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six months and struggling.
Posted by: Jupiter ()
Date: October 11, 2007 07:22PM

Do you really expect me to reply to that?

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six months and struggling.
Posted by: Bronte G ()
Date: October 11, 2007 08:33PM

Yes. Why not be open, and really let's see the facts, not just the anger?
If you have any benefit at all from the religious beliefs of Christianity, which I claim too, then a suitable response might be that you have found some help from caring people. If you really think ALL the Subud people you know, or ever could know, treat you badly, then that's how you will always find people treating you, because you have not built a truly independent life at all yet, but you will.
That's how people advised me, in my problems with Subud, and I think I sufferred less at the hands of Subud people than you sound like you did, and I knew the Subud experience and practice of worship, independent of the people entirely. Did you? I respect the Subud training, but not the way the people do things, and they are mixed in their response to my anger.
Subud is an inner thing, for each person. It's yours to do with as you wish. You are not being "cultified" by doing it, and no one is. YOu did that by being submissive to the people, instead of to God, just like poeple in many religions, most of which do force members into submission and obedience to a man instead of God. Unless that "Man" is Jesus, you've had it then!
And you can only submit to Jesus in your heart, not by obeying some persons' opinions.
If you really have such a ghastly experience from Subud, then I can only say, "You're out now - so get on with it. I don't think you have told me yet anything that Subud has done, just what people have done."

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six months and struggling.
Posted by: Jupiter ()
Date: October 12, 2007 05:07PM

[b:fc960eae20]"I wish I could make some kindly, helpful, comment to Jupiter, which
would enable a calm and positive outlook to develop, so only a
constructive future would arise for him/her."[/b:fc960eae20]

This is for me, the crux of the matter. You obviously haven't read my posts carefully enough. I'm married, I have a mortgage, I've completed a Masters degree, I have a Ph.D lined up, I have a set of in-laws and friends who love me very much and who I'm happy and comfortable with. I'm not in crisis. This is a forum for cult survivors, which I am. This is supposed to be a safe board for members and ex-members of groups to share information and offer support to each other. I see everyone else who has helped me try hard to join in for that. Do you really understand what the purpose of these boards are for? You have made only two posts. It seems to me that it is you who are angry, who are seeking recompense for what you seem to feel is a personal attack against you and your beliefs. It is nothing of the sort. As far as I'm aware, I don't know you. You might know one or both of my parents. You might be one of the ones who support them or you might be one of the ones who was involved in the anger and backlash against us. You might have never heard of me. As far as I'm concerned, it doesn't matter.

[b:fc960eae20]Yes. Why not be open, and really let's see the facts, not just the anger?[/b:fc960eae20]

I'm not angry in my life. Again, you didn't read my posts closely enough. I spent ten years suffering from bulimia, self-harm, depression, low self esteem, and in the year since I left, I've grown healthy and strong.

"I don't think you have told me yet anything that Subud has done."

I haven't told you anything. I was sharing my experiences with the forums here, with other cult survivors, because what I needed when I joined here was empathy. It was for this reason I left out the particulars. Again, you're dead wrong - I AM angry at Subud, and not specific individuals, for it is the enormous body of literature by Bapak and Ibu Rahayu, it is the undemocratic and highly dubious process of testing, it is the pressure on starting enterprises, it is the very lack of anonymity and proliferation of confession culture which is the essence of Subud which made my childhood hell. Subud, like all cults, gains power by normalising situations which really aren't normal and by undermining the experiences of others.

Yep, if I were surrendered to God more, I'd never have been abused. But how could I have been surrendered to God, when you can't do the Latihan until your teens, and I was born into Subud? God doesn't protect us unless we participate in the Latihan. So who is there to protect the children? I suggest you read some literature about childhood development and then get back to me. Children require stability, love, and a closed and loving family situation. This is the exact opposite of what Subud children grow up into - a widespread, open, chaotic environment where one parent is always starting new enterprises and the other parent is always away on helper business, and the children do not matter - heck, we're all 2nd or 3rd generation, we can look after ourselves, we're blessed with God's light...

The fact is you don't seem to believe my story, or my life. You are almost three times my age, and you live in a different hemisphere. You were not born into Subud but were, by your admission, "saved" by it. You have problems with the administration and the organisation, yet you seek to deny and undermine the problems I've been brought up with.

