The Latihan of Subud



The latihan is the reappearance of a primordial Power hidden within human beings and all creatures. This Power manifests itself in spontaneous bodily movements and utterances, a mood of tranquility and joy, clarity of awareness, and love for the Divine. It works progressively to cleanse and harmonize the conflicting elements of our being, to heal and to illuminate. Its essential nature is celebration and praise. It makes possible an increasingly profound realization of the Wisdom from which we ultimately spring and in which all things are embraced.


The term `latihan' literally means exercise, and the latihan is in fact a spiritual exercise or practice but because it is entirely spontaneous it follows no pre-existing plan, and so cannot be either studied or taught. It cannot be directed or forced in any way, but is simply received, as a life and movement arising from the very centre of our being, in whatever forms are appropriate for the particular nature and condition of each one of us. Since the action of the latihan is cathartic as well as illuminating, its manifestations may occasionally be grotesque or unpleasant; more usually they are enjoyable, and at times they are of an extraordinary beauty but because these manifestations are simply the means by which we are gradually transformed, they are all to be accepted with gratitude and experienced with objectivity and detachment.


The latihan cannot be learned, but it can be transmitted from one person to another. All that is necessary is for the person who wishes to receive it to stand in the presence of someone who is actually receiving it, and to be willing to receive healing and illumination from the highest Source of our being. When a person has been "opened" has begun to receive the action of the latihan, the manifestations of the Power of the latihan will begin to emerge, often subtly and even imperceptibly, but occasionally with striking vividness. The process is in any case different in each person, and proceeds slowly or more rapidly according to the nature and strength of the individual. It is usual to receive the latihan for half an hour twice a week in the company of others (men with men and women with women) and later, when it is well established, for an additional half hour at home.


--Leonard Priestley