SPIRITUAL EXPERIENCES AND THEIR OUTCOMES… …revelations, prophecies, near-death experiences and one of the strangest love stories ever told…

It all begins with our experience of the latihan… 4 articles – The Generosity Factor by Imron Comey; The Story of Sumiko by Rozak Tatabe; Embodied Light by Emmanuel Elliott and Latihan Experiences and the Ancestors by Rohana Darlington…


2012:THE GENEROSITY FACTOR – A Message from Borneo by Imron Comey

Imron (Luke) Comey. Suddenly it’s the name on everyone’s lips. Well, I exaggerate slightly but I have received many, many emails directing me to read his blogs. And I have received a number of phone calls from around the world asking, “Who is this Imron Comey? Do you know him? What’s he like?” (It’s interesting how the Chinese whisper works. I had one enquiry asking about “Umar Crosby”.)

 Imron is a Subud member, originally from California, who has lived for many years in Adelaide, Australia, then had a stint of ten years or so in Kalimantan and Timor, and is now back in Australia again.

Imrom Comey (left)


We are publishing an extract from his book, 2012 the Generosity Factor. This book arises from a visionary experience he had in Kalimantan which contained prophetic utterances about what is to happen in the world in the near future, particularly predicting that human nature will undergo a huge change in which people will truly live out the Biblical adage “love your neighbour as yourself” (or even more than yourself). This will bring turmoil and chaos but eventually lead to a better world…

The extract from Imron’s book is followed by a review of it from Emmanuel Elliott…

Imron’s book begins… 

And We created not the heavens and the earth and all that is between them except with Truth, and the Hour  is surely coming, so overlook (O Muhammad) their faults with gracious forgiveness. ( Al-Hijr, Chapter 15, Verse 85)


I am a Muslim, not particularly inclined to ‘new age’ approaches, but simply struck with the undeniable force of what I experienced.

At the time of the message, 1999, I had no awareness of the concept of ‘2012’ and I have long remained unsure of sharing this experience.

However, it is now clear that the message correctly predicted changes in scientific thinking; changes that are now quite apparent even to the curious layman willing to spend a few hours researching this subject.

I discovered that a growing number of reputable scientists are rushing toward a new paradigm; a new view of reality which takes a seat uncomfortably close to ‘fringe science’ and ‘new age’ beliefs.

This emerging change in the sciences satisfied my own need for some kind of ‘proof’; something that might suggest there is credence in the balance of the message.

This message insists that a remarkably beautiful change is on the way and that we should consider the significance for ourselves of ‘generosity’ in approaching these ‘soon to come’ changes.

The conversation I have recorded is the greater part of what was said but is not always an exact recall of the words. It remains a record of the meaning conveyed.

Things were mentioned that have been grayed out over time. Among these were geophysical disasters accompanying or around the period of change. But because my memory of this is so weak I cannot in good faith do anything but note my feeling that this was spoken of, but I am not able to give it context or detail. Further than this would only be speculation.

Certainly there were no prescriptions for physical or economic survival beyond the simple and repeated emphasis on ‘Generosity’.

That “something will happen in 2012” is arguably the most widespread rumor in human history; a foundation stone upon which have been built many a shadowy tower and the focus of many a prophetic claim.

I use the year here not so much as a date as an allusion to some ‘soon to arrive time of transformation’.

Thousands of people are expressing their views on this subject on the internet, in books, and through seminars.

I am but a single voice promoting the oddities of a brief encounter.

I would wish only that the reader might reflect upon what I was told that day and apply this into the mix of their considerations.

The Message

In late 1999 I was working as a ‘poverty alleviation’ consultant in the Indonesian part of the island of Borneo, some forty kilometers from Palangkaraya, the capital of the Province of Central Kalimantan.

It was my habit to make a weekly check on participants in our programs in several of the transmigration sites located there.

I had finished with my meetings and it was early afternoon. I was only about an hour’s drive from the office in town and figured I could afford a few minutes to check the roof of a wooden farmhouse I had recently bought in the area. I was concerned the roof might be leaking; something that can lead to quick deterioration in the tropics.

The farmhouse was on a block of land located only a few minutes off the main road.

As I turned off into the rocky little track that led back into the farming area I was already feeling strange. It was as if I had been hyperventilating, yet was not. A tingling sensation was running through my limbs, becoming increasingly intense; a pleasant kind of “pins and needles” that began to totally engorge my musculature. This fizzing rush of energy filled my cells and ran deep into my bones.

A sensation of extreme well-being which I can only begin to capture with the word ‘bliss’ began to invade me.  It was as if I was being drenched in a liquid form of love, utterly comforting, carrying me to a feeling of willing abandon.

As I drove up the road toward the cottage, I found that under the extremely relaxing influence of this ‘bliss’, and the incumbent vibration that now sizzled in my flesh, my muscles were becoming awkward and seemingly detached. My movements no longer entirely followed my intent.

