FINDING THEIR WAY BACK TO GOD…compiled by Emmanuel Elliott

Finding Their Way Back to God

Compiled by Emmanuel Elliott

Emmanuel Elliott compiles…

For the past few months I have been committed to the self-appointed ‘mission’ of acting as a collecting point for the email circulation of personal experiences. What began as the occasional sharing between a few friends took on a life of its own and morphed into a regular distribution of spiritual anecdotes that now reaches hundreds of people around the world every week.

If you would like to be included in future postings, simply email me at Furthermore, do please send me your own Subud stories, no matter how short or long. I can assure you that these accounts have proved to be immensely appreciated by people everywhere.

Although these sharings cover every imaginable type of experience, what follows is a collection of four items (plus an addition of my own), all of which touch upon the precious relationship between the latihan and dying. As is usual, they are passed on to everyone on an anonymous basis.

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This is an experience I had quite early on in Subud, when I was travelling by car with some Subud members from Montreal, my home group, to Toronto, for a “pre-Subud Canada” meeting. I believe it was in the fall of 1965.

We were barely out of Montreal when the car developed some kind of mechanical problem and we pulled off the road into a gas station in Dorval, Quebec.
The others went in to consult with the mechanic, and I was left waiting in the small reception/office area in one of the two chairs. Outside the window I could see that there was a railway line and a crossing, and a train had stopped there.
Sitting by myself in the office, I suddenly began to feel very uncomfortable, and more and more I felt as if I was going insane. I tried to tell myself that it was just my imagination, but the sensation of turmoil inside me got more and more intense, until suddenly it reached a peak and I “saw” myself raising my arms up to heaven and I heard silently the words, “Go with God.” There was a great feeling of release, all the turmoil disappeared and I felt completely calm, although a bit bewildered.
A few minutes later, the others came back into the office and told me that shortly before, a school bus had been hit by the train, and all the children had been killed instantly. On the other side of the train there was a temporary morgue with all the bodies laid out on the ground. We had arrived 30 minutes after the event.
I realized that somehow I had been made to help those children to be released from the earth and go where they needed to go. I must have been visible to them, and in their terror, they had clung to me, and I could feel their state, and then the latihan had started and became a bridge for them to leave this world.
As we got back on the highway and drove on to Toronto, I sat in silence, overwhelmed. It was my first experience with death, and I felt it was a blessing to be able to help those souls with their transition.

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I got a call from a friend who had joined Subud a month before me, about 35 yrs earlier. He had moved overseas within a couple of years, and we saw each other every few years or so in different parts of the globe. But he was now back in town as his mother had died, and asked me to meet him for latihan. I went to his apartment/hotel and we did latihan in his living room.

It was a clear, light and joyous latihan, reflecting his years in Subud and the extent to which his mother’s soul had been raised by their latihans – his and his wife’s. Our latihan was characterized by soaring melodies and a sense of the fast rising journey of the soul. In one of us the melody would be lifted in glorious release and fulfillment, with the other holding a more restrained and rhythmic base, then the roles would change and the joy of soaring release would be taken up by the other. This happened several times during the 15 minutes it lasted. It wasn’t a latihan of individuals doing their own latihans, but was rather only the one latihan of beautiful and unrehearsed duets, with soaring and melodic cascades passing cleanly and unexpectedly from one to the other.

I felt humbled to participate – such deep fullness of worship. Thanksgiving and Blessings received. Witness to glorious release.

While putting on our shoes we looked and each other briefly, silently acknowledging the experience, but said nothing for what can one say!

As we left we found a maid standing in the hall, suddenly embarrassed and flustered at being found listening outside the door. I must say I was a tad surprised myself, for I had not for a moment considered whether our noise would carry.

“Oh excuse me listening,” she said, “but that was just so beautiful. Are you rehearsing for a performance somewhere? I’m really interested in fine music and would love to come.”

“No, there’s no performance,” I said. “Sometimes we even surprise ourselves!”

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During Congress a Subud brother had died in hospital and his ex-wife asked if we could do a latihan for him. So we did, there were six of us and the latihan only lasted for about ten minutes. During those ten minutes we felt in a wonderful state of bliss and inner peace, surrounded by God’s Love. When we sat quietly afterwards I felt as if I had just returned back to earth from a short trip to Heaven. We all felt like this. During the eight days of Congress I probably must have done about ten hours of latihan all together but I would have happily swapped them all for those ten minutes!

