Subud Couples Who Support Each Other in Their Cultural Flow
Visiting with Aminah and Benedict Herrman – By Fayra Teeters
In response to the question: How do you support each other to optimize your individual expressions of culture?
Aminah’s response: Benedict and I share an appreciation for the creative process. We both recognize the need to explore, discover, and cultivate curiosity. We have had some wonderful experiences on long road trips, local walks that take us into nature, and sitting by the fire musing about our day – whatever we are learning or struggling with at the moment. Traveling to new places has opened up all kinds of insights.
We both cultivate an eye for capturing images to photograph. I probably drive Benedict a little crazy with my request to “Stop! Stop! I’d like to photograph that!” But he’s mostly on the same page, even when he has to backtrack a little. I’ve taken up plein air painting recently, and there have been times when Benedict has joined me, bringing his computer so he can work on his book. There are times when it’s more than comforting to have his company.
Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihali’s famous investigations of optimal experience have revealed that “What makes an experience genuinely satisfying is a state of consciousness called flow. During flow, people typically experience deep enjoyment, creativity, and a total involvement with life.” This is a kind of joy and satisfaction that can come from any kind of experience that utilizes our complete selves, where time and place may drop away. We both watch for this in our creative process, although there are times when you cannot get to this place. Ultimately, we’re both engaged in exploring themes that bring hope, encouragement, and inspiration to others.
Benedict’s response: Aminah reads everything I write! I especially ask for Aminah’s feedback when I’m writing a female character because I want the character’s voice and emotional arc to be true and believable.
As far as pursuing a writing career at this time in my life: Seriously, I’ve always written. I wrote my first Sci-Fi story in the 7th grade. I’ve written numerous Subud newsletters over the years. I produced the Lifedance Newsletter for 5 years including the writing, layout and editing. I adapted Imaginary Invalid, a play by Moliere in the early days of Masque Alfresco. I was retired when Covid hit and began feeling like I should write. In latihan my fingers began moving as if I were keyboarding. It still happens. In Porto, a city in Portugal, we tested about Bapak’s presence manifesting in our lives, and my arms, hands and fingers immediately began keyboarding. I felt another set of arms and hands covering mine as I wrote. Now, that’s a little grand, perhaps, but I’ve often felt guidance writing these books as ideas flowed quickly, one into another.
A page from Benedict’s latest book:
Evening came, day’s light faded quietly, and the distant stars once again gently appeared in the night sky. Moreland lay back in bed and closed his eyes. As sleep came to him, he once again found himself in the presence of the same Being of many lights and colors, speaking in a million different voices. This time he found himself standing on a rocky cliff overlooking a great abyss so deep and vast he could not see an end to it. As before, he had the feeling of an irresistible flow of enormous energy moving through, around and within everything. Take a step forward, the Voices said.
“I do not see anything to stand on,” said Moreland, “I will fall.”
Keep moving forward, the Voices said.
“I am afraid,” Moreland said. “There’s no place to stand. I will die.”
Trust us, said the Voices, there is nothing to fear.
Moreland looked out over the abyss before him, seeing nothing but a bottomless emptiness and assured destruction. He also felt an overpowering sense of love for him so incomprehensibly deep that it held no conditions or judgements, only an eternal patience and understanding of who he was, of what everything was. Holding his breath, Moreland took a step forward over the edge of the cliff. As he began falling, it came to him unbidden that it was the fear of his own death weighting him down. He called out to the darkness, but there was only silence, and as he continued to plummet, a monstrous white face, ghastly and horrible in its countenance, appeared in front of him. No matter how he averted his gaze, the face was always in front of him staring mercilessly into his eyes. In that moment, something within him changed and he stared straight back at it, facing and accepting his fear head on, challenging it to do its worst. The face softened and became almost comical, then vanished like a wisp of smoke.
Moreland awoke sitting up in bed, his body tingling. Marna was asleep beside him. He heard crickets chirping outside his window, along with the constant song the little creek sang behind his house every day. Life is good, he thought to himself. I am grateful for it. Yes, the Voices said to him in his waking state, Life is indeed good. Surrender, and embrace the Gift. “Who are you?” Moreland said, aloud, not knowing to whom he was speaking.
Do what is placed in front of you, the Voices said.