On the surface Bali looks like chaos; the streets overflow with traffic, throngs of tourists run rampant and the honk of horns seems to be on loop. But if you care to look a little closer you’ll discover this island is much more that just a popular tourist destination.
At her core Bali is a playground for spirituality, a hub of heart, a wellspring of wisdom.
And although I adored her food and delved into many of her more superficial delights, it was Bali’s underlying depth that truly had me captivated. Just like a mothers touch brings instant comfort to a child, I felt completely held in the arms of this beautiful place. And just like a mother bestows many important life lessons on her children, Bali gifted me with some beautiful teachings of her own.
Here are my favourite three.
1. The Importance of reverence and devotion
Although simple, the Balinese way of life is marked by an unwavering sense of devotion and reverence. It’s not something they partake in on one day of the year. Devotion is a daily practice for these people, something that underpins their entire way of Being.
Majority of the Balinese people are Hindu and as part of this belief system they create small baskets called canang saris to offer to their God up to three times a day. Unlike some religious practices, it is clear that this is an act not done out of fear but gratitude. A way the Balinese express their thanks to the Source energy that provides them with their experience here on Earth.
The poise, precision and purpose in which the Balinese people possess whilst carrying out this daily ritual is rather stunning. How neatly the baskets are woven, how beautifully the offering is arranged & how particular they are about washing down the pathway in which it is to be placed – it’s clear this is no chore for them but a deep spiritual practice.
Seeing such reverence made me think…. What is my canang sari?
Although I don’t personally identify with any particular religion, it is my own inner Divinity that I believe in. So I am recommitting to showing reverence to THIS everyday. My meditation and yoga practice is now a devotion to myself, an offering to the part of me that I acknowledge to be omnipresent, all-consuming and Divine.
Lesson: Cultivating a sense of reverence and devotion creates depth and continuous wonder in one’s spiritual life.
2. Life is meant to be simple
Sitting on the sand of Bingin Beach overlooking the sunset, as local Balinese children ran around unaccompanied chasing packs of (stray?) dogs, the sun-kissed-skinned-surfers slowly made their way in from an afternoon of riding waves, I have never felt more content. Simply sitting. Simply taking it all in.
In “everyday” life, I often feel the need to do more, to achieve more, to be working towards more. But what I learnt whilst hanging out on the sands of Bingin (and all throughout Bali in fact) is that striving for more only works to move me further away from the feeling I truly desire – Connection with Source. Although we have been conditioned to believe that consumption is the road to happiness and that the greater our achievements the greater our life, Bali has helped me call “bullshit” on this one. It’s clear to me now that our Western world’s obsession with doing only acts as a distraction, preventing us from sinking down into the moment right before us and actually appreciating it’s inherent goodness. Each moment is completely full of wonder and all that we as human beings crave can be found here. We just have to peel back all our distractions, de-clutter our existence in order to see and experience this.
On the beach in Bingin, I did not want to be anywhere else. I wasn’t thinking of my next meal or even about capturing the moment for social media. I was simply dwelling in my blissful state of contentment. Something I’m now committed to doing more often.
Lesson: The key to contentment is simplicity.
2. SAFETY HAZARDS AND THE LAW OF ATTRACTION
In Bali, scaffolding is not made with steel but bamboo, workmen do not wear safety protection but squat in the dirt without shoes, and road rules, well, I’m not too sure if they even exist. The amount of times I saw an entire family (baby included) pile onto one scooter (sans helmets) and take to the crazy streets of Seminyak exceeds the toes on my two feet.
Yep, Bali is the perfect breeding ground for everyday disasters. Or so one would think. Yet, whilst I was there I didn’t witness or hear of even one accident. And after enquiring with a few locals and cabbies I was told they are not as common as I’d once thought.
Now, I’m not saying the island is immune to everyday kinda disasters, but there seems to be something at work here shielding these people. A more subtle form of protection than the helmets and steel capped boots of the West.
I’m convinced it’s the Law of Attraction.
You know? The more we concentrate on something, the more likely it is to come into existence (Check out Abraham Hicks for more). Well, the Balinese don’t fret about road accidents or on site disasters, seeing no need for safety precautions. They don’t spend time listening to the graphically detailed news or filling their minds with facts, figures or statistics. Everyday accidents aren’t front of mind for these people and therefore, according to the Law of Attraction, are less likely to manifest.
So although Bali may look like she’s sending out an open invitation to disaster at every turn, in fact her people’s mindset creates an energetic type of protection, one that seems to be pretty damn powerful.
Lesson: Think only thoughts you want to come into fruition.
A bundle of paradoxes, a deep ocean of joy, a wonderful wise and beautiful teacher.
Bali, I am infinitely grateful for all that you taught me in the mere two weeks I was frolicking amongst your beauty. I will be back very soon, for that I am sure!
Now I’d like to hear from you…
What is the greatest lesson a particular place/culture/ travel experience has instilled in you?
I hope you’ve enjoyed my stories and snaps from the island of Bali. Be sure to share them around with any of your loved ones who are heeding to Her call. If you missed part One of my Bali story check her out here.