Letter from Asa Lake


Asa was the wife of Oswald Lake and early members of Subud.  They both passed on years ago but this letter was recently posted in the SICA news.

“1959 was the year of our opening. The room was filled with hundreds of people screaming, crying and moaning after a “begin” was said by a little foreign woman I could barely see in the front of a huge room in Alhambra, California. We had driven all the way from Santa Monica after a three-month probation in this mysterious group called SUBUD. After this experience, we stood on the sidewalk outside the building and compared notes. What did you feel? None of us knew much about what had happened in the latihan, but we knew we felt wonderful! SO with that began our years in Subud. Our little world was expandable to include all manner of interesting and odd brothers and sisters who suddenly became important to us. Oswald was almost immediately on the committee, and I naturally came along. We never had marvelous “spiritual experiences” or “crisis” — but we always felt fresh and new and wonderful after latihan.

We read everything we could find and did our latihan and work in the world — and knew almost nothing until 1963. That was the year of the World Congress in New York. There we came to know Bapak and Ibu, Tuti, Ismana, Usman & Aminah, and that’s where Bapak did “testing” in the group in front of every one. The testing gave us a deeper experience of the latihan and meeting with the brothers and sisters from around the world gave us a happier feeling about “the brotherhood” of Subud than we could have from just knowing the group in California. That was the first time we drove Bapak and party in our car. Little did we know it was a preview of having Bapak come to our home!

I think of these as rich, fulfilling years… our children grew, we grew… We started SNA (Subud North America), the precursor to Subud USA, and our lives and hearts expanded to hold more and more.

There were always a thousand levels of everything. Heaven and Hell were always combining and intertwining and the fruits of the latihan seemed to always be there to save us from falling into the Magnetism of any one of these levels to the detriment of embracing the present. God is Good! It was a grand beginning and a gift from heaven. Time hardly seems to have passed, yet here it is, 1999, and here we still are — Oswald and Asa, married 50 years this past June, have five grandchildren, still doing the latihan…and doing nothing wonderful in our lives. I had expected at least WINGS by this time — or to have experienced the Cosmos personally! But, I was one destined to be ordinary.

Ordinary? Of late, I remember Bapak saying that’s what we SHOULD be, and as the world gets more and more crazy with each passing day, I have learned to treasure my ordinariness as the “pearl of great price”. I believe that it is important to do latihan for reasons far beyond ourselves and beyond our understanding. It’s as if we form a bridge for the latihan energy to penetrate this level, and this is important for the Earth itself — and our duty to Almighty God in response to the constant blessings with which he fills our lives. When all other reasons fail, we keep on doing latihan because it is the only choice we have.

Love, Asa