Sensitivity and Selectivity
The Sumarah method centers on learning how not to
avoid reality and how to receive reality more
directly. This entails a gradual increase in
awareness or "sensitivity" (peka) and in
understanding or "selectivity" (pilah) that
together bring an advance in "consciousness" (kesadaran),
the combination of these two tools. Increases in
sensitivity and selectivity are accompanied by an
actual boost in perceptual intake. This is a long
process, which begins as an intellectual intention
and carries on through various stages of
decreasing ego separation and increasing
consciousness until it arrives at "surrender" (sumarah).
The practice is a gradual one of expanding awareness through meditation and then allowing understanding to catch up and work itself into the expanded awareness. This rising awareness is what is called "sensitivity," and reflects the accurate reception of stimuli that are coming in. The increased understanding that arises out of discrimating and identifying the nature of the increased reception is called "selectivity". These two functions are closely tied together and their basic relationship is expressed in the following:
Thought sometimes gets misled, doesn't it? But that's the way it is. Because of that our study here is to make rasa sensitive first, and then you can be as selective as you need to be, as long as your rasa is sensitive first. When you haven't practiced this, the head starts analyzing and rasa gets lost. So you just have to follow the process. (Grogol 6/1/79)
The first stage of the process of increasing sensitivity and selectivity is termed luyut. Luyut is a pleasant, drifting, semi-conscious sensation that looks and feels like a light sleep. This state is experienced when the amount of stimuli ingested (sensitivity) exceeds the ego's responsive capacity (selectivity). Because the ego is unable to process all of the stimuli it is exposed to, it loses consciousness and falls into the drifting associations of luyut. The process is analogous to the eye when suddenly presented with a bright light, when it automatically narrows and the pupil contracts and prepares for the new situation.
Luyut is your limit. It's the limit of your ability to be aware. Later it will change again. Later the luyut will start farther along, in that you will have deepened your consciousness. Then when you reach the same place again, it won't catch you unawares. But when you go still deeper, luyut will come again. In the past, before you had got this far you would have lost consciousness, but not now. In the future, after you've experienced this a number of times, you won't lose consciousness. That's where progress comes into it. (Grogol 6/1/79)
The body is a collection of sensory responses that
reflect the flow of information. When sensitivity
exceeds the ego's capacity to process the
information and rasa encountered (whether
it be too painful, confusing, unusual or
whatever), the information and the experience
connected with it are placed "on hold." These
unassimilated and unprocessed experiences remain
rather like unwelcome guests sitting in the hall:
as long as they are not received, that door, that
sense, that linkage with existence cannot be used
and the information it contains is not available.
In the luyut stage of this process, those senses are forced open, the ego falls into a light sleep, beginning the process of absorbing the information that brought on the snooze. The second stage is characterized by strong emotion and especially anger, depression, anxiety and confusion. This is when the ego responds to the new material coming through the previously blocked portal, assimilating this new material and allowing the sense to remain open. In the third stage, the ego attains selectivity by completing its understanding of this material and making its adjustment to the new information and perspective involved in it. Then everything calms down and the process can start over again.
A more dramatic example of this process comes when you fall in love. First you go through the dreamy, focused haze of love's high voltage luyut, followed by the violent emotional swings and opinion shifts of the process of assimilating and identifying what the new feeling means and the worldview it implies. If your love survives this storm and reaches the calmer waters of mutual acceptance, the process can complete itself with a return to seeing your beloved clearly and calmly in a world transfigured by the added sense the love brought in.
This process is repeated over and over, and, bit by bit, small increments of experience are entered by consciousness while sensitivity and selectivity increase. The repressed material unearthed in the second stage of this process is often of riveting interest to the ego since it defined its limits and the tone of its worldview. However, the idea is not to dwell on the stored confusion this cleansing process brings out, though it must necessarily be accepted and understood.
When someone starts the Sumarah practice, the luyut process typically takes a few weeks, meaning a few meditations. It might take a few months to work through the whole process in adding an increment of sensitivity together with its accompanying selectivity. However, a great deal of variation is possible. This is especially true at first. One man said he spent his first seven years of meditation snoozing in luyut. A connection is drawn between the difficulty of the material to be absorbed and the length of time required for the process. In this case the man was suffering from distress that retarded the process. As one becomes more experienced in Sumarah practice, the process becomes subtler, quicker and less disruptive.
