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Re: To read up on Subud
Posted by: Lincoln ()
Date: July 07, 2009 11:58AM

Bronte G
Dear Jupiter,
I wish I could encourage you to just do what you want. Be Normal.
Be yourself. No one can tell you what is right for you. Go and visit your friends, choose whatever friends you like. Enjoy your life. It is yours, not mine, not any one else's to dictate, limit or control. You can choose to let people hold you back, or you can ignore them.
You can do what you want with your abilities.
I think the "Desiderata" says it all for me, and is an inspiration with no boundaries.
I hope you will find it, read it, and let it help you find your path away from all the limitations life seems to have placed before you. Peace!

Hi Bronte,
Its pretty hard to be 'normal' when one is operating on 'FEELINGS'. The normal logical processes of the critical faculties of the mind are by-passed as one operates on the SUBUD LEVEL. GO WITH YOUR FEELINGS IS THEIR MOTTO! The whole philosophy underpinning Subud is based on EXPERIENCES instead of cold hard FACTS. TESTING encourages people to do all sort of weird and wonderful things as people believe they are GUIDED by God. The latihan is a free for all, whatever you FEEL is real! Who is to assess it? By what measure is it analysed? To throw the healthy mental thought processes of a normal human being further into confusion people are told NOT TO THINK!! Come on! What an absolutey foolish thing to suggest to a full grown adult! Let themselves be led about like a bull with a ring in its nose by all of BAPAKS TEACHINGS. Thats the biggest LIE Subud proppgates ie that there is no teaching! Go on to their sites where you can see members joking about this aspect of it. They realize full well Subud is FULL of teachings and beliefs. The only true peace subud people will have is when they leave it! Receive the peace of God? Jesus said ' My peace I give unto you not as the world gives. My peace will REMAIN with you and no man can take it away.

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Re: six months and struggling.
Posted by: jazz3man ()
Date: July 07, 2009 12:22PM

Hi Lincoln

Thanks for the great reply. What is most insightful is your own experience of being thrown across the room, of testing, of the latihan procedure, etc. I went to a Subud Centre to try and hang up some posters for an upcoming performance I have at a SUBUD enterprise venue, and when I got there, it was all boarded up, painted over, doors locked...highly secretive, like a Freemason's Hall...

I have already noticed all the inconsistencies you mentioned above. There appears to be no capacity for rational thinking, as everything is subject to feelings, which are supposedly always right. My friend does not accept the written scriptures of Christianity and Islam as representative of these faiths, so she can make up her own mind about the identity of Jesus, about the horrible things the Koran teaches, and so on.

Everything you say lines up with what my friend has told me. She converted to Islam about 3 years ago and says it was for no other reason than that God told her. She says she often finds what she reads in the Koran repulsive but she thinks she is just simply not understanding its truth yet and it will surely sink in later.

Do you live in Australia? If yes, i would love to meet. Is your husband a Christian as well now? If not, were you able to remain compatible? I wouldn't think so...

I had a look at the AntiSubud Website and I think it is really negative and hostile and written from an atheistic perspective (and not very current), so I am not sure it is the best way to expose my friend to truth, who has also been raised in a SUBUD family and who has been 'opened' since she was 17. She runs one of the 'enterprises' where I have been performing and is one of the helpers, so she is in deep. So as soon as you have any material on the web, please send me links.

I would love it if in your journey to help bring people out of SUBUD you found some successful techniques (other than prayer, which I no doubt will apply), if you could share those. But I agree: Lonely souls looking for LOVE. I would add to that that they are perhaps people who are unstable, and who wanted their ears tickled with promise of world peace, and who don't have the capacity to stand up for absolute truth and carry the consequences.

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Re: six months and struggling.
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: July 08, 2009 02:31AM

I may have mentione this before, but will do so again. Joyce Collin Smith, in her book Call No Man Master may be a good resource if you have not already found it.

