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Sahlan Diver - Blueprint for Change

A Response about "Leakag". From Helissa Penwell, July 30, 2007. Time 3:20


This is in response to your section on "leakage".

Once when our family was discussing why members don't come to group latihan, my daughter, Reine, suggested this metaphor. She said, "It's like when you belong to a gym, you're a member, you know that if you went you would benefit, but you somehow just never make it because it's difficult to find the time and it's hard to come up with the energy to get yourself there. It's just easier to try and get some exercise in at home." By contrast, my husband, Mark, loves to go workout and is happy to have a special time and place where he can meet up with his workout-buddies, exercise, and socialize. He's a "regular", and he gets fidgety when he has to miss. On the other hand, I love my solo power-walks every morning. They're a time I can enjoy being within myself—to contemplate ideas and to receive Guidance while I enjoy the outdoors. Going to the gym is an unpleasant hassle to me.

People have different styles for most of the things we do in life. Why should our approach to doing latihan be any different? Some members enjoy regularly scheduled group latihans, some find those difficult to attend, and some prefer to experience their latihans alone. That seems perfectly normal to me. So why do the people who do group latihan always say that the other types have left Subud and delete their names off the membership lists? Just because someone doesn't come to the Subud house doesn't mean that they don't do latihan, and, to me, if someone does latihan, then they are Subud. We have no idea how many thousands of members are out there doing their latihans alone or with a few family or friends. I don't find that sad or think that they have all "left Subud". Anytime anyone gets opened and has the latihan to help their life is a plus, and I can accept their personal preference about when and where they want to experience it. Indeed, if we look at how it has gone so far, it looks like most people would rather do latihan on their own, and that it is only the minority of members who prefer to come to regularly scheduled group latihans year after year. Maybe that's just fine. If the solo latihan members can feel our acceptance of their choices, then we might be able to keep some kind of connection going with them, and they would be more likely to reconnect with us at times when they need some extra support, or if they decided at another point in their lives that having their latihan with other members is something they'd enjoy after all. It would benefit everyone involved if we changed our attitude to be more inclusive concerning who is Subud.


From Sahlan Diver, July 30, 2007. Time 20:47


My section on leakage was assuming a clear distinction between those still practising the latihan and those who had really "left Subud" in the sense that not only did they not come to the group anymore but also neither were they practising the latihan privately. I am guessing that Edward Baker in his "Answers on a Postcard" article that I refer to probably also had a similar distinction in mind.

You are reminding us of another type of person who has to be taken into account. Agreed, there are many who through reasons of family circumstances, ill-health, inconvenient group latihan times, lack of funds to travel to latihan, temporary crisis, because they can't get on with the people at the group, or for whatever other reason, cirumstantial or personal, are nevertheless practising the latihan diligently at home, maybe also with a friend or friends. My opinion is that there is no justification for marking these people down as having left Subud simply because they don't turn up for group latihans. However, it also has to be said that some of these people ask to be removed from group lists because they themselves no longer wish to be considered as Subud members, even though they are happy to go on practising the latihan in private. From a survey point of view these are an important third grouping whose opinions we should seek out - what is it that has made Subud as an organisation so intolerable that they no longer wish to be associated with it even though they still value the latihan?

You suggest that most people would prefer not to do latihan with a group. I don't believe that this is a cut and dried preference, because, in my experience, most people would say that the latihan is stronger and deeper when done with others, preferably with as many as possible. Therefore although they might prefer for any number of reasons not to do latihan at the group, they will still go because of the overriding benefit they feel of the larger latihan.

Finally, I fully agree with you that there should be connectedness and support between people doing the latihan, that does not actively exclude non-attenders at group latihan.

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