There are two continua that show the development of sensitivity and selectivity and the relationship between them. The first is the selectivity or understanding continuum and the first level of understanding is ngerti, an intellectual grasp of something that is limited to thought. For example, you realize you that smoking is not good for your health and note that you would like to stop in passing. The second level is ngakoni, a kind of confession and deeper understanding that encompasses the ego. Here you admit that you do not know why you are unable to stop smoking, even though there are so many good reasons to; you come to feel the action as independent of your decision and seen it in more depth. The third level, ngrumangsani, is understanding based on rasa and sees the issue in a more accepting context. You realize that smoking is not just your problem and that it is a general social problem that you are a part of. You start looking to others to find a way to control or at least understand your compulsion. Nglengganani is the fourth level when understanding corresponds to rasa murni and provokes no separation from experience or from reality itself. You understand that smoking has positive and negative aspects and that sometimes it can serve a physical, social and psychological function, and that it is proper if there is a real, natural call for it, but not for personal pleasure or comfort. To see the behavior clearly you must accept it. Up to this point, contemplating the issue had induced a kind of confusion that pulled you out of the present; thinking about it and either justifying or condemning it takes you down through your arguments and reasons, placing you in the past and rerunning your feelings and understandings about it. The incident has not yet been brought out into the open, confronted and released. In the case of ngerti this discontinuity may be brief and slight, but in ngakoni and ngrumangsani the disruption can be considerable. In nglengganani the understanding returns to the present and is seen in its real perspective -- neither denied nor over-emphasized. This completes the process of confronting and releasing the experience.
Increasing Selectivity or Understanding
ngerti understanding in thought
ngakoni understanding in ego (confession)
ngrumangsani understanding in rasa (feeling)
nglengganani understanding in rasa murni (reality)
The second continuum concerns selectivity, the
active component of experience, when you try to
understand and fit your responses into the real
situation, sensitivity is the passive component of
experience; it is what you receive and can be
aware of rather in the manner that a camera
responds when the lens shutter is opened. However,
the two are closely tied together and each is both
complemented and limited by the other. People
generally start the practice in a tangle of
understanding and awareness and the relationship
between the two aspects of consciousness is not
apparent. The first step in the development
process is to pry sensitivity and selectivity
apart. This separation is a mechanical process
that results from practicing the meditation and
bringing enough energy out of you thinking to make
its limited scope and power apparent. The
watershed in the development of consciousness is
crossed with the attainmnt ent of "awareness in
thought" (eling ing pikir), which comes
when sufficient awareness is in the present and
spread throughout the body so as to give thought a
delimited perspective. Before this stage thought
seems to be the whole of experience and the
experiencer moves from one thought to the next
seeking meaning and pleasure. When "awareness in
thought" arises, thought's limited scope and
impact on reality is grasped and thought's
previous importance is now tempered by this
awareness. As a result, you start to look for
meaning and pleasure more in your experience
itself and less in thinking about it. "Awareness
of thought" encompasses the ngerti level of
The sensitivity continuum's second level "awareness in feeling" (eling ing rasa), when enough energy is released from ego processes though relaxation and acceptance to put feeling in a delimited perspective. Previous to this level, you necessarily feel bound to the rises and falls of emotion and feeling. You try to manage your experience the way a person on the roller-coaster controls his fear by pretending the ride is over. With "awareness in thought" you recognize that thought is just a tool in the larger frame of experience but the limited nature of feeling is not yet apparent. Feeling is encompassed by awareness when its necessarily transient nature is appreciated and accepted; at this point you become conscious of the informational rather than the diversional importance of feeling's rises and falls. The variations of affective experience are seen as lessons connected with the process of maturation rather than being judged by the hedonistic criteria generally used up to this point. However, "awareness of feeling" is confined to the calmer areas of experience: when strong emotion or desire is experienced this will exceed the limits of the range of this awareness. An effort to return to this calm and broad perspective will eventually come. This will involve an increase in consciousness as the new feeling is accepted and brought into an open perspective where it can be seen more clearly and acted on more effectively. "Awareness of feeling" encompasses ngerti, ngakoni and ngrumangsani levels of understanding. Contact with reality begins at this level of awareness, but the contact is subtly colored and distorted by a still struggling ego and fear of not controlling your experience.
