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The Latihan

"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" means spiritual.

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 experience.

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 and work.

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.


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

Not new

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

Bapak to

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

Only experience

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 9

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

A boon

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

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

For mankind

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.)



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