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Re: Subud
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: July 29, 2009 01:22AM


Subud is not a plastic toy rocket, I'm well aware of that. But the concept of abstraction is really important when it comes to understanding the mechanics of what is happening here

The ability to think metaphorically and abstractly is compromised if one has been a long term inmate in prison, or in a closed society, driven by fear of reprimand, such as Subud.

And a huge part of recovery after leaving a closed society/prison is regaining the ability to utilize both abstract and metaphorical thought, as Jupiter as done with her use of the Saturn V rocket and the plastic model of that same rocket.

Persons still in prison or whose thought patterns remain constricted by cult socialization tend respond to other peoples use of metaphor as if it were meant literally.

This is similar ot what happens when one is in a trance, or under stress and has regressed to the literal thinking of early childhood.

A way to tell whether a social situation is prison-like/cultic is the extent to which it causes loss of ability to utilize metaphorical and abstract thought.

To do science one has to be able to utilize metaphor and abstract thinking.

Same thing for actual artistic endeavor--and for humor.

Both art and science are greatly hampered in despotic closed societies.

And in despotic, closed societies, humor can be a very dangerous thing...

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Re: Subud
Posted by: Lincoln ()
Date: July 29, 2009 06:55PM

Well spoken Corboy!

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Re: Subud
Posted by: Andrew Hall ()
Date: August 03, 2009 07:49PM


I tired to post a message previously, but it seems to have not gotten through so let me try again.

I certainly agree that my experience of Subud is far different than yours. My point in describing who I am and my involvement in Subud was to let you know who you are talking to.

Let me be very explicit. I do not believe a lot of the Subud crap, and I find a lot of Subud culture to be delusional and an abdication of personal responsibility.

Just one example - the 3-month waiting period, I disagree with it and make that point whenever I can. Nor do I test about many things. And if I do, it is just another thing for me to consider, I do not feel it is God telling me what to do.

So please disabuse yourself of any idea that I am coming from that place. I am not.

My period of cognitive dissonance happened long ago, when I saw a lot of my Magical Thinking for just what it was. I was angry when I read Bapak's comments and judgments about homosexuals because it was disgusting, not because I was attached to Bapak, not at all.

Nor am I trying to keep a dream alive. I am only trying to speak my own truth, to consider and reflect on what works in Subud and what doesn't. To me, that is a healthy thing to do.

I am not starting with the premise that Subud is good for me. Nor is that where I am now. I am trying to weigh what I find valuable and worth keeping. Some of it is. That is why I consider myself part of Subud, but it is certainly not my whole life. This is not a matter of belief - I am not trying to believe in Subud. Nor am I trying to turn a lie into a truth, as you say I am.

As for Subud syncretism, all human culture and religion is syncretic. That is how life is. Subud may just seem a little more exotic. Are you angry that Pak Subuh presented himself as bringing a gift from Heaven? Well, he was a man very much of his time and place. Maybe the fault was that people in the West bought the whole story.

I love how articulate you are "What I'm angry at is the thought process behind these actions: pomposity, naivety, blatant lack of adult responsibility, zero-self awareness, chronic repetition of basic mantras, perpetual contradiction, circular logic, brick-wall selfishness, impetuousness, delusion, bloated self-importance and flights of fancy that would tire an albatross."

But the early Christians could also be described using this language, as they waited for the Second Coming. Human nature is what it is.

When you say "You can't make something better that is inherently broken. The best will in the world can't erase the mistakes of the past. That's why broken governments fall. The cults of Athena and Mithras were just as beneficial for their members as Subud is to you. That doesn't mean those Gods were real or that we need to believe in them now. And if you believe the Latihan is real just because you feel it, it doesn't take much effort to explain this - it's basically called 'Magical Thinking,' and is a well documented effect."