Next on the sensitivity continuum is "awareness of life" (eling ing jiwa). Jiwa refers to roughly the same holistic concatenation of desires, feelings, emotions, thoughts and physical sensations associated with human experience as dasein or epoche in existential psychology and phenomenology. "Awareness of life" comes when the whole of experience is encompassed within an excepting and accurate state of consciousness. Using the camera analysis again, the filtering lenses have now been removed; you open without any of the defensive perceptual selection that had been present previously. While consciousness was restricted to a certain range of potential experience in "awareness of feeling," in "awareness of life" the ego withdraws from active participation in defining its state and takes whatever comes to it. You no longer reach out toward pleasure or shrink away from confusion; if they come, so be it. When "awareness of life" is reached, the amount of perspective derived from this sweeping panorama of being contains the desires, feelings and thoughts in a generally quiet and comprehensive frame. More intense responses are still present but they are generally brought out into the open rather quickly, confronted for what they are and released. The fear of not being in control gives way to an acceptance of the fact that you never really were.
Up to this point in the stages of development, the desires contain consciousness. With "awareness of life" consciousness finally learns to participate in the desires. "Awareness of life" encompasses the nglengganani level of understanding and the two together comprise the active and passive aspects of rasa murni. Nglengganani is understanding that is not separated from reality in the present. "Awareness of life" is the direct, uncensored reception of what is here now.
Increasing Sensitivity or Awareness
eling ing pikir awareness of thought
eling ing rasa awareness of rasa (feeling)
eling ing jiwa awareness of rasa murni (life)
and practice consciousness gradually gets stabler
and the general tone of being calms; however,
states of awareness are not fixed: they are part
of the process of receiving reality. Situations
constantly arise that require new applications of
the process of receiving and responding and this
constant demand for expanding consciousness and
self-criticism is compared to bathing: "So you
bathe today. Does that mean that you won't need to
bathe again tomorrow? It's a continual process.
You keep getting dirty, so you keep needing baths.
It's the same way with this." Flexibility is the
key to facilitating this process and refers to
sensitivity and selectivity's ability to cooperate
and work together. Increasing consciousness is a
process that cannot be circumvented or rushed, but
it can be aided by familiarity, relaxation and
Two stategies are used to help in attuning and increasing flexibility. The first is "Studying being able to accept criticism from anyone and anything" (Ajar gelem deelingke sapa lan apa wae). This is initially a rather philosophical position used to maintain perspective, that becomes a habitual attitude over time. Understandings are limited by nature and are constantly in the process of being contradicted and revised by reality. The quickest way to update and improve them is to be open to the total source of criticism: existence itself.
The family context is generally the richest source of criticism and instruction, but all other aspects of life are to be approached in the same way. Opinions are to be offered with an attitude of "Maybe I'm right, maybe I'm wrong, but this is what comes to me." Criticism is received as something to be resolved by reality, not by argument. Anger experienced in response to criticism is confronted in the context of your own limitations: "Well, am I always right? Is he always wrong?"
The strategy in flexibility is coordinating sensitivity and selectivity and relates to a continuum of "willingness" (gelem) and "unwillingness" (moh). Before beginning this process, the character is made up of powerful, combative elements that compete in connection with any decision. The "should" and the "shouldn't" are both represented by batteries of emotion, argument and other tools of persuation. Each decision in life (but especially major ones) affects your total condition; your experience speaks for or against it from various perspectives. But the only reliable place to adjudge and respond to any situation is the present where the concern itself is -- not knocking about among contentious memories. The first step in relaxing and opening this process to greater sensitivity is, "Making the unwillingness willing" (Gelemke si moh). For example, you might force yourself to meditate and keep yourself relaxed whether you want to be at the moment or not. When this is done, a kind of ceasefire is imposed in the battle between the "should" and the "shouldn't" and the emotional charge attached to the decision-making process gradually diminishes.
