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About Subud

About Subud
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Subud Latihan, meaning "spiritual exercise" in Indonesian, stands apart from conventional religious practices. It involves organic, spontaneous movements and sounds that emerge from the depths of the inner self, your unique inner self – a true expression of the human soul, transcending religion, doctrine, or specific techniques.

Have you ever pondered the profound mysteries of spiritual awakening? Are you drawn to the idea of connecting with something greater, be it a divine source or perhaps the most authentic version of yourself? Do you seek to unearth the deeper meanings and purposes of your life? To know more who you really are?

If these questions resonate with you, you may be intrigued by Subud Latihan. Originating in Indonesia and now embraced in over 80 countries, including Canada, this unique spiritual practice offers a path to self-discovery and connection.

Subud Latihan, meaning “spiritual exercise” in Indonesian, stands apart from conventional religious practices. It involves spontaneous movements and sounds that arise from our innermost being – our unique inner self– a true expression of the human soul, transcending religion, doctrine, or specific techniques.

The origins of Subud Latihan trace back to Muhammad Subuh Sumohadiwidjojo, known as Bapak. In 1925, at the age of 24, Bapak experienced a transformative series of spiritual events that elevated his consciousness, enabling him to share the Latihan with others.

The acronym Subud is derived from Susila Budhi Dharma, a phrase with Sanskrit roots, meaning “the way of life in harmony with the will of God.” Bapak established Subud as an international organization to promote the practice of Subud Latihan among its members.

In this article, we explore the diverse benefits of Subud Latihan. We’ll share stories and testimonies from Canadian practitioners, offering insights into their transformative experiences. Additionally, we’ll provide resources and opportunities for those interested in experiencing Subud Latihan firsthand.

Our hope is that this article serves as a guiding light on your path to spiritual awakening and discovery.

The Essence of Subud Latihan Practices

At the heart of Subud is the Latihan Kejiwaan, commonly known as latihan. This spiritual exercise facilitates a profound connection between the individual and the divine, enabling alignment with one’s inner self in resonance with the power of God.

Latihan is an organic expression of the human soul, awakened by divine grace, rather than a learned technique. It commences with the intention of opening one’s self fully to the inner experience of God’s power, followed by a relaxed state of mind and body, open to spontaneous movements or sounds emanating from within. These expressions, which can range from walking and dancing to singing, laughing, or sitting in stillness, are guided by the inner self, not premeditated. During latihan, individuals remain conscious and can stop at any time, ensuring its personal and intimate nature.

The Practice Environment

Latihan is conducted in a respectful, harmonious environment. Sessions, typically held twice a week for about 30 minutes, can occur in a group setting with fellow Subud members or individually at home. Crucially, latihan transcends the pursuit of worldly goals, serving as a means to align one’s inner self with divine will. It welcomes anyone with sincerity, regardless of background, culture, or faith.

How Latihan Differs from Meditation

Latihan and meditation, while both aimed at enhancing well-being and awareness, differ significantly:

  • Source: Latihan is guided internally by divine power, received through grace, unlike meditation, which often uses mind-directed, externally learned techniques.
  • Method: Latihan involves surrendering to spontaneous inner movements or sounds, contrasting with meditation’s focus-based practices like breath or mantra concentration.
  • Goal: The sole aim of latihan is alignment with divine will, without specific expectations or worldly goals, unlike meditation, which may target tangible outcomes like stress reduction or improved concentration.

Subud In Canada: Community and Growth

Subud, the international spiritual movement with roots in Indonesia, has established a rich history in Canada. The inception of the first Subud group in Canada, established in Vancouver in 1958, marked the beginning of a journey that led to Subud being officially registered as a charity in the 1980s.

Since then, Subud’s presence has expanded across Canada, reaching cities such as Victoria, Toronto, Montreal, Calgary, Edmonton, Lethbridge, Ottawa, Mississauga, Fraser Valley,and Winnipeg. Today, the Canadian Subud community comprises approximately 400 members and over 15 meeting places. 