My reply is:
- I am not trying to erase the mistakes of the past. Not at all. I want to hold them up for better examination so we can learn for the future. I think we learn just as much, maybe more, from failure. And Subud has had some spectacular failures.
- I do not believe in God in the sense that you are using it.
- I do not believe in the latihan either. Belief has nothing to do with it. It is an experience.
- Because it is an experience, there is no magical thinking involved, in fact there is no thinking at all. Thinking is about the left side of the brain. The latihan is about the right side. Metaphorically speaking, of course.

I respect your experience Jupiter, and your eloquence, "There is no verifiable objective truth - we're human! We're alive! It sucks, it's supposed to suck. Life is crap for everyone. Life is confusing and sucky and painful for everyone alive (and indeed everyone who has ever lived), and not just because they haven't been opened yet. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of human pains and fears just waiting to be exploited. Subud exploits them in a bumbling and demoralising way. It makes members selfish and pompous, paranoid and confused. It makes the worst parts of human nature seem 'divine' and the best seem unwanted and dark."

I repeat my request to tell your story at the workshop/discussion I want to hold at the World Congress.


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Re: Subud
Posted by: Jupiter ()
Date: August 06, 2009 08:03AM


Are you angry that Pak Subuh presented himself as bringing a gift from Heaven?

Andrew, I'm angry at ANYONE who claims this or anything remotely like it. Including the members themselves who claim to receive it. I'm angry at ANY cult, EVERY religion, I'm angry at the whole world. Do you want to know why? Really? This is not a Subud issue, but it comes down to this:

Most people on this planet are lying most of the time. Most of these lies are 'below the radar' - "sure I'm good with numbers," "yeah my best friend went out with xx rock star before he was famous." they are harmless lies, but they are still lies. What's frustrating is that everyone does it almost all of the time then refuses to own up to it. Of COURSE I received I'm the reincarnation of the Queen of Sheba. No, I would NEVER exaggerate my receivings. Of COURSE I wasn't just lying on the floor thinking about the meeting this morning. Of COURSE I was screaming because I was purifying my ancestors and NOT because of the threatening letter from the mortgage company. Me, lie? Me, exaggerate? Even a little? Never, never, never, never, never!!!

Do you know what the main piece of advice I've ever been given is? I've heard this all of my life from literally dozens of people. No exaggeration!!! I've heard it from my dad, my boss, my tutors, helpers, and they all say to me, when I come to them with a problem: "listen, everyone is acting. if you want to succeed, you just have to join in. nobody really knows what they're doing, you just have to pretend."

("Wish there was something real, wish there was something true..." - trent reznor)

Andrew, I don't want to act. Ever. I don't want to have to lie about even tiny things about what I had for breakfast. I'm not ashamed of who I am. I want to change, but I want to change for real. meditate on the depth of that for a while and ask yourself if ever, if even for a teeny weeny tiny little moment, you've ever exaggerated your Latihan, pretended you received something that you didn't, went with the atmosphere in the group because it was easier, or sat back for a quiet life. I know that the very fact you're here and talking to me, and want to run your workshops, prove that you ARE genuine, and you genuinely believe what you're doing is right.

My problem is with Subud, yes. My problem is with both Bapak AND the membership at large. But to be honest, it's also with the whole world, the whole of human history... why can't we be allowed to be ourselves?

Bapak's "rules" made it utterly impossible for me to be myself. The Subud system, the culture, the 2G/3G crap I heard all the time (like you're a superhero for being born in Subud. that you OWE them something because they made your life so much easier by giving birth to you, and they expect high returns. very high. I wouldn't be surprised if they expected us to fly). My parents choices took away my chance for a normal life. My choices determine who I am today, but what if I don't like myself? there's no real guide out there. If my boss tells me that everyone in the room (including politicians, CEOs and senior managers) is acting, everyone is insecure, they're just acting because they have to, and I have to join in... then what? Who can I really turn to? my parents had nothing but their Subud lies. Those lies were all they ever had.