I stopped about a hundred meters from the cottage and stumbled out of the car, my body now behaving as if I were drunk, and lurched awkwardly toward the little house.  The idea of checking roof leaks had vanished from my thoughts. I only wished to be somewhere I could allow this marvelous sensation to continue.

Behind the house was an old neem tree. I fell to the ground beneath it, overcome now by the luxury of this feeling and a rather wild desire, noticeably sexual in character, to be consumed by the earth.

I lay under the tree. In this way, relaxed upon the earth, I immediately saw a massive vortex, twisting up into the sky and seeming to descend into the earth only meters from where I lay. Riding this circling cone, and seeming to be carried up and down on its twisting spirals, were grayish forms which I took to be some kind of entities.

One of these stopped next to me, hovering on my right side. I was still completely aware of my environment: the feel of the earth under me, the breeze, and the sun streaking through the leaves of the tree.

I believe this an important aspect of the experience; that I still had normal awareness of my environment, the experience then becoming a powerful penetration of a more numinous reality into my everyday world. The vibrating fizz of energy continued to course through my body.

It was then that the ‘entity’ spoke.


I experienced no surprise and, after a short silence, it continued: “Genesis, gene, genuine, generator, genital, gentle, genius.”

This was an amazing set of seemingly related words. ‘Generosity’ was repeated.

Nonplussed, I asked, “What is this? What are you doing?”

My questions were not thought out. I was in fact hardly thinking at all although very ‘aware’. Perhaps this assisted my later ability to remember events and the answers so well.

The voice answered my questions as if they were expected.

“A time is soon coming…”

Those were his exact words. I say ‘his’ because it was a male voice.

“…when human beings will undergo tremendous change. We are helping to prepare that change. This is a place where we are bringing gifts into the earth. These are gifts for the earth, and for mankind, preparing changes that shall shortly come about. This is like an umbilical cord for the earth.”

“What kind of change?” I asked.

“Mankind has always lived from self-interest. It is part of his current nature. It is part of the program within. In a time shortly to come this will be changed. People will begin to regard others as equal to themselves, even to think of others as if part of themselves. No new growth can occur until this change is fully manifest.

“This change is being made in the DNA of mankind; in your genes. Nothing new is being added, but there will simply be an alteration. Certain genes will be activated that are already present; turning them on.

“When this occurs the nature of mankind will alter rapidly over a short period of time. Many will begin to feel this difference. They will begin to consider the welfare of others as if considering their own welfare. It is difficult for you to imagine the implications of this. There will be chaos, of a kind never before experienced; the chaos of a conflict of natures utterly immiscible. Generosity is the key to your survival in those times.” [1]

“What is this change really?”

“God has given you the internet as a metaphor. It is an analogy for the conditions that are coming, for the way in which human beings will move towards oneness.

“A ‘human internet’ will be turned on; a condition in which a connection will be felt, a unifying oneness of understanding and of sharing of feeling and knowledge. Lying will no longer be possible for many. It will in fact become meaningless. Many will be exposed to a direct understanding of the needs of the others, and will be moved to satisfy those needs. There will be a reciprocity of care, more of the kind that you experience in families but particularly genuine. I have said ‘generous’.”

In this communication with the entity I believe there were no misunderstandings because his words were transferred on the back of ‘meaning’ and not the other way around. This is the very special property of that ‘internet’ of which he spoke. ‘Seeing’ this internet in my mind at the time, it was for me a subtle web of holographic reflections seeming to be bound into every cell of the body, glimmering in response to those to whom we were communicating, like sparkling neurons in some harmonic play with one another; each a mirror to and already somehow a part of the others.

He continued, “The internet I speak of is something that already is in place. It is within your DNA.

“As for the workings of this ‘internet’, the way in which you will experience it, that is easy to show you because you are experiencing it right now and therefore your understanding should be complete. It is just this; this way in which you are communicating with me right now.”

As he spoke I saw two people facing one-another each with some capacity to serve the other, and the desire to do so, without seeking reward. In the energies of this new world I could see a thousand resolutions and an almost automatic rush to improvements in the conditions of every life. Every lack being filled, the resources of the earth would be turned to honest purpose, leaving some things to wither while others would blossom.

It is not hard to imagine what would be the wheat and what the chaff.  The old biblical ‘swords to plowshares’ comes to mind.

Yet, as he spoke I was also seeing our world, a vast grey supermarket of fashionable rubbish for which we all competed. Perhaps my next question, particularly dull, emerged from that vision:

“What about malls? Shopping malls?”

“These are a part of the world as it is, but this form of commerce, built on self-interest, will lose meaning, as will many of the vanities of man.”

I recall seeing a massively confused condition coming into the conduct of business of every kind. My question came from this:

“What about money and banks?”

“These will pass and change form. God has already prepared everything for you. If you could understand it, within ‘generosity’ is already the key to God’s own financial system: God’s money.