[b:fc960eae20] What on earth were/are all those people doing, including Jupiter? [/b:fc960eae20]

Meditation. Self hypnosis. Catharsis. A need to belong. I believe that God is in there somewhere, but only about 10% of the time. The only times I have been certain of God's guidance is when I am alone. Testing, workshops, kejiwaan days - they're all bullshit. I get the help I require - out here in the real world. With qualified professionals. With caring and empathic friends who don't have some bizarre spiritual agenda. You can believe whatever the hell you want. Believe that my pain didn't happen, that my scars aren't real, that I'm in crisis, that I'm plagued by my nafsu, that I've never truly experienced God... I don't care. My life is so much better off without Subud. I have literally never been happier. It's hard sometimes, dealing with the flashbacks, dealing with the feelings, dealing with the way that my own hopes and desires and dreams were turned against me by those who just wanted another free volunteer for some ill-designed enterprise or project or another. If you're really struggling to accept the things I wrote on this board, I suggest you go and gather up your helpers and test your attitude to me. No doubt it will be to rise above me and ascend into God's light, and leave me alone with my lower forces.

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six months and struggling.
Posted by: Bronte G ()
Date: October 12, 2007 06:53PM

PS I am not struggling with any more than the fact that, for me, you are throwing the baby out with, the water, by labelling Subud a mere cult, like all those other notorious cults which have domineering exploiting leaders.

As to yourself, and assessing my attitude to you, and finding myself superior to you. No Way!
From reading what you have written, I do not feel I need someone else to help me get a superior attitude, I could not!
Because, as I read and re-read what you wrote, I feel like a flea on a dog barking at some big person, trying to show that what it's got is OK. You impress me more than I can say for your awareness, you clarity, your achievements, and many other things I read into your writing, all good.
There's going to be some bad with the good! You're handling it!

I am not just raving. I meant it!
Peace- again,

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Re: six months and struggling.
Posted by: Jupiter ()
Date: October 16, 2007 12:34AM

"Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem"

I believe that Subud IS just like all the other groups out there. I do not believe that anybody is born evil. I do not believe that evil is an entity, nor that goodness is an entity, nor that there are forces of lesser and greater spirituality which seek to deceive or confuse us. I believe that Bapak was prey to the same processes as the rest of us, and the same as many leaders of many other destructive groups - he was torn between a painful reality and a desire for the world to be a better place. I too found myself in the same situation when I was opened (like you, I was opened at 15), I too had ideals that I needed to believe in stronger than I could believe in reality. That made me weak, and vulnerable, and subservient. My story is near identical to so many other cult survivors. Subud is structured the same as so many groups. Remember there are different types of cult, and these things operate in a great many number of ways.

I do think that Subud IS a cult. I'm not going to debate what it was like 50 years ago - I know what it is now. I've read your articles and I've had many experiences that are the same as yours. But I no longer believe that if everyone "was doing their Latihan properly" everything would be okay. I used to believe in Subud SO strongly, it hurts me to remember it. All my childhood beliefs and interests were "mixing," they were the work of lower forces, so I turned away from them - even the path of my career was deemed wrong because you couldn't squeeze a business out of it. I gave up EVERYTHING with tears of joy in my eyes - tears that I'd been saved, that my helpers had taken the time to care for me, to rescue me, to test the minutiae of my essence and show me how different my life would be if I had a heart as wide as the open, or if my soul wasn't so plagued by the cabbage force, or... whatever. Whatever it was, no matter how ridiculous, illogical or bizarre. I've read your very own article on testing!! In an ironic way, I thought it was brilliant. Two years ago I would have agreed with you, word for word. Upset with Subud?? Why - Subud is YOU!! If something is wrong, we just need to test about it. WE just need to be more surrendered. I believed that so much...

Ghandi once said "be the change you want to see in the world." I believed that about Subud, and gave up EVERYTHING. My parents gave up everything too. My father secretly remortgaged our house to pay for an enterprise. It went bankrupt, we were evicted, and the other Subud members bought our house for a fraction of the price and sold it on at a profit. I've read so much of Bapak's talks. I was made regional helper before being kicked out after a few months - not for being too young, but just simply because some older members didn't like me, didn't like my family. A friend of mine committed suicide and other helpers made me almost instantly test my attitude to it (about four days later), completely taking away my right to grieve. That was the event that made me leave, and when I did - well, my phone was ringing for days. I was told I couldn't leave, I had a duty, that my unborn children would bear the burden of my decision by being plagued with lower forces etc. I had "visits" at 3am, random knocks on the door, incessant phone calls which made me change my number etc. I had - and still have - constant people arguing with me, saying "you can't just leave," phoning me up, asking me why I hadn't been around, saying I was letting down the dewan and I was going against God's will... flipping heck, I could go on for ages.

The MSc I was studying for, it hadn't been one I'd even wanted to do. It had taken me away from my friends and family, but Subud had tested about it so much and they all agreed it would be wonderful for me... So much of my life has been like that. I never felt the confidence to make decisions on my own. In case I was wrong. In case I wasn't doing God's will. In case, in case...