'seeker' on any path: pain ---> desperation ---> search for answer
'leader' on any path: desire for success ---> acting ---> provision of answer

that's great! everyone's happy. er... except it's not true. and not everyone IS happy. when the seeker learns his answer is false it compounds his original pain, invalidates his original search for knowledge.

you know, I'm not angry all the time. In fact most of the time I'm really quite happy, because I'm ME, I live my life, I write crap stories, take crap photographs, do crap community work and everything is fine. but I'm an agnostic, my answers have to be true, they have to be ACTUALLY true not pretend-true. just because I demand something more robust from my gurus than Bapak or Subud could ever provide, doesn't mean my pain, my questions, my desperation are any less potent than they are in anybody else.

for me the placebo is just a placebo. I have high standards yet expect nothing. how does that work? it's like standing in an empty room staring at the ceiling. or sitting on a little blue world staring at the stars.

I could never be happy in any place where I am expected to adhere to some ridiculous preconceived idea of what I'm meant to be. (yes I know THAT is going to severely impact my success in life). and yet all I feel is guilt: if I could just pretend, if I could just keep pretending, just like I used to... but I can't. whatever I experience, whatever I feel, whatever I achieve, I want it to be REAL. It HAS to be real. Otherwise we're all just alone on this overcrowded lump of rock screaming into space and staring at computer algorithms or into taco shells in the futile hope that something is screaming back.

for the record... I define agnosticism in its broadest sense. I'm comfortable with the thought of a higher power but not any definition of it so far known. If the Undefinable is true, then it encompasses everything, everything we see. Therefore anyone claiming to come from it, who is preaching that any part of our existence is false, is false in my mind. Maybe not yours, that's fine, we're different. Bapak claims to come from God then starts saying that women must wear make-up so their husbands don't get bored of them, or that ALL animals were put on earth for the sole purpose of serving man, or that modern cosmology is actually wrong because he's personally flown across the Universe himself, is building a foundation upon which all that follows is false. Just the same as every other self-proclaimed prophet who starts discrediting whole populations and pretending large swathes of the Universe aren't really there. If the Undefinable does not exist, it doesn't matter. If belief in the Latihan helps some people, then great. Sugar pills for all (Maybe even a spark of the Undefinable DOES get through sometimes. I've had inexplicable experiences, they just didn't happen in the Latihan hall). But for people like me who were born being told the most ridiculous lies, and spent until about age 12 believing them, and then until about 18 TRYING to make them real, then until the present hating themselves for NOT being what they were 'supposed' to be, it's pretty angry-making.

If there is an Undefinable then it is real. It is as real as the photographs from the Hubble Space Telescope. The Undefinable must be in them as well as in churches or Subud Halls. It must be in atoms, computers, and vomit-soaked streets on Friday nights. If it exists, it exists by its very nature in everything.

If it exists in everything, then no part of it can be discredited false. and if, by its nature, it is in everything, no one person can have more of a share of it than another. no-one can understand more than another. Scientists are a bit bratty sometimes but you would never find one on stage telling the others that their results were given to them alone (yeah, I know exactly what Bapak said, and no, I don't buy it. one minute we can all experience everything for ourselves then the next we're not experienced enough, and besides he's the reincarnation of Adam. Give it a rest...).

But for the record, I have no personal problem with Mohammed or Jesus or Siddhartha or anyone who ACTUALLY DID SOMETHING. I'm happy to interpret their words in my own little agnostic bubble. Stand up for an injustice, fight for your beliefs, lead an army, just do something. Don't just sit on a comfy chair on a raised stage in front of your lowly minions, spouting nonsense in a language none in the audience can understand, then stare into space for half an hour whilst your idiot translator attempts to summarise your wishes that everyone should start a business and make money for Subud to help Subud expand because Subud is so damn important for the world. (Read the other forum posts on different cults... notice anything familiar?)

