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DailyPost at WordPress, thank you for what I thought a brave prompt: Detonate

Let’s celebrate life, love, art!

#prayfortheworld #prayforhumanity #prayforpeace

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Detonation – A Haiku

Finding Home with Najwa Zebian’s Words

Finding Home Through Poetry by Najwa Zebian.

“The biggest mistake that we make is that we build our homes in other people” ~Najwa Zebian.

This is my story of how words of a stranger can leave a mark on our soul, forever changed us. In this case, her words changed me to become better. I saw Najwa Zebian’s video a while ago on Instagram, and the first time I saw it, her words spoke to me immediately. Ever since I made a vow to write more (and if possible, daily), I knew that I would go back to her words again and blog it. The talk is about finding “home,” but not home as a ‘building’ or a house. It’s about finding our emotional home, a spiritual one.

I had to think hard about the true meaning of “building homes in other people” by connecting them into my own journey. I had to ask myself hard questions,

“Why do I keep on failing in relationship? Where in that relationship when I started to go down the wrong path, made a wrong turn, and then got lost? What were my expectations, and because I kept on failing, were my expectations always wrong then this whole time?”

Home. I keep going back to that word too.

“Have I been building homes in wrong places? If I am not supposed to build it in other people, where should I be building it?”

When I watched that video for the first time, I already knew the answer of where to build it. Mawlana Jawaharlal Rumi put it so well when he said (translated into English): “I searched for God and found only myself. I searched for myself and found only God.” God and I have never been separated throughout my life. I just pushed Him away many many times when I failed to build my home in Him. I should have built my first home there a long time ago. Better late than never reached this point.

Building my home in God is something that I continue to do. In that case, I should probably ask myself whether I am done then? I did, and I thought the answer was yes, but I still found myself still tripping over stones, falling down on my face. If building home in God is enough, then why I still got lost?

I think my work with God will not be enough if I, myself, have not put a lot of thought and effort to harvest the fruit of my faith. In other words, I have to build a home inside of me too —  me as my home —  in order to complete my home. Mind you, this part is the tough one. Several questions came to me, and they are not easy to answer.

  • Can I be comfortable in my own skin, with all of me? Strengths and fragility?

 

  • Can I rely on myself to make me stronger? Be my own cheerleader in times of strain, with God as my support?

 

  • Can I love myself that much? Love me enough so that I can call my “inner self” as home? Love me enough so that I can feel happy and comfortable when I am alone?

 

  • Can I forgive myself, especially after what I’ve done…to him? To them in the past?

 

These are all questions that I have to contemplate, on my own, in my own time, at my own pace. I need not hurry in doing it, just as along as I do it. Thank you, Najwa, for opening my eyes. It’s my task now too find my own way home.

****

Ajaib

Suatu hal yang aneh terjadi hari ini. Aku mengulurkan tangan–bukan untuk memberikan bantuan tapi untuk meminta bantuan–kepada seseorang yang selama hidupku baru kali ini aku lakukan. Saking butuh dan kusutnya aku mungkin pada saat itu, sehingga melakukan sesuatu yang tak terduga.

Waktu itu siang, menjelang sore. Sebenarnya sedang mau bersiap-siap untuk ke gereja dan barusan menyelesaikan sebuah puisi. Entah kenapa, mungkin ada unsur baper dari menulis puisi itu, tiba-tiba perasaan sedih yang sangat dalam menusukku perlahan. Mulainya pelan, diawali dengan munculnya perasaan tidak nyaman yang langsung bisa kurasakan di perut. Perut terasa agak terlilit. Aku mulai merasa gelisah dan berjalan mondar-mandir di dapur sambil mencoba melawan pemikiran-pemikiran negatif yang muncul bersamaan. Entah mereka datangnya dari mana tapi tiba-tiba menyerbu bersamaan seperti sudah janjian sebelumnya, sambil bergandengan tangan lagi, hadoh! Lalu perlahan muncul isakan yang kemudian bertambah kencang, sampai menjadi sedu sedan yang sudah tak terbendung lagi. Kegelisahan juga bertambah terus. Kemudian ada suara denting di hape. Sempat kutengok sebentar dan melihat ada pesan yang masuk di Whatsapp, yang ternyata dari kakakku. Sebenarnya kalau dipikir-pikir, sempat heran juga kenapa aku bisa menyempatkan diri untuk menengok hape di tengah-tengah kehebohanku? Sampai sekarang aku juga tidak bisa mengerti mengenai itu.

Pesan itu benar dari kakakku. Kalau ada yang mengenal keluarga kami dengan dekat, pasti sudah mulai tergelitik di bagian ini. Seumur hidupku, aku tidak pernah dekat dengan kakakku. Mungkin baru di satu atau dua tahun terakhir ini kami mulai perlahan menjadi dekat, tapi belum sampai pada tahap di mana aku meminta pertolongannya. Dan terlebih lagi, pertolongan untuk…curhat. Aku? Curhat? Ke dia? Mungkin ini karena unsur U(sia)? Mbuh.

