If you’ve ever been part of the effort to organize a world congress, you know how much work it is. While a huge blessing in many ways, the opportunity to host a world congress is an immense undertaking that requires a large degree of planning, forethought, and channeling-of-receiving (the ultimate challenge, right?). There are different ages to plan for, meal plans to figure out, registration systems to set up, Wings to integrate (from Susila Dharma to SICA to SIHA), and kejiwaan activities galore to make a space for – all of which bring up questions like: How do we make families feel welcome? Which caterer(s) will be best for our members? How do we make eco-friendly choices? Which Wing will be housed in what area, and what kinds of programs will they be running? How do we make sure things are affordable? Where will the big latihan halls and small testing rooms be? And so, with the knowledge that this is a huge task, and the desire to make this congress the best yet, this past January, representatives from each of the Wings got together for a planning meeting onsite in Puebla, Mexico, where this fantastic congress will be held from August 2nd to 17th, 2014.
But let’s play devil’s advocate for a minute. Why do we, as Subud members, put such emphasis on world congresses? Why do we go to such lengths? Seems a bit overkill to invest so much time, energy, and resources into planning congresses – perhaps we could put these things to better use. What do they really accomplish, anyway?
A bit of background: World congresses began not just as a fun way to see old friends, meet new ones, and do awesome latihans every four years; rather, Bapak began the tradition to fulfill some very important Subud functions. World congresses are actually Subud’s decision-making body, and the bylaws and recommendations that are made during the congress’ meetings – which are open to all members, so GO – become the mandates for the next four years or until the next world congress. The World Subud Council, which you may have heard of, is the small group of representatives that are selected to act on these decisions and carry forward the word of the members between congresses. (That includes us – your friendly Subud Youth Activities International representatives.)
Of course, world congresses are also a time for Subud life to shine! As we well know, there is no holding back the creativity and spontaneity of members when they get together. In addition to taking care of business, congresses have also become an important opportunity for us to experience the community of Subud. As a part of that, there have been fashion shows, soccer games, music shows, auctions, parades, dance parties, presentations, musical cooking parties – you name it! And this time around, while it’s still early and things are just beginning to shape up, Puebla’s world congress already promises
to boast some of the biggest, funnest, and most interdisciplinary happenings the Subud world has yet seen.
So, a quick recap: world congresses serve two functions: one, to make decisions that the selected World Subud Council members will then carry out over the next four years; and two, to reinforce the Subud community and root us all in a feeling of brother/sisterhood. In doing so, we can provide a model for how people can, through the latihan, bring truly human qualities to the work and cultural activities that we experience in the world.
This doesn’t happen unless you come. Perhaps more importantly, even if you can’t come, it doesn’t happen unless you get involved. Subud is what you make of it; it is as strong as you make it or as weak as you let it be. The heart of it, the gift, is the latihan, and the powerful connection to your true inner that it allows you to access. Its arms, however, are the organization, through which we can put into practice the noble human force, and collectively make this world a better place. But it only happens when we all take responsibility for it. This world congress presents the opportunity for Subud to flower in a way that has never before been seen; COME.
See you there.
Stay tuned for stories next week about the Wings Meeting itself and what came out of it – including photos and videos of the city and the congress venue!