As a side issue, I also think the Latihan itself is inherently dangerous, but I'm waaay too tired and grouchy so will cover that in a separate post. I'm you can't wait...

Back to your request, I'm still unhappy with the thought of my forum posts being read out at Christchurch - I started writing here two years ago as part of my own journey. I don't wish for that journey to be analysed by people who can -at best- only ever understand a fraction of it. I'm still happy to write and send you that summary I suggested, but I'm away a lot right now so it might take some time. When do you need it by?

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Re: Subud
Posted by: Jupiter ()
Date: August 22, 2009 08:48PM

It's beginning to dawn on me that I really want Subud to be the enemy. I want the things I went through to be endemic and systematic, the abuses to be integral to the whole culture. I don't want to be an 'extreme case.' I don't want to be the only one. But I think I am - its my mum and dad whose actions I can't understand and it's going to destroy me if I don't let go... so on some level I'm trying to prise open my mind wide enough to let a shred of empathy get through. This is the result:


I wouldn't go back to Subud in a million years (unless I suffered a severe psychotic breakdown) but I accept that people want to stay in and change things for the better, so here are my personal pointers for anyone who wants to keep their sanity and stay in their group..

1) Don't test. Don't ever test about anything. Don't even ENTERTAIN the idea of testing. The moment you believe you possess a secret gift for telling the future and unearthing arcane secrets, you are a lost cause. There is no possible way of retaining your sanity and testing, whether on everyday issues or 'kejiwaan'.

2) Accept that the Latihan may not come from God. It helps you, right? You feel better afterwards? More at peace, more at tune with yourself? Fine. Same thing happens with Tai Chi and extreme sports. If you believe that your 'receivings' may just be catharsis, they may come from your subconscious, and that there is plenty of scientific evidence to support this, then at least you can preserve a bit of self-respect and raise an eyebrow when 'God' starts telling you things that are a little bit weird.

3) Acknowledge that your Higher Power would love you and be there for you even if you left Subud. You're not going to end up in a bad place if you ever wish to stop doing the Latihan. Your Higher Power should love you unconditionally and if it doesn't, then your belief system needs a tune-up. This isn't the same as moral relativism, but I cannot conceive of any God or Force that would give a gift of absolute guidance to ~10,000 people and deny it to the remaining 7 billion. To me, the Unknowable exists within everyone equally. How could it be any other way?

4) Only invest in Enterprises you would have supported anyway. By anyway I mean, even if Subud wasn't involved. What, you would never invest in a non-Subud business? Well, there you go. Don't give your money to someone just because you go for tea sometimes or you had a great testing session with them once (you shouldn't be testing in the first place, remember?). This is the shortcut to drama, emotional abuse and financial ruin. Just Say No...

5) Don't scare your children. Every child on earth thinks the loo is haunted or that there is a demon under the bed. Your role as a parent is to go in and tell them there is nothing there. DO NOT turn white as a sheet, rush in and lock the door, start howling and emerge panicked five minutes later saying that, yes, there WAS a bad spirit in there, but it's gone now, because Daddy does the Latihan and has sent it back where it belongs. Because that will really, really mess them up..

6) Use Discretion. Sure, Subud has changed your life, that's great. No, the rest of the world doesn't want to know about it. The girl in the supermarket, the rest of the parent-teacher association, the Big Issue seller down the street... they don't want to know. Will they think you are a prophet and thank you forever for revolutionising their lives? No, they will think you're nuts. Don't go there.

7) Don't Sweat the Small Stuff. Does God really care if you wear jeans or an Indonesian Batik skirt? Is 'He' really that bothered if you have a little aromatherapy habit on the side? Will the slice of chocolate cake over the stodgy home-made olive bread put your progress back ten years? Are you going to be punished for choosing to holiday in Japan instead of heading off to that Zone 3 gathering? No? No. I think God is more likely to be insulted by excessive navel-gazing, National Council dramas and general bad behaviour than about stripy socks and and blue mascara.

