"Latihan" is a commonplace word in Indonesia meaning any
form of exercise or drill such as physical exercise, learning lessons
at school, or carrying out a drill in the army. "Kejiwaan"
The occasion when you join Subud and do the latihan for the first
time is referred to as your "opening", and is generally
understood by Subud members to be a direct contact with the Power
of God which initiates and guides this form of worship.
Men and women do the latihan separately.
To practise the latihan you stand relaxed by yourself, or with a
group, and follow whatever arises spontaneously from within you.
The experience is different for each person and different for a
particular person at different times. Some people report an inner
vibration, or a feeling like electricity running through their bodies.
Some feel an impulse to move, utter sounds, to laugh, cry, sing,
dance or pray. At other times the latihan can be a very quiet inward
The latihan usually continues for about thirty minutes and is usually
done twice a week with the group. After experience has been gained,
some people do an additional latihan by themselves once a week.
The effects of doing the latihan also vary greatly. For some it
brings about a peaceful, gradual development. For others it initiates
a process of dramatic change in their lives. Sometimes, difficulties
must be faced as the process of purification begun by the latihan
takes its course.
People usually have a feeling of relaxation and well-being immediately
after doing the latihan. In the longer run, they may come to trust
the guidance received through the latihan as it permeates every
aspect of their lives including personal relationships, family life
One Person's Experience of the Latihan
But what is the latihan like as an experience? As we have explained,
it is different for each person at different times, but here is
one member's first impression of the latihan in the 1960s in California.
I remember the first time I went to the latihan in Los Altos.
The room was divided by a thick curtain against which had been placed
a few chairs. I sat in one of the chairs with some other applicants.
Over the next ten minutes or so, some thirty men came into the room
and went behind the curtain. All was quiet for about fifteen minutes
and then a terrific din broke out. There was howling and shouting,
screaming and laughing, grunting and weeping, moaning and groaning.
There was clapping and stamping and the sound of bodies thumping
about. Mingled with this, were snatches of singing of great beauty.
Most of the sound was inarticulate, but amongst it were fragments
of prayers and invocations.
It seemed completely unorchestrated, pure cacophony, though over
the next half hour, I did detect a kind of shape or rhythm to it.
There was a build up of intensity which seemed to reach a crescendo
after twenty minutes or so, and then it gradually died away until
there were just a few isolated moans and groans and the odd sob.
The men emerged from behind the curtain, looking none the worse
for wear. On the contrary, they were relaxed, bright-eyed, smiling.
I learned that what went on behind the curtain was called the latihan,
or more accurately the latihan kejiwaan. It is a completely spontaneous
experience. Nobody organises or directs it. There is no set form,
no prayers or ritual movements. Everyone follows their own feelings
and whatever sounds and movements might arise from inside.
BAPAK TALKS ABOUT THE LATIHAN
Beyond the heart and mind
This latihan kejiwaan of Subud (Susila Budhi Dharma, abbreviated
to Subud) is truly not a training that arises because of the heart
and mind of man; but is a training that arises because of the Will
of the One Almighty God Whose Power envelops the whole universe.
Brothers and sisters, although the latihan looks as if it is something
without any content if you look at it from the outside, nevertheless,
it is this, which all those who are "searching" are actually looking
for. Now, by "people who are searching", means those people who
are looking for something that is beyond the ordinary and beyond
the normal of the heart and mind of man. 81 SAO 2
This reality of a human being as a creature of God being able
to receive something from beyond his will, is not something new
but has occurred ever since the beginning of history. It is told
in the stories of the prophets and messengers of God. 81 LAX 1
Like the sun rising and the dew disappearing
All we do is we say some very simple words, signifying our
surrender to the Power of Almighty God, and with no further effort
on our part, we are able to receive a movement which comes from
the Power of Almighty God - or the life that is within our life.
Bapak gives it that name or description because it is something
that arises spontaneously, without our will, without our forethought,
without our premonition, or calculation, and without our planning.
It arises spontaneously and unexpectedly from the Power of Almighty
God. That is what is called miraculous - a gift of Grace from Almighty
God. This movement that we receive is free within our being like
the rays of morning sun as it rises above the horizon.
As the sun rises, the morning dew and the morning mist, as it were,
disappear of themselves. It is the same with the radiance of this
movement that exists within us. It is as though the nafsu,
the working of the heart and mind, which are constantly disturbing
us in our life, suddenly disappear of themselves, like morning dew.
