Re: six months and struggling.
Date: July 17, 2009 11:41PM
One question I might ask of any ex-Subud members is about names. Did any of you change your name in Subud and, if so, did you change it back when you left? I was born in Subud so my first name was given to me by Bapak, but I changed it when I was 18 to a name given by Ibu Rahayu. When I left Subud I was really confused over this and adopted a casual name which I made up myself, but this wasn't sustainable and since I was in a job which required police checks I just officially kept my Subud name which I had changed by deed poll anyway.
Now I find my Subud name unbearable and constantly alternate between using that and my original name - which is technically also a Subud name. I don't know whether to legally change my name back to what it was and, if I do, how I can explain that to employers, etc.
Your name is your whole identity and it isn't something that you just change like an item of worn-out clothing. Changing my name was a huge mistake - it implies a total change of identity, a discarding of past experience as if all my life before then was meaningless. It is a real source of pain to me that my own parents didn't love me enough to choose a name for me, didn't trust their own divinity in being my parents to pick a name that would suit me, to pick a name that they would love. My parents didn't even like the name I was given at birth, and I think kept waiting for me to 'grow' into it, like Bapak said I would...
Reverting to a name unused for seven years might be weird, but similarly I'm concerned about spending the rest of my life with the most random of all Subud names which, despite Ibu's sanction, was basically picked at random from a book (I got the 'pick five names with the letter M' thing when my helpers 'received' I should change my name (honestly, how can picking five names then 'testing' on each one POSSIBLY result in the name that God wants for you? What if the 'right' name wasn't on your list in the first place? It's so stupid... (sorry non-Subud members reading this, don't try to work it out...)))
There's something else which concerns me. I might be completely alone in these feelings but certainly in my group other members were highly manipulative on an emotional level. They used this to get what they wanted. These heightened emotional states CLEARLY influence 'testing' - someone is sobbing on the floor because they hate their job, and ask the helpers to test how it is to stay in said job, well what do you think 'God' will tell them? 'God' need not be present to induce empathy in those members and instill upon them a wish to alleviate the suffering of their friend. 'God' just adds authority to their own first impressions (or prejudices). Not only that but people I have witnessed have often greatly exaggerated their suitability for something to ensure a favourable response*.
SO my problem is I find myself more comfortable around those who are overly emotional and, yes, a little manipulative... but it's more than that. I really feel that sometimes the only way I know to get any kind of response from anyone whatsoever is with emotion, even if, yes, the emotion is a little exaggerated.
That's a confession that I see myself as being manipulative and emotionally abusive. Actually the more distance I get from Subud the more intense this becomes, and the more it frightens me. I catch myself using the subtlety of Subud language and behaviours, of focusing on tragedy and suffering, of being really naively supportive around anyone who appears to be 'in pain' then really tough and cold-hearted around anyone 'normal.' Then the polarity of this shifts and I get angry with those who are stuck in their emotional wasteland (eg addictions, eating disorders, narcissism) and seek to align myself with 'healthy' people. Then I feel not good enough for the 'healthy' people and try and at first pretend I'm just like them then attempt to explain why I'm not with reference to my crazy past...
I guess being agnostic doesn't help here because if I were aligned with another religion already I would have a code of conduct to fall back on, and since I'm not a total atheist I can't rule out the possibility that there IS a right code of conduct that I'm failing to adhere to consistently, but there are so many different ones out there I would need evidence that it was 'right' before actually picking one. My point? I'm horribly inconsistent and some days I'm okay then others I'm acting like a weaselly monster. Pacifica - some days I do have an identical strength in which to speak out against any injustice and lack of responsibility, but other days I'm right back there with the worst of them.
(Incidentally I may have meant self acceptance as well as self forgiveness - I spent almost half my time being completely torn between the idea that I should love myself exactly as I am and the idea that I should seek as high a state of personal attainment as I could possibly reach in this lifetime. Both goals seem to have perfectly equal pros and cons).
*For the sake of fairness I will point out that I often had testing sessions where the results didn't go in my favour at all, but whether this is the perplexity of 'Gods Will' or just the experience of older members who knew more about life and what they did / didn't think would be good for me, I won't hazard to guess...