The area three international helpers began 2018 with a beautiful outward and inward experience by visiting four groups in the Pacific Northwest of the United States. We are currently about half way through our visit to 13 groups in California.
We are very grateful for the hospitality and caring we have received. It is very inspiring to do latihan with many members some of whom have been doing latihan regularly for 40 to 50 years. When we receive to do so we often offer general testing after latihan and the test questions arise to fit the group we are visiting. Afterwards we talk, hear the questions and concerns in each group and share something of our experiences traveling as IHs and information about the world congress.
In general we find that latihans are very strong and our visits draw people to come who have been away from group latihan. They express an appreciation for a renewed experience of strong receiving.
Some common themes and questions that come up during discussion time are:
- How are we living the gifts we have received from the latihan in our lives?
- How can we talk about Subud in a natural way when we are asked about it?
- Concerns about attending group latihans when busy lives, heavy traffic, and aging bodies make it very challenging to get there.
- Concerns about how to improve communication between men and women and between helpers and committees so that planning and decision making are coordinated.
- How to support newly opened people so they feel welcomed and cared about.
- How to create a welcoming atmosphere for younger and newer members so that they will feel comfortable to bring their friends who enquire about Subud.
We were impressed with the good condition of most of the Subud houses we visited. We feel we in Subud are learning to run center enterprises using the houses to bring in income. There are many challenges in maintaining and operating houses that create a context in which groups are learning and growing. Committee members play such an important role in providing spaces for latihan and managing finances.
We feel great admiration and gratitude for the generous ways in which people give of their time and talents. In several groups we see new and younger people coming to do the latihan. And we feel very hopeful about the future of Subud.
Often when meeting with Subud members stories are shared of times the latihan touched others or awakened something inside. We would like to share one such story.
Several years ago, during one of the wild fires that strike California the beautiful home of a Subud family was burned to the ground. As they looked through the rubble hoping to find anything that might have survived, they came across a burned down wall. They lifted up the rubble and saw one remaining sculpture turned over on its back.
They flipped it over and there was the face of our dear Bapak looking up at them, undamaged except for the paint having burned away. The sculpture was created by Liana Kelley, a long time Subud member and very gifted artist. This gift created from hands guided by God of our dear Bapak was the only surviving objects in the whole house. Going through the rubble and coming across this face must have felt like Bapak coming down from above, saying it will ok. God is with you always. Below is a photo of this sculpture.
Mahmud, Sjarifuddin, Suzanne and Myriam