"Do not believe anything unless you experience it for
are wise words. Many people today, influenced heavily by scientific materialism, claim that the
largest or greatest forces in the universe are human beings and the laws of natural science. These
forces are certainly great, but it is possible to determine for oneself if there are forces greater
than humanity and science.
with a sincere wish and an open mind can experience the "Subud latihan" and judge for themselves
whether or not there is a greater power in the universe. This "latihan" or "spiritual exercise" is
a way to experience the power of the universe directly. Some choose to call this power "God" while
others call it "Allah" or "Atman" or "Spirit" or simply a "Force" or "Power" that pervades all
things. The label is less important than the experience.
Skeptics and non-believers alike have changed their
world view because they finally stopped letting others tell them there were no forces "above"
humanity, and opted to discover for themselves whether or not something more
This "experiential" aspect is why
Subud is not a religion. Subud is not a belief but an "experience." A religion has beliefs and
dogmas, a set of rules and rituals, that are imposed from outside the self. These rules are
dictated and controlled by priests or ministers or councils, and written down in official documents
such as the Holy Bible and other books that may exist.
Subud there are no dogmas, rules, priests, gurus, holy books or
philosophies. Again, there is only the experience of the
latihan that anyone can have, and they can judge for themselves.
Once someone has been "opened" or had
the experience of the latihan, they may either interact with others in Subud in a social manner, or
they may choose not to be socially involved.
In Subud there are no rituals, no
rules and no obligations.
If a person happens to be following a
religion, they can continue to practice their religion after they are "opened" because Subud has no
rules or beliefs, thus Subud cannot conflict with any religion. In the same manner, those who do
not agree with organized religion also may be in Subud because, in fact, Subud is not a
there is no religion in Subud, no beliefs or dogmas, no books or philosophies to follow, no priests
or gurus to follow, and no social meetings or sermons to attend, then what IS
The essence of Subud is so simple it
usually slips right past the awareness of someone who is not familiar with Subud. Subud is simply
this: a group of people, from all walks of life, from all over the globe, from different
backgrounds and different religions, as well as open-minded atheists and agnostics with no
religion, who all have one thing in common:
At some point in their lives they
undertook to discover for themselves if there are forces greater than humanity and science. And
they did this by being "opened."
This "opening" is standing in a room
with other Subud members and simply surrendering their wishes and desires, renouncing for a few
moments the belief that there is no God or higher force or power, and remaining open to see what
That's it. In a sense, it sounds too
Anyone with any kind of background or
from any walk of life with little or no preparation can participate in this experience. It is open
to all who ask.
During this "opening" most people
feel (some slowly at first, some more quickly) a spontaneous experience that begins to take shape
in their feelings and in their body. This is the experience of the latihan, and is different for
If the latihan is simply a
spontaneous and generic experience and not connected with a particular religion, then why do things
written about Subud describe it as a "spiritual" group and use words like "worship" and
Because over the years, some people
receiving this latihan experience have discovered it has the effect of cleansing their being, their
mind and body. Some people experience physical and emotional healing. Some feel a new confidence
and balance in their life that comes from a higher source. Some people claim to feel and know it
comes from God or from something higher than the human level.
Others simply surmise it must come
from something higher because they receive this new knowledge and confidence in their life without
reading books or being preached to; they receive it as a result of doing the latihan for about 20
minutes two times a week.
The latihan somehow increases a
person's awareness and spontaneously opens them up to new dimensions of themselves and others.
These dimensions are ones that they did not know existed, or vaguely felt at times, but were not
fully conscious of. All these effects of healing, cleansing, increase of awareness and mental
balance are the same kinds of benefits that traditional religion claims to
Meditate in Zen Buddhism, give your
life to Christ, or participate in the Muslim prayers and study the holy books, and you may obtain
these benefits. This is why the words "spiritual" and "worship" and "God" are used in Subud,
because Subud claims to promote the same benefits as religion, and the benefits come from some
The difference is that religion is
something you are immersed in, you study about, conform to, and work AT, while Subud is something
that works spontaneously from within your own Self, and works ON you.
In Subud we "worship God" but
"worship" does not necessarily mean using your will and kneeling down before an alter and repeating
some previously learned words, and "God" does not mean a Super Being with a white beard sitting up
in a heaven on a throne.
"Do not believe anything unless you experience it for
by Aliman Sears