More on Trip to Puebla, Mexico

Cathedral of Puebla

Am going though my recent journal entries to note the significant events during my recent trip to Puebla, Mexico. As I posted last week, I traveled to Mexico to attend the 14th Subud World Congress, my first ever in the ten years that I have been a Subud member.

This is part of what I wrote my first morning in Puebla:

I love Mexico. I love how the houses have courtyards and you park off the street, mostly. I love how the people are easy-going and kind and seem to have more integrity than people in the U.S. I fended off a panhandler yesterday coming back from Frida’s house and he went away no problema.

And the city itself is a wonderful representation, as the State Governor Rafael Moreno Valle Rosas told Subud members at the Congress opening ceremony, Puebla is a mix of the indigenous, the colonial and the modern. The colonial may be best represented by the many cathedrals in the city and Nahuatl people abound selling rambután or chia seeds on the sidewalks.

Nahautl Rambután Vendor

By the fourth day of my visit, I was already using the visit for my own individuation, tackling deep-seated issues that have been limiting my potential for decades.While I won’t get into the specifics here, the worldwide scope of the event attracts a large percentage of very capable people. In Subud, our practice is Latihan Kejiwaan and shorter versions of this practice are used to “test” certain subjects, allowing Subud brothers to aid others with issues troubling them. I would find that the assistance I received here was precise and invaluable. Imagine about 5 years of therapy boiled down to about 50 minutes of work over three days. The depth of what I got to was stunning and the whole Congress was like one giant power structure designed to rig the universe in favor of those willing to take a close look at how they have been navigating their lives. I was ready for this.

Subud India Congress Banner

While I can imagine many tourists taking umbrage at the little health inconveniences, like Montezuma’s Revenge (which I had for about 6 days) and other maladies, I saw them all as cleansing methods, though with a sore throat, laryngitis, bloody nose, runny nose, phlegm and other challenges, I was wondering if any other fluids would be making their way out of any other holes in my body, but this all passed. I was fortunate to have enough voice and a decent mic technique, to get my poem over at the well-attended Poems for Peace event. (See this post.)

And I was in the main hall for the testing of candidates for “wings” of Subud, SICA – the Subud International Cultural Association, Susila Dharma – the charitable wing and for the Chair of the Muhammed Subuh Foundation. Representing Subud Greater Seattle, Marston Gregory tested for Foundation Chair and received that while he is qualified, his test did not feel as energetic as he expected. Many of us were shocked that the International Helpers received that he was most qualified at this time to Chair the foundation and I noted that only in Subud would a former mime be voted in as Foundation Chair!

Me with the Chaleco Salesman

And I would be walking with Bhakti Watts, a Subud sister from Portland, under the giant tent where many meals and cups of coffee were consumed and stopped to hear a man playing guitar. He told us about his visit to the San Antonio hotel where Big Bill Broonzy recorded an album, showed us photos of the occasion, and played Sweet Home Chicago for us. When we left, I told Bhakti that the guitarist was Sanderson (Top) Topham, the original guitarist of the Yardbirds, who was replace by Eric Clapton, then by Jeff Beck and then by Jimmy Page. Stunning. He is now a new International Helper.

Elisha eyes Chiles en Nogada

I bought a new chaleco, turned Subud Greater Seattle Brother Elisha Gullixson on to Chiles en Nogada and then had one of the most blessed experiences of the Congress. I was witness to the “opening” of a 16 year old Peruvian, José Andreas. (Opening is Subud parlance for being initiated into the practice of Latihan Kejiwaan.) I was involved in the previous day’s testing to see if it was right to open him at age 16. Guidelines suggest 17 as a minimum age, but there have been exceptions and this would be one as well. That Peru does not have a large Subud population and that the fact of being opened at a World Congress, with its tremendous energy all likely factored in the receiving, but a yes it was and hearing the opening statement in Spanish, done by heart by one of the Helpers from Columbia I believe, was a humbling experience. I could not help but think how would I have turned out had I been opened at age 17, but that feeling slipped away as the man’s opening Latihan progressed and his Mother thanked me as I left the giant Latihan hall.

José Andreas

Again, all photos from my Mexico trip are linked here. The story of the poems I wrote during the visit will have to wait as postcard poems find their target 6 to 7 weeks after they were composed and mailed from Puebla, but that’s another interesting part of the story, as is the second half of my visit to Puebla, which I hope to document soon.

About Splabman

Paul Nelson is founder of SPLAB in Seattle and the Cascadia Poetry Festival. He wrote a collection of essays, Organic Poetry & a serial poem re-enacting the history of Auburn, WA, A Time Before Slaughter (shortlisted for a 2010 Genius Award by The Stranger.) He’s interviewed Allen Ginsberg, Michael McClure, Wanda Coleman, Anne Waldman, Sam Hamill, Robin Blaser, Nate Mackey, Eileen Myles, George Bowering, Diane di Prima, Brenda Hillman, George Stanley, Joanne Kyger & many Cascadia poets, has presented his poetry and poetics in London, Brussels, Qinghai and Beijing, China, Lake Forest, Illinois and other places & writes an American Sentence every day.
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One Response to More on Trip to Puebla, Mexico

  1. Rachman says:

    Loved your journal entry, Paul! Reminded me again of my experiences in Puebla, including the obligatory purifying illnesses!

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