After your experience has settled down sufficiently, a second stage is entered, "Being willing to be unwilling" (Ngglemi si moh), which means respecting and "Being in the tools" (Manggon ana ing alate) connected with unwillingness. Any decision should be reached in the present; while the should/shouldn't argument is raging, it drowns out all but the least subtle aspects of your present situation. The first step suspends this argument and inceases sensitivity, and then the second places attention directly in the "tools", the actual responses to stimuli and fosters selectivity. Both "willingness" and "unwillingness" are founded in experience, and now attention is directed toward appreciating the rightful aspects of "unwillingness."
The third stage is "Willingness along with unwillingness" (Moh wi gelem) and its aim is to bring balance to "willingness" and "unwillingness" in their real context. This stage is connected with "Separation from the tools" (Pisah karo alat) and involves a continual study of the actual informational content and import of your responses, which gradually can become more and more subtle and refined. The emphasis is both on receiving the responses accurately (sensitivity) and on discerning their significance (selectivity). The body is an enormous collection of informational responses. The first two stages provide the basic method for receiving and sorting out this material; now the method is applied to the great mass of undifferentiated information that makes us up and gradually subtler and subtler responses are separated out, received and understood. This is when sensitivity and selectivity learn to work together smoothly. Understanding becomes less emotionally entrenched in being right; as a result, when understanding is contradicted by experience, it can be registered and whatever adjustment may be needed can be made more quickly. Similarly, since selectivity is more responsive to contradictions arising in sensitivity, sensitivity is not forced to amplify and distort these contradictions as much in order to get them recognized. The process gets increasingly refined and operates more quickly as selectivity learns to stay close to sensitivity and experience itself. These are the simple applied mechanics of the opening process.
The fourth and final stage of this process is, "Can't be willing; can't be unwilling" (Moh ora isa, gelem ora isa) and is connected with "Uniting with the tools" (Manunggal karo alat). Sensitivity and selectivity become one, united in the real present (rasa murni); the ego ceases as a separated entity withdrawn from actual experience and surrender (sumarah) begins. The "can't be" wording refers to the lack of any separated will in surrender and unity of experience -- attention now goes into being here and responding as reality would have it. Responses are direct and spontaneous reactions to the situation and contain no personal input and hence no "willingness" or "unwillingness."
The fourth stage is the basis of Sumarah's leadership practice. Leadership requires this openness to reality and the information that comes spontaneously out of it. A leader is not a person but a relationship with reality and Tuhan Yang Maha Esa.
The Flexibility Continuum
Gelemke si moh. Making the unwillingness willing.
Nggelemi si moh. Being willing to be unwilling.
Moh wi gelem. Willingness along with unwillingness.
Moh ora isa, gelem ora isa. Can't be willing; can't be unwilling.
spontaneity sometimes results in responses and
behavior that is clearly understood and sometimes
brings out responses that are a surprise to all
present (including the pamong). This
reflects the nature of spontaneity together with
the limitations of understanding. Sometimes such
unanticipated reactions are later clarified and
sometimes they are not. The following two
incidents illustrate this.
The first occurred before a meeting. The pamong was sitting with early arrivals, chatting and waiting for the rest to come. He saw a woman come in and suddenly felt he should take her and another woman aside. He did this without knowing why it felt proper; it turned out that the two women had had an argument the previous day that needed to be talked about. This was an instance when the reaction was clarified.
In the second incident the pamong was going to an evening meeting with me on the back of his motorcycle. Suddenly he felt a "change" and did not know if it was proper for him to go to the meeting or if there was something else that he should do. He stopped at another leader's house and asked for an opinion. The two sat there, looking a little like hounds sniffing the rasa breeze and trying to figure out what this new scent was. The source of this one never came clear and the matter was dropped unresolved. They talked for awhile and we eventually went on to the meeting together.
Spontaneity's importance in defining behavior is not restricted to leaders. As a person gains greater sensitivity, a simple ethic is presented, "When something inside you tells you not to do something, don't do it. When nothing inside you objects, then it's all right." For example, doing business and making a profit are all right up to a certain point. After that your feelings will tell you that you are taking advantage of your neighbors and should charge less.