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Several Subud members have experienced having problems with their teeth in relation to the death of someone they know. (Obviously, this is not for a moment to suggest that every time we have teeth problems, someone is going to die!) Many people have had dreams of teeth falling out as a prelude to someone they knew dying. I know that in some Asian countries – e.g., Indonesia and Japan; in Russia too, I gather –  people traditionally believe that there is a relationship between the teeth and imminent death. As it happens, not long before Bapak died several Subud-members dreamed about a tooth falling out, and one of Bapak’s granddaughters had problems with her teeth and needed an operation.

For many years it has been quite normal for me to dream about teeth falling out, usually a few months before the death of someone I know. I found that when the same dream repeats itself on two consecutive nights, it usually means that someone will die soon, maybe within a couple of days or sometimes within one or two weeks. It can also mean that more than one person will die, one soon after another. I’ve noticed that it doesn’t seem to matter whether I feel close to this person; “knowing someone” seems to be enough.

Some years ago I had a problem with a molar and my dentist had told me that sooner or later it needed to be extracted. After some time the tooth became more and more painful and I decided to make an appointment to have it pulled out. Immediately after I’d phoned the dentist and booked the appointment, I started to feel really uncomfortable and I seemed to be getting the message that the appointment was on the wrong day. Like so many of us who have been practicing the latihan for a long time, I’ve got used to these messages that my inner sometimes sends me and I’ve learned to listen to them.

I phoned the dentist again and booked another appointment. Strangely enough, I again felt uncomfortable; again, I seemed to feel that it was the wrong day. I was quiet for a while and tried to feel what I should do. Then I seemed to be getting the message that it was right to have the tooth removed but that the date and time on which this was going to happen was really important. So I decided to phone the dentist yet again (and apologise!) and try to “feel” which of the dates and times that the secretary suggested, felt right and to come up with excuses for the ones that didn’t. Thursday at 2 p.m., roughly a week later, seemed to feel good, so I was booked in. This time I felt peaceful afterwards.

A week later I was at the dentist and, after settling me in the dentist’s chair, he then disappeared into another room and left me alone for about eight minutes. As soon as he’d left, a feeling of blessing came over me and I felt the latihan strongly. Inside me I went ‘Allah, Allah, Alllah’. Then, I heard myself say inside ‘All is well, all is well.’ I felt a deep inner peace, but at the same time I was worried about the meaning of all this. I actually began to wonder if I was about to die. Then it all stopped and I felt normal again, whereupon the dentist came back into the room. To his surprise, the tooth came out quite easily, and he said that he’d booked me in for a full hour because he’d thought that this molar was going to cause a lot of trouble. He’d even considered sending me to a dental surgeon for it. No way had he expected it to pop out so easily.

I went home – I was living in Australia at the time – and that evening my mother phoned me from Holland. She told me that my sister, who had been ill, had died that very day. When I asked her what time she’d passed away, it appeared that it was while I was at the dentist.

Although I don’t really understand much about this relation between teeth and dying, my feeling was that having my tooth extracted at this particular time had somehow helped my sister, had made it easier for her to die in a peaceful way.

Needless to say, I feel very grateful that I was able to help my sister die, while living at the other side of the world.

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An afterthought from Emmanuel:  I’ve lived 75 years without ever hearing about the possible inner connection between dreaming about losing teeth and the death of someone you know. On the very same day I received the above anecdote, however, I found myself reading the following passage from ‘In the Mystic Footsteps of Saints’ by Sheikh Nazim Haqqani:   

‘Once a king dreamt that all his teeth had fallen out. He was disturbed by this dream, so he called for a man who interpreted dreams. The interpreter listened to the dream, then he told him, “Oh my king, all of your relatives are going to die before you.”’

I will conclude this little collection with an appropriate extract from my book ‘The Dawning’:

This incident concerns Walter, whose opening I witnessed in southern New Mexico in the early 1990s. Walter’s story is a beautiful illustration of the truth of what Bapak said about the latihan also lifting up and benefiting both our forebears and our descendants.

At this first latihan, Walter stood stock still throughout the entire half hour, seemingly experiencing nothing. After the latihan, he left immediately, clearly not wishing to talk. A week later, during our next visit just this side of the Mexican border, Walter took me aside and asked, “Would you like to know what happened during my opening?”

“The first thing you have to know is that my dad and I had had a falling-out, so that when he died about a year ago we hadn’t spoken for some time. I felt real bad about this.

“Then, six months ago, my son was killed in a road accident and the same thing had happened. We had had a disagreement and hadn’t spoken for a long time. You can imagine how I felt about all this. During my opening, though, I saw Dad sitting in a chair with my son standing beside him. Both of them were smiling and holding out their arms to me, and I just knew that everything was okay between us.”

Love and blessings,