Her book gives a description of Pak Subhud and her experiences of the Latihan. She recalled smelling what seemed like incense, and her daughter did, too.

But, later, Joyce had grave misgivings. People, including personsl like herself who had been happily and steadily married for years, found themselves tormented by sexual craving. Some gave in and violated their marriage vows. Joyce herself reported how puzzled and tormented she felt, and that it was like being plunged back into the sexual chaos of adolescence. She felt herself achingly attracted to another man in the group and withstood the tempation only by making sure to keep physical distance from him at all times.

But what really troubled Joyce was sensing a very strong and sexy energy emanating directly from Pak Subud himself. She was also very perturbed when she took Pak's wife shopping and the missus felt entitled to steal whatever she wanted without paying for it.

Joyce didnt like this and departed from Sudud and it cost her many friends. Sadly she fell into the clutches of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and sustained some serious harm.

Her book would be worth serious study by any Christian trying to deepen an understanding of how to test the spirits.

There is also a book by Mr Colin Wilson entitled Rogue Messiahs. He has some interesting and suggestive things to say about how many cult leaders, if male, often have problems with self rejection and seem to have an ability to elicit supernormal powers from themselves and devotees and yet lack the ability to stay humble and
handle this reponsibly. Misuse of sexual energy seems very common.

Wilson's perspective is most interesting because he suggests that it is through our desire for true purpose and higher development--healthy and necessary--that we risk being attracted to persons and groups that work with this kind of power.

These powers can indeed be real, but that does not mean these powers are ultimately good or truthful or serve God.

Again, it is interesting no one ever researched Paks actual background in his home country--his story was taken at face value. Perhaps he had to leave Indonesia to escape bad debts, or because he was already in trouble there for other reasons.

If he gained wealth and a retinue of Western disciples, then perhaps he could return home with prestige and with a patronage network and his past would then be forgotten. In some areas of the world, power,even if acquired through skulduggery, equals virtue.

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Re: six months and struggling.
Posted by: pacifica ()
Date: July 08, 2009 07:55AM

The first Ibu's penchant has been noted by other members who knew her.

I think your hypothesis about Pak Subuh is not sustainable. He didn't come to the West. He was chosen by Western "seekers" on their hunt for new spiritual products. Central to this hunt was J G Bennett, who paraded a long list of exotic "finds" before his audience, like a kind of spiritual P T Barnum. I wonder if this isn't just the last gasp of colonialism: you start by taking the country's physical resources, and end up by taking their cultural resources.

There were a few members who went to Pak Subuh's home town to understand the origins of Subud. They found (as many have since) that the supposedly original "receivings" are just recycled local spirituality. Why not the latihan too? Paul Stange wrote a thesis about Sumarah, an offshoot of Subud, in which he noted that all of these Javanese mystical schools claim to come from an original "wahyu", usually described in the form of a ball of light, and all claimed to be original, even though from an objective view they are all just different mixtures of earlier bits and pieces of Javan ilmu, or "spiritual science".

The acquisition of disciples and resources and power that follow is corrupting, but I don't think it's true that Pak Subuh engineered all this, though he certainly engineered things along the way. What gave him power and influence is Westerners giving up their own autonomy, in order to become followers. What was their motive? It's not enough to say "spiritual development". That doesn't require thoughtless submission to a guru. And it's certainly a sign of the times, because lots of people were doing it then, with different leaders. I don't think it's as true now.

"...our desire for true purpose and higher development--healthy and necessary".

I'm surprised how little this desire is questioned by those who are possessed by it. It's certainly not universal. Have you read "Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism"? It describes how spirituality can be turned into another form of accumulation and ambition: one carries over the same drives and ways of thinking one uses in commerce or sport. Obvious once its pointed out. "Desire for true purpose and higher development" sounds like an ambition to me, and the people I've met who seem consumed by this desire seem to have many problems as a result.

Also pertinent are some of Catherine Joko Beck's talks, including [] and [].

