PREVIOUS QUESTIONS
AND ANSWERS

What changes would you like to see in how your local group works

From Bronte, March 28, 2008. Time 7:42

I wish ALL groups had an occassional formal session, at least annually, to which all members, active or inactive, known to exsit in their area, are formally invited, where each member is invited to comment on their grievances, without any restraint. But preferably formally, or even in writing, so that the emotional side of the meeting is more able to be minimised. This needs to be done without the limitations forced on us by having to test everything.


From outsider, March 22, 2008. Time 10:18

Stop just exchanging pleasantries on latihan nights, week after week, year after year, decade after decade, and realise that some serious thinking and discussion is needed about where Subud is going and our place in it.


From litenup, March 18, 2008. Time 9:29

Acknowledgement that as well as being Subud members attached to a particular group, that is only one part of our lives. We can have interests other than just Subud/we have families/work colleagues/friends/we study/have fun. We experience a range of emotions and that's ok and the helpers aren't the only people holding the key to our progress through life. We are multi faceted, celebrate our differences.


From RLYM, March 17, 2008. Time 23:5

More enthusiasm and encouragment for newer members and their ideas, tests, social gatherings(whether newly opened or newly moved in from another area)from older long-term existing members of the group.


From miss conception, March 17, 2008. Time 14:11

Less emphasis on trying to be spiritual and serious and more emphasis on just being who we are


From jiwaman, March 17, 2008. Time 4:48

After latihan, we should sit together for about 10 minutes without talking, just being aware of, and feeling close to the latihan. This enables everyone to become close together in their inner feeling. (That advice comes from a Bapak talk, but can't say which one).

Also stop testing unnecessary questions dreamed up by helpers just so that people can have testing.



From Mr Peripheral, March 16, 2008. Time 9:45

More emphasis on how we're doing as human beings, more interpersonal relationship work, less standardised testing, less worrying about premises.



What would Subud be like if we abolished the Helper system?

From BathwaterBaby, June 30, 2008. Time 15:41

Let's not rush headlong into throwing out the baby with the bathwater! - Like excited Lemmings rushing over a cliff.
(How I love to mix my metaphors!)...

I have been in Subud 2.5 years and, especially as an enquirer and a new member, I greatly appreciated the commitment and willingness of the helpers to see that my needs were catered for and to willingly respond to my questions, loan me books and magazines etc.

However there came a point where 2 (and only 2 out of 6) of our helpers became "overly helpful".
They were being overly helpful with the best of intentions - because they felt a responsibility not only for me but more particularly to be worthy advocates and facilitators for the purity and success of the movement which had given them (their words) "so much".

One of these helpers was a very old guy who had been in Subud since the year dot. He was a little bit senile and set in his ways and has since died.
Reflecting on his death I was glad that I had chosen to tread the path of patience, tolerance and understanding (PTU) with him, for he was a kindly, good-hearted, failing-health old man who had little left to live for (or have self-esteem about) apart from being a Subud helper.

I allowed him to give me some challenges to my capacity for tolerance PTU, but there was a danger of me slipping into victimhood, so I also set a boundary over how long I would suffer his repetitive monologues, and when the boring became overwhelming I learned how to break away and find a more 2-way conversation.

The other overly-helpful helper persisted in commenting on my Latihan and gentle signals that he was not being helpful were disregarded, to the point where I responded (after careful reflection and introspection) angrily (this time he heard me) and spelled out the evidence that a) my Latihan was working fine and b) where was his Latihan practice if he was so busy watching and analysing mine.
At the next meeting he made a point of seeking me out and apologising for his over-enthusiastic helping. This resolution of the incident left us both with an enhanced respect for each other.

As I got deeper into Subud, and the inevitable personality clashes that happen whenever people come together over a period of time, our most senior helper one day imparted to me the wise story of the rice grains, which I subsequently made into a webpage entitled ""Spiritual Cookery Class":
http://www.brothermichael.org.uk/resources/recipe.htm

The path of brotherhood/sisterhood is never an easy one! - so many resonances with past family issues!


From Bronte, June 15, 2008. Time 0:5

I thought Bapak hoped most members with experience and some understanding would become helpers. If this was so it might make helpers a majority, not an "elite" minority. And helpers do act as the much needed "Reference Points", no matter how little they are able to "help" members. Their tasks seeem to be utterly misunderstood by everyone, especially them.
People seem to think helpers are priests, when really they are just doormen and door women. They are not meant to control, judge, or run people's lives, nor their latihan. Just to enable people to begin doing latihan and keep on doing it. That, I think, is the totality of what Bapak's life work was, no more, no less, and helper's are meant to be "Bapak's Helpers" in that task.


From Philip Quackenbush, June 12, 2008. Time 18:19

What would Subud be like if we abolished the Helper system?

More harmonious, because there would be nobody specific to complain to about "spiritual" matters or look to for answers to their "problems", thus allowing members to seek out others (or look "within") that they feel comfortable with for their "spiritual" "progress" or resolution of their "problems." The committee would also be free to pursue whatever practical items needed attending to without the interference of "spiritual" "advice".