Subud Canada: The National Organization

Subud Canada, the national organization, is a registered not-for-profit organization which plays a pivotal role in fostering community among members and maintaining ties with the World Subud Association.

Subud Canada Activities

Subud Canada is actively involved in organizing various events, including regional gatherings, national congresses, workshops, seminars, and cultural performances. Additionally, Subud Canada supports the  establishment and upkeep  of Subud centres which serve as multifunctional spaces for latihan, education, arts, health, and social services.

Subud Canada Membership

Those who live in Canada, opened in Subud, and who currently practice the latihan may apply for membership in the Subud Canada organization. There is no membership fee and members are entitled to attend and vote at members’ meetings such as the Annual General Meetings of Subud Canada.

Highlighting a few Subud centres in Canada:

  • The Subud Vancouver Centre was founded in 1964 and has owned a large commercial hall in the  Mount Pleasant area of central Vancouver since 1981.  For simultaneous Latihans, the group has a large hall and upper mezzanine space.  For the past nine years, the large hall has been shared with the Vancouver Table Tennis Club.  Behind the main hall in the back is a commercial kitchen, as well as the lower middle level floor, which has been rented for over 20 years by the popular Savoury City Catering Company.  Subud Vancouver finally welcomed our third commercial tenant, CG Landscaping, in our bottom basement floor four years ago. 
  • The Subud Toronto Centre, acquired in 1974, is housed in a historic building in downtown Toronto. It offers a spacious hall for latihan, a meeting room, a kitchen, a basement, and is also available for events such as weddings, parties, and workshops.
  • The Subud Ottawa Centre, secured in 1980, is located in a serene Ottawa neighbourhood, providing a hall for latihan, a library, a kitchen, a dining room, and a garden.

Subud in Canada is characterized by its diversity and vibrancy, welcoming those seeking to explore their spirituality and experience the latihan. As part of the global Subud family, it embraces a shared vision of harmony, peace, and love.

Joining the Subud Community

If you’re considering joining Subud and experiencing latihan, here’s what you need to know about membership criteria, the role of helpers, and the group latihan:

Criteria and Process for Joining Subud

Subud is open to anyone interested in experiencing latihan. The prerequisites are being at least 17 years old and having a genuine interest in latihan. The joining process includes:

    • Contacting a Local Subud Group: Look for your nearest group or contact us through our website to express your interest and ask any questions you may have. If you are interested, arrange to meet with a Subud Helper for more information and in introduction to the latihan practice.
    • Attending an Introductory Talk: This session, led by a Subud helper or member, typically lasts an hour. It covers Subud’s history, philosophy, and practices and allows for questions and discussions.
    • Preparatory Period: After the talk, there’s a three-month reflective period, giving you time to prepare for latihan. Normally it is arranged with helpers in the group to meet once a week for that three month period. Some inquirers find that their initial enthusiasm drops away during this time; others experience a steady calm certainty that this is the right path for them.  
    • Receiving the Opening: The initial (opening) latihan is accompanied by a Subud (Helper or Helpers), and is unique to each individual.
    • Regular Latihan Practice: Once you receive the opening, you can start regular latihan, either in group settings or individually. 
  • Continual Progress: The latihan is a continually evolving experience and growth process which, over time, becomes an ongoing inner experience guiding both the activities and attitudes of everyday life and an awareness of the life beyond this life. It is found that Members receive the most benefit from attending two group latihans a week, with a third latihan by themselves at home once their latihan has progressed to that point.

The Role of Helpers and Group Latihan

Helpers in Subud are experienced members who support others on their spiritual journeys. They facilitate group latihan, provide counsel, and ensure the practice’s integrity. Group latihan, enhances the individual’s experience through collective energy.

Impact of Subud Latihan on Personal Development

Subud Latihan is a spiritual practice that can act as a catalyst for profound personal transformation. This section delves into Latihan’s multifaceted effects on spiritual and personal growth, supplemented by practitioner testimonials. We also contrast it with other spiritual practices to highlight its distinguishing features.