“Prepared within everyone since time began are the gifts necessary for their role on the earth. These gifts are meant to be given; employed and developed to bring richness and quality to the life of the earth and its creatures. Yet, in greater part these gifts have lain within you undiscovered, and many poorly, or wrongly used.

Each of you is born with a unique capacity, with which to bring something which is needed into the world.  What mankind has achieved so far is only a shadow of the real possibilities present within him when he takes up his true role.”

“What do you mean by ‘true role’?”

“To understand this you might look at the example of the rainforest. This island, Borneo, is known for its great forests. These forests have taken countless years to develop. They are home to innumerable species of animals and plants. You need to understand something about this. Each of these organisms has been created, but not in the way that scientists currently believe. They will come to understand this differently.

“Scientists studying the formation of the stars, of the suns and planets, and those studying genetics will soon begin to understand the role of ‘Generosity’ in this act of creation.”

I was feeling that there was a particular significance in the constant reference to ‘generosity’; a significance that was tied to the ‘gene’ in that word, and to the mysterious (for me) science of genetics.

“Within the rainforests it is apparent that every creature, every living thing, is in some way dependent on others for its growth, its life, and further, that every living thing offers something back into the system of the forest that provides for or improves the life of others. The entirety is a living network of interdependence that spans and reaches out in myriad connections; connections running deep into to the earth itself and these reaching further: to the sun, stars and beyond.

“This is something that can be studied and can be understood. What has not been considered, but which will soon begin to be understood, is that the movement toward the tremendous complexity and beauty that is found in the forest – just one tiny part of the creation – is the result of the ever refining movement of the force of generosity.

“Consider that the very nature of a new species is a product of the needs of that which already exists and answering a powerful creative intent. Generosity is the mechanism of this intent. It acts with an energy you call ‘love’; the creative and sustaining force of The One, which you know as the beneficent, the compassionate, and the merciful.

“New things, in essence, come into being upon the word of intent of the creator, with the energy of love, and the desire to fulfill the needs of that which already exists, perpetually refining and increasing.

“Your understandings of evolution will soon change. Your own sciences will begin to indicate the truth of this generative force and its presence and role in the creation of every creature and in the creation of stars and planets.

“In the forest everything exchanges. Each gives to and takes from others. This is the true and perfect economy; and also the economy of the universe. Mankind should be part of this economy, should be contributing to it, refreshing, refining and renewing it. But currently mankind’s economy is built around his vanity and lust for personal power and wealth.

“With these changes that are coming human beings will be transformed, awakened to their true purpose. They will begin to be bent to the real service of others and to the creation; to adoration of the source, the One; that of which we are all a part. That is their role. When conditions are like this it is then possible that the Kingdom of God will come upon the earth.

“In the human form is written the whole. All that has been on the earth to this time; the earth itself, even that which is beyond the earth is reflected in your physical and spiritual nature. Mankind is like the fruit of a great tree; a tree that spans the stars of the heavens. Human kind is both a reflection of the whole, and, as an agent of Generosity, a renewing source, its seed, its prototype written within its form and nature.”

Against his lovely picture of a miraculous universe tied into our deepest being, I was seeing the darker world we have created in a kind of crippled mimicry; that of the complex steel and oil fed industrial world in which we lived. Within that vision my thoughts came to rest on my own dependence on air travel, if not my romantic love of aircraft.

“What about airplanes? Will we still have airplanes?”

“All this is in your own hands, as you return to your real needs and your true nature. If you want airplanes you shall have them. Within mankind are capacities to bring into being new wonders, new technologies that are now only like dreams. I have told you of the gifts. These are from The One. Once you understand the principles of working for and with each other, as the creator has planned, then nothing you truly undertake will be impossible and these gifts will bear fruit. Heaven on Earth is possible.”

I would now wish to have been able to ask so much more, so many questions that would arise after I left that place. But the condition was fading and this relatively pointless, if not immature, question about airplanes was to be my last.

I felt a diminution of the tingling and the bliss. I was clearly returning to my everyday state and I lost at this point the awareness of that voice, and the vision of the vortex. I stirred to my feet and my attention moved completely back to this world.

Although I recalled then that I had come to check for leaks, I had so completely lost interest in the condition of my house that I started immediately to walk back to the car, hoping to retain the feeling for as long as possible.

I was still bathed in the residual comfort of that marvelous blanket of bliss that had enfolded me during the experience and from knowing that I had be given a startling revelation. As I drove toward Palangkaraya, I realized that the experience was not entirely over. Whatever the condition was that had resided in me, allowing me to communicate with that entity, now continued in a different form.

The ‘love’ that had enveloped me at the outset of the experience had now subsided to a soft feeling of utter safety, but it now sustained me, the feeling itself containing something that brought with it a marvelous statement about the nature of this life.

In those moments I needed nothing else. I was wrapped in a comfort for which the word ‘happiness’ fails completely. I was beyond happy. Rather I was ‘at home’, seemingly embraced by the warm attentions of my creator. What greater security can we hope for?