Tapi mungkinkah juga karena campur tangan Tuhan? Pesannya di WA masuk pada saat yang tepat. Perlu diketahui, kakakku ini juga bukan…lebih tepatnya, kami berdua bukan tipe yang saling mengabari, berbincang, berdiskusi langsung, apalagi lewat hape, sehingga kemungkinan kami saling mengirimi pesan di WA itu juga masih tergolong langka. Tapi kenapa pesannya masuk pada saat itu? Di saat aku sedang kesulitan bernapas karena dilanda rasa duka yang datangnya bertubi-tubi, saat aku hampir kehilangan pikiran warasku, bergumul dengan pemikiran yang ingin ‘menyerah’ (atau lebih tepatnya bagaimana rasanya kalau semua rasa sakit itu bisa berhenti saat itu juga), pesan dari kakakku itu sepertinya sedang berusaha meraihku. Di situlah terjadi suatu keajaiban. Aku kemudian merasakan tarikan yang luar biasa untuk menghubunginya. Sebuah perdebatan sempat terjadi di pikiranku,

“Benarkah ini yang tepat untuk aku lakukan?” sahut suatu suara.

“Tidak, saya bisa tahan kok. Sudah pernah aku lakukan sebelumnya, masak tidak bisa saya atasi sendiri?” jawab suara lainnya.

“Tapi saya sudah tidak kuat lagi,” kembali ke suara pertama.

“Tunggu sebentar aja, pasti juga akan lewat kok. Kan biasanya juga begini?” sahut balik si suara kedua.

“Sungguh! Sakit sekali rasanya. Saya butuh berbicara dengan seseorang sekarang. Saya butuh keluarkan ini!” balik ke suara pertama lagi, dan seterusnya.

Tidak menunggu lama, mungkin cuma satu atau dua menit saja, akhirnya salah satu dari kedua tim debat di atas menang juga akhirnya, yaitu tim debat yang mewakili sudut hati yang membutuhkan seseorang. Dan aku pun menelpon kakakku akhirnya. Selebihnya tak perlu diceritakan, cukup untuk dicatat karena sudah menjadi sejarah.

Ingat, perlu dicatat! Hari ini menjadi hari bersejarah! Si dua bersaudara yang dari kecil pernah dipanggil Tom dan Jerry (nggak usah pusing deh mana yang Tom dan mana yang Jerry, pokoknya kucing dan tikus yang tak pernah akur!), akhirnya membuat lembaran hubungan yang baru. Kalau diingat-ingat sekarang, aku sebenarnya kasihan juga dengan kakakku. Dia mungkin sama shocknya denganku saat kuputuskan untuk menelpon. Dari nada suaranya bisa kubayangkan bagaimana heboh dan bingungnya dia juga di sana menerima telpon dari sang adik ter-kritis (bukan karena aku tipe orang yang kritis, tapi karena lebih sering mengkritiki dia).

Suatu keanehan memang terjadi hari ini, suatu keajaiban yang patut disyukuri. Masih banyak lagi yang bisa direfleksikan dari kejadian ini. KaryaNya, campur-tanganNya memang sering mengejutkan dan tak terduga, tapi tidak apa. Semakin banyak hal ajaib yang terjadi semakin bagus. Paling tidak, bisa dipakai untuk ide menulis setiap hari. Thank You, Lord! Dan Berkah Dalem untuk kita semua.

How Opening My Chakras has Changed Me

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“Growth through Wisdom” – artwork through Bindu Creative Wellness (found through http://www.radiant-women.com/inspired-self-healing-program)

It was a lazy Saturday afternoon after giving a talk in a seminar earlier that day for over two hours and my body felt like crashing when a notification showed up on my cell phone, telling me that I had a message on my Instagram account. I dismissed it as just another click of “like” on one of the pictures I posted. It wasn’t until later at night when I opened the Instagram that I realized it was a comment from a friend. The comment was made on the image of chakra meditation I posted a few days ago. It was an image I stole from the internet, not my own, to announce my newest interest in daily routine. Isn’t that the purpose of Instagram — that people use it to announce something about themselves, right? Anyway, my friend had inquired about my post and asked me the following question, “What specific needs did you get from it that other types of meditation don’t offer?” It was an intriguing question, and it got me to produce this writing after not writing for quite some time…and in English too.

It’s been a while, dear friends. To say that I’ve been busy in my life may sound like a cliché, but it’s true. I would love to be able to produce more writings, but my attention has been taken away to concentrate on my needs, on me. Sounds selfish, but self-healing requires perhaps a bit of selfishness. Nobody else is going to take care of me other than myself, so I decided to try some new activities as part of my self-healing. I don’t know where and how to start my story about my journey of self-healing within these past 2 or 3 months, or maybe even longer than that, but I will try to do it anyway. It has started somewhat slowly about 6 months ago when I got a chance to deepen my faith in my religion and did a deep soul-searching trip inside myself, asking many thought-provoking questions and daring to look into my past. Many people and activities I’ve done have helped me so far, and chakra meditation is just one of them. This essay is meant to answer my friend’s question, but also deeper than that. It’s my own recollection of my journey in improving my view of my self and the world.