Exploring Spiritual and Personal Growth

The journey of Latihan in Subud encompasses holistic personal development, not just spiritual awakening. Practitioners often report a greater sense of inner peace, heightened self-awareness, and a richer understanding of their place in the world. This growth extends beyond conventional spiritual practices, fostering a deep, intuitive connection with the self and the divine.

Latihan’s approach of spontaneous, internally guided movement and sound encourages letting go of preconceived notions and ego-driven control. This surrender to a higher power can unveil deeply buried emotions, leading to emotional healing and psychological growth. Practitioners learn to approach life with resilience and adaptability, viewing challenges as opportunities for growth and learning.

Testimonials and Experiences

Subud Latihan’s transformative power is vividly illustrated by the testimonials of its practitioners. Many people describe it as life-changing, giving them clarity on their life’s purpose and decisions. 

A Toronto member, for example, described how Latihan assisted her in overcoming deep-seated anxiety, resulting in improved relationships and a more fulfilling career path. 

A long-time Subud member who now lives in Vancouver shared that when he was opened in his early twenties, he immediately changed his behaviour away from drug use because he didn’t feel he needed them. 

Another practitioner from Edmonton recounted a profound sense of unity and compassion towards others, a sentiment echoed by many in the Subud community. 

These personal stories not only exemplify the impact of Latihan on individual lives but also illustrate the diverse and unique ways practitioners experience and interpret this spiritual journey.

Comparisons with Other Spiritual Practices

While natural comparisons arise with practices like meditation, yoga, or mindfulness, Subud Latihan stands apart in its non-directive nature. Unlike meditation, which often involves focusing the mind, or yoga, which combines physical postures and breathing techniques, Latihan is characterized by spontaneity and the absence of structured guidance. This allows practitioners a more unfiltered and direct connection with their spiritual essence.

Furthermore, many spiritual practices aim for specific states of mind or body, but Latihan is unique in its openness to what may come. The focus isn’t on achieving enlightenment or tranquility but on individually aligning with divine will. This reflects Subud’s core philosophy: that true spiritual and personal growth naturally follows surrendering to a higher power.

Frequently Asked Questions About Subud Latihan

Subud’s spiritual practice, the latihan, often piques the interest of those exploring spiritual paths. This section aims to clarify the practice and provide insights into its unique essence and purpose.

What exactly is the latihan?

The latihan is Subud's core spiritual practice. It's a spontaneous process of surrendering to the divine power and following naturally arising movements and sounds. During latihan individuals remain conscious and can stop at any time.

What occurs during a latihan session?

Latihan experiences vary greatly among individuals. Some may find themselves moving physically, experiencing emotional sensations, or discovering a state of deep stillness. It's a journey of self-discovery and spiritual growth, offering insights into one's inner self and development as a human being.

Is there a specific ritual or method for practicing latihan?

The latihan doesn’t involve formal rituals or set procedures. It's a natural, spontaneous process that unfolds uniquely for each person. Participants are encouraged to surrender to divine guidance, free from specific postures or techniques.

Does the latihan require religious or doctrinal beliefs?

Subud transcends religious boundaries. The latihan doesn’t necessitate any particular religious beliefs, welcoming members from various faiths and those without religious affiliations.

What benefits can one expect from practicing the latihan?

Regular practitioners of latihan often report benefits such as: - Enhanced self-awareness and introspection - Deeper spiritual connections and well-being - Increased emotional balance and peace of mind - Improved interpersonal relationships - A better perspective on possible day to day challenges - A clearer sense of life purpose and direction

How can someone get involved in Subud and start practicing the latihan?

Subud warmly welcomes individuals from diverse backgrounds. Those who are interested are encouraged to contact a local group to arrange to meet with a Helper who can answer questions and assess their desire to become an applicant to the Subud community. There are no membership fees or stringent requirements, allowing everyone to engage with the practice at their own pace.

What role do helpers play in Subud?

Helpers, who are experienced Subud members, accompany the latihan sessions and offer guidance and support to newcomers. They assist in navigating personal experiences and provide answers to any questions, ensuring a secure and nurturing environment for spiritual exploration.