This experience is the proof that with the raising of the life that
comes from the Power of God within our inner being, the nafsu is
swept aside completely. This is the meaning of the term, "the vibration
of life," which in Christianity is called "The Holy Spirit" or the
"Light of Christ." In Islam, it is called the coming of the Roh
llofi. 81 NYC 1
State of a newborn baby
This life can be compared to the state of a newborn baby. The
newborn baby also makes movements and makes sounds, but the baby
is still unable to understand or to be aware of the purpose of these
movements and these sounds. They are what Bapak calls, "instinctive";
in other words, they come from his human nature. They are something,
which comes from the life that is free from the influence of this
world, i.e. free from the influence of the nafsu and the will. It
is this state which is experienced by a newborn baby that is repeated,
or that we go through once again after we are opened. 81 LON
What am I going to feel
When you were opened in Subud you must have, before your opening,
wondered to yourself - What is this latihan kejiwaan, what am I
going to feel when I am opened, what is it going to be like? And
those of you who were fortunate, those of you who were lucky at
your opening, were able to feel something like a vibration or a
movement from within, which was not intentional, which did not come
from your intention, but seemed to come from something else, something
deeper within you. That is what Bapak calls the movement which is
initiated by God's power through the pure inner feeling. And then
you said to yourself, "is this God's power? Is this the thing that
I am looking for? Brothers and sisters, indeed it is. For this latihan
kejiwaan, which, you received, is that is normally referred to as
the Grace, the Gift, the Revelation of Almighty God, that God gives
to His creatures, that is, to mankind in general and to all of us
here. 83 LON 2
When Bapak himself actually received it, it was also without
his own intention and without his knowing beforehand that he was
going to receive something like this. Before Bapak received this
latihan kejiwaan, everything that he had heard or learned from his
spiritual teachers whom he had listened to before, was in the realm
of theory. 8i SAO 3
When you received this you were astonished at the fact that
there was something within you that you had not previously experienced.
This something gave you a feeling that within yourself, within your
life, was another life that was deeper than your everyday life.
81 YVR 1
Corresponds to our nature
Through the latihan kejiwaan we receive what we need for ourselves.
What we receive in the latihan corresponds to our own nature and
our own need. 81 LAX 1
In line with your capacity
So, what you receive from Him in your latihan kejiwaan, will
always be in line with what you are capable of and what your capacity
is. 83 LON 8
So it is clear that actually the use, the purpose, and the
benefit of the latihan kejiwaan is something you have to learn for
yourself from your own experience of the latihan and of life. Brothers
and sisters, what this means is that actually in the latihan there
is no theory. 81 LAX 3
As we were intended to be
We become our true selves. We become what we were intended
to be. 81 LAX 1
A feeling if lightness
Brothers and sisters, you are aware yourselves from your own
experience that whenever we do the latihan, the movements we make
in the latihan have the nature that they feel very light. When we
do the latihan, it is generally accompanied by a feeling of lightness,
a delicious feeling, a feeling of delight or satisfaction. 81 LON
A process of purification
Brothers and sisters, it is a fact of experience, it is the
evidence, or the proof that we experience in the latihan kejiwaan,
that what takes place in the latihan is in reality the cleansing
and the purification of all the errors, sins and mistakes that have
accumulated within us: mistakes which have been handed down to us
from our ancestors as well as our own mistakes and errors... This
cleansing could not possibly take place if it were not done by the
Power of God. 81 YVR 4
To when you were created
Although at this time you may not be fully aware of what is
really going on within you, the fact is that this cleansing or this
purification will have the effect of returning - even if not one
hundred percent, but to a great extent - returning your inner feeling
to the original position or level it had at the very beginning when
you were created. 81 YVR 4
The process doesn't need your help
This purification or cleansing is something that goes on or
is done by the Power of Almighty God. Seen from one point of view,
this process doesn't need any help from you. It is work carried
out by God's Power within your being. But from another point of
view, it is true to say that it does need an effort on your part.
That effort is for you not to put back again, not to repeat, the
mistakes and the errors that have been purified.
The one who understands
The direction of the latihan kejiwaan, which we receive, in
Subud actually comes by the Will of Almighty God. And it has nothing
to do with our own planning or our own wish or our own intention.
And that is why actually, we don't understand anything about it.
The One who really understands how and why it comes is only Almighty
God. 81 NYC 1
Big I, little i
Thus, as we carry out our duties in life, even though we are
still in this world, we begin to have two of us, or a double I.