I admit that I am not an expert in chakra meditation. I’ve only been doing it for maybe only 2 weeks so far, but on a daily basis. I can only testify as according to my experiences so far. I have known about chakra meditation before but never tried it. About two weeks ago, I went out of town and stayed in a hotel that uses some words explaining about chakras as part of its decoration. The name of the hotel is Good Karma, so that explains about the decoration. I took a picture of each of those 7 writings of chakra, and that still did not raise my interest yet to try them. About a few days later, I was browsing google play store on my phone looking for some peaceful meditational sounds or music to help me relaxing before sleep, and somehow coming across an app called Chakra Meditation and Healing after a series of installing many meditational apps beforehand only to uninstalling them right away again. Many of them were awful, trash, just full of advertisement. Some of them are just confusing to use. This chakra app though, has been accompanying me daily ever since.

What do I like about it? Probably because the guided chakra meditation is easy to follow, the human voice is very peaceful and soft, and then of course, the self-confirmation statements that are part of every chakra session. I have since tried to search on the internet and other chakra apps to see if self-confirmation statements are always part of chakra meditation. The answer is no. The one that I downloaded is the only one containing self-confirmation statements – sentences that I can repeat as positive messages to myself. Those statements were the first ones that hooked me into this chakra meditation. They made me realized that chakra meditation actually has a psychological aspect to it. However, after trying chakra meditation through the app over and over for several days, I realize that it is not only about self-confirmation statements. I truly feel something has changed in me, not just because of those statements, but also something else…within me, inside my body, in the way I think, how I feel about me and my body, and how I view my world. So then what is the conclusion of this? Could it be that the chakras in my body have opened up and become synchronized? I did not believe on those things in the past, but after experiencing everything that I have done, I’m starting to believe that there has been a renewal flow of energy inside my body.

What I have experienced is obviously unique and specific to me only. Others may not experience it the same way. Chakra meditation may not always work. I was a skeptic, did not complete believe fully in the concept of flow of energy within the body. I believe in the concept of prayers, in the practices according to my religion. I believe in the concept of thinking, feeling and behaving. But obviously, everything that I believed before was not enough to get me able to think as positive as I do now. Something was preventing me before. My mind could easily fall into a negative thinking, into endlessly worrying and distrusting people. A close person in my life, a special person, has been the blunt of my anger, worry, fear, and other negative thinking and feelings for these past 3 months, and even I at that time started to question myself on why did I continue to feel insecure about myself? Even after reading a book about Self-Compassion, I still could not love myself and forgive my past. I continued to be angry and fearful, and in that process, push people away. And I have tried everything too according to my faith and my background in psychology, but still to no avail. I could teach psychology, encourage other people to improve themselves, give them advice, but be pitiful in regards to my own life. I started to wonder too, and got tired of myself too. Why couldn’t I love myself? Why did I continue to doubt myself? Why couldn’t I forgive my past?

Then, something else happened too, something that I experienced a few days after I started the chakra meditation. I have been reading a book by an Indonesian back-packer traveler named Agustinus Wibowo. The book is titled Titik Nol or Zero Point. I believe the book has been translated into English and can be found on Amazon. One day as I was reading it, I came across a passage in the book.

“…hidup itu adalah sebilah cermin. Dunia di matamu sesungguhnya adalah cerminan dari hatimu sendiri. Caramu memandang dunia adalah caramu memandang diri.”

“…Life is a mirror. The world in your eyes is actually a reflection of your own heart. The way you view the world is the way you see yourself.”

When I met someone special or came across something that is powerful, such as the statement above, I always experienced this feeling as if my face had just been slapped, like I’ve just been knocked down on the ground. I knew when I read that statement that it was speaking to me because it hit me so hard. Nothing is coincidence in this world — I believe in it strongly. Therefore, I took it that my God, the God that has been my source of strength, wanted me to read that statement. However, if my mind was not ready to see that special message, I would not be able to understood it as something special. Luckily, I have been preparing myself through the self-healing journey I started months before, and God has allowed me to meet some people (or angels as I’d like to view them) that have shaped and influenced me positively along the way. Thus, when I saw that book passage, I was ready and my heart was open.

What was so interesting with that statement from the book? It actually brought me to the next questions, “How have I viewed the world all this time, throughout my life? How do I view my self?” I didn’t know the answer right away at first. It took a long afternoon walk in my neighborhood, under a beautiful sunset and with nature all around me, that I finally found the answer.

The truth is, would I be able to courageously look deeper inside me and admit my view of life and myself if it weren’t for the long self-healing journey that I have been on in the past few months? Including the chakra meditation? Well, I can’t say for sure yes or no, but I’d like to think that everything that I have encountered and experienced so far has helped me to get to the answer that has finally changed my view of this world…and more importantly, of myself. Though the self-healing process has been long and difficult because only a few people know the ups and downs that I have been through, I truly believe that every part of the journey was something that I HAD to go through in order to be able to get to this point. Without those many moments of anguish and tears and screaming, I would not be able to understand the message that God has sent me. And for all that I have been through and everyone that has helped, I thank you all, including that Chakra Meditation app.

