about an organization that was organized on the principles demonstrated in the article "Wayward". Please note that "Wayward" is just one way of conceiving of applying those principles. It is the principles that matter.


From gregory thomas, October 5, 2010. Time 23:17

Thanks Michael for your reply which I value. I did read your "wayward" article but really the only "principles" I would like to see is some unconditional love, care and respect for each other and a lot less ego. The way I see it now is that as soon as humans try to organise anything, even spiritual and "God given messages", the concept of power is evoked. As soon as this occurs, the message, no matter how momentous or "spiritual", is corrupted because suddenly one person or group feel they have some mandate to dictate meaning and direction to others.
All religions and spiritual teachings given to humans (to be passed on invariably by males) in the end are power structures constructed for the male of the species. To this end I believe Subud has succumbed as have all previous attempts at some unifying spiritual concept for humans (Judaism, Christianity, Islam etc etc) I really believe to change the world you have to change yourself...no one else, just you. That alone is a monumental odyssey worthy of Homer's attention.
My care and love to you, Gregory


From Michael Irwin, October 7, 2010. Time 0:6

Hi Gregory,

I agree with you but in referring to principles, I was not referring to those principles that guide individuals. I am referring to organizational principles as outlined in the Author's Note at the end of Wayward. Here is a slightly shortened version with numbers identifying the principles:

"Wayward is an ...attempt to flesh out a new model of a local Subud group focusing on organizational structure and processes as they emerge from fundamental principles: 1. the separation of the spiritual and temporal; 2. the application of democratic norms; 3. the requirement for total acceptance of any world view within the Subud culture; 4. the support of the latihan as the single purpose of Subud as an organization; 5. and the necessity for discipline in applying and living these principles.'

1. As Bapak made clear. The practical world and the metaphysical world don't operate in the same way. This is at the heart of the separation of committee and helper work.

2.Democratic norms do not involve testing to make decisions for other people (people other that the testers.)

3. Subud expects newcomers to accept the belief system that the currently dominant leaders of Subud believe. That is in direct contradiction to the idea that Subud has no established world view and is not a religion.

4.This limitation does not mean suppressing enterprises, the arts or social work. It just means separating the organizational committee from those demands to concentrate on the reason d'etre of Subud's existence.

5. All practical organizations require principles to function. Keeping to those principles takes paying attention to them and working hard to keep to them.

Michael


From gregory thomas, October 8, 2010. Time 2:39

Thanks Michael, but actually I'd prefer no organisation other than what is necessary to rent premises. Helpers aren't really needed. Applicants to subud can be sufficiently informed or misinformed by the mass of literature available without confused helpers adding their strange twists and turns on what "Bapak Said". Oh! I should add that I speak as a helper of many years experience and from time to time great dedication. I don't recollect my contribution added absolutely anything to the good of any Subud member or Subud in general.
As for other tasks for organisations such as charities and cultural things I would suggest letting the plethora of other organisations handle it, they do it better as they have far more resources than our tiny organisation.
care to you Gregory


From Michael Irwin, October 8, 2010. Time 19:26

"Thanks Michael, but actually I'd prefer no organisation other than what is necessary to rent premises" That is essentially what the Wayward Society does. Because it is run by the members of the Society - those among the latihan participants who choose to belong to the Society - they can make their own decisions about how the services of the Society are offered to the participants. Therefore they could decide not to have helpers, to have no applicant waiting period, etc. and the clubs provide the arm's length, totally voluntary and self-selecting organizations for like minded individuals to do their thing. In the matter of structure and processes I can't see any difference in your wishes and the Wayward model. Can you tell me where the differences are?


From gregory thomas, October 9, 2010. Time 4:29

Thanks Michael yes I see you are correct I was just not reading carefully.
regards, gregory


From SaiftheKnife, October 8, 2014. Time 20:52

Hey guys,

How does nearly of any of your feedback contribute to solving what Sandra wrote about? Except for the first letter. But even that one had no answer -- just a comparative reflection of past SUBUD experiences to show that Sandra is not alone in leaving the SUBUD organization. Michael's entry is helpful: From Michael Irwin, October 7, 2010. Time 0:6. If we at least adhered even part time to these principles, not as much damage would be generated in SUBUD by its participants. The fact that this has taken place, this back and forth conversation, is exactly one of the points Sandra mentioned in the letter she wrote. We tend to drift from the original point of problems mentioned which need to be solved and deal with it by only contributing our own views to the dilemma at hand and leaving the problem "there". Touche.In the letter Sandra wrote, the main reason for meeting together was shelved by a helper (no less). I remember that gathering. I thought from the beginning that there was something wrong with it and I did not want to attend it. As long as this happens, also as reflected in this brief forum, SUBUD in it's original form will perish and continue, as Bapak predicted, morphed into a Religion.
I mean, some your statements are very helpful and quite clear to help one see how some organizations such as SUBUD should function, but not much of any help was written to help solve issues written and addressed by Sandra. As usual, even though we address the situation of curtailing our egos, our egos prevailed nonetheless and only dealt with what we wanted to address anyway.

Saiful Rimkeit
San Jose, CA
Opened in San Fran, CA 1968


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