One of these is the big I. The other is the little I, this coarse
physical body. To bring the fine and the coarse close together,
the fine body wants to penetrate our feelings with its power, and
this manifests in the form of the movements you receive. And this
penetration does not stop with the coarse physical body of ours,
which one can see, and our physical energy. All our organs are penetrated.
Everything that is in our heart, our inner heart, our sex and our
brain is permeated. The result is a state of purity, not only in
the coarse sensations in our flesh, for example, but also in our
heart, in our thinking and in our brain. So, not only do our body,
nerves and muscles become healthy, but our heart and brain also.
Our heart becomes clean. Our brain becomes clean, so that in our
way of thinking, we do not imagine anything that might bring about
our ignominy or downfall. 57 CSP 13
Results of the process
The result of all this, the result of the process of purification
that has been going on within you, can gradually be felt by your
self within your own being. The sign that you can feel is, first
of all, an awareness of the rightness and correctness of your everyday
behaviour, everyday actions, accompanied by a feeling of sharpness
and clarity in your inner feeling and in ail your functions, your
senses and your physical body. This is accompanied by a feeling
of attentiveness and carefulness in the way you approach your life.
This, when you are able to experience it, is a sign, a symptom,
a fruit or a proof of this purification that is proceeding within
you. 81 YVR 4
Your right work
Gradually, bit-by-bit, you can receive for yourself what is
the right work, the way of working that suits your own inner nature.
Gradually, you can find the field of work that is really in line
with yourself, with your inner nature. So that when you work you
will feel a hundred percent satisfied. You will have a feeling of
love for your work to the extent that, whatever you are working
on, you feel as though you are working on your own property. You
will always feel you are working for yourself. And this is one benefit
of the latihan kejiwaan. It is important that you be aware of it
and really put your latihan into practice. 81 LAX 1
This is how it is, brothers and sisters, so we are really extremely
lucky to have received a boon and a blessing beyond price, in that
while we are still alive we begin to be able to feel how it will
be after we die. 83 LON 4
The condition for receiving this - the only condition for receiving
this- is patience, acceptance and submission. And why is this the
condition? Because the words patience, acceptance and submission
describe a situation or a state in which our nafsu is rendered powerless.
This is the condition for receiving God's Grace... that through
this attitude of patience, acceptance and submission our nafsu -
which can be translated as the passion - is rendered powerless or
its influence is no longer paramount within our being. 83 LON 2
Fits with our epoch
Indeed, this state or experience you have received is unexpected
and also beyond the realm of the human intellect. It is also beyond
human expectation that a teaching or practice or training that leads
to the worship of God looks so simple and can be practiced while
living the complete life of a normal human being. That is why there
are very many people who consider - and say - that what we obtain
in the training latihan cannot be true because we only practice
it for such a very short time. In general, as Bapak himself found
out, many of those who practice what Bapak called the worship of
God or apply themselves to mystical ways, spend considerable amounts
of time at it.
Bapak does not find fault with these opinions, for indeed that is
generally how it was done in the past. But the fact that Bapak has
been able to receive, and in turn to guide you, by such a simple
way, is fortunate for human beings in general. And perhaps this
has happened because of the will of God who - if we thought of God
as a human - has remembered the state of mankind at this time. However,
if Bapak examines the state of the world - and God's response to
it - more deeply and more broadly, it becomes clear that what we
have received is indeed well suited to our time or our epoch and
works in a way that fits with today. 57 CSP 1
People who have spent years and years and great effort in attempting
to put aside the influence of the nafsu, to put aside the influence
of the heart and mind in order to receive something that comes from
beyond their own being, know and recognize this vibration of life
as being the one thing that all mankind is looking for. 81 NYC 1
And in reality, this latihan kejiwaan is directed towards mankind.
But it looks like, at this point, it has been given especially to
us - that is, to Bapak and to all of The way it has arisen is entirely
beyond a man's own ability or a man's own you. But in reality it
is intended for the whole of mankind. 81 SAO 3
Not a method
It is clear also that this Subud is not a method and does not
contain a method or a single way which we all have to follow, such
as in other groups, other teachings and ways. But rather, what happens
in the latihan kejiwaan is that we receive, each one of us, the
way a human being worships Almighty God. This is received according
to our own individual inner nature. All we have to do is to follow
that which we receive. 81 WOS 1
(Note: The code appearing after each quote refers to the date and
place of Bapak's talk.)