8) Cultivate Self Awareness. You made a mistake. You had a bad thought during Latihan. You only stood for that post because of ego and pride. Things went wrong, it hurt. Stop trying to be more than human, and stop lying about it. Nobody can live up to that kind of charade for very long and you'll just end up hating yourself. You can help people without being a helper and you can be self-employed - if you really want to - without becoming a billionaire. Take off the Buddha Mask and don't be so afraid of being alive. That whole vegetable force thing is nonsense. Everyone gets angry, everyone fails, everyone has to poo. You can't transcend the barriers of your own biology so don't even try. Just put your best into everything and take time to reflect when things don't work out.

9) To Thine Own Self Be True. You like science, become a scientist. You want to travel, go travelling. Don't ask God or the helpers or lay awake worrying about doing the 'wrong' thing or going down the 'wrong' path. There is no 'wrong' thing, there is just the life you lead and the person you are. Nobody gets to escape that so be true to yourself and don't live for anyone else. It's just good advice...

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/22/2009 08:49PM by Jupiter.

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Re: Subud
Posted by: Andrew Hall ()
Date: August 25, 2009 09:51AM

Hi Jupiter,

It sounds like our back and forth is stirring up some pretty heavy shit for you. I hope you don't mind me responding from my own perspective.

1) Testing. I do test but I definitely don't think it's anywhere near a special or secret gift. It's something that anyone or any group could do after a minimum of practice. I don't feel it unearths arcane secrets or foretells the future. It just gives me another perspective to consider. My main use of testing is to ask what my attitude is to someone and what it could be, and I then can compare the two feelings.

2) Where does the latihan come from? From inside myself is my best guess, so I agree with you that "'receivings' may just be catharsis, they may come from your subconscious, ... there is plenty of scientific evidence to support this ..."

3)I completely agree with you that my Higher Power would not abandon me if I left Subud. He/She might even stand up and cheer! As you put it so well "I cannot conceive of any God or Force that would give a gift of absolute guidance to ~10,000 people and deny it to the remaining 7 billion. To me, the Unknowable exists within everyone equally. How could it be any other way?"

4) Enterprises. To me, this is a sordid chapter in Subud's short history in the West. As you say, this has been a "shortcut to drama, emotional abuse and financial ruin. Just Say No..."

5) Don't scare your children. I shudder at your story and am truly appalled that your parents may have done this to you. It is the job of parents to give their children security and love, and to empower children to have the confidence to face the unknown, to tell children they are smart enough, strong enough and resourceful enough to venture into the world.

6) Use Discretion. Completely agree. Be normal. My own approach is to to cherish those friends I have that are non-Subud and think it's kinda weird.

7) Don't Sweat the Small Stuff. Right On. As you say, "God is more likely to be insulted by excessive navel-gazing, National Council dramas and general bad behaviour than about stripy socks and and blue mascara."

8) Cultivate Self Awareness. I love it. "Take off the Buddha Mask and don't be so afraid of being alive. That whole vegetable force thing is nonsense. Everyone gets angry, everyone fails, everyone has to poo. You can't transcend the barriers of your own biology so don't even try. Just put your best into everything and take time to reflect when things don't work out."

9) "To Thine Own Self Be True. You like science, become a scientist. You want to travel, go travelling. Don't ask God or the helpers or lay awake worrying about doing the 'wrong' thing or going down the 'wrong' path. There is no 'wrong' thing, there is just the life you lead and the person you are. Nobody gets to escape that so be true to yourself and don't live for anyone else. It's just good advice.."

I love what you say, Jupiter. It sounds like my kind of Subud. Very normal people living healthy lives. That's my first priority. Changing the world will have to wait until after lunch.

Take care,
Andrew Hall

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Re: Subud
Posted by: Jupiter ()
Date: September 05, 2009 12:25AM

Heavy shit indeed.

