traveled there twice now, both times on a spiritual pilgrimage, with my
beautiful CSL family. This stunning island is part of Indonesia and believe it
or not there over 17,000 islands that are part of
Indonesia. The vastly predominate religion in all of Indonesia
is Islam, however Bali is an anomaly, where the island is about 90 percent
Hindus. As unique as Bali is to
Indonesia, so too is the Balinese form of Hinduism that is practiced on Bali.
and a land that suffered unthinkable oppression from the Dutch, the Japanese, and
The Coup, the Thirties September Group in 1965, leaving the island in tragic despair and bloodshed. Today, these loving people celebrate life,
probably to a degree that we may never understand. They teach us, “today is a day to be thankful
for, today is a day to give blessings to God, and today is a day that I will be
present, mindful, and in gratitude, regardless of the past events.”
land that is entranced in Spirit.
offerings to God, small baskets woven from coconut or palm leaves, which are
filled with flowers, rice, and incense. These offerings are at the front of
their homes, and their businesses, on the streets, in the temples, they are
everywhere. Visual blessings of gratitude
that are crafted with amazing skill and beauty. In fact, the word Bail in Sanskrit, (that was
the original Indian heritage) means “offerings.”
Everywhere you go, everywhere you look,
you see “physical blessings”
upmost care, featuring flowers arranged in stunning mosaic type patterns. Most
of the Balinese go daily to the temples to receive a blessing from the local
priests, leaving a veil of rice pressed to their
foreheads, temples and chest,
which they leave on them throughout the day, until it falls off. Another symbol of their devotion. My lesson here opens the idea of creating
visual prayer for the senses, reminders that keep Spirit in the forefront of
the mind at all times.
the native blessing ceremonies, wearing their traditional garments. At the
temple of Shiva, which represents the destroyer, we set an intention on
receiving our blessings with the idea that which does not serve us and our
highest good would be released and destroyed.
Ganesh Temple, or Bat Cave Temple, we accepted our blessing with the intention
to remove any obstacles that are keeping us from moving forward. And at the beautiful Tirtaganga Water Gardens
& Palace, we swam in the tranquil stone pools with the intention of
creating a cleansing baptism of our souls. Beautiful Bali, she fills me with the
lessons of release and rebirth.
participated in chanting meditation, followed by Yoga, and an
inspiring spiritual message each morning. Bali, taught me to be even more
present, to pay attention, and relax into Spirits arms.
then words can express, but I will leave you with this one. One morning my
travel companion, Rev. Janet and I decide to get up early and first thing go to
the claimed Monkey Forest. We walked
there quickly in anticipation of visiting this exotic place, taking care to purchase
a large bunch of bananas to feed the monkeys.
I was holding the bananas as we made our way to the entrance. Immediately, hungry monkeys from every corner
come running towards me, crazily, and I swear I saw them showing their little teeth. I being an animal lover, I actual had a pet
monkey as a kid, did what was only natural. I panicked, threw the bananas in
the air, and ran out. Janet being
annoyed by my sudden behavior, insisted we go back and buy more bananas. This time, she held the bananas, being careful
not to drop them. A woman working at the
entrance of the park offered to help Janet.
She showed her how to hold one banana above her head at a time and then the
monkey would climb up and grab it. Well
this went fine until Janet took the remaining bananas from the women and
proceed to feed them herself. Suddenly, a
huge monkey climbs up her leg and starts to grab the entire bunch of bananas. Janet reacted by quickly pulling the bananas
away from the him, and the monkey then proceeded to bite her on the leg,
because frankly, he was a little upset with her selfish behavior.
Lesson here: Nature is individualized, each with Its own set of laws not to be reckoned with. Or, maybe, the lesson was: the one with the most bananas wins!