And that is my answer to my friend’s question. A type of meditation can only be useful to you if it is meant to touch you. So find your own self-healing that fits you. It may be chakra meditation or it something else. Just start your own journey if you haven’t started it, and open your heart to those in life that are meant to be part of your healing process.

Kesaksian: ‘Gembala yang Baik’

**Title in English is Testimony: ‘A Good Shepherd’. Please scroll down after the Indonesian version to read the English translation**

Waktu sudah menunjukkan pukul 18.35 saat aku tiba di Griya ME, tempat di mana kelas untuk Kursus Asisten Konselor Pernikahan (KAKP) diadakan setiap hari Selasa dan Jumat malam. Kedatanganku agak sedikit terlambat dari waktu yang ditetapkan untuk memulai kelas, yaitu 18.30, karena harus menghadiri rapat yang seperti tak kunjung usai sebelumnya di kampus. Setelah sekitar 5 jam berkutat dengan hal-hal yang terkait akreditasi universitas, ditambah dengan kemacetan jalan kota Surabaya pada hari Jumat malam, kepala sudah terasa penuh saat sampai di Griya ME. Sebenarnya untuk bisa sampai di Griya ME hanya 5 menit terlambat sudah patut disyukuri. Malah, aku sebenarnya tidak perlu merasa bersalah begitu melihat baru ada 1 orang yang duduk dengan manis menunggu di ruang kelas. Peserta yang lainnya sepertinya juga sedang berjuang di tengah arus pulang kerja orang-orang kantoran yang berlomba untuk sampai ke tujuan.

Sekitar 10 menit kemudian, lebih dari separuh peserta mulai berdatangan. Biasanya aku tidak kaku dalam hal ketepatan waktu untuk hadir di kelas KAKP. Perlu dipahami bahwa para peserta juga sudah cukup terengah-engah dalam mengatur waktu antara keluarga, kerja dan kelas. KAKP sendiri adalah kelas yang diadakan dan didukung oleh Keuskupan Gereja Katolik Surabaya dengan peserta yang berdatangan dari hampir semua paroki di Surabaya. Mereka adalah umat atau kaum religius di paroki masing-masing yang tertarik, atau sudah pernah melakukan, pendampingan pada pasangan suami-istri yang mengalami permasalahan dalam pernikahan. Kebanyakan usia mereka sudah 40-an ke atas. Pernah malah di tahun sebelumnya ada pasangan suami istri yang mengikuti KAKP dalam usia di atas 80 tahun. Patut dihargai pengorbanan dan pelayanan mereka. Niat, tekad, keinginan mereka tidak muluk-muluk. Mereka hanya ingin belajar lebih mendalam mengenai teknik pendampingan keluarga yang efektif supaya lebih berhasil dalam proses pendampingan.

Materi malam ini mengenai Pendekatan Psikoanalisa, suatu teori klasik dan utama di psikologi. Kelas berjalan lancar. Aku merasakan dari awal ada perasaan nyaman dan percaya diri yang sedikit lebih tinggi dibanding biasanya. Akan tetapi, kepercayaan diri itu bukan membuatku mengajar dengan energi dan semangat yang lebih dari biasanya, tapi malah kebalikannya. Pembawaanku malam itu terasa lebih tenang. Ini mungkin juga karena aku masih berkutat dengan batuk dan rasa gatal di leher yang akhirnya membuatku tidak bisa berbicara dengan suara keras dan memutuskan untuk memakai mic yang tersedia. Ditambah dengan ciri khas kelompok ini yang bisa dikatakan tenang dan kalem, kelas akhirnya berjalan dengan lancar dan tanpa banyak gangguan.

Kelas yang tenang tidak berarti pasif. Pertanyaan-pertanyaan terus berdatangan dari awal sampai akhir. Misalnya, ada yang mengatakan bingung dengan pemakaian kata “ego” dalam struktur kepribadian id, ego dan superego, karena ego biasanya memiliki konotasi yang kurang positif, padahal struktur kepribadian ego malah dianggap sesuatu yang positif dalam teori psikoanalisa. Suatu pertanyaan yang bagus menurutku karena didasari oleh pemikiran yang cukup kritis. Mendekati akhir kelas, ada seorang bapak, sebut saja Bapak A, bertanya dari belakang ruangan. Bapak A menceritakan mengenai beberapa kasus pasangan suami istri yang sudah ia bantu di parokinya. Berdasarkan pengalaman itu, Bapak A merasa agak kesulitan dengan apa yang sudah dibahas di KAKP, yaitu asisten konselor pernikahan (AKP) yang sedang dilatih ini diminta untuk sebisa mungkin tidak memberikan solusi kepada konseli. Bapak A merasa hampir semua pasangan yang ia dampingi akhirnya selalu bertanya pertanyaan yang sama, ‘Apa yang harus saya lakukan?