Well I've reached a point where I can look in the mirror and say, "No, it isn't Subud," or at least, "it isn't completely Subud." I really want to keep blaming them though, you know? Like that would be so much easier. But the organisation as a whole can only take so much responsibility for what its individual members say, do and believe.

I had a hard time growing up. I don't want to sit here and tear my parents to shreds, since there's every possibility in the world they might end up reading it. But sometimes you can't keep running from shadows, you have to turn and look into them, to see if there's anything there. Most time it's nothing, it's just a shadow. But just sometimes the monsters are real.

A child hurt by monsters never stops screaming in the dark. When all you do is run from shadows you think the thing that's chasing you is bigger, stronger, and more terrifying than ever before. But if you just stop, and turn around, and stare down the shadows, the monster is just... a moth, or a beetle, or a little grizzly thing no higher than your knee. That's when you realise your own strength.

My parents kept me out of school when I was growing up. All my life they said it was because there was something wrong with me - something sinister, something supernatural. They -especially my mother- used Subud to justify it. All those dark years, completely alone, not even allowed to make phone calls to other kids my age (not even Subud ones, I might add), whilst I had to sit and watch my beautiful sister be allowed to live a normal life: have boyfriends, go to school, pass exams. Whilst I was kept away, child turning to teenager, so lonely, so full of self-hate, listening to drunken lies night after night about being murdered in past lives and the ghosts that surrounded me and being put on earth for a 'purpose' that nobody but her seemed to understand.

When I asked why, why was I kept away from the world, I was told that's what I 'wanted'. What I 'needed'. Yes, that's right, when I asked why I was denied the rights of a child she told me it was my fault. A five year old girl's fault. A thirteen year old girl's fault. My mum took a bouncy, inquisitive, rather undisciplined little girl and misrepresented her into a terrified, socially phobic, disabled freak. A child so vulnerable that she couldn't even go to school.

And everyone believed her. Even me.

That's all.

That's what I saw when I stared into the shadows. Just that. Only that.

It doesn't sound so much.

My rants at Subud are just screaming at shadows. Just the shadows that surround me. It's not really where the monsters are.

Scream, hate, blame - diversion. Running away, refusing to face those things that were real.

It doesn't really sound so much.

Full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

Andrew, I'm writing that letter now. I'll send it when it's done, I hope it helps. I finally get what I've been trying to say.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/05/2009 12:26AM by Jupiter.

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Re: Subud
Posted by: Tootie123 ()
Date: September 05, 2009 01:15AM

Dear Sweet Jupiter.

Heavy indeed. I think your parents did some pretty awful things to you. They had the right intentions I guess but that doesn't help...if they were crazy. I also believe that you are intelligent and can work your way out of it. That's what life's all about, right? Sorting out our own personal stash of junk? Seeking a true path to God? Plus, we are here for you.... to offer a listening ear.

Take Care

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Re: Subud
Posted by: Lincoln ()
Date: September 06, 2009 03:02AM

Dear Jupiter,
I sympathise with you and can only grieve with you as you relive these sad memories of childhood and youth. All I can say is that this is what Subud encourages sadly. It encourages weird unbalanced thinking and delusions of grandeur and such silly things as 'clearing' rooms of 'spirits' by latihaning ect. I can totally relate to this sort of behaviour.
The past lives thing as well! I mean, isn't that what is taught in Subud? I'm sure practically every Subud member has had a 'past lives' experience in the latihan some time or rather. Its an unspoken expectation they all rise inevitably to meet. I know I was convinced I had had three past lives as various romantic figures including a princess!
One only has to read of Pak Subuhs spiritual experiences in Prio Hartonos book' Mysticism of Java' (avaliable online) to realize how offbeat Pak Subuhs experiences were yet Subud people believed him implicitly as though he was infallible just like the catholic pope! And then of course Subud people try to duplicate their leaders experiences for themselves.

