Subud Vision is running a project to find new ways of describing both the latihan and Subud. These could include "religion-neutral" descriptions, and also descriptions that try to explain the latihan and Subud within the context of different religious viewpoints.

To get the discussion started we have provided links to existing alternative descriptions of Subud and/or the latihan, and append further descriptions sent to us by Subud members.

  1. SBDPubs web site: Alternative Descriptions of Subud
  2. A description by Leonard Priestley: htm pdf
  3. Let Go! Let God!"
  4. From
  5. Achieving Spontaneity
  6. History of Physical and Spiritual Healing
  7. Article by Stefan Freedman "An Alternative Introduction"
  8. This article by David Week includes an alternative description of Subud
  9. From a feedback item by Philip Quackenbush: "The phenomena that are usually in consciousness are a bit like scattered pieces of flotsam drifting on the stream ... Most people's consciousness is so full of flotsam that they never see the stream that it's floating in. The purpose of meditation, or quiet periods, or "latihan", then, can be seen as removing the flotsam to see the stream."
  10. A letter written to The Aberree, a key "spiritual" publication in the heydey of the 1960s. For more on this publication, see The letter starts at the bottom of the page and finishes at the top of the second page. An interesting historical window into the same debates we are having today.

You may also be interested in this page: Why I Do the Latihan?", a project collecting feedback from members as to what motivates them to carry on with the practise of the latihan.

Your own descriptions of the latihan welcome. Please send your ideas and comments to for inclusion on this page.

From Michael Irwin, November 29, 2007. Time 22:42

The latihan is a spontaneous kinetic process, apparently directed by my unconscious, whereby, through many repetitions, I become more aware of my self.

From Stefan, February 6, 2008. Time 16:57

From Helissa Penwell - My experience after 40 years of latihan:

I am constantly fascinated to observe how my innerself is training my thinking and emotions to work in harmony with it. So, as in latihan where we are moved to do this or that, I may feel an emotion coming from my center, and not as a reaction in the normal way. Or I may react to a situation in the normal way and then experience feedback in the form of a kind of sickening sensation that originates in my inner-feelings that sends a red flag up that my reaction is not right and I need to adjust it. That generally means that I have some self-reflection and adjustment to do.

On the other hand, I am often aware of having an emotion and behind it is the flow of a calm energy that buoys me up and carries me forward, and that signals that I am in harmony with my innerself. Things work out much better for me when I stay in harmony and self-correct when I find myself out of harmony. (Others might say "in harmony with the Will of God" here, but I'm trying to stick with psychological terms according to the preferences of the present posters on this website)

Life has gotten even more interesting since the latihan's influence has reached my intellect. As with my emotions, thoughts come to me bypassing the usual channels. I'm much more creative than I ever was in my younger days. I can't wait to hear what I'm going to think next! The same feedback system is also working on my thinking: when I am thinking thoughts out of harmony with my deeper self, then I start feeling a fingernails-on-the-blackboard feeling; when I am thinking in line with my innerself, then I feel confident and the ideas flow easily and I can express myself well. The latihan has only served to improve my intellect, so I'm having difficulty tuning into what you are saying about there being a problem.

To sum up-- the latihan is always working in me to bring all parts of myself into a working harmony, a functioning whole. So it's not a situation of the innerself versus the heart and mind. The innerself functions more as a director, working through and with the thoughts and feelings, bringing life and energy to them. All parts work together. I hope this helps and hasn't added to the confusion. It's often difficult to explain in words what is mostly experience.

From Stefan, February 6, 2008. Time 17:21

No Concept

Sometimes I have the sense of a wide and loving consciousness infusing me. This can happen intensely (but doesn't always) during latihan, and with increasing frequency happens outside it. It's like long-awaited sunrays after a grey spell, but it reaches deeper.

At these moments it feels as though "God" or "Goddess" is re-aligning my scattered fragments. But then I see the world news and my intellect fights with the idea of a loving Deity. So I abandon myself to the gift, when it arises, without marrying any fixed concept of the source.

Since embarking on the latihan experiment I've discovered innate abilities(cooking, massage, dance and choreography) that arise from being able to "let go" as I've gradually become accustomed to do in latihan. This is complemented by what I learn in the normal way, but the spontaneous part seems to arise "by itself" and adds an original quality. I have non-Subud friends who work intuitively and am not at all claiming this as something exclusive to the latihan - just that latihan seems to help me to access it whereas previously I was inhibited.