Many of us who have been to Bali, either once or many times, know of the magical healing vibrations that instantaneously start moving through our beings as soon as we set foot on the island.
Having just completed a two-month long stint on Balinese ground, my longest yet, I am aware of these subtle vibrations moving right into every cell of my being. This has brought about a deep feeling of peace and much healing – physically, spiritually and emotionally. The Balinese frequencies heighten my spiritual senses; it seems that in subtle ways I am seeing, feeling and remembering that spirit abides in everything in existence – every being, every piece of matter, the sky, the earth … and it goes on.
My extended stay has enabled a level of immersion in Balinese culture that is helping me to understand why this island is such a special healing place. Ritual and ceremony is a daily practice here. Asking the gods for help and acknowledging the demons is just as much a part of the Balinese people’s daily life as eating and sleeping. It is beautiful to see the daily offerings to the gods and the spirit world. Tiny temples are everywhere – in every home and every business. On the streets you have to watch where you are walking, as small woven baskets made from banana or palm leaves, filled in a particular way with colourful flowers, cake, money, tobacco, oil, salt and incense, have been strategically placed along the roads, accompanied by prayers to invoke harmony. And let’s face it, Bali is filled with a sense of harmony that has the ability to settle your feelings of inner chaos with ease and grace.
In addition to these daily practices, there are several public holidays throughout the year on which the Balinese carry out larger ceremonies that are also intended to help maintain the harmony between good and evil. During my stay, preparations were underway everywhere for an annual ceremony that occurs every March.
Nyepi Day, also known as silence day, is part of a five-day celebration that marks the Balinese New Year. On this day, the Balinese sit in silence, reflection, darkness and meditation, all in the name of connecting more deeply with spirit. This is a Hindu event and Bali is made up of 90% Hindus. The whole island becomes very quiet and people stay in. Even the airport closes. There is no traffic on the road and everything comes to a standstill. When I try to imagine this happening in Australia, I keep getting images of gazebos erected along creek beds and on the beach, sausage sizzles, and a lot of beer!
Prior to Nyepi Day, a special ceremony occurs that is specifically designed to ward off evil spirits. The Balinese strongly believe that evil spirits are behind things that go wrong, such as disease, accidents and any kind of disharmony. They generally take being a good person very seriously.
This ritual begins at sunset but the preparations go on for weeks and months before the event. The locals make scary-looking, monster-like creatures of all different shapes and sizes. These are called ogah ogahs and are often perched high on bamboo platforms. The locals walk the streets with their ogah ogahs, banging drums and chanting in order to scare off evil spirits. I think this is a fabulous cleansing event and I believe it is just one of the many ceremonies contributing to the healing vibrations and sense of harmony we experience when we visit Bali (not to mention the influence of those beaming Balinese smiles and their lightness of spirit).
I have now started to incorporate some daily ritual into my day in order to acknowledge the unseen forces and the power of spirit. I really notice that when I start my day this way, things go smoothly. There is more ease and grace, more of an “inner smile”, more trust, less pain and more resilience. Everything is just lighter.
I believe we have a lot to learn from cultures that incorporate ritual and ceremony into their daily lives. The more we remember we are spirit and that spirit is everywhere, inside and out, the more graceful and humbling our lives can be.
If you would like to be notified when my memoir, The Frequency of Freedom, is released, sign up here