Subud is open to any sincere individual over the age of seventeen, without regard to race, colour, creed, religion, etc. Those who wish to join are generally asked to wait for a period of three months after they first apply, and if at the end of that time they are still of the same mind, then usually they can start.
Many thousands have come to Subud and some have gone away again. It is a gift freely given, but this does not necessarily make it an easy path to follow. Purification and sanctification may not always be completely comfortable. Subud makes no claims, and in spiritual matters there is no compulsion, but to those who feel drawn to it we simply say, come — and see for yourself. People wishing to join Subud are asked to undergo a three-month ‘applicancy’ (or candidacy) period.
If you are over 63 and, in some cases, if you are unwell, isolated or are related to a Subud member, you may be exempt from this three month period. You must be over the age of seventeen to join Subud. For further details, contact your local helpers. During the candidacy period you will meet and chat with helpers in your local group in order to prepare yourself for the practice of the latihan.
These meetings happen at times and places agreeable to you both. The average frequency is about once a week or fortnight, and the meetings usually last about an hour. However, this will depend on the particular circumstances, such as numbers of helpers available or your own availability.
You may also meet other members and committee during this period to get a feeling for the culture of your group and the people with whom you will be doing latihan. The meetings are taken at your pace and provide an opportunity for you to ask questions about the latihan and Subud, the group, organisation or any other information of interest to you; and they also enable you to become clear about the meaning and aim of Subud before joining.
This preparation time can also be useful for reassuring oneself that this is a commitment one wants to make. Many people find that during this three-month period a subtle, inner process takes place, which prepares them for their first latihan. At the end of the three months you may decide you wish to join, or you may feel that Subud is not right for you at this time. There is no obligation for you to join at any stage of the applicancy process.
If you decide to go ahead, your first latihan will take place with two or more helpers (more experienced members) in your local group. This first latihan is known as as the ‘opening.’
“Subud cannot be explained, Subud can only be experienced. So no matter how hard you try, it cannot be understood with the mind. This is why the candidacy period is so important. It’s not what (is said) during the candidacy period that’s so important; it’s something else which happens between the helpers and the candidates. At some point during this period, regardless of what (is said), the candidate gets a feeling of Subud. And it is at that point when a candidate decides whether to join Subud or not” – Ibu Rahayu