I think this account of hers is particularly relevant to Subud:

"I meet all sorts of people who’ve had all sorts of experiences and they’re still confused and not doing very well in their life. Experiences are not enough. My students learn that if they have so-called experiences, I really don’t care much about hearing about them. I just tell them, 'Yeah, that’s O.K. Don’t hold onto it. And how are you getting along with your mother?' Otherwise, they get stuck there. It’s not the important thing in practice."

Subud started out as experience-centric, and most members seem very impressed by Pak Subuh's "ascension". I wonder if someone else who "speaks with authority" (common phrase among the impressed ones) came along with a wilder story about even higher heavens, they would then turn and follow him or her?

But the advice I think cuts most to the point comes from Thich Nhat Hanh:

"Thirty years of sharing the Dharma in the west have brought opportunities for me to meet Europeans and Americans who bear very much the same kinds of wounds and desires. They have suffered so much that they wanted to have nothing to do with their society, their church, their family, and their culture. They want to become someone else, they want to become an Indian, they want to become a Chinese, and they want to become Vietnamese. They want to become a Buddhist because they have hated everything relating to their roots. You may ask the question whether they have succeeded to leave everything behind in order to become something completely other? The answer is: No.

"When they come to Plum Village, for instance, I recognise them right away. I recognise them right away as Hungry Ghosts. Yes, they are very hungry. They are hungry for something beautiful to believe in. They are hungry for something good to believe in. They are hungry for something true to believe in. They want to leave behind everything that belonged to their society and their culture.

"I know that in order to help these people we have to be very patient. My tendency is to tell them: A person without roots cannot be a happy person. You have to go back to your roots. You have to go back to your family. You have to go back to your culture. You have to go back to your church, and if I tell them so they will get angry with me. They will shout at me, because that is exactly what they don't want to do.

"At the same time I know that a tree without roots cannot survive. A person without roots cannot survive either. So I have to be very patient. I said, "Welcome, practice sitting meditation, you have the right to love the Buddha, to love the Vietnamese culture. Slowly, slowly they recover a little bit of their confidence, their faith, and their capacity to accept love. When the time is right I tell them: Go back to your own culture, go back to your own family, go back to our own church. They need you. Do that for not only your own generation but for the future generations as well."

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Re: six months and struggling.
Posted by: Jupiter ()
Date: July 14, 2009 01:25AM

I love everything that others have written here. I apologise for taking my time in replying.

It struck me today that for most people (Muslims, Christians etc), a love for God is just that: it is love, pure love. Natural faith requires no validation or expression of gratitude, it just exists, it is a feeling that arises within you: Love for God.

Subud is not a mature spirituality, it is the kind of faith that 'demands' things from God. 'Testing,' the process of getting the 'Helpers' to 'ask' God the answer to some trivial question or another (often on either such ridiculous irrelevancies to be pointless to even think of, or on very complex life decisions in which all members of the group have a subconscious vested interest), strikes me as being very similar to an adolescent who thinks up bizarre reasons to phone her crush object at 3am in the hope of being offered some soothing reassurance of mutual affection. When she doesn't get her answer, she throws a strop (how many times have ex-Subudians had to test the same question in a dozen different ways because they want a specific answer?). Anyone with a real, honest love for God would have no reason to 'test.'

It strikes me as a most ironic hypocrisy the tendency in Subud to spout off the usual Islamic teachings about 'Surrender' and then put loads of energy into gathering groups of people together to 'ask God' the most surreal questions like, "What is the impact of the Nafsu (Subudian "lower forces") upon me when I am cooking? What is the impact of the Nafsu upon a Mexican whilst dancing? How do the Angels feel when I am truly surrendered to them?"

Well, if you were truly surrendered, why would it matter? But I digress...