This principle applies to all behavior, not only to situations where there is a clear reason for the negative reaction. If you want to visit a friend and something tells you not to, you should not go. Here the negative feeling may mean any number of things, with one possibility simply being that the friend is not home. This is the way the information based on increased sensitivity to rasa and reality is brought into everyday life.
The desire to do what is right is highlighted by a distinction between proper etiquette behavior (tata krama) and proper behavior (aturan). Etiquette observes the prescribed forms in this tradition rich culture; however, such socially correct behavior can be empty and inappropriate in a real sense. Proper behavior conforms to the demands of reality and is correct not in relation to some abstract schema or criterion but in relation to the real context.
The conflict between the two codes is seen in the way leaders behave at meetings. Proper etiquette demands proper speech, observance of levels, of tone and vocabulary, but this propriety can interfere with communication -- a leader's role sometimes demands more flexibility and color. This is not to challenge etiquette's importance in some situations but to assert the importance of letting the situation define the behavior that is most appropriate. For example, Suwondo can be raucous or refined depending on whom he is talking to and the demands of communication. As we will see in one of the cases, proficiency in the art of communication is an art acquired through experience and practice -- trial and error.
Ranks or Levels of Attainment
and continua presented up to this point are quite
specific and are used to describe a person's
condition at a particular time. "Selectivity" is
generally chosen to give an idea of how things are
right now. Consciousness can go up and down. It
might start the day calmly in ngrumangsani
and then dip into ngerti and then in a
moment of acceptance and contemplation, climb back
up to ngakoni.
Summarizing the material above, a person's consciousness at any given time reflects his/her relationship with that particular environment as well as whatever might be arising out of the understanding and sensitivity/selectivity process. In addition to changes that take place over time in a linear fashion from moment to moment and situation to situation, changes also come in association with a particular subject as consciousness progresses through the stages of ngerti, ngakoni, ngrumangsani and completes itself in nglengganani.
there is also a broader continuum that depicts a
person's general condition or level of attainment.
During its history Sumarah has gone through
various periods and emphases. Nowadays each leader
is free to use whatever explanations and
illustrations come to him, and there is a great
deal of variation. The following discussion of
ranks or levels of attainment is somewhat
particular to Central Java and comes from one of
our great masters, Suhardo, a founding member of
On the path to total surrender, the first stage or rank (martabat) is "intention" (niyat), an understanding in thought (ngerti) when a person decides he wants to learn the practice and open to reality. This level is an intellectual commitment rather like deciding to attend school and get an education.
With training and practice the intention becomes firmer and the experience allows understanding to expand and include the ego (ngakoni). The person's experience confirms his initial intention and the intention turns into "resolve" (tekad). Resolve is still an expression of the ego, though the ego is now more unified and confident about what it is doing.
With continued practice, this resolve deepens, becoming more accepting, less founded on personal interest and more interested in giving back service for the boon received in the practice. This is where the walls of the ego come down and interaction with reality begins. It is here in "faith" or "conviction" (iman) as well that the true practice of Sumarah starts.
Faith is sub-divided into three levels. The first is "young faith" (iman muda), when awareness settles into the heart area and is accompanied by a sensation of coolness or relief. The willingness to open to and accept reality is present but still held back by lack of practice.
The next level is "mature faith" (iman dewasa), when consciousness of reality reaches a sense of a strong and comforting force or power; the first uncensored reception of reality and Tuhan Yang Maha Esa. This comes as a self-evident visual and physical glow of relaxed acceptance.
Faith's third level is "true faith" (iman bulat), ego's final stage of participation before quieting in surrender. True faith is characterized by stability and calm acceptance, and is firmly established in "awareness of feeling." The stability allows the release of repressed experiential and sensory material formerly occluded by ego activity. An active ego takes the energy from these occluded senses and invests it in its own purposes. Stability and a quieting of ego processes gradually allow energy to return to these subtle sources of information and they open up again. This is where the "true teacher" (guru sejati) arises and it is at this point that the task of serving "natural law" (purba wasesa) begins in earnest as a moment-to-moment occupation. The reception of reality assumes an active rather than a passive aspect as you learn to receive the demands of reality cleanly and in the present. Gathering the consciousness necessary to enter into surrender takes time and this is what takes place during "true faith."