Aku awali jawabanku dengan menjelaskan bahwa godaan yang paling sering terjadi pada konselor, apalagi konselor yang baru memulai, adalah memberikan nasehat dan solusi. Ada unsur bahaya saat menjadi seorang konselor, atau dalam hal ini AKP, yaitu akan ada kecenderungan bagi umat di paroki untuk melihat mereka sebagai seseorang yang memiliki “kelebihan” dalam banyak hal. Lebih yang dimaksud adalah mungkin terlihat lebih berpengalaman, berpengetahuan, dewasa, atau malah juga dalam iman. Dengan memiliki nilai yang “lebih” itu, akan sangat mudah bagi AKP untuk kemudian memberikan jalan keluar bagi umat yang bermasalah. Padahal sebenarnya yang diperlukan oleh umat adalah menemukan jalan keluarnya sendiri, dan tugas AKP hanya mendampingi, membimbing, menemani, dan menjaga supaya umat itu tidak jatuh lagi. Muncul suatu metafor di pikiranku saat menjelaskan bagian itu di kelas, yaitu mengenai mengajarkan seseorang untuk makan. Miisalnya, umat yang sedang mengalami masalah itu ibaratnya umat yang tidak tahu bagaimana caranya makan, padahal di depannya sudah tersedia sendok, garpu, dan piring/mangkuk berisi makanan. Anggap saja umat itu belum pernah belajar makan dengan menggunakan alat makan yang biasanya kita pakai.

“Bila kita memberikan solusi ke mereka, itu ibaratnya seperti kita tidak pernah menjelaskan mengenai fungsi sendok, garpu, piring dan benda-benda peralatan makan lain yang mungkin ada di meja. Kita langsung menyuapi aja mereka. Memang masalah selesai. Mereka akhirnya makan, kenyang, selesai. Tapi berikutnya kalau mereka ada masalah lagi, atau dalam hal ini misalnya butuh makan, dan Bapak, Ibu, Romo tidak ada di samping mereka untuk mendampingi, apakah kira-kira mereka akan tahu bagaimana cara menyuapi dirinya sendiri?”

Demikian penjelasan yang aku berikan ke para peserta. Namun sebenarnya yang aku jelaskan panjang lebar ke mereka itu jauh lebih banyak dari kata-kata yang tertulis di atas. Aku menjawab pertanyaan itu mungkin selama sekitar 10 menit dan saat itu para peserta mendengarkan dengan sangat seksama, sehingga ruangan itu terasa mencekam. Aku mendorong peserta untuk berfokus pada apa yang sebaiknya mereka lakukan dan kesadaran apa yang perlu diingat saat tergoda untuk memberi nasehat, biarpun yang meminta itu adalah konseli/umat sendiri. Kalau aku mencoba untuk menafsirkan arti pandangan dan bahasa tubuh peserta di kelas, sepertinya mereka sedikit tercengang karena mungkin belum pernah mempersepsikan pemberian solusi pada konseli seperti itu. Ada yang mengangguk-angguk, seperti yang terlihat pada Bapak A dan satu-satunya Romo yang ikut menjadi peserta di kelas itu. Ada juga yang terlihat berpikir sangat mendalam, sampai-sampai tidak mengalihkan tatapannya satu kalipun dari wajahku dalam jangka waktu yang lama. Di tengah-tengah momen dimana aku mencoba menjelaskan kepada peserta mengenai tugas seorang AKP dalam menanggapi permintaan solusi, suatu peristiwa terjadi yang cukup mempengaruhiku sampai sekarang dan membuatku akhirnya menyalurkan pengalaman itu dalam bentuk tulisan ini.

Di tengah-tengah penjelasan yang aku berikan, mendadak aku berhenti karena sebuah komentar yang keluarnya secara spontan. Dari belakang ruangan juga, tapi dari pojok yang berbeda dari tempat duduk Bapak A, terdengar suara,

“Seperti gembala yang baik,” komentar seorang bapak, sebut saja Bapak K, yang tiba-tiba menyeletuk.

Hanya 4 kata saja, dan pada saat itu aku merasa seperti terguyur air. Giliranku yang tercengang, hampir tidak mempercayai apa yang kudengar. Tidak mempercayai itu bukan berarti tidak menyetujui apa yang Pak K katakan, tapi malah aku merasa 4 kata itu terasa sangat, sangat pas masuknya. Sebelum Pak K mengatakan kalimatnya, aku sendiri sebenarnya sudah berpikir mengenai itu. Hal itulah yang membuatku merasa kaget karena seakan-akan Pak K membaca pikiranku. Sempat terasa sedikit merinding.

“Terimakasih, Pak, sudah mengingatkan saya. Benar sekali apa yang Bapak katakan,” jawabku perlahan sambil separuh tertegun.

Dari kalimat itu aku masuk ke dalam penjelasan mengapa kata “gembala” itu sangat mengena padaku. Aku jelaskan mengenai lokakarya kepemimpinan di Girisonta, lengkap dengan temanya ‘Gembala Beraroma Domba’ yang berarti gembala yang tahu siapa domba-dombanya, di mana mencari dombanya bila ada yang hilang, dan mengerti dombanya.