I just don't give a s*** any more, I really don't. I don't feel anything negative for those who choose to stay in Subud - I hope the Vision seminars are successful, I hope there is change, I hope the next World Congress is fantastic. I just don't want to be a part of it. As I said before, I believe in God. I believe that God is present in Subud 10% of the time. I believe that God is present in most cults 10% of the time. I don't feel any anger to specific people any more. I wish I could have helped people - truly, in a genuine way, not just imagining answers to inappropriate questions. It's only since leaving, it's only since I've weaned myself off the addiction of asking for help, weaning myself off the addiction of needing the decisions in my life to be answered more or less via committee, or coming from my own deluded mind, that I really feel strong, I really feel what life is meant to be, I'm going for a doctorate in something I've actually always wanted to do, I feel closer to God, to myself, to reality, to my own direction... Never mind believing in anything else, I believe in myself for the first time EVER. Agree with me or not, a lot of other 2nd and 3rd generation cult survivors say very similar things to me....

All the best,

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Re: six months and struggling.
Posted by: yasmin ()
Date: October 16, 2007 05:48PM

Hi Jupiter, sounds like you are doing great. Congratulations on your strength and endurance.
Deciding things for myself was an issue for me in my group too: am so glad you are doing something YOU want to do.
Making decisions for oneself can be scary, but also so much more fun.
And it does seem a familiar theme for those of us born and raised in a group...great to hear things are going so well for you.Best wishes, Yasmin

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Re: six months and struggling.
Posted by: Bronte G ()
Date: October 21, 2007 08:46AM

I am not going to offer debate on points where we disagree now either.
I want to join the others, who know less of our little organisation than you and I do, in congratulating you for getting your own independence, and hope it it going to be a continuing growth for you, overcoming the feelings of inadequacy in every area.

We do have a mutual reason for being here on this forum.
I ask you to note again that I have been nine years "out in the cold", and only the last few years have I been attending a discussion group on religious and personal issues which fed many different points of view into my attitudes, mostly helpfully, but without bothering them about my particular "Spiritual Path". It is not a Christian group, though some there are Christian. I do not even share all their beliefs.
I shall continue to regard all my past experiences, whether good or bad, as part of the foundation of my life, and contributing to anything that I do in all the rest of my life.
That I never established a useful career path has little to do with my "spiritual" path,and more to do with innate inadequacies. I get a strong impression that you have some "innate Adequacies", and may the Almighty assist you to be a Great human being, developing all those abilities without interference from people who you wish to be apart from.
This site, as I see it, is meant to help people develop strength, purpose, understanding of their lives, and the ability to cope with this wild world.
As I see it, I accept some things differently from how you do, and you will change how you accept things too, over time. There is no judgement or criticism meant by that, only hope for a brighter tomorrow.
I won't claim "everything is allright", because it never is. It is just "better" for me at present.
And at long last it is not just a matter of being "Bitter" for me.
I pray that is how you will progress too.
And as a certain BBC interviewer used to say "May your God go with you."

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Re: six months and struggling.
Posted by: Jupiter ()
Date: October 27, 2007 04:51PM


I agree with what you're saying, I really do. I just don't understand where you're coming from. I've heard this - the words you write - from people in Subud everywhere I've been. You've been an isolated member for nine years, you've had trouble with the administration, you've seen and witnessed so-called "helpers" commit atrocities which may have seriously damaged the psyche of young applicants - I don't understand why you can't admit that Subud is a dangerous organisation. You and 11,000 others. I hear the pain and doubt in you, the self-blame, the self-reducing statements, the questioning of people but never of the tenets in which our group was based upon. But I DID. I had so many doubts for years, as has my mother, my father, my friends, other helpers etc... why do we have to have whole workshops to tell us how to feel about fear and doubt? Why are we constantly told in circles "what our attitudes should be," why would we be so secretive about "our great gift," why would we feel so uncomfortable standing up to everybody if there wasn't something very wrong, if there wasn't something in Bapak's great and sacred words that really jarred with our sense of self, our sense of wrong and right?

