A Leaflet about Subud
Subud is a Way
Subud is a way to make contact with the Power of God, the Great Life Force. It needs no effort of will or special intellect, just patience and perseverance.
The way came into the world through an Indonesian, born in 1901, known as 'Bapak', Father. He received it in a revelation, together with the mission to pass on the contact to anyone who asked, irrespective of religion, nationality or colour. He gave it the name 'Subud', a contraction of three Sanskrit words which together mean Right living in accordance with the will of God. [Bapak passed away in 1987.]
The way is the 'latihan', an Indonesian word meaning spiritual exercise or training.
The latihan is done with other members, men and women separately. In the latihan you stand, eyes closed, with a readiness to accept whatever happens. Sooner or later you may feel an inner vibration, and may then find yourself swaying or moving your limbs or singing. You do not decide to move, you just move, spontaneously, and when this happens it is unmistakable: you know with certainty that it is not your will but a Force within you. If it can come about, even fleetingly, that other thoughts and feelings recede, and you are conscious only of your being and the Power of God, you may feel that you have had the experience of worship.
During the latihan you usually feel a certain lightness, and afterwards a sense of satisfaction, and problems seem less pressing.
Everyone's latihan is different. For some it is quiet and still, for others it is more active. You receive in accordance with your present state and present needs. After a time the latihan goes deeper, until it reaches your feelings and thoughts. You become aware that not only in the latihan but also in your daily life everything you think or say or feel or do could eventually be guided by the Life Force, the Power of God.
The Working of the Latihan and its Results
Sometimes one feels that the latihan is slow to have any effect, but it cannot be hurried. It is training our innermost self, the soul, to assume the authority over our heart and mind that it should have. We need to live in patience while our faults, our own and those we have inherited are being cleaned away.
As this happens people notice changes in themselves, almost imperceptible at first. They may, for instance, become aware that they are less anxious; or less critical; or less sensitive to criticism. Some experience a burst of creativity. Many find that they quarrel less. Some, as they discover their true self, come to realise that they are in the wrong work, and begin to search for their right work. In general Subud members find that their lives, though still beset by occasional difficulties, run more smoothly as time goes by.
Subud and the World
Subud is not only a spiritual matter; it is for this world as well as the next. One of its chief worldly aims is the setting up of welfare projects, supported by business enterprises.
Membership of Subud
Subud is open to anyone aged seventeen or over. There is a waiting period of three months, to ensure that applicants are steady in their wish to join, and to make clear to the world that there is no persuasion. There is no dogma. There is no membership fee, but members give what they can to meet administrative expenses.
A final word, about Subud members. They are normal, as normal and ordinary as anyone else, but they all live in the hope of something of the miraculous entering their lives, and for many of them it does. Perhaps the miraculous is normal.
Published by Subud Britain, National Office, Loudwater Farm, Loudwater Lane,
Rickmansworth, Herts. First edition 1981