The Growth of Subud
Though it is ten years old, there was a talk given in 2009 that could have been from last week. The issue is the same and the advice continues to be spot-on. Sharif Horthy gave a talk in Colombo, Sri Lanka, and the link to it came across my inbox today and I felt this was critical to share.
I also felt the audio left something to be desired, so had it transcribed, though my editing could probably use some help. Suggestions welcome in the comments section.
The best news from this is the statement that Subud WILL BE known around the world. No timeline was given, but that vision (receiving?) rings true with me and gives me hope.
What seems to interest everybody based on what I’ve heard from feedback from the last few days is the interface between Subud and the outside world. I think this is right because I remember when I was here four years ago, this was a big issue. Why isn’t it (Subud) growing? Why are all getting older and no young people are coming in? Why isn’t Subud known? Is it really possible that in a city like Colombo – what is the population of Colombo? Two and a half million. Why are only 50 of those wanting to worship God? Is it possible that out of two and a half million people, only 50 want to worship God in the Latihan? It doesn’t sound plausible. So what’s wrong? What’s missing or why are we failing? Of course, the answer to that is very simple. The other two or 3,000 people who probably would like to have the Latihan have never heard of it and they won’t hear of it unless we do something.
So, what should we do and why aren’t we doing this? I don’t think this is a new question. I don’t think you’ve learned this for the first time. [We’ve been] actually thinking about it for the last several days and have had all sorts of insights, which probably are kind of meta, but the fact that you haven’t done whatever it was and there must be a reason for that. And I have to say when I was Chair of WSA, this bothered me a lot and it bothered me every day. I woke up with these questions and went to sleep with it. And, one of the most significant events for me in my four years as chair, and probably my greatest reward, was an experience that I had on the last council meeting, which was held in Brazil, which was an answer to this question and I want to share it with you. Actually, I’ve already written it down somewhere. So if you already read it, you can tell me to stop. Do you want to hear it? (Audience responds positively.)
It came like most major revelations. It came in a very unforeseeable way, because we had adjourned with the international helpers suggested testing a question, which I personally did not understand, and still don’t. He said, “I would like to know the meaning of the rays in the Subud symbol.” We know the Subud symbol has circles and then it has rays. And we what the circles because they’re the worlds of life. And there’s lots of arguments about whether the material is the one on the outside, (or not).
But what are the rays? So he wanted to test this. Since I hadn’t the faintest idea what the rays are, I was completely blank when I received the test. And in the test, it was like I was given a lecture by an unseen voice, an unheard and unseen voice, that just came into my head. And the lecture went like this: “Usually, you have a very wrong idea about the spread of Subud. You imagine– your model of the spread of Subud is like a stone that is thrown in a pond. You think that Bapak– Bapak’s life in this world– was a stone that fell in the pond. And so a wave is going out. And this created a wave in human society. And this wave is going outwards. And as it goes outwards the ripples get smaller and smaller and smaller.
So you’re worried Bapak is now dead and there is no more stone and the ripples are getting smaller. So if they’re this size now, then in 50 years they’ll be invisible. So you’re desperately trying to make the water ripple more and it’s not working and you wonder why not. And the reason is because this is not the model of how Subud grows, because Bapak did not drop a stone in the pond. What he did was he planted seeds. And the seeds he planted were the Latihan, that he planted in all the Subud members around the world. And when you plant seeds, what happens? Well, some of them of course die because they don’t get enough water, but some of them grow. And then you wait because you don’t see anything. You don’t see anything for a long time. And then suddenly you see a shoot. And you see a little thing that looks like a weed. Hopefully you don’t pull it out. One day it will keep growing and one day it will become a big tree.
But this is not a plant. (We’re talking about plants.) What is it that’s growing? What’s growing is your inner capacity. Just like a tree, you don’t get the fruit until the tree is strong enough to carry the fruit. So, nothing will happen in Subud until this capacity… In other words, the combined inner capacity of all the Subud members reaches a certain stage. Until that time, nothing happens. So if the world doesn’t know that sort of exists, then that’s because the capacity is not big enough. So God cannot yet use the vessel that God needs to put something into (because) it’s not big enough yet. So, far from the thing dying away, we’re waiting for the capacity to become big enough. And once the capacity is big enough, God will put something into it and this something will be something that the whole world will see.
Everybody in the world will know about Subud. But later when the capacity grows further, God’s going to put something even bigger and you have no conception of– you cannot imagine how great Subud will be one way. But everything depends on the growth of the capacity within you. So if this receiving what’s right and if I got the message more or less correctly, then the only thing that matters is the growth of our individual capacity. Nothing else. It’s actually nothing else matters. And how does our capacity grow? I think this is why Ibu keeps traveling around because you’ve probably noticed that this is what she always talks about. She always explains to everybody that you’re capacity doesn’t just grow by doing Latihan twice a week. Your capacity grows by using the Latihan in your everyday life. And that’s what I believe. I believe that our individual capacity grows when we begin to do things in our everyday life.