When I’m asked “Why Bali? Why do you love taking people there so much?” it’s hard to know where to start!
Bali is a beautiful and inspiring place. It’s not trying to be anything other than its authentic self, and it makes you want to be your authentic self too.
No one speaks in quiet whispers about their spiritual practices here. Spiritual life and personal growth are valued and respected. It is assumed that everyone is making efforts, every day, to live with dedication to a higher way of being.
Daily life is marked by rituals — some big, many small — which reconnect people with their deeper purpose in this world. Over and over again: connection, reconnection, connection. Spiritual life is not separate from work or education; family or friendships. Spirituality, prayer and meditation are a part of everything.
This makes Bali a powerful place to explore your own spiritual self. You will be encouraged, challenged and totally inspired. So, why not join me next year for an immersive experience of Balinese culture and a peaceful time to get in touch with your soul through the practice of yoga and meditation?
In the coming weeks and months I’ll take more time to answer the question “Why Bali?”. But for now, here’s a taste of the profound experiences you can expect when you get there.
Rituals for Cleansing and New Beginnings
For many people who come to Bali on retreat, part of the draw is the opportunity to let go of old habits and attachments and move gracefully into a renewed way of being.
Some of rituals that you observe — and get involved in! — will be wonderful surprises, depending on what’s going on in local life during your retreat. But one ritual you’ll definitely take part in a Melukate water cleanse.
It’s a central practice of the spiritual culture in which Balinese people devote themselves to purifying the body and soul as they wash away turmoil, negativity and sickness. This ritual will connect you to the present moment; to your inner self; and to the world around you more fully.
With love, you’ll weave a basket and fill it with gorgeous, fragrant tropical flowers. Then you’ll take it to the temple and be guided through the hand positions as you make your offering. This meditative process of giving will remind you that you are part of a whole: part of a community, of humanity, and part of the universe.
Rituals for letting go and refreshing the self are commonplace here. Nyepi is a day of silence observed all around the island which takes place on New Year’s Day according to the Balinese Lunar calendar, Saka.
This day is devoted to rest. No driving, cooking or working; even the international airport is closed. The Balinese people stay at home, turn off the lights, and remain quiet for 24 hours. All is peaceful.
This allows time to recharge for the new year ahead.
It’s not just a thing that some people do and others ignore; it’s actually enforced by law, which is a demonstration of how seriously Bali takes its practices of spiritual connection.
As a visitor, you can feel the meditative energy in the air around you..
Coming from a western culture this ritual of silence is a refreshingly nourishing way to celebrate the coming of a new year. Rather than waking up with hangovers and tired minds, Balinese people intend to wake up with clarity and restored energy.
The day of silence actually takes place on the 3rd day of Nyepi — it’s a 6 day long festival, which also involves beautiful, colourful parades featuring spirits and monsters, and traditional rituals to encourage forgiveness between families and friends. A loving way to say goodbye to the year gone by, and welcome a new start.
Connection through Daily Offerings
Melukate is far from the only offering made by Balinese people. Each day is interspersed with pauses — moments for giving, loving and reflecting.
When you’re here these moments become part of your daily rhythm, too. Your personal journey is interwoven with the personal journeys of everyone around you as you share in the spirituality which is part of what makes us human.
As you wander through the resort and or village and pass by temples, you will see canang sari, another daily offering. This offering is given in a basket made from a single small palm leaf, and it contains tobacco and betel nuts along with white, red, yellow and blue or green flowers.
Each of the flowers point in a different direction to speak to a different Hindu god or goddess. Canang sari is an offering of gratitude. A way of saying thank you to the divine for peace in the world.
Almost every household in Bali will create one of these colourful, aromatic baskets every day. And the power of this is huge! Imagine if you spent dedicated time on every day of your life giving thanks for what you have and reflecting on the divinity that exists within you — because everything is connected, and you are a part of everything.
How would it change your life? You’d never forget that you are a spiritual being. That you are important. That you are supposed to be here; and that you are blessed.
Just a Drop in the Ocean
If you feel the call to experience Balinese ritual life for yourself, you’ll find countless more practices happening every day when you join next year’s Bali retreat.
The early bird price, with a saving of $300, is available until 6 December 2018. And for the first 8 people only! Click here to Relax, Rejuvenate and Restore in Bali!