Somewhere in each of us there is a sense of this ‘at home’ feeling. Its most immediate image for the western mind is found in the warmth of the hearth, our child self, nestled in the arms of mother at the end of a busy day, the cold dark night locked out, the murmur of a sleepy story, the crackle of the fire.

This brought me to a new awareness of my own condition in this life. The phrase “the truth shall set you free” seemed to capture it perfectly.

The Truth shall set you free’.

As I said this to myself in my reverie I was doing so in reaction to a new understanding about the condition of mankind that was invading me with force in those moments. The ‘truth’ mentioned in this phrase was not something external, discoverable, or some finally reduced scientific or even spiritual clarity. It was nothing more or less that the simple state of my own being at any moment when I have no longer the fear of death. And it was this feeling of blissful and penetrating love that worked this magic on me, that freed me, at least for those moments, from that fear.

“It’s not what is wrong with the world!” I thought, “It’s what is wrong with me!”

Truth is about me. About ourselves. It is about what and who we really are; our lost connections with all that is about us suddenly plugged in, suddenly making us part of a greater life that has always been moving unseen within and around, exposing us to the lies and self-deceit we live, exposing us to the fears that move us; exposing us too, to the love and delight, the sustaining breath, that has always been as close as our own heart.

If we are at that moment to be flooded with the truth of our condition and if we are open and accepting, I saw this would be a journey out of our prison of lies about ourselves; an awakening into a new world of a freedom we cannot begin to imagine.

I felt that this would happen.

On that Day.

Copyright: © Alliance for Transformation

339 Jones Street

Broken Hill, New South Wales, 2880


Author contact: imronc@hotmail.com



Emmanuel Elliott writes...

With her permission, I am sharing with you Elena Gál’s account of her recent experience following the sudden death of her cousin. Elena is a Subud member living in Budapest, Hungary…

My cousin died recently, and I said farewell to her in latihan a couple of weeks ago. She was 32, and had a 13-year-old daughter who has been raised by her parents (the grandparents) for some years by now, because my cousin had epilepsy and no job. She was living with a man who also had no job, so they were doing their best to support each other but were really low in every sense of the word. Her life, in other words, was not a success story. One day she went to take a bath alone, suffered an epileptic attack and drowned. I offered up my latihan for her and knew it was to be our farewell. (I had not been able to attend her funer- al.) I started to do the latihan and it was as if she had already been waiting for me. She appeared in a form that showed her without illness, without sorrow, without regret; she was her self that she could have become in this life at its highest level if all had worked out in the best possible way. She was healthy, beautiful, cheerful and the best qualities of her character were realized to the fullest.

A strong sense of nostalgia and remorse for her unhappy fate came upon me, but she kept on raising my head high with her hand and telling me very cheerfully: “Look at the light, not at the shadow, look up, look up, to the light, to the light!” We were communicating without words, and she made me understand or rather feel, how wonderful she is doing and how it can possibly be totally alright and acceptable to even leave a child behind…

She also told me that it is wonderful for them – for all family members alive and dead – that I am doing the latihan and that I should keep on doing it. My great-grandparents and grandparents (my grandmother whom I used to talk to a few years after her death, and who also told me then how great it is for them that I am doing the latihan) were also there but only as companion to my cousin, they didn’t interfere in any way.

Then we said good-bye. The scene changed for this event, and I saw her standing in a hilly landscape in tall grass and summer flowers; there was a huge tree through which the sun was shining – it was like a Tuscan scene. I could see the grass and the wooden floor of the latihan room meet right in front of my feet. On top of the hill I saw figures standing, waiting for my cousin. We said goodbye and we were all waving our hands, and slowly they were gone.

And then the light that I thought was the sun started to come out from behind the tree as if the sun was going down at sunset. But it was not the sun, it was The Light itself, it was God or God’s Love as light slowly accessing me, the whole room, everyone else in the room, who were doing latihan, and I saw it poured out to the street, all over the world, and it came across my body, everyone else’s body, so that we became transparent andf ull of light,

I could also see my sister, her husband, her child and Annamari a few streets further away, for they were babysitting her while I was at latihan: they were all transparent and full of light, and then it came: “You are embodied light.”


THE STORYOF SUMIKO by Rozak Tatabe PARTS 1 and 2:

Read more by clicking on:


Sumiko 2




LATIHAN EXPERIENCES AND THE ANCESTORS – remarkable experiences from Rohana Darlington

Rohana Darlington

Rohana recalls some illuminating experiences…

I did enjoy reading Harris Smart’s How Was Your Month of the Ancestors? It reminded me of various latihan experiences I’ve had relating to ancestors over the years.  When Harris suggested I might like to share some of these with other Subud Voice readers I was happy to do so in the hope they may be of interest to others, especially new members.

I was opened when I was eighteen almost fifty years ago, the only person in my family at that time to become a Subud member. My family was rather dysfunctional due to religious schisms which led to painful estrangements down the generations.  I was so glad to receive the latihan which enables people of all religions to come together in worship without having to engage in theological quarrels.