After the levels of faith (iman), where ego processes are increasingly refined, stabilized and relaxed, come the levels of surrender (sumarah) where ego processes are transcended and direct congress with reality begins. The first level of surrender (sumarah 1) involves direct awareness of rasa murni as consciousness moves up to the border with Tuhan Yang Maha Esa; an expansive, engulfing experience accompanies this initial experience of the reality of being with God. In surrender the Will of Tuhan Yang Maha Esa is experienced and carried out directly. The "true teacher" is eventually transcended and comes within consciousness. In the higher levels of surrender, more and more direct contact with being and Tuhan Yang Maha Esa come and awareness goes on beyond "awareness of life" (eling ing jiwa) to a "true" or "pure awareness" (sejatining eling). We do not talk about these levels very much because effective description is impossible without experience. In fact, all of these mechanics of the opening process are essentially meaningless without their application. The levels of surrender stretch on upward as far as the service and consciousness of those who do the practice have reached in distinguishable and verifiable experience. For example, Suhardo's rank of surrender is "sumarah" followed by an enormous number.
During Sumarah's early history, rank was observed quite formally and mature members met separately from new members. Nowadays all meetings except the leader training meeting are open; rank is quietly observed but is no longer emphasized.
Figure 4. Ranks or Levels of Attainment
tekad resolve (ego)
iman muda young faith
iman dewasa mature faith
iman bulat true faith
sumarah levels of surrender
The levels of attainment are also related to "chakra." Three chakra are referred to in Sumarah; they are sometimes called by their Sufi (Arabic) names but more commonly by their Hindu-based Javanese names. The first is the lower chakra in the lower abdomen and genital region, which is bait al muqaddas in Arabic and janaloka in Javanese. This chakra is where the energy for "resolve" (tekad) comes from and is especially connected with "will" and "determination."
The middle chakra in the heart area is called bait al muharam or hendraloka. This center is connected with rasa and the "faith" (iman) stage of development. The heart chakra is the gate to sensitivity and Sumarah is sometimes said to begin only when this chakra is entered.
The upper chakra in the head is called bait al makmur or guruloka, and it the center where sensitivity and selectivity meet, eventually yielding the surrender stage of development.
Development is progressive and cumulative, a process of cleansing or clearing the accumulated unreleased experiential material out of these energy channels and opening them up. After a chakra center is cleansed, the spirit and energy that were trapped in the confusion there can now move up into the next area needing attention -- the next center of confusion. Practitioners are advised to try to clear the lower center before moving up to the heart chakra. This can help to avoid a great deal of emotional turmoil. However, they are much more strongly counselled not to force the "surrender" stage of development. Pushing energy up into an uncleaned chakra is like shining a light through the dirt on a window, and in the head chakra this energy can spark disruptive reactions as the energy rocks the tenuous balance of thought and emotion before they have sorted themselves out.
Figure 5. Chakra (Triloka)
English Javanese Arabic Association
lower chakra janaloka bait al muqaddas resolve
middle chakra hendraloka bait al muharam faith
upper chakra guruloka bait al makmur surrender
Consciousness Maintenance Techniques
practice includes a number of
consciousness-assisting or maintaining techniques.
They are used to pull one out of distractions and
disturbances to the daily meditation and to assist
in attaining a more accepting and open reception
of reality from moment to moment.
The first is breathing, which can give you an excellent monitor on the your physical and spiritual state. Breathing provides you with an idea of what you are doing in much the same way that heart rate and blood pressure do and the Javanese tradition includes a kind of biofeedback orientation in connection with it.
The levels of breathing are napas, anapas, tan-napas and nupus. In napas the breathing is still coarse and unregulated. In anapas it is a bit more refined but actually still pretty coarse. When you get to tan-napas it starts getting refined, and then comes nupus. Napas, anapas, tan-napas and nupus are connected with the working of the heart and lungs. When breathing is coarse, the working of the lungs is unregulated, the heart beat too heavy and the circulation of the blood is too rapid and unregulated. Everything is working in excess. But if this can be relaxed, if the nerves can be relaxed, the heart isn't forced to work so hard and you actually have more endurance. But when the heart is forced to beat heavily, like when you get mad and your heart pounds, you'll get tired fast. This is usually not paid attention to. (Keratonan 4/10/80)
Sumarah counsels, but does not stress, continuous attention to refining your breathing. This tool is used primarily in identifying influences on your experience through the way your breathing varies from moment to moment. The practice also emphasizes using breathing to regulate and control sharp emotional responses.