Efek yang kuat dari peristiwa itu tidak terasakan langsung, walaupun aku sadar pada saat itu bahwa ada sesuatu yang luar biasa terjadi dan sangat mempengaruhiku secara positif. Tapi dalam bentuk apa efek itu, baru bisa aku cerna perlahan-lahan setelah kelas berakhir. Selama perjalanan pulang dari KAKP, senyum tidak pernah meninggalkan wajahku. Ada suatu perasaan yang sulit dilukiskan, tapi sangat indah, bahagia, terasa ringan yang membuatku terbagi antara ingin tersenyum dan juga sedikit terharu. Terharu karena apa aku juga tidak tahu persis mengapa pada saat itu. Tapi saat itu aku tahu apa yang aku butuhkan. Terbersit di benak dalam perjalanan pulang bahwa aku harus berbicara pada seseorang. Ada keinginan yang sangat kuat untuk membagikan cerita itu. Akan tetapi karena kelas KAKP berakhirnya sudah malam dan ketika sampai di rumah dan selesai makan malam waktu sudah menunjukkan sekitar jam 11 malam, ditambah lagi dengan batuk yang masih terus menyerang, akhirnya badan harus menyerah dan menunda keinginan untuk berbagi sampai hari berikutnya.

Pada hari berikutnya saat bercerita dengan teman, baru aku sadari beberapa insight tambahan. Aku diingatkan bahwa yang aku alami itu bisa dikatakan suatu pengalaman spiritual. Kemudian, ada satu kesadaran lagi yang aku dapatkan saat memproses kejadian itu dengan teman–bahwa sosok Bapak K, dari wajah, postur tubuh, tinggi badan, dan beberapa tanda yang lain, ternyata sangat mirip dengan Romo Kris yang memberikan materi di lokakarya kepemimpinan yang aku ikuti itu. Mungkin malah saat Bapak K memberikan celetukannya, aku sempat membayangkan wajah Romo Kris. Apakah hal itu juga yang secara tidak sadar membuatku tercengang malam itu?

Apa arti dari semua kejadian ini? Yah, aku juga tidak bisa mengatakannya dengan pasti, tapi ada bagian dariku yang tahu bahwa sesuatu yang unik dan spesial aku alami hari itu. Berdasarkan bimbingan dari teman yang tahu lebih banyak mengenai hal kerohanian dan spiritualitas, aku memaknainya seperti ini–bahwa Roh Kudus sepertinya telah hadir pada malam itu, mendampingiku bukan hanya pada saat Bapak K berkomentar, tapi dari awal. Sulit bagiku untuk menjelaskannya, tapi memang dari awal kelas ada yang terasa berbeda. Perkataan Bapak K itu adalah puncaknya. Perkataan itu memang dilontarkan di bagian akhir kelas. Sesudah penjelasanku mengenai lokakarya itu, materi yang perlu aku berikan pada hari itu juga sudah selesai, sehingga waktunya untuk menutup kelas. Sebelum mengakhiri kelas, aku sempat melihat ke sekeliling kelas dan bertanya,

“Apakah sudah paham? Ada pertanyaan?”

Dan pandangan yang aku terima kembali dari peserta adalah pandangan orang-orang yang sedang berpikir mendalam. Memang sepertinya tidak ada lagi pertanyaan yang perlu ditanyakan, karena urutan dan alur pembicaraan malam itu yang diakhiri dengan penjelasan mengenai ‘gembala yang baik’ sudah terasa pas. Aku mengakhiri kelas dengan keyakinan bahwa mereka mengerti apa yang aku katakan. Kesimpulan itu aku buat bukan atas dasar kesombongan, tapi sekali lagi, pandangan orang yang bingung itu berbeda dengan pandangan orang yang mengerti dan sedang mendalami apa yang barusan didengarkan.

Saat menulis ini aku juga menyadari satu hal yang dikatakan teman yang mendampingiku saat aku memproses semua ini. Dia mengatakan bahwa tidak semua orang akan mengalami hal yang sama dan memaknainya sama saat bertemu dengan keadaan atau peristiwa yang aku alami kemarin. Banyak orang tidak memiliki keberuntungan untuk mengalami peristiwa spiritual seperti itu karena untuk bisa mengalaminya dibutuhkan keterbukaan, kemurnian, kesensitifan. Satu hal yang aku tahu pasti adalah semua ini sangat baru bagiku; paling tidak kesadaranku mengenai pengalaman spiritual yang seperti ini. Samar-samar di ingatanku, aku memang sepertinya pernah mengalami peristiwa sebelumnya yang dulunya aku maknai sebagai suatu ‘kebetulan’, tapi sekarang aku mulai memaknainya berbeda–bahwa mungkin semua itu tidak terjadi secara kebetulan. Dan aku semakin percaya itu setelah mengalami peristiwa kemarin atau juga proses yang menuntunku untuk mengikuti lokakarya kepemimpinan kemarin. Dalam membuat keputusan untuk mengikuti lokakarya itu, aku sudah merasa sepertinya ada yang menuntunku, tapi itu cerita lain lagi yang bisa dimaknai terpisah.