Soon after being opened I began to have experiences of seeing people I knew were dead and this has proved to be an abiding theme of my spiritual journey. But as I was so young I became frightened I might be losing my mind and had begun to suffer from hallucinations. One such experience I had happened after I had just become engaged to my husband Mashud, also a Subud member.

I was staying in my future in-laws’ home for the first time, and had retired for the night in their guest room and went to sleep. Some hours later I was awoken by a group of people wearing old-fashioned clothes who had gathered around my bed in the dark and were trying to attract my attention. They said they had come to welcome me into the family and pushed forward a gentleman as their spokesman who said he had a message for me. I was so scared I switched the light on and they vanished.

Afterwards I wished I had listened to them to find out what their message was, but at that time I was unable to understand my receiving if I tested anything. The helpers I discussed the experience with were also inexperienced in their receiving and suggested I write to the experienced Indonesion helper Sudarto Martohudojo for an explanation.

Sudarto replied to my letter saying the experience was genuine and told me that the people I had seen were Mashud’s ancestors and their message was to advise him never to give up doing the latihan as they were hoping for the spiritual help it would give them. When I told this to Mashud he was annoyed as he has been a devoted Subud member since he was eighteen and had no intention of giving up the latihan. However, his elder and only brother who had introduced him to Subud did leave the association and has never returned.  It seems their ancestors were hoping Mashud would not follow in his footsteps.

Experiences withMy Mother

As I continued in Subud I had various other experiences to do with ancestors and I realised these were all part of my spiritual education and were not hallucinations. For example, after I had been in Subud  for sixteen years I had to face the horrible event of my mother committing suicide and I had some remarkable experiences following this.

My mother had had many tragedies in her life and these finally took their toll  in the form of Parkinson’s disease and mental illness.  But in her mid-life, before she developed these later-stage illnesses she suffered from depression although she refused to admit this to her doctor or to have any medication as she was ashamed of the stigma of appearing weak.

I told her about Subud and that it might help her but she did not want to have anything to do with that either. As a child she had been orphaned and due to schisms between her Austrian Catholic father and her English mother’s Protestant family she had been brought up from the age of ten by kindly Spiritualists – not her blood relatives – whose activities of table-turning and séances had terrified her and she was convinced the latihan would be like this, despite my assurances it was a different spiritual path.

One day Mashud and I went to a Subud Congress in Derbyshire and during this gathering I received the most powerful group latihan I had hitherto experienced. On the way home we called in to see how my mother was and she told me something extraordinary had happened to her the night I had been given the powerful latihan.

She said three Indonesian ladies in sarongs had visited her in her bedroom and had told her that they had come to open her so she could experience the latihan for herself and not to be afraid. My mother had spent many years in the Far East and was familiar with the culture of Indonesia and was sure the experience was not a dream. She said she had seen me floating in the air above her bed encouraging her not to be afraid but just to surrender to God. She said then everything in the room burst into brilliant colour and she began to experience powerful vibrations.

These had continued without stopping and she asked me to turn them off as she didn’t like them! I spoke to the helpers in her nearest Subud group and they advised her to attend group latihan with them but she refused to do so. I even wrote to Sudarto again and he also advised her to attend group latihan but she never did. Eventually the vibrations stopped on their own and my mother continued with her life as usual.

Several years later she was diagnosed with Parkinsons and my father who was caring for her asked Mashud and I not to visit her as she refused to allow anyone to see her in her state of poor health and visitors of any kind made her anxiety worse. She refused to be admitted to a mental health unit of any kind. This was before the days of compulsory Sectioning under the Mental Health Act, and no one, not even her doctor nor my father, suspected the depth of her inner agony.  At this stage of my life I was a fashion designer and had no medical training or experience of mental  illnesses. Despite my contacting various agencies such as Age Concern to help her she did not relent so all we could do was pray for her.

When I learned that soon afterwards she had committed suicide by a particularly gruesome method I was devastated. I had believed Bapak’s words in Susila Budhi Dharma that the parents of people who did the latihan would be helped by their children’s worship, ‘whether they wanted it to or not’  and was unable to understand why my latihan had not been able to prevent this death.  As I was to learn many years later, when I became a professional mental health therapist working with people who had been rescued from failed suicide attempts, the families of suicides often feel they were inadequate or in some way to blame for the death.

However, soon afterwards I was shown by a beautiful experience that Bapak’s words were true, but in a way I had previously not been able to comprehend. As we were driving to her funeral I found myself suddenly leaving my body and saw myself in another place. At first I thought the strain of my mother’s suicide had sent me over the edge but I found I was fully conscious and aware of sitting in the car as we drove along, simultaneously talking with Mashud.

