A YEAR OF NATURAL DISASTERS… messages from New Zealand and Japan…

A year of natural disasters.. First a major quake in New Zealand, falling on from the one of the year before and after thousands of aftershocks. Then the even greater catastrophe, the tsunami in Japan.

Many of the buildings we used for our world Congress no longer exist, and others may soon no longer exist fortunately, no Subud members killed or harmed but many suffered serious property damage. Also in Japan, only a few Subud members affected, and almost miraculously spared the losses of those around them.

But what does it all mean, all these natural disasters? Is there anyone amongst us who has not asked themselves that question? Have you ever decided to go to the Internet and try and find out if there are more natural disasters happening these days, with greater frequency and of greater magnitude? I have done it. And you will find sites that say that the number of natural disasters has increased tenfold over the last 20 years or so.

Of course you can argue with the definition of natural disaster, and you may say there are not more natural disasters happening now it is just that we hear about them because of improved instantaneous worldwide reporting. But my personal ‘anecdotal” sense is that there are more natural disasters happening now than used to happen, more often, more disastrous. If so, what does it all mean?

Are they the cries of an abused and exploited planet? Are they signs of ‘the end of times’? Bapak and Ibu Rahayu of hinted at such a thing in talks. Many people point to the abrupt end of the Mayan calendar as a foretelling of the end of the world. We could be having another flood or even ‘the fire next time’, they say.They can even give you a pretty precise date, either December 21 or 23 2012. So, you better get ready.

But others argue that it will not be the end of the world, only the end of the world as we know it, and in fact the convulsive change that will occur in 2012 will ultimately be a good thing. See the article by Imron Comey under the SPIRITUAL EXPERIENCES section of this issue

Well, none of us knows for sure. 2012 could be a bumpy year. Could be an interesting year…


from Maynard MacDonald

Christchurch Cathedral before and after earthquake.

Maynard MacDonald, Chairperson of Subud Christchurch, sends this touching and informative letter. He includes financial information on donations and expenditures. We are extremely grateful for Maynard’s excellent reporting and for the outpouring of donations to assist our sisters and brothers in this devastated city, home to our not-so-distant World Congress.  Here is an excerpt from Maynard’s letter; you may read the complete text, write to wsa@subud.org

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

This letter is to thank you for your generous support and indicate how we are now. Many of you who came to the World Congress will remember the wonderful testing and latihans in the Convention Centre with Ibu Rahayu. We heard this week that the building will have to be demolished, as well as the Crowne Plaza Hotel where Ibu and party stayed. This loss is emblematic of our situation. It occurs again and again throughout the city as the familiar, the useful, and the beautiful, are reduced to rubble.

Looking back, the first big earthquake in September caused terrible damage and changed the cityscape forever. There was a sense that, yes, we had been through something awful, but actually since the damage was so huge, and the loss of life so small, there was a sense that we were lucky… The 3rd big quake in June was a vicious jolt that brought down more buildings and wrecked big areas of the Port Hills suburbs. City wide, much that was repaired had to be repaired again. From this point, for many of us, the new normal became a state of bottomless fatigue, if not actual depression.

We have to fight this. And it is becoming clear to our Committee that our best weapon is to encourage the members to take breaks. With the money you have sent us we support respite intervals for families to get out of town and escape the constant aftershocks, to escape the fear that the next one will be another big one, to get a good night’s sleep, to see a another landscape with its own sweetness untainted by destruction. We sincerely thank you for this practical blessing.

So how is the group?… I have a secret list of active members. To make my list, one has to do any of the following things: come to latihan regularly, contribute money to the group, or come to working bees. Before the quakes – by my admittedly ruthless reckoning – we had 59 active members. By the time everyone leaves who is leaving, we will lose 13 members and be down to 46 active members. In other words the quakes have cost us almost a quarter of our membership. So to be blunt, it is very hard to live here. It is scary, expensive, and depressing. But however uncomfortable it may be, we are witnesses to God’s Power and would rather be here than anywhere else in the world. So thank you for helping us stick it out.


APRIL 2011

The Japanese Tsunami and Christchurch Earthquake – to read the articles, click on:

Japanese Tsunami and Christchurch Earthquake