It's time for the cult to lose its cultishness and operate as a "normal" organization that simply provides a venue for the practice of the "latihan" and a platform for providing assistance to members and others in charitable pursuits.

If the premise of the practice of the "latihan" is "receiving" for one's self, then there is no real need for "receiving" by or through others except when asked for, again, only from people whom the questioner feels comfortable with, not from an organized (or in many cases, disorganized and/or dysfunctional) body of "do-gooders".

If Subud as an organization hasn't had enough members progress in their understanding to see the "cancerous" nature of the "helpers" body to at least attempt to excise it (if operable) or produce an environment in which it can no longer survive, then I see little hope for the organization's continued survival as of much use to the rapidly-transforming world we live in.

There is abundant literature available both online and in print for those who wish to inquire about the organization, so there's no longer any real need even for the "helpers" to introduce prospective members to what it is and what it does. Those not inclined to read about it can make an assessment from meeting other members as to whether they want to be "opened," just as members in general are capable of assessing the needs and personal situations of inquirers/applicants. Once a person has expressed an interest in being "opened", he or she can then get together with others to decide when and under what circumstances (just them or an entire group) an "opening", formal or otherwise, can occur. Experience may have some bearing on the question, but I've seen a lot of new members who are far more accessible to applicants than "helpers" who have been in the organization for decades.

Peace, Philip


From sjahari, June 10, 2008. Time 1:6

The single essential function of helpers in the present system is to take care of the needs of new and interested people. The current system fills that need in a way that is reasonably consistent across the subud world. ( As far as the rest of their functions go, they could easily be abolished without much of an impact.)
Sjahari hollands


From Maria, June 9, 2008. Time 8:44

A lot healthier for members and helpers alike. I would advocate a mentoring system where new members are teamed up with any member willing to take on the role and has already established a relationship with the applicant/new member. Answering member's questions does not require the person to be expert- a willingness to listen, explore, suggest options,share thoughts concerns with others...Testing in for more onerous or responsible positions which require considerable input into the organisation could be negotiated, shared, job share whatever- Although not fully thought through a more democratic, shared power would be preferable. Am I being too idealstic to thnk this improve understanding and harmony within grups/regions/nations? This question needs a bit more work but getting away from the old style power plays (even though that was not the original intention) would be very liberating.


From Aliman, June 8, 2008. Time 19:41

There are two aspects to this question: current and future. Regarding current, ablolishing Helpers wouldn't change Subud much because Helper groups currently aren't an organized force that effects policy. Helpers as a group (local, regional or national) don't collectively cause much change nor have much impact. Regarding the future: while Helpers don't have an immediate discernable impact, they probably do have a cumulative impact because they are obliged to provide services and do, in fact, sometimes, answer the call for help in the form of testing for others, and they help to organize and focus efforts at getting people to latihan more than those people probably would without Helpers. So, in the long run, abolishing Helpers would have some negative impact on Subud, but exactly the force of that impact can't be known because there are too many unknown variables to account for. Thus it seems better to simply leave the Helper system alone.


From non-helper, June 7, 2008. Time 19:54

We have all experienced people who can't wait to be helpers and who push themselves forwards at every opportunity. Becoming a helper is like a status symbol or spiritual promotion for them. How much worse it would be with a free-for-all where any person could push themselves forward as a spiritual know-all. Luckily the current system of testing does seem to filter out the worst cases, so at least the helper system provides some kind of safeguard.


What reason would you give to a friend or aquaintance to show there is any value in them joining Subud

From Stefan Freedman, July 19, 2008. Time 10:19

The Subud exercise can enrich our encounter with "one-ness". The most unexpected aspect is that in the exercise (latihan) spontaneous body movements and utterances - often melodic - may arise, often leading to a mood of tranquility and clarity.

If this sounds a bit strange and hard to imagine then you've got the picture!

Those who believe in God may see the latihan as a gift from God while others might picture it as a natural integrative force, or perhaps a current of healing and vitality such as "chi". Varying explanations exist and every participant is at liberty to experience it and form their own ideas.

Many practitioners say that the benefit is cumulative and takes a little time. In some cases what is valued is a sense of "connectedness". To borrow Thich Naht Hanh's terminology, the latihan of Subud may help people to experience "interbeing".

It's something of a mystery and an unfolding adventure.


From Halima, July 19, 2008. Time 6:4

The contact in the Subud exercise is an actual evolving/developing experience of the presence of the Divine Infinite Loving Source and Supply of all that is.(God). Each person in Subud receives this according to their own nature, capacity and willingness. There is no 'dogma' in Subud. It is not a religion. It is an intensely personal spiritual contact with the divine intelligent life force within, and a training in purification and soul awareness. The spiritual exercise of Subud is an extraordinary gift of God's Grace that is allowing humans to repair our connections to God, each other and the planet, allowing us to live our highest and best visions of life on earth.