A Path to the Great Life and a New Way to Purify the Soul
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The Functions of the Mind and Inner Feeling
How is it that we can say Subud is an entirely new experience hitherto unavailable to human beings and what does this mean?
We can say this because it gives us, perhaps even for the first time, a new understanding of the two major functions of the human mind: thought and emotion. Thoughts and emotions do not have mass or shape, so they cannot be readily studied by science. No one knows whether they are matter (as some scientists believe) or non-matter and there are no academic conclusions that prove either way. However, most people take it as a truth that the development of our cerebral cortex, that enables thought and feeling, is what elevates us amongst living things and differentiates us from animals. It has taken several millions years for humans to evolve from apes to where we are today. The history of this evolution is not fully clear, but we know that the organs and functions of the human body get stronger and more efficient the more they are used and put to work while on the other hand, the less they are used, the weaker they become until they eventually become useless. Thoughts and emotions are functions of the human body and therefore it follows that this principle applies to them also.
Bapak suggested that the functions of the mind – thoughts and emotions – exist so that we can understand the conditions of this world and live in accordance with them; the objects of our thoughts, emotions, and desires all belong to this world. Our understanding of the conditions of this world and of the things that belong to it, our ability to distinguish between objects and analyze their properties, and to imagine, and discover efficient ways to use them are dependent on those very thoughts and emotions. Little wonder human beings have put all their efforts into developing those functions. Civilization and our current lifestyles are outcomes of these efforts.
Bapak stated that this came about because the conditions of this world are in continual flux and most human beings can’t help being influenced by these constant changes in response to them. With the advancement of science, the development of the mind was reinforced and gradually, our spiritual sense, our inner feeling, fell away from that realm of inner peace and into the realm of thought. As a result, the human self was no longer governed by the calmness of the inner feelings and instead, came to be ruled by thought. Today, we find that our emotions and minds are continually busy and we rarely have the opportunity to be at peace.
Bapak pointed out that thoughts and emotions are essential functions that enable us to live our lives in this world. However, they are useless when it comes to understanding God or spiritual matters that are not of this world. Human beings were given a different function to help them contact the spiritual world – an innate inner feeling. Thoughts and emotions have separate jobs to that of the inner feeling. Our inner feeling is what allows our soul to have expression. If we were to lose that function, we would lose the bridge that connects us living in the world and our spiritual existence, which is our soul; we would no longer be able to receive instructions or information from our soul. The soul would not be able to fulfill its functions – in Subud, we say, ‘the soul is asleep.’ It is just like the seed of a plant that cannot germinate because the soil is not ready. If the soul does not awaken, it cannot grow and expand its functions through its experiences in the world. If the seed does not germinate, the plant cannot grow.
What Bapak was suggesting - and ringing the alarm about – was that while it was not wrong for humans to develop their thoughts and emotions so that they could improve this world we live in, we took these functions to their limits out of desire. In doing so, we ignored the workings of our inner feelings and modern humans have paid the price based on the principle that lack of use results in loss of strength. So in fact, our inner feelings have become weakened and their function substantially reduced.
You cannot drink a cup of tea with your ear; neither can you find God using your mind or heart. Only your soul knows the right path.
In Latihan—A Path to the Great Life and a New Way to Purify the Soul, author Rozak Tatebe provides a sweeping view of the spiritual movement Subud and the practice at its core—the latihan. Once the soul is awakened through contact with the Great Life, it can start to find its rightful place as the channel between the creator of the universe and our physical bodies and minds.
In traditional religion, we have to rely on faith to understand spiritual content. The latihan gives us the means to verify our beliefs through direct experience without the interference of thoughts or emotions. This direct contact can transform our lives.
About the Author
Rozak Tatebe has the great hope that everyone who reads Latihan—A Path to the Great Life and a New Way to Purify the Soul may have the chance to share this new experience of self-development, and gain access to the immense power of the Great Life Force.