Subud mythos identifies approximately* seven "forces": ranging from the mineral (yep, your soul is a stone) to the highest angel force. As Pacifica explained rather more eloquently in the excellent post above, most of the actual teachings are a) completely senseless and b) borrowed extensively from elsewhere. Subud is the Harry Potter of quasi-Eastern spirituality. There are few Subud members who truly understand the 'talks' and writings of Bapak who, if you ask me, was a very manipulative and messed up person. When I was a helper I made the effort to read such talks because I truly wanted to be a 'better person'. What I read was confusing and stupid and if I had a question, even National and International helpers would fob me off with something along the lines of, "It doesn't matter because the Latihan just works." Nor was anyone in my group willing to debate the finer points of scientific rationalism with me. What saddens and angers me in equal measure is the knowledge that most Subud members are really confused and hurting in themselves and yet their own desire 'to be good,' combined with a lack of general education on the subject of human emotion, puts them in a perilous situation psychologically. THEN, despite their own questions and confusion, they work harder to get other people to become fully integrated into Subud life. What also bugs me is that virtually anything you would want to do in the real world - learn, travel, express yourself creatively, start a business, fall in love - is rather excessively encouraged to be kept within Subud-to-Subud relationships. Because, you know, the real world is just so far behind us developmentally that they just 'wouldn't get it,' so let's keep away from them. Your Subud family knows you better than your real family and friends...

But what REALLY bugs me is this concept of 'Crisis' - a psychological breakdown, which cult researchers routinely call a 'breaking point,' is promoted as the piercing arrow of spiritual enlightenment. Crisis = very good; rational thought = very very very bad.

How anyone can listen to or read a single one of Bapak's talks without getting extremely angry really does amaze me.

I'm agnostic. I some very real evidence of God on this earth and very little evidence to show that anyone has ever understood it. Certainly a bunch of lonely, petulant and hopelessly confused individuals who eventually tie up all their time, energy, money and intellect in the pursuit of something utterly baseless do not strike me as true ambassadors for God. God needs no ambassadors, God needs no helpers. Something is going wrong with your relationship to God (and probably your relationship with other human beings) if you need to lock yourself in a room twice a week making monkey noises and doing the high kick to express your own peculiar 'Faith.' That post-latihan 'calm' comes from released endorphins not the Will of God - a couple of evenings a week spent swimming or going for a bike ride at sunset would produce the same effect without increasing the chances of future psychosis. There isn't a single argument any Subud member has ever offered me that can't be explained without reference to basic human psychology and physiology. That doesn't mean God doesn't exist, it just means the latihan isn't a particularly good way of experiencing it. I'm also not saying that true spiritual experiences never occur in the latihan. It just strikes me that someone with a healthy relationship with God wouldn't NEED such experiences in the first place. I think it's that emotional adolescence and confused neediness that Subud is exploiting whilst a healthier group would alleviate.

A couple of people asked me specific questions so I'll endeavor to answer them in separate posts. Once I get into rant mode it's hard to stop me...

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Re: six months and struggling.
Posted by: Jupiter ()
Date: July 14, 2009 01:53AM

Hi Jupiter

I'd be grateful if you wrote a little about "exit anger". I think I'm experiencing a lot of that myself. Some of it, I think, is directed at myself, at the fact that I could make excuses for so long, and that it took so long for the cognitive dissonance to collapse, leaving me with a truth that had been staring at me for a long, long time.


How are you dealing with this now? For me it has been a long process of external therapy but most importantly a constant process of serious self-questioning. Being angry at myself was really important - to prevent myself from ever making the same mistakes - but forgiving myself was important too. I grew up in Subud. All my parent's friends and business partners were Subud. My parents kept me out of mainstream education for seven out of fourteen years most people are in school - I didn't even have the healing influence of friends and non-Subud teachers. Even if I had, my home life would still have been all Subud. I wanted my parents to be proud of me and I believed absolutely everything they ever told me. I was a good kid, a normal kid born into a bad situation. I forgive myself for getting so involved, for trying so hard to be a good Subud member and a good group helper.