I still believe in God. I still believe that God is present in the Latihan, on occasions. But unlike most Subud members I also believe that God is present in tarot, in yoga, in Wicca, and in all the other evil and utterly forbidden practises I'm interested in. I believe that God is there in any system he is summoned, and that the works of Man - our constructs, our endless justifications, our rules and constitutions and interpretations and fifty years of senseless and contradictory tomes which nobody actually reads anyway, are just artificial constructs. Maybe Bapak had a gift - maybe all these Gurus and Charismatic Leaders did. Maybe they all started out with a gift from God, but greed and humanity got in the way. How dare I blaspheme against the Great Bapak? I can criticise Bapak's words, and thus the basis on which Subud is formed, without insulting God. Can you see that? I can see the cultive processes here, the damaging and dangerous and horrible things that have happened to me, which I buried until I had the courage to acknowledge that Bapak said some really dodgy things, and therefore Subud couldn't possibly be the be-all-and-end-all.

Open your heart to where God REALLY is. It should be easy for you as a Christian. It's been much harder for me as a Buddhist / Pagan, because my beliefs are perpendicular to Subud's, whereas yours are synchronious. But perhaps that also makes it harder for you to see the pain and flaws in it. Please acknowledge your hurt, and don't just write it off as your failings for being less than "Truly Human." Follow the Latihan if it still guides you, and follow Christ if He guides you too. But don't deny your own instincts - that there is something very wrong here, in Subud, in the World, and in all of these groups where people just like me - just like US - have to experience terrible amounts of fear and suffering and self doubt just because someone tells us that we're imperfect, and the only way to become perfect is to do exactly what they tell us to do. I can read it in every word - your spirit IS telling you what I already know.

Blessed be, Bronte. And good luck.

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Re: six months and struggling.
Posted by: Bronte G ()
Date: October 27, 2007 11:56PM

And thaks for that too Jupiter.

Plenty of people will simply say "If you do not give you life to Christ, you are not saved.
So Subud, and all else, is wrong.

I may have been seeing things in sbd differently because as a child I went forward in church and gave my life to Christ, who kept His side of the bargain, as I wandered the byways, and still do. Some will simply say I turned my back on Him.
Well, I have only one spiritual reality inside me, and that is a submission to the God I believe in, and practice as an "exercise", and the words that people want to fit onto that thing don't make everybody happy.
The world mostly does not want to hear about anything spiritual at all nowdays, let alone something that claims to awaken the Spirit within, which is a Gnostic heresy for which Moslems may still sometimes kill a belivere in it, and which was one of the first big heresies in the Christian church for which peolpe were killed in the first centuries of Christendom's existance. All Quakers would be killed for thast heresy if they lived 1800 years ago, I suspect........
So whatever beliefs we hold will upset somebody.
Well, I have writen enough for now, and we both have to make of our blessings and our sufferings as we may.

Peace, and thanks,

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Re: six months and struggling.
Posted by: pacifica ()
Date: October 29, 2007 01:51AM

Hi Jupiter. I too am a second generation Subud member. I too think that it has devolved into a cult. Most of the people in Subud do not act badly, but there are enough to cause serious trouble. The behaviour you describe is at the worst end of the spectrum, and it's caused by the Subud belief system which is itself a train wreck, a collision between Javanese mysticism and Western seekerism.

I've noticed in myself a tendency towards irrational and inappropriate bursts of anger. In attempting to get to the bottom of that, I came across material on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), which rang a few bells. It accounted for my anger, and how they worked. But I couldn't figure out what trauma might be.

Then I came across some pages on "betrayal trauma": this is the trauma you suffer when people you trust lie to you. This resonates strongly for me. I now believe that most of what Subud offers by way of theology can most honestly be described as lies. In saying that, I don't think that they are lies within a Javanese cultural context, but for responsible citizens of the United States to import and uncritically transmit these statements, turns them into lies. I think the behaviour you describe is very irresponsible. You weren't raised by adults, but wounded children that were struggling with their own problems.

That said, I don't hold Bapak blameless. He clearly played along willingly with the Western "seeker" game: go to the Orient and find yourself some "wisdom" which you can construct into a cult, a bubble in which you can live isolated from the real world. I can imagine that it was overwhelmingly seductive for a Javanese man to be plucked out of poverty, flown around, clothed in Saville Row suits, and worshipped and adored and given piles of cash by members of the same culture that had colonized his country. The temptation to play along must have been overwhelming. I understand it, but don't respect it.

I found the following book very useful in dealing with this "betrayal trauma": Len Oakes, Prophetic Charisma: The Psychology of Revolutionary Religious Personalities. It describes how setups like Subud operate, and the positive reasons why people might engage in a relationship of total subordination and dependency on another human being. There is an excerpt here:


I think it helps to understand why the trusted people (our parents) did what they did. It was not malicious, and was part of a positive attempt to improve themselves.

However, this intellectual understanding isn't enough, by itself, to heal the emotional hurt that gives rise to my anger. For this, I'm curious about the psychology of a successful exit. Have you found anything, in terms of process or support?

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