The experience was so vivid and real I was amazed he couldn’t see what was happening in this other place too. In fact it was so overwhelming I asked him to stop the car for a few minutes as I could scarcely cope with it. I could see myself as if from above and saw the back of my head as I walked down the aisle in a church filled with light. I realised my mother, looking terribly ill, was leaning on my arm and that my father was supporting her other arm. I and my father were still alive in this world but my mother was dead, as were  all the people witnessing the event who seated on either side of the aisle. They were all wearing white signifying were dead and I was aware they were my mother’s ancestors.

As we walked down the aisle towards the end of the church I became aware of an altar and behind the altar was Jesus. His face was so bright it dazzled me but from his chest love radiated out in great waves. He held out a chalice and indicated that my father and I should bring my mother to it so she could take Holy Communion.  After she had drunk from the chalice a door opened and she went through it with Jesus. Suddenly I found myself in another room filled with light and a feeling of heavenly peace and I was told by a disembodied voice that this was my true home and I was asked if I wanted to stay there. I became very worried because at this time I had three small children who needed their mother and said I must come back to look after them. I was given permission to do this, and returned to my other state, fully aware of sitting in the car next to my husband

Since then I’ve seen my mother several times in latihan. One of these occasions was on the Night of Destiny in the Month of the Ancestors, two weeks before the beginning of Ramadan and this was witnessed by one of my daughters who had by then grown up and been opened and was in the group latihan with me. My mother seemed in a good state, looking happy and well and as she looked in photos of her from her younger days.

Experiences with my Father

Sadly, after my mother’s death my father, who had cared for her for the two years of her last illness, went to pieces. He had been a respectable chartered accountant all his life but suddenly he became alcohol dependant and his life became chaotic; he could not cope with her suicide.

Eventually he was arrested for drunken driving and this brought him up with a jolt. Within a year he married a forceful woman he had only known for three weeks.  He was her third husband and she had children of her own. My father made it clear he wanted little to do with me or my two brothers after this; we all discussed it and we thought it was because we reminded him of our mother.

I had always had a difficult relationship with my father as he had spent his life moving his young family from one foreign country to another, many of which turned out to be war zones so that we became refugees no less than three times. I saw little of him as I was growing up and when I was thirteen I was sent to a boarding school in England  and that was the end of my childhood in a family.

I didn’t see either of my two brothers again until I was seventeen as I was only allowed to visit my parents who lived in Hong Kong once in three years.

I spent school holidays at the boarding school with the eccentric headmistress as I was the only pupil there with nowhere to go as we had no relatives in England I could stay with. Later I was fostered out with a neurotic landlady who tried to drown herself in the sea.  I felt like an orphan and after I left school when I was eighteen I went to live in London as I did not want to return to Hong Kong to share my parents’ unstable life there.

Instead I shared a flat with the daughter and sister of Subud members and that’s how I found Subud.

I believe these events contributed to my mother’s mental illness for she later regretted having agreed to  all her children being dispersed in this way to please my father.  Without realising it she had unconsciously replicated her own fractured childhood in her children’s lives. It’s not surprising I felt so lucky to be guided to  Subud at such a young age and to have married a fellow Subud member who loves and understands me. We’ve been married for forty-three years now.

My father lived for another fifteen years and during this time I was semi-estranged from him.

Eventually he became terminally ill with cancer and had only a short time to live. By this time I was busy with Subud,  I had my husband, four children and my work as a fashion designer and writer, and did not often think of my father as doing so was too painful.

One day, however, Mashud I was were about to set off to latihan when there was a knock at our front door and to our surprise a lady we hardly knew stood on the doorstep. She was a helper who had just come to live in our region and she said she didn’t know why she had come but she had felt compelled to visit us. We told her we were off to latihan and she would be welcome to come with us.

The group I attended at this time consisted of several elderly ladies who invariably had a quiet latihan, but on this occasion I was in for a shock.  When we began, everyone suddenly burst forth into the most beautiful singing, and then I became aware that my father was dying and that his soul was heavy and burdened down. I felt there was a huge balloon in the room – one of those hot air balloons that can fly very high – and I had to push it up as hard as I could. After a great effort the balloon finally became airborne and left the earth, and I knew it symbolised my father’s soul.

Afterwards we all went home and my sister-in-law phoned to say my father had died at exactly the same time as this experience.

This was not the end of the matter though. The funeral was a horrible desolate affair and afterwards I felt terrible. If I had not been in the habit of regular prayer and latihan I don’t know how I could have survived it. Shortly afterwards my brothers and I learned our father had disinherited us all and had not even left a token bequest for any of his eleven grandchildren, descendants of my mother. It was as if he wanted to cut out everything from his former life that reminded him of our mother. It was not the money, but the feeling of rejection that hurt us. When I heard this news I immediately performed the formal Islamic prayers that I find so comforting and received the words : ‘Pray for those who despitefully use you.’

Later, I tried to put his death out of my thoughts, but soon afterwards my father began to appear in my latihan week after week, looking dejected and begging forgiveness. As Bapak says, when you do your latihan it is as if your heart and mind are paralysed and so in the latihan, despite my sometimes negative feelings for him outside the latihan, all I could feel were love and forgiveness for him.