Tak ada yang terjadi secara kebetulan di hidup kita. Memang sudah ada yang mengatur semuanya: pertemuan kita dengan orang-orang tertentu, kejadian-kejadian yang menuntun kita ke suatu arah, tanda-tanda dari kehidupan sehari-hari yang awalnya terlihat sepele tapi ternyata menjadi sesuatu yang bersifat spiritual, seperti yang aku alami kemarin di kelas. Ada bagian dariku yang merasa bersyukur, bahagia, tapi ada juga bagian dariku yang mulai berpikir akan kemanakah langkahku di kemudian hari? Apa yang akan terjadi? Ini bukan suatu bentuk kecemasan, tapi lebih mengenai rasa keingintahuan, curiosity. Ada sedikit rasa kegembiraan juga yang mendampingi rasa keingintahuan tersebut. Kegembiraan itu muncul karena di balik kegembiraan itu, yang mendasarinya sebenarnya, tidak lain adalah HARAPAN.

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English Translation.

Testimony: ‘A Good Shepherd’

It was past 6:35 p.m. when I finally arrived at the Griya ME, where the class for the Assistant Marriage Counselor Course (shortened KAKP in Indonesian term) is held every Tuesday and Friday night. I arrived a little bit later than the time set for the start of class, which is 6:30 p.m., due to attending a meeting that felt like it would never end at my work earlier. After about 5 hours of struggling with matters relating to the accreditation process of my work, coupled with the road congestion in Surabaya on Friday night, my head already felt full by the time I arrived at the Griya ME.

About 10 minutes later, more than half of the participants began to arrive. Normally I’m not rigid in terms of timeliness to attend KAKP classes. It should be understood that the participants already have their hands full in organizing and dividing their time between work, family, and class. KAKP itself is held and supported by the Catholic Diocese of Surabaya with participants that come from all parishes in Surabaya. These are common or religious people from any parish who are interested, or are already being involved in, assisting couples who are experiencing marital or family problems. The participants’ age are mostly in their 40s and up. In the previous year, there was even a couple that participated in KAKP who were already above 80 years old. Their sacrifice and service are commendable. Their intention, determination, and desire are not grandiose. All they want is just to learn more and in depth about effective family counseling techniques in order to be more successful in the mentoring process and when providing help for those in need.

The material tonight was about the basics of Psychoanalysis, a classical and major theory in psychology. The class pretty much ran smoothly. I felt from the beginning that there was a feeling of comfort and confidence in me that was slightly higher than usual. However, the confidence did not produce a higher level of energy for me than usual, but actually the opposite happened. The way I carried out myself that night was noticeably quieter and calmer. It could also be because I was still struggling with a cough and an itch in my throat that eventually made it difficult for me to speak loudly and so I decided to use a mic instead. Coupled with the characteristics of this group that are also calm and cool, the class continued to run smoothly and without much disturbance.

A quiet class does not mean a passive one. Questions kept coming from start to finish. For example, one person was confused with the use of “ego” within the structure of personality involving the id, ego and superego. According to this person, the word ego usually has a less positive connotation, whereas the ego personality structure is considered something positive. I thought it was a good question because it was based on a critical thinking. Nearing the end of class, there was another man, let’s just call him Mr. A, who threw his question from the back of the room. Mr. A mentioned that he has helped many couples in his parish. Based on that experience, Mr. A felt a little difficulty with what has been discussed previously in class, that assistant marriage counselor (shortened as AKP in Indonesian) in training are asked as much as possible not to provide solution to their counselee’s problem. His confusion stemmed from the fact that almost all couples who he had accompanied always asked the same question in the end, ‘What should I do?’

I begin my answer by explaining that the biggest and most often occurred temptation faced by counselors, especially counselors who are just starting, is to provide advice and solutions. There is an element of danger in this case for those who want to become a counselor, or in this case the assistant counselor, that there is a tendency for people in the parish to see the assistant counselor as someone who has something “more” in many respects. Assistant counselors may be seen as having more experience, knowledgea, mature, or even in faith. By having a “more” value, it will be very easy for new assistant counselors then to provide a quick way out for other people when in fact people should probably find their own way out. The task of the assistant counselors then is only to accompany, guide, and keep people from falling down again. A metaphor appeared in my mind during my description at that time, which is about teaching a person how to eat. Let’s just say there is a person who does not know how to eat. The person who is experiencing a marital problem is that person who does not know how to eat, even though there are spoon, fork, and plate or bowl containing food in front of him/her.

“If we provide solutions to them, it is like we never explained the function of spoon, fork, plate or other eating utensils that may be on the table. We immediately just feed them. Indeed, the problem is finished. They ended up eating, full, and done. But the next time they are having a problem, or in this case for example they need to eat again, and none of you in this room will be available next to them to assist, do you think they will know how to feed themselves?”

