A Sacred Island, A Special Place
There are thousands and thousands of tropical islands throughout the world. And while many are beautiful to behold and delightful to experience, none seem to have the exotic, illustrious reputation of Bali, Indonesia. Some come close, but Bali seems to be in a category of its own. Beautiful, exotic and amazing. What is it that sets Bali apart?
Is it the location? The people? Their history? Their culture? The sheer physical beauty of the place? Clearly, there’s no one answer to the question. Bali’s unique status and reputation arise, without a doubt, from a complex combination of factors. But more important than the ‘why’ of any explanation is the ‘what’ of your experience when you arrive on Bali’s shores.
One of the first things you’ll notice when you arrive is the warmth of the Balinese people. There’s a genuine, gracious connection that you’ll experience with almost everyone you encounter. Smiles come easily to the Balinese and they are frequent. Eye contact is easy and direct and expresses their genuine interest in you and your interaction. Laughter flows easily. In Bali, you quickly feel welcomed and at ease.
Denpasar, the capital of Bali, is a big city with much hustle and bustle, traffic and, for the recently arrived, confusion at all the novel sights and sounds. But as you relax and surrender to the unfamiliar, you begin to discern some interesting and significant differences that set Balinese culture apart — most notably, the external expressions of an active partnership with the spiritual realm that permeates every aspect of Balinese life.
Bali is often called the ‘Land of 10,000 Temples.’ There are temples everywhere. Every family has a dedicated temple area in their traditional compound. There are small temples and shrines on street corners and in public areas and many larger temples throughout every town and village. As you move into the countryside, small shrines are dedicated to the rice goddess in every rice field.
On the street, in front of most businesses or in the taxi or bus you ride, you’re very likely to encounter small, daily offerings to the gods and goddesses for good luck, success, safety and protection. You may also see offerings to placate and ward off the darker energies of chaos and destruction. Religious celebrations and processions are common wherever you go and the Balinese enthusiastically organize their lives around their temple rituals and obligations.
The Balinese experience of reality is very different than our own. It’s richer and more complex, encompassing not only the experiential, temporal realm of ordinary life, but also the unseen but ever-present spiritual dimensions of their ancestors and the gods and goddesses, as well as the underworld of demonic and negative energies. Through their religious observances, daily devotions, prayers and offerings the Balinese focus on keeping these three worlds within their reality in a state of balance.
So, in a very real sense, Bali is a land and culture, consciousness and world view steeped in thousands of years of an actively devotional spirituality, it’s this spirituality that focuses the healing energy of Bali into the hearts and souls of those who visit. This world view has survived and flourished, even in the face of powerful competing influences such as the spread of Islam in the 12th to 16th centuries, the European colonization of the 19th and 20th centuries and the western scientific materialism of the current era. Clearly, there is an incredible depth and vitality inherent in the Balinese spirituality and worldview that nourishes and supports the Balinese on many levels.
Another element of what you experience when you arrive in Bali is the tremendous beauty. Like the temples, beauty is everywhere. You see it in the natural landscapes of mountains and volcanoes, lush rice terraces and jungle, pristine beaches and sunsets over the ocean. You see it in the irrepressible proliferation of flowers and green leafy vegetation. You see it in the faces of the people, in their smiles and their openness, in the deep honor, respect and love with which they care for their children as well as their elders. You see it in the richness and outpouring of their culture. Everyone seems to have a special talent or form of artistic expression – dancers, musicians, painters, sculptors, artisans, jewelry smiths, mask makers, shadow puppeteers, this culture of creativity can be especially inspiring for artists who are visiting to renew their own spirits. You see it in the splendid architecture of the temples and in the vibrant colors of their traditional costumes and textiles.
The perception of beauty affects us in deep and mysterious ways. If “the eyes are the window to the Soul” then beauty is the portal to the Divine, allowing the Soul to perceive the Presence of the Divine in the ordinary, phenomenal world. Beauty is like a cool drink of water to the Soul thirsting for Divine connection. As you move through Bali, drinking in the beauty, experiencing the subtle, yet powerful, vibrational field of devotional spirituality, you will find, in turn, your vibration, your personal energetic field shifting in subtle, yet powerful ways, contributing to your own sense of fulfillment and well-being.
What will be your experience of these shifts? Certainly, everyone’s experience is different and unique. What people most commonly report, however, is a heart opening, often on a quite profound level. You may experience a softening of your judgements of self or others, a willingness to forgive and let go, a desire to release the baggage and blocks carried forward from the past, even a deeper spiritual connection with the one you love. We all have areas of our personalities and our lives that we have walled off and separated from love. In the transformational field that is Bali, energies of love and devotion gently seep in through the cracks and crevices filling the space that has been held in separation and disconnection and dissolving the protective walls that are no longer necessary.
If you were able to fully relax and let go, if you could completely surrender to love and open to the experience of your spiritual connection and the Divinity within, how would your life be different? How much joy and bliss would pour in? Isn’t this what your Soul has always been longing for?
At this very moment, as you read these words, Bali is calling you. A deep Soul connection has already been made and now is the time to come and immerse yourself in the gentle, loving, heart-opening energies of Bali. Your Bali Soul Adventure awaits.