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Re: six months and struggling.
Posted by: pacifica ()
Date: July 15, 2009 09:48AM

Hi Jupiter

You ask:

"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've heard this advice about "forgiving myself" often… but it doesn't really resonate for me. I still get angry, and I'm smart enough to know that even when it appears to be directed at other people, or at Subud, it's really directed at myself. There's a Buddhist saying which I like, which is: Forgive, but don't forget. What that means in this context is: if I'm angry, let it go. But don't forget that the anger arises because there is still something in me that is not right: that is vulnerable, or inauthentic, or whatever it is that allowed me to be silent when I saw wrong, or to tacitly accept what I felt to be bad knowledge and bad practice. Anger is a fierce energy. It's a response to something wrong. Misdirected, or suppressed, it can be damaging. But my task is to harness it productively.

I find that anger disappears when I make the change in myself that needs to be made. My resolution of anger is not forgiveness, but to take action. I feel anger when I am forcing myself to be "considerate" of someone who is speaking Subud nonsense. That's not compassion: that's just my cowardice and avoidance. I also feel angry just from thoughts and memories in my head. I want to understand what that means for me: and take the necessary action. Make the necessary change.

For instance, I am only now learning to say "I think that's wrong", when I remember or again encounter practices or beliefs that people are fond of… but are in fact wrong. That's not because I see the world in black and white terms, or think I have some kind of access to absolute truth. Rather, I know that what I see is only what can be seen from my perspective. But since that's my unique capacity in this world, what use is it if I don't make it available to others. I will be polite by using the best communicative practices that I know: but I won't be mealy-mouthed. The message should be clear, but free of negativity (I often fail!). No matter what I do, some people won't take such a message kindly. They'll get upset. They'll think badly of me. But that's their problem, their karma, their responsibility. And if someone does hear, and speaks back as directly: I hear you. I see things differently. Then that's fine: we understand each other better now.

However, I choose not to hang around groups of people who hold what to me are systemically wrong beliefs, or engage in bad practices. Why should I? I'm neither saint, nor social worker. I feel my time is best spent working with people who have strong, but not total, alignment with my values. A little bit of non-alignment is good: good for learning, good for experience. But with some good alignment, then we can help each other, and others, more effectively.

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Re: six months and struggling.
Posted by: Jupiter ()
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...

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Re: six months and struggling.
Posted by: Jupiter ()
Date: July 18, 2009 12:02AM

A quick note on crises (and the ex-Subud members will have to forgive me for going into what will be an all-too-familiar 'Bapak said' mode):

Bapak identified three types of spiritual crisis:

one, where the member is basically a complete mess; two, where someone appears to be quite normal; three, where the person behaves like some kind of spiritual guru and offers a lot of advice (much of which might well be correct, at least in the Subud context).

The first type is the one you can see instantly. The person will be frequently in tears, perhaps have problems with drugs or eating disorders or health problems, perhaps be experiencing a breakdown in their career or relationship, perhaps having to overcome some major obstacle (just like people do in ordinary life). In these cases the member is sometimes banned from latihan but I thought this didn't happen as frequently as it used to. They may be attended by helpers at all times but I've seen cases where helpers got fed up when crises lasted several months or even years and they simply abandoned those people.

The third described crisis is also immediately obvious - they will walk into a room smiling benignly at everyone, and since they truly believe they have achieved a state of some kind of attainment everyone else will believe it too, and fawn over them in a really quite unpleasant manner. I had one woman tell me she had transcended to the state of an Ibu (a rather vague term for spiritual mother) and that we were no longer her sisters but daughters. In those cases the helpers don't support those members but actually turn to them for advice. Those members are frequently asked to test for roles like national helper (but I think the ones who are real generally decline). Then... after a while, it wears off. The assumption is that it happens to older members but not always. I hit 21 and had visions of myself stretching across the Universe. My group fought a little over these 'experiences' - some saying that they were genuine, some saying that I must have been making them up because I was too young to understand them. Either way I believed them at the time (I have a great capacity for self-delusion)... but once they wore off I was in a worse state than ever, I just didn't show it on the surface.

So, the second type, how could you tell? How could you tell what someone was experiencing - for good or bad - if it isn't obvious from their moods / behaviour / crying in latihan? I think the second state of crisis applies to most of the ordinary Subud populace, struggling with their own past darkness and the desire for transcendence, feeling awkward and jealous and confused and human and desperately alternating between one and the other.

I do want to say that not everything that Subud members say or do is automatically wrong just because they are in Subud. It might help me to discredit everyone because it alleviates my own pain somewhat, but it doesn't take away from the fact that most Subud members at least BELIEVE they are doing the right thing. I actually respect that, it's IMPORTANT to do what you believe is right. The problem only arises for me because they usually assume that their actions are 'better' than those of ex or non Subud members, and that their BELIEFS are really FACT, because they alone have the validation of God to back up their claims. Many of the more general beliefs held by Subud members are really quite honourable, but they have to undermine their genuine goodness with overinflated spiritual pride.

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Re: six months and struggling.
Posted by: Lincoln ()
Date: July 21, 2009 06:45PM

Hi Jupiter, re the name thing! We had changed our names in Subud when first in it to english names and then shortly after to muslim names. We weren't born into Subud but our first 5 children were. We had both changed our names by deed poll which at the time just involved filling in a form and paying about $50 or so. When we left Subud we gave all our children english names but did not change them by deed poll so still had to use their old names on official documents. This wasn't a problem until they were older and had to get ID. You are allowed to use a name as long as you make that clear on legal documents it is not your legal name. Because we hadn't changed the childrens names by deed poll ( cost was too prohibitive) they had to use their old names for ID., bank accounts ect.
We had gone back to using our given names on our birth certificates. Technically speaking we should have changed them back by deed poll if we had wanted to use them but we never worried about it. Its still on our birth certificates what our original names are. Its been quite an education in this area.
Its been quite a problem at times as our marriage certificate is in our Subud names and our other documents are not. Our oldest five after using the names we gave them for over 10 years eventually went back to their names that had been given to them by Bapak and which were their names on their birth certificates.
I had just wanted to erase all memory of Subud from my life but my kids didnt have those same issues and kinda liked the names because they were trendy and unusual. I sympathise with you though as I could not use my Subud name ever again either. It was weird going back to my original name too as for nearly half my life I had used the other Subud names! Its up to your personal feeling about it. Just pick a name you like if its an issue. heh! its easy! how many times did we do it in Subud! Just joking! We often joke about it now and say its a family tradition! But seriously it does affect your indentity of who you see yourself as. I would just stick to the name your parents gave you.The way I see it if its not too bad(the name) its a parents right to name their children and its our duty to respect them as our parents even if they are still in Subud ( 5th commandment) or whatever. I personally dont like calling my kids by their Subud names as it represents so much to me and I didnt really choose them but I just put up with it. I just have live with those consequences.

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