In my experience, if you can't forgive yourself your anger will just get transferred back to Subud (or indeed any cult), then back to yourself, then back to the group... and it will last so much longer than it needs to.

I did some pretty awful stuff in Subud. Stuff that isn't right and isn't normal. When I think about the things that happen I think about my own part in it too. Why did I convince myself of something I never fully believed? Partially because I would have been demonised by the group if I HADN'T had any experiences and I couldn't just lie outright so my over-active imagination worked to make the expectations of others real in my mind. Partially because I was incredibly lonely and had no responsible non-Subud adults to talk to about my concerns about life in general terms. Partially because being a helper improved my sense of self-worth so dramatically. Partially because for the first time in my life I felt 'special.' Partially because I wanted to prove to people I was more than just the ugly unwanted freak I had been brought up believing myself to be. Partially because I naively trusted everyone I met. Partially because I truly had an inquisitive brain and I truly wanted to learn about God and the Universe. Partially because it just never occurred to me to distrust anyone - a physics teacher, a driving instructor, would teach me something that was an absolute truth, and that trust extended by default to helpers and Bapak.

My main reason was because I really really felt completely worthless and unwanted as a child and young adult and it was in Subud that I found something that seemed to have meaning. Something special. Something that made ME special. Something that was mine.

Being able to answer these questions honestly can be ugly, very ugly. But for me I wouldn't have had a hope of recovery without them... I would have just ended up running into another cult or group or system. Something else to make me feel special (I had some really messed up 'friendships' post-Subud... friendships with needy, messed up, controlling people. Being able to face myself honestly put a stop to that).

Another thing that helped me with the anger was just reading. No, no, no - not self-help books or non-fiction or essays on God, but just reading for pleasure. Reading novels. I love them. I write my own, and my writing is considerably less angry than it was a year ago. Go through your own process and don't be afraid of the internal violence that comes up. Don't be afraid of your own mini-breakdowns. Whatever works for you... just go with it. Of course, that applies to everyone...

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/14/2009 01:54AM by Jupiter.

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Re: six months and struggling.
Posted by: Jupiter ()
Date: July 14, 2009 03:13AM

I would particularly like to talk to you about what happens in latihan. I am concerned for my friend as I feel that this practice is perhaps not as spiritually safe as its members suggest, nor that experiences necessarily come from God. What do you think?

There have been some good answers to this question but I will add mine too. Apologies for repeating what others have said. In the latihan, everyone who has been 'opened' goes in and sits down somewhere, takes off their shoes and socks and any jewelry or watches they may be wearing, and they sit quietly (this is actually termed a 'quiet') for a while. Men and Women are always separate. Normally, Latihan starts at a particular time - say, 8pm, and anywhere between 7:30 and 7:59 people come in and start their Quiet. This Quiet is basically a meditation, to get your mind in a state where it can 'receive' the Will of God. In cult terminology, this increases mental receptivity to group cohesion. A Quiet is meant to be 15 minutes but quite a lot of people only sit still for a moment or two and arrive just before the latihan begins.

Typically, when the clock strikes 8pm or whenever, the lead helper stands up and tells the group to begin. If there are a lot of helpers in the group, people just start standing up at random. Almost instantly, people start 'receiving' their Latihan - so within a matter of seconds you have a group of between 3 - 30 people (more if it's a big congress or gathering), all singing, shrieking, making bird-calls or screaming, chanting in English or Arabic or Indonesian, sobbing, crawling under tables or just laying on the floor shouting at the top of their lungs. It can be pretty disturbing. Amongst the noise is movement - ranging from dancing to praying to violent punching and kicking movements in the air. You'll have people running around the room (singing or shouting or laughing as they go), jumping over each other, either with their eyes closed or one eye opened (it's considered Very Bad to touch or bump someone in the Latihan), suddenly falling to the floor, doing forward-rolls, laying down with arms outstretched as they chant gibberish in a made-up language...

