Subud Vision - Feedback

David Week - Clear the Path to the Latihan

A response from a younger member. From Helissa Penwell, July 19, 2007. Time 23:15

This is a response to David's editorial, "Opening Subud [Clear the Path to the Latihan, ed.]. I sent the editorial to my daughter, Reine Steel, for comments and this was her response which she said I could post. I thought it would be interesting for others to hear from a "second generation" younger member since they are the ones who are going to change Subud eventually ("as soon as the ol' folks die" is the saying most often heard). Maybe if we start listening to their ideas now, they might actually allow us to help in the evolution of our organization before we all pass on! Helissa Penwell

Reine's comments:

"Great article...

In my opinion as a 20-something, anything that distances Subud from organized religions is going to have a positive effect on new membership. The majority of people who will become seekers are going to be either anti-religion, or ex-churchgoers... not necessarily because they reject the theology, but because they are sick of the hypocrisy and the social pressure to act a certain way or have certain political beliefs. The public face of the Christian Right in this country (not to mention the Catholic priest scandal) is turning a lot of young people off all religion in general.

Putting forward only a happy face, on "anodyne and manicured web sites," or appearing secretive and clubby will just remind people of the traditional religions they have already decided to reject. Subud needs to be the alternative, the "get real" spiritual organization, the "un-cola," if you will. ;)

We are the blog generation, the webcam generation. It's all about putting yourself out there and expressing yourself, even if it means your school principal seeing a picture of you smoking a bong on your Myspace profile, or your psycho ex finding out your new relationship status. Nothing is secret. If it's not publicly expressed and digitally documented, it may have well never happened. We will want an organization that isn't afraid to do the same. Anything less is cause for suspicion!"

From David Week, July 20, 2007. Time 9:4

Hi Helissa

I've heard the "when they die" too. And my younger daughter, 16, calls Subud "the secret society." Why all the secrecy? I think, bottom line, history aside, Pak Subuh's advice aside, that most members (including me for most of my life), when asked "what is Subud", have only been able to paraphrase Pak Subuh.

Out in the big wide real world, it comes out sounding like non-sense, and hearers can sense when we're not speaking from our own backgrounds and experience: so these statements go over like the proverbial lead balloons. Thud. So we learn to keep quiet.

For me, I had to reach a certain level of discomfort and frustration, to impel to find my own voice.



From Helissa Penwell, July 23, 2007. Time 1:30

That's it, David, you've hit the nail on the head, that's the key to opening the way for positive change in how Subud is perceived.

If we each found our own voice to express our own understanding of the latihan and how it works in our lives, then many of the problems pointed out here on Subud Vision would be diminished or solved. When we only hear one voice, Bapak's, what is said cannot always speak for everyone. When there are many voices talking about what Subud is, then we really begin to understand that it is an individual experience that expresses itself through each member's personality, lifestyle, culture, and religion. No one speaks for everyone else. I can talk about Subud in terms of connecting with the Power of God and a Buddhist can describe her experience from her perspective. I don't have to try to accommodate other religions in my statements because they are free to speak for themselves. Many voices saying many things about Subud will make it clear that Subud is not a religion. Bapak's voice can remain an important voice, but it will be one voice among many, so he will not be seen as our guru or the central figure of a new religion. It should be clear to everyone that the one thing we share in common is the latihan, and so when people think about what Subud is they will immediately think that it is the experience of the latihan. Isn't that what we all want?


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