“Always aim at complete harmony of thought and word and deed. Always aim at purifying your thoughts and everything will be well.” – Mahatma Gandhi
I recently spent what was the best 10 days of my life in the most beautiful place on earth that I have travelled to so far, Bali. I think what brings me to make this huge statement is the rich culture, the feeling of togetherness in the community and how inspirational it is to watch the Balinese maintain the balance of the spiritual and physical worlds.
Since our visit I have been obsessed with bringing the peaceful, Zen vibe I enjoyed in Bali home with me to Australia and so I thought I would focus this post on the Balinese life concept of ‘Tri Hita Karana’ that has the rough literal translation “three causes of well-being” or “three reasons for prosperity.”
1. Harmony among people –There wasn’t a single time where I didn’t feel welcomed in Bali. The sincere, warm energy the Balinese radiate is a feeling that is contagious and not one I have ever felt too many times before. This isn’t just an “act” that the Balinese put on for tourists it is evident in every interaction they have with people. Living in a civil manner like the Balinese can change even the most stressful situations like the chaotic driving most people would have experienced in Bali. I almost felt Bali was somewhat lawless when it came to road rules as no one sticks to their lanes, they pull out in front of each other and there are no road signs, yet not once did I witness any sort of road rage and all the cars were in pristine condition and the beeps were friendly. Instead of laws they drive with care and respect which works better than any road rule I have seen around the world!! I was in complete awe that not once did I ever see any conflict, arguments or anger in general while in Bali. It was bliss!
TIP – Practice patience, smile at strangers, pay attention to your surroundings, treat others with respect and show genuine care in all that you say and do. You could even go one step further and volunteer to help others who need it in your community or dig deep to be more forgiving as this creates an inner peace that enables us to feel a sense of wholeness.
2. Harmony with nature and environment – There is beauty to be found everywhere in Bali and the pure love and respect the Balinese have towards nature is evident in daily life. I adored seeing the colourful offerings you would see scattered across the pathways where people live and work. The temples were captivating, the art is simply stunning, and the intricate sculptures have no detail spared. This is all beauty that the Balinese people have made and maintain with total care and devotion which is on top of the natural sunsets, rice paddocks and breath-taking scenery.
TIP – Slow down and pay attention the detail that is all around you and if you are struggling to find the beauty in your surroundings, then do something about it. I noticed a significant difference in my mood by adding more plants into my home and more colour into the office I work in. If you see rubbish on the ground make it your responsibility to pick it up. Take pride in the place you call home and I don’t just mean the house you live in but the country you are building a life in.
3. Harmony with God – Every morning and night you see beautiful bright offerings that have been carefully placed outside homes and businesses. The Balinese spend hours preparing the baskets which are made daily from banana or palm leaves and are then filled with fresh flowers (each flower represents various gods.) Rice, sweets, cigarettes and sometimes money are also placed in the basket and topped with a stick of burning incense. Every single part of the offering has significant meaning from the placement of the flowers in the basket to the special hand gestures and prayers involved in placing the offerings. What I admire most about the ritual is that it isn’t considered a chore, the offerings honour a daily ritual of self-sacrifice, a spirit of gratitude, and a time to be truly present.
TIP – You don’t have to set up an alter in your home or pray to a God to experience the same spiritual benefits of the Balinese. You can simply take 5 minutes out of your day to meditate, write a list of 3 things you’re grateful for or sit outside and observe the magic of your surroundings. Being at one (with all relations) opens us to a purposeful life – a life filled with connection, wholeness, fulfilment, and ever-present joy.
I think the Balinese way of life combined with my “Buddhish” values will truly help me live a more meaningful life.
Thanks for reading! ☮