It is chaos. So what's going on?

In short, what these people are experiencing is catharsis, or emotional release. The premise is that God's Will is moving through them and it is God that is making them scream, cry, punch the air, or sing and dance exquisitely. The 'receiving' will either be just these sounds or movements or they can be accompanied by visual images. I've never heard of anyone having full-blown hallucinations but it's like imagining a story as you're going along. Better imagination = more interesting story = stronger 'receiver' = more spiritual accolades. The more fertile your imagination, and the more adept you become at lying to yourself, the more quickly you will climb the ranks.

After latihan there is another Quiet, this one typically not lasting more than a few minutes (but it's supposed to last for 15 as well). Then people will talk loudly about what a great latihan they had and all the brilliant things they received. There will often end up being a 'theme' emerging: lots of happy singing = uplifting theme, someone crying loudly = heavy theme. This often makes people more certain they are unified in the Latihan but it strikes me as basic psychology to me (who wants to be seen singing joyfully when one of their own is on the floor crying and screaming? Start crying too and you might just get a share of the attention at the end). Then, some people will go home and anyone who wants to test will stay behind. Testing occurs in small groups, with one or two helpers, where someone asks a question (literally any question at all but often something like should I quit my job or what should my attitude be to my annoying neighbour). The 'answers' come not in words but in movements. It's like ironic performance art. There is usually consensus as to what has been received - if someone starts groaning loudly that is considered to be a bad outcome. It's pretty hard to 'feel' something when others around you clearly feel the opposite: Psychology 101. It's sad to think that most Subud members decide their life decisions in such a way.

After testing everyone goes and has a cup of tea and sits and talks about their receivings. Eventually everyone goes home. If you just show up to Latihan and don't join in the chat you soon get the group helpers on your back asking you if there's anything you want to test about, such as your role in the group. If you have a 'bad' latihan, you will be encouraged to test. If you're going through a rough time: test about it. Problem with another member? Why sort it out like adults when you can test instead!? It's their answer to everything.

Receiving doesn't just stop after Latihan though, oh no. Every dream, thought, experience, idea... every random synaptic firing as a friend of mine once described it, is considered to be a receiving. And since anything non-Subud (acupuncture, yoga, reading tea-leaves) is not just discouraged but downright forbidden (Using other systems or ideas is called Mixing and is severely frowned upon. After all, why would you want to read tarot cards or take a herbal bath when you can just do the Latihan instead? Subud is everything you will ever need!). These 'spiritual experiences' - ranging from a dream about a purple bumblebee or simply seeing a badger crossing the road at night - require interpretation as well. So Subud isn't just a twice-a-week meditation, it's a constant time-drain where you are regularly being phoned up by members and going out for coffees and starting businesses with like-minded Subudians. If you don't, you're considered to be an 'isolated member,' which is Bad. The solution? Test about it!

Receivings are everywhere. You start to see synchronicity EVERYWHERE. A book falls off the shelf at the library and opens on a random page. Destiny! You dream about a red raven and the next day there's a mudslide halfway round the world. Prophesy! You receive you should be taking horse riding lessons and an advert for dog walkers appears in the newsagent window. Fate! Some of the things I have heard are truly ridiculous.

But some of the things I've heard are more than ridiculous, they are downright dangerous. I've heard of a lot of suicides and attempted suicides. I've seen a group of helpers receive that a particularly problematic member "would not recover in this lifetime," and therefore there continued help was useless. People quit their jobs, divorce their spouses, run away from their children, give all their money to dodgy 'enterprises,' drop out of University and sever all ties to the outside world all on the strength of their 'receivings.' I saw a lot of people with problems with drugs and alcohol, and Subud breeds systematic distrust of the outside world so there's never anyone else to ask for help from. Whatever normal problems anyone encounters in their life are magnified by the very process of Subud. Whatever normal life is, they are cut off from it, completely isolated. Relationships with non-Subud members become strained and superficial. Your 'brothers' and 'sisters' become your only friends.