Thus was the explanation I gave to the participants. I actually explained at a greater length more than what I wrote above. It took me probably about 10 minutes to finish my answer, in which case the participants listened very intently. The room seemed like it was frozen. I tried to encourage participants to focus on what they should do and be aware of any temptation to give advice, even if the request comes from the counselee. If I may interpret the meaning of the stares and body language of participants at that time, I think they seemed to be a bit stunned because they might have never perceived providing solution that way before. Some were nodding, as seen in Mr. A and the only Priest among the participants. The rest were seen deep in their thinking, to the point that some of them did not even for once averting their eyes from my face. In the midst of that moment in which I was trying to explain to them about their duties in response to providing solutions, something happened next that affected me tremendously until now and made me finally channeling that experience in the form of this testimony.

In the middle of the explanation I gave, I was suddenly stopped by a comment that discharged spontaneously. From the back of the room as well, but from a different corner, came a voice,

“Like a good shepherd,” said one participant spontaneously, whom we can refer to as Mr. K.

Only four words, but at that moment I felt as if a bucket of water was just poured over my head. It was my turn to be stunned. I could hardly believe what I was hearing. What I meant by hardly believing was not because I did not agree with what Mr. K said, but instead I felt that those four words were spoken out in a perfect time. The timing of hearing those 4 words was just perfect. Before Mr. K said his words, I was actually already thinking the same thing. That’s what made me feeling so shocked. It felt as if Mr. K was able to read my mind. It gave me a little shiver at the time.

“Thank you, sir, for reminding me. It was very true what you said,” I said slowly, half stunned.

After that sentence, I went into an explanation of why the word “like a good shepherd” meant a great deal for me at that time. I explained about the leadership workshop that I attended for 8 days a week ago with the theme of ‘Be like shepherds who smell like their sheep”, which means be like shepherds who know their sheep well, seek out his flock when there are some missing, and understand where to find those missing flock.

The powerful effect of the event was not felt immediately, even though I was fully aware at the time of class that there was something extraordinary happened and greatly influenced me in a positive way. I was able to digest it slowly only after the class ended. During the trip home from KAKP, I could not stop myself from smiling continuously. There was a feeling of happiness, such a blissful feeling, a feeling of lightness that made me smile continuously. I was even a little bit torn in between smiling and feeling moved. I was very touched but I could not comprehend why I felt touched at that moment. It was also on my way home when it occurred to me that I had to talk to someone. There was a very strong desire to share that story to someone. However, because the class ended quite late (9.30 p.m.) and by the time I got home and finished my dinner it was already around 11 p.m., plus while still dealing with a stubborn cough, my body finally had to give up and delayed the desire to share until the next day.

On the next day as I spoke with a friend, and I realized many more new things. I was reminded that my experience could be defined as a spiritual experience. And then, there was one more new insight that I came to realize when processing the scene with my friend – that the figure of Mr. K, from his face, posture, height, and some other signs, were remarkably similar to Father Kris who provided the material on leadership workshop that I attended. Maybe even while Mr. K was giving his comment, I might have imagined Father Kris’ face. Could that also be one factor that had unconsciously stunned me that night?

What is the meaning of all this? Well, I can not say for sure, but there is a part of me that knows that I experienced something unique and special that day. Based on the guidance from a dear friend that I trust who knows more about religion and spirituality, I interpret it like this – that the Holy Spirit seemed to have been present that night, not only during Mr. K’s comment, but also from the beginning. It’s hard for me to explain it, but I did notice something quite different from the beginning of the class. The words of Mr. K is like the peak. It was true that those words were said at the end of class. After my explanation about the leadership workshop, I did not have any more material to give for that day. And I remember at the end of it, I looked around the class and asked,

“Does everyone understand? Any question?”

And the looks that I received back were the looks of those who are in deep thinking. It seems there was no longer any question that needed to be asked. The sequence and flow of conversation that night which ended with an explanation of the ‘good shepherd’ already felt right. I ended the class feeling confident that they understood what I explained. My conclusion was not made out of pride or vanity. One can clearly be certain when looking at those faces. The look given by people who are confused is different than the look of people who understand and are in deep thinking, trying to explore what has just been heard.

While writing this, I am also aware of another thing said by my friend who accompanied me during this process. He said that not everyone will experience and interpret the same thing when facing the same incident that I experienced yesterday. Many people do not have the fortune to experience a spiritual event as such because it takes openness, purity, sensitivity to be able to experience it. One thing I know for sure is that all of these are very new to me; at least being conscious about a spiritual experience like this. Vaguely I remember having experienced similar things before and interpreted them as ‘coincidence’ or ‘serendipity’, but now I began to interpret it differently – that perhaps they did not happen by coincidence. I am increasingly believing in fate now, especially after experiencing the event in class yesterday or the process that led me to the decision to attend the leadership workshop a week ago. In making the decision to attend the workshop then, I already felt that I was being guided, but of course, that is another story to tell.

Nothing happens by chance in life. There is a power organizing everything: our meeting with certain people, events that lead us to a certain direction, the signs from everyday life that might at first seem trivial but actually something of a spiritual nature. There is a part of me feeling grateful, happy, but there is also another part that is beginning to think where will all of these lead me to later in life? What will happen? This is not a form of anxiety, but more of a curiosity. There is also a little bit of excitement accompanying that curiosity. I think the excitement happens because beneath it, underlying the whole thing, is none other than HOPE.