I was made to keep saying to him: ‘Of course I forgive you,’ but it seems he could not forgive himself and he kept reappearing. Things came to a head when one night I was woken up in the night and found myself transported to the Anugraha building, our Subud hotel enterprise. Again the experience happened so that I was fully conscious and simultaneously aware of being both in my bedroom and also in the hotel reception area. It was not a dream.

Meeting Saint Peter

I saw my father sitting on a sofa there looking utterly morose. When I asked him why he was there he said he had tried to move on spiritually but had met Saint Peter who had told him he could not enter heaven yet. He seemed deeply impressed by having met Saint Peter but in despair at having been found spiritually wanting. It seemed he was drawn to the latihan atmosphere there although he was not in Subud.

When I related this experience to Mashud he said ‘Don’t you remember your father revered Saint Peter? He was of the opinion that the Christian Church should really have been founded upon Saint Peter’s ideas when the Emperor Constantine wanted to settle matters but the followers of Saint Paul took the lead.’ Mashud and my father used to have long theological conversations which I’m afraid didn’t interest me at the time and I had completely forgotten about my father’s fondness for Saint Peter. Later we remembered that Saint Peter is reputed to hold the keys to heaven.  We prayed for my father and at least he stopped coming to my latihan every week as he had done before.

After some time Mashud had a dream where he saw my father sitting in the foyer of a church, but he was unable to enter it completely. He was dressed all in black and looked beseechingly at Mashud who kissed him on the forehead and said to him: ‘Don’t worry, I will never leave you.’ We  took this experience to mean my father had made some progress and had at least now been allowed to enter a spiritual place (the church) if only to some extent.

During his life on earth, my father had rebelled against his own father, an Evangelical preacher and did not go regularly to church,  but had privately read the bible all his life and deeply respected  Jesus and his disciples. Nevertheless he hated the Roman Catholic Church and when my eldest brother married a Catholic and converted to Catholicism he was furious and refused to attend his grandchildren’s Papist Christenings, as he called them. Despite this, even though my husband Mashud is a Muslim my father always got on well with him. We continue to pray for him and hope this progress will be allowed to continue.

Doing and Daring

Mashud and I are members of the Manchester Subud Group and after our old Subud House started being attacked by arsonists the group realised we needed to find somewhere else to move to. As Chairman, it fell to Mashud to find the new house and handling the whole process of selling the old house and buying the new one was challenging to say the least.

At one stage I felt it was Mission Impossible as it was the height of the property boom and we were daily having to deal with pressures from pushy  wheeler dealer property entrepreneurs  trying to buy the old house cheaply and aggressive estate agents determined to make us conform to their demands to buy the new one before other buyers beat us to it. As Subud is a charity and we had to work within the restrictions of Charity Law negotiations were often protracted and delayed which infuriated both buyer and seller.

Feeling worn down by all this I went to latihan and after a while the atmosphere changed to one of great refinement, and I felt a discarnate lady in front of me.  She seemed very thrilled to be allowed to come to the latihan to deliver a message for me. I had no idea who she was but when I became very quiet I was able to discern why she had come.

She said she was my paternal grandmother and she had come to bring me ‘words of encouragement’. She only stayed a few moments but after her visit I felt uplifted. In my worldly life I scarcely knew this grandmother as I had spent my early years abroad and she died before I came to live in England, but I discovered she was the wife of my paternal grandfather, the Evangelical preacher.

This couple had apparently spent their whole life building a big Evangelical church in Leicester from scratch, together with their fellow Evangelical Christians. The church is built in the shape of a lantern so that it would represent the Light of Christ in the world, and after this experience Mashud and I went on a trip to see it and look in the Church records where my grandparents details’ are recorded. Here we found a book called Doing and Daring which describing how they built their church and reading this helped us to have the same attitude to buying our new Manchester Subud Centre. Nowadays the church is surrounded by mosques and temples but still has a large active Christian congregation.

This experience made me realise that our heritage from our ancestors is not all difficult, their good qualities can be passed on as well as their not so good points! I believe that the efforts of these grandparents during their life of earth have been passed down in some respects to me so that I have had the resilience and faith to help life in our new Subud House to progress as well as God permits.

We did eventually find a suitable building for our Manchester Subud House and this too is surrounded by places of worship of other religions. A Synagogue is next door but one, down the road are the Baptists and the Seventh Day Adventists and nearby is an Anglican church.  We rent out our Subud Centre rooms to other non-conformist groups of Christians – Pentecostals, Assembly of God worshippers  and Lions of Judah – and this income allows us to pay our way and get involved in our local community.  They are delighted to have premises to pray in, and say they pray for Subud and for Mashud, who is now the Lettings Manager! As someone said incredulously the other day: ‘You mean they pay Subud to allow them to pray for us?’