It's horrible. And... you get caught up in it because... you feel grateful. Endorphins get released from running round in the Latihan. A sense of belonging comes from having people call you all the time. Reassurance comes from having people agree on what you should do with your life. Relief that you don't have to make the difficult decisions alone (or, really, at all). Confidence that no matter what you do, it is the 'Right' thing - so long as you do the Latihan you can't possibly be wrong. If something backfires horribly it was Gods Will all along. So long as you keep testing, Everything Will Be Okay In The End (Voltaire's "Candide" springs to mind).

It's a miserable, horrid, stupid cult in which the members still believe that they are in control of their own lives and God is truly guiding them. They can't see that they are merely hypnotizing each other and the Head Lemming keeps looking in a mirror to see which direction the ones at the back are going.

In anything else, you should expect your friends to think differently to you, you should expect your family to argue with your decisions, you should hold yourself accountable for what goes wrong in your life. Not so in Subud. Zero intelligence, zero accountability, zero self awareness.

What God would ever want people to avoid taking responsibility for their feelings and their actions? What religion advises people to lose control of their impulses and their lives?


Do I believe the Latihan comes from God? Absolutely not. Do I believe it is dangerous? Very much so...

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Re: six months and struggling.
Posted by: Jupiter ()
Date: July 14, 2009 03:58AM

Oh, and in case anyone was wondering...

It will be two years this month since I started this thread, which means two years and nine months since I first made the decision to permanently leave Subud. How am I doing now?

Well, I still periodically get nightmares, not of Subud but of people being hurt or killed and me being unable to help them. If I don't check my emotions I tend to feel powerless. I have to work hard to keep proving to myself that I'm NOT powerless, but thankfully it is much easier now and I have no reason to believe that I won't be completely okay in the end. After all, I'm putting the work in, and that's what's important.

The self-destructive behaviours - self harm and eating disorders - that were exacerbated by Subud are non-existent now. I look after myself physically and exercise daily. I love writing and have written half a dozen novels, only one of which was about a cult. I hardly ever think about Subud. I don't talk to my parents but that was my choice. I'm sorry to say this but neither of them have any interest in me as a person, but it doesn't matter because I have other people who love me just for me.

There will always be so much I have to work through, but the fact is I do work through it. I keep trying, every day. I'm grateful for the people who have taught me real warmth and real humanity. I love the subtlety and nuance of life that is completely absent from groups like Subud. I love being around people who have a sense of humour even though I have days when my own sense of humour is zero.

Three years ago the scariest thing was making decisions. I didn't trust myself at all and couldn't make any decision on my own. It's taken all that time and hard work but I've regained trust in myself. That doesn't happen overnight and it doesn't happen without effort. There's still loads more I've got to do. But "every day, in every way, I'm getting better and better." :) Or, more simply, we live and learn.

Life is tough for everyone, that's the whole point. You just get on with it and never give up. I think there's a lower limit to what God would care about. I know the difference between right and wrong. I try to do more things right and less things wrong. I mess up regularly. The people who really love me don't mind. It's like, I've had to LEARN what normal is, what normal human beings do. There's no magic answer, not to anything. I had to find out what normal expectations were, what I really could and couldn't do with my self, my life. I've had to unlearn what it means to be a 'helper,' and just learn to be a human, to be myself. I'll be learning that all of my life...

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Werner Erhard investigated Subud before creating EST/ Forum/Landmark
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: July 14, 2009 11:45PM


Jupiter wrote

But what REALLY bugs me is this concept of 'Crisis' - a psychological breakdown, which cult researchers routinely call a 'breaking point,' is promoted as the piercing arrow of spiritual enlightenment. Crisis = very good; rational thought = very very very bad.

In EST and its later versions Forum and (currently) Landmark Education, Werner put a lot of emphasis on bringing people to breaking/point crisis.