Actually the sexual desire that comes out like that is basically just a desire, and all desires burn up energy. The amount of energy generated depends on oxygen. When oxygen use is moderate it's no problem. But when combustion gets excessive to supply the call for energy, that causes the heart to beat faster and influences body heat. At the same time it changes and strengthens the desire. Because of this, when you want to lessen a desire, exhale completely; do that in order to balance the energy and the desire so that it's not too strong. (Grogol 6/1/79)
A pamong will at times feign
anger, taking a huge breath and holding it. Then
he tries to maintain the angry stance while
exhaling completely, demonstrating that anger is
hard to keep up without a special supply of
oxygen. If the anger reflects an ego perspective,
it needs ego-produced energy to exist and will
disappear when you relax.
Another common technique is repeating the name of God, "Allah." Mantras as such are not used in Sumarah, but "Allah" is often called out during a meditation. The energy and associations of the word assist in the acceptance and reception of reality and help pull people out of their self-centered frames of reference. This device can also used when something disturbs your daily meditation; it can be said aloud or silently.
Another tactic is stopping to check your disposition and looking to see where your actions and desires are coming from at that moment. This is especially advocated during conversations, and particularly for those who tend to get emotionally involved in what they are saying. The pause is used to note the emotion or influences and try to calm down.
Still another technique is a prayer for guidance during difficult or indecisive moments. The prayer has a form like, "What would it be best for me to do?" (Kedahipun kula kados pundi?) or "What is Thy Will?" (Panjenengan kersa menopo?) This is a powerful tool for opening yourself to the situation, putting it into a proper perspective and receiving it as accurately as possible. This open sense then becomes the basis for seeking a solution eventually, putting the problem in as real a frame as possible.
Another tactic is advocated when someone does something that seems silly or contemptible and involves a pause followed by focusing on the concept "respect" (kurmat or hormat). This concept has a number of different levels and aspects. The first and most pragmatic is that open reception demands it; letting things be as they are is a mechanical aspect of reception itself. For example, when you are listening to someone talk and find what they are saying foolish, the tendency is to pull back from the situation and either stop listening or prepare a rebuttal. In either case you are no longer here. Sumarah holds that being in the present takes precedence over such discomfort and being here requires the acceptance of all that are here with you. The scornful denial of anyone or anything's right to exist impoverishes your experience by blocking out that part of reality. This is also senseless, because whatever it is, it does in fact exist. This is sometimes hard, but a related point is that any program for coping with your situation can only be responsible if you are seeing it clearly, not denying parts of it.
The concept of respect goes deeper to tepa slira. All human beings are fundamentally alike and we all start off as infants in the same wide-open condition of rasa murni. Life changes this initial state but a measure of commonalty is seen: that which affects A in a given way would probably have a similar affect on B. So while it may be difficult to respect a person at a given time in his life, it is impossible not to respect the rasa murni condition of the struggling infant that underlies him and is trying to return home to openness.
At a still deeper level respect relates to the "true teacher," who is at the base of all our experience and the personal representation of reality and Tuhan Yang Maha Esa. Thus, at our essential level we are all part of the divine. In the story about Bima's search for the waters of eternal life in Chapter 6, when Bima meets Dewaruci (the true teacher) and discovers who he is, he speaks in high Javanese (krama inggil) with him; he the only character in the entire epic Bima grants such respect. Sumarah views this deep feeling of respect as being required for everyone's inner nature because, whether they are aware of it or not, everyone is a part of nature and the divine; full reception of them requires seeing this aspect of them as well. This humble respect applies to yourself as well: your inner being, your soul, exists beyond your ego just as anyone else's does, deriving your existence from the totality and managing the expression of the totality in you.