Monday, April 20, 2009

Balance & Peace...

Could certainly do with more balance & peace in our lives. Sometimes life gets so hectic we spend far too much time "doing" and not enough time "being". I try but don't always get there.

Was listening to a travel writer being interviewed on ABC Radio one evening last week (unfortunately her name eludes me at this point)...she was in Bali during March and celebrated the Lunar New Year, Nyepi Day, a traditional day of silence, fasting and meditation.

It really struck a chord with wondering how much it has to do with my being in the middle of Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert..??

Nyepi is primarily a Hindu celebration, however, almost all Balinese follow the tradition out of respect. There are four rules, or prohibitions, known as Catur Brata Penyepian which guide people to refrain from worldly and physical activities.

First is the principle called Amati Geni. People are not allowed to set lights and fire for the whole day, that includes not burning or setting a stove on, and they can’t cook for meals. This symbolises turning the fire off in the five senses of the soul, along with any unscrupulous emotions.

The other principles are...

Amati Karya, no work

Amati Lelungan, no travel

Amati Lelanguan, no entertainment & pleasure.

These prohibitions help "people to control their five earthly senses in order to increase the quality of life for the upcoming year". In addition to these prohibitions, many Balinese also fast and do not engage in conversation at all.

Bali becomes deserted and virtually shuts down. Tourists are not exempt and are expected to follow tradition, however what they do behind closed door is entirely their own business. People with higher spiritual ability or desiring to have higher spiritual life are expected to perform further prohibitions including fasting by not eating or drinking, stay still by not talking, meditating by focusing the mind on God and praying.

This really appeals to me, a time to be quiet and still, to make & keep the balance of nature, to self reflect and focus inward. I don't do it nearly enough and would love a public holiday that encouraged it. It is an enormous contrast to the way most Western cultures acknowledge the New Year.

This past Easter I really enjoyed that shops were closed on Good Friday and Easter Sunday, people had time off work to spend with their families. I am often astounded though by the way people shop on the day before Good Friday, like the supermarket is going to be closed for a week. I used to enjoy the time when shops closed from midday on Saturday through to Monday morning, that people had time to rest and unwind, it just doesn't happen nearly enough.

Maybe retiring to Indonesia is for me...?? John used to joke to Josh that he was going to retire to Goa. Maybe he could be convinced that Bali is equally as desirable..??


buddha_girl said...

What a beautiful idea. Sadly, especially in the US, holidays only increase the amount of activity and craziness in peoples' lives.

Like you, I find the idea of stealth quiet to spend time with one's thoughts, God, and peace more than wonderful.

Watercolor said...

Sounds like a good retirement plan to me. :)

Lynda said...

Love this tradition... beautiful!

Kori said...

I really have nothing useful to add, just am trying to crawl out of my box and wanted to say hi.

Kel said...

jeez that book is good! like buddah girl said, holiday here means manic shopping behaviour. the balinese are a beautiful people, gentle considered and kind. i think retiring there is much better than goa- goa is as its name suggests..go-er! agghhh!

Karin said...

Yes. So agreed. Wonderful thoughts here.

And I'll retire with you there. :-)

Lissy said...

We are need those quiet times...I think most traditions seem to have some peace time in their lives. How dreadful in the C21st we are so caught up in rush & frantic living - it's just not good for our health!!!!!!!
I've been unwell these hols so have been on enforced rest - & you know what? I guess to be honest it's a blessing!!

Tracy, mom2many said...

I love the idea of sabbath (the Judeo-Christian version of this). For a year we started ours every Friday from sundown to sundown on Sat. It was lovely. I've been thinking it is time to do this again, glad you brought it up.