It is very interesting that from Jupiter's descriptions, Crisis is part of Subud and equated with enlightenment.

FYI: None other than Jack Rosenberg/Werner Erhard investigated Subud in the years before he created his own Erhard Seminars Training (EST), now known as Landmark Education (it aint no education)

It should be emphasized that Werner Erhard investigated a truley staggering variety of techniques and Subud was just one.

But because Subud is such a little known part of Werner Erhard's history, and by extension, the inner history of those penetrated and colonized by EST and its later forms, Forum and Landmark, that its worth quoting this bit at length. Erhard apparently fetched up with a Subud group in Northern California, some time in the late 1960s or early to mid 1970s.

But because Subud is such a little known part of Werner Erhard's history, and by extension, the inner history of those penetrated and colonized by EST and its later forms, Forum and Landmark, that its worth quoting this bit at length.

Bartley, the author of the book from which this quote is given, was a philosophy professor of some repute and is now deceased. Bartley was one of Erhard's prize recruits.


"For nearly a year, Werner participated in Subud. Subud is a religious community founded in Asia in the thirties by the Indonesian Pakh Subuh, who is known as Bapak to his followers. Subud became famous in the fiftes when the film star Eva Bartok became Subud's disciple, and when JG Bennett, one of the most prominent disciples of Gurdjieff, embraced Subud, proclaiming Subuh to be the 'Avatar' or 'Awakener of Conscience.' described in Gurdjieff's book All and Everything.

'Werner sat in attendance outside the latihan hall--the room in which Subud meetings are held--waiting for his mind to be "opened". Later, he participated in latihan itself, which is a form of meditation aiming at "inner stillness" and opening the mind to meaning and 'divine energies.'

'Even more exotic groups were to follow.'

Page 145 Quoted from Werner Erhard: The Transformation of a Man: The Founding of EST by William Warren Bartley III, 1978 Clarkson N Potter New York

Jupiter's observation is very encouraging--and it also offers a tip to people struggling to find ways to combat depression while breaking away from artificial highs and crises induced by the groups they've left:


That post-latihan 'calm' comes from released endorphins not the Will of God - a couple of evenings a week spent swimming or going for a bike ride at sunset would produce the same effect without increasing the chances of future psychosis.

Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 07/15/2009 12:13AM by corboy.

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Re: Werner Erhard investigated Subud before creating EST/ Forum/Landma
Posted by: pacifica ()
Date: July 15, 2009 08:37AM

I don't think its accurate to suggest that Subud encourages crisis. Crisis is dealt with an event arising from "trying to go too fast" towards God. As Jupiter points, this happen in lots new religious movements, where people overdo some mind-altering practice. This from the Buddhists:

"An overzealous young karate student decided to meditate and not move for a full day and night. When he got up, he was filled with explosive energy. He strode into the middle of the dining hall filled with 100 silent retreatants and began to yell and practice his karate maneuvers at triple speed. Then he screamed, "When I look at each of you, I see behind you a whole trail of bodies showing your past lives." As an experienced meditation teacher, Kornfield recognized that the symptoms were related to the meditation practice rather than signs of a manic episode (for which they also meet all the diagnostic criteria except duration). The meditation community handled the situation by stopping his meditation practice and starting him jogging, ten miles in the morning and afternoon. His diet was changed to include red meat, which is thought to have a grounding effect. They got him to take frequent hot baths and showers, and to dig in the garden. One person was with him all the time. After three days, he was able to sleep again and was allowed to started meditating again, slowly and carefully."

Subud crisis cases are, similarly, not allowed to latihan, and are accompanied by helpers at all times to keep them safe.

Your talk of highs and lows, though, reminds of a documentary made by Stephen Fry, about his life with manic depression: a life of highs and lows. It includes interviews with many other sufferers, most of whom now control it with medication. Interestingly, many of the sufferers, when on a high, start to have religious delusions, believing they were sent by Jesus Christ, or are themselves Jesus Christ.

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