All I can say is I am glad for your sake you are out of this strange cult Subud and I pray your mother and parents come to realize what they actually did to you as a child and repent of it.
That perhaps can only happen if they are released mentally and spiritually from this twisted organisation. I see from your last post your perceptions of Subud are crystallizing into a very balanced view of it all. I like your survival guide. Well done!
I feel sorry for Subud people trapped in their spiritual and mental prison of their Subud world. They are like a ship without a rudder in the storms of life. God's word has been my beacon of light leading me safely out of the storm and into a safe peaceful harbour. I praise Him for my deliverance every day as He continues to deliver me from everything that oppresses my soul in this world. All Glory to the Lord.

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Re: Subud
Posted by: Jupiter ()
Date: September 07, 2009 01:13AM

Thanks, both of you.

Tootie, you're absolutely right. I am here, inside my life. I know how I ended up here, I know where the front door is, and after three years of searching through boxes I just found the key. After all this time I can walk away, or I can throw the key back in the boxes and start digging all over again. It's not like I don't know which path to take.

Lincoln, yes, I know a lot of people have had those same experiences. I don't want to hate my parents. I don't. I feel like I'm holding something back, I wouldn't explore the depths of my anger and pain at my mum in a public place. I'm quite happy to acknowledge that I've been holding Subud ransom just because they not only justified it but actually praised her behaviour (she was a National Helper), and provided a framework for it all to happen.

I don't particularly care about my dad or Subud really. I don't think either of them (I'm referring to Subud as a distinct entity) fully understood or genuinely cared what was going on. I don't really blame anyone for that.

But how different my life would have been if even one person had helped...

My mum won't ever leave Subud. She won't ever acknowledge what she's done. When she's caught out in a lie she just throws another one on top to cover it. She's not a mother, just a victim, that's all she'll ever be. Everything has to be someone else's fault, she has no self awareness. I don't want to sound mean but she isn't capable of being an adult. It's not just the mental health but the behavioural aspects too. I know she won't ever change. Dad I'm not too bothered about. He had very high hopes for me and I let him down, but I don't blame him for having high hopes nor do I blame myself for letting him down. I just wish he could be proud of what I have achieved, but that's too far for him to jump. I don't feel anything.

I was reading an article on our Image of God. We may think or hear that God is all-loving, all compassionate, but our experiences, especially within cults, can create an 'image' of a very different type of God to the one we hear about. This causes huge conflict inside us. We might start to 'see' a God that is abusive, controlling, impossible to please, fickle, disinterested, angry and even cruel. My image of God, although I never really thought about it, was of an old, strict teacher in some traditional boarding school, standing at the front of the class with a cane, constantly calling me to the front every hour to repeatedly punish me for not getting Straight A's in last year's homework.

This may be because of my experiences in education, but probably more because my private response to Subud teachings was that I could never do enough to please God, there was too much to learn, I could never become the thing that He - or anyone - wanted of me. That the bar was just so high I could never reach it. I believed my parents when they said He had put me here for a purpose, but I also believed that I had failed that destiny. I had already let Him down and everyone with it - not just my family or Subud but everyone on the Earth. I really, really believed God utterly despised me, that my purpose had been passed to someone else, that I would just be left to rot and die because of my weakness in letting all these 'lower forces' corrupt my soul.

It's nobody's fault that I held such a distorted belief. "No fate but what we make..."

I think people would have helped if they had really known how ill my mother was, how unbelievably manipulative. But what could they have done?

I will sound like the worst hypocrite after three years of screaming at Subud, but whilst the burden of my own experience hasn't exactly been lifted from me (I have to consciously choose whether to confront my mum or just let it lie, how melodramatic) I feel that my burden has been lifted from Subud. Like a caged bird has been set free. I want to say, "Go on, go! Fly off, live your lives, dream your dreams, you couldn't have saved me anyway. Ensure none of your fledglings ever suffer again, and I'll have no more dealings with you."

Does that make any sense?

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