The Result

As the result of latihan ancestral experiences I’ve become interested in Family History Research,  where I’ve learned that it’s usually the older women in families who become the ‘keepers of the lineages’. I’ve started to build an archive so that my descendants can learn more about their own heritage. It’s been fascinating to discover more about the family from records now available on the internet, and how the heritage of a family’s good points as well as their negative traits can also be passed down the line. For example, I had a lovely career as a fashion and textile designer, and when I began to investigate these records I discovered I have several female ancestors who were professional dressmakers.

Other experiences with ancestors have not been so easy to trace and connect with, though.  A few years ago I began to have experiences about the Jewish religion in my latihan. I was taught how to pray for peace with discarnate Jewish women who lived in Jerusalem and at the time thought these experiences were  part of my spiritual education to help me to understand all religions in order not to become a religious bigot as so many of my family have been.

I’ve been assured by my Austrian relatives that there is definitely no Jewish blood in our family. They say they know this because during the Nazi regime everyone living in Vienna had to prove by researching their family records that there was no Jewish blood in their family for at least three generations, or they would be arrested and possibly hauled off to a concentration camp. Yet later in latihan I began to have more experiences about Jewish people, particularly the Hasidic branch of Judaism.  As I knew nothing about these Hasidic  Jews I had to investigate them via the internet, and discovered that during the 18th – 19th century there was a very large population of Jews living in Vienna, with some Hasidic Jews amongst them, although the majority of Hasidic Jews lived in neighbouring Hungary. My mother told me once that her Austrian father had told her he had distant ancestors way back in time  who lived in Hungary when it was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Yet during general latihan during Ramadan this year (2011) I became aware of a group of people surrounding me. I went very still and listened as one of them whispered into my ear: ‘Remember the Hasidim? You are of our people.’ I felt they wanted me to acknowledge them which I was made to do and I then inwardly welcomed them to the latihan. In subsequent latihans I was again made to pray for peace in Israel and for the Jewish people. Clearly I don’t understand these experiences fully, but I’m coming to believe that in my ancestry there is possibly some Jewish blood, despite what the more recent records maintain, and that it may be from a secret or illegitimate union, hence their desire to be acknowledged. I cannot see how this could ever be proved though, so just accept the experiences as they come to me.

Other experiences I’ve also had that so far cannot be proved in the records seem to reiterate this.

Once, after attending a very large latihan at a Subud Congress I became aware of a group of discarnate people dressed all in black and sensed they were Puritans, and part of a distant branch of my ancestors.  They approached me and said they had been drawn to the spiritual light generated by this large latihan of over a hundred women. Their leader was very suspicious, however.  He asked me what this had to do with Jesus. In latihan I was made to welcome them to join the  group worship in  ‘In the  Name of Jesus Christ, Our Redeemer.’ This seemed to be the right thing to say, as after this I felt the whole group surrender to the power in the latihan, or to the Holy Spirit as they perceived it to be. I was also surprised as there were men as well as women in their group although it was a ladies’ latihan but they seemed to be allowed to stay.

On another occasion immediately after returning from this large Congress latihan to my own local group another group of people I felt were ancestors approached me and asked me what the latihan was. I was made to explain we were worshipping God and then I was made to lie down on the carpet. I felt their footsteps walk over my back as if I was a bridge and then they went off to another realm.

All these experiences have shown me that there is a lot more to understanding how the latihan affects our family than is generally understood. Bapak explained that at first our latihan was for ourselves, but later as we progress it could affect our ancestors and even beyond that to our community and wider society. Eventually it may be able to affect ‘All of Mankind.’

At a recent Kedjiwaan session at the 2011 UK Subud Congress I attended the theme was ‘What inner gifts have you that you may need to acknowledge and perhaps manifest more than you are able to at present?’ In this testing session I was shown that I have a gift of working with people who have died and who are not aware they are dead, to help them become aware of their condition,  and  also with people who are still alive in this world but who are in a coma and cannot be easily reached. This confirmed experiences I’ve been having In recent latihans where  I sometimes feel as if I am part of a discarnate medical team and it’s my task to sit in vigil with the patient to try to impress upon them that it is time for them to wake up. From testing it seemed as if I was being asked to develop into  some kind of part-time psychopomp!

In my job before I recently retired I often worked as a hospital-based rehabilitation therapist with coma patients. One such case was a woman who had tried to commit suicide but had failed and was now in a deep coma. I felt I should paint murals around all the walls of her room in case she did come round, and meanwhile it encouraged her surviving relatives that hospital staff were doing their best for her. I did the murals of an Italian garden, painting the room as if she was surrounded by flowers and her hospital bed as a sun-bed by a beautiful lakeside with  mountains in the distance. I used to play music to her and talk to her as I painted the walls and although she eventually died the room was afterwards used to help cheer up deeply depressed infectious patients who had to be isolated. I feel this part of my job in the world has helped to prepare me for my work with patients who have already departed this world but are not yet fully conscious and I hope in this way my latihan can continue to touch the wider community whether in this world or in the unseen worlds.