Day 80- preparing for the Hindu new year in Bali, Nyepi

It is raining, so getting out of bed isn’t appealing in the slightest except that I am hungry. They don’t call it comfort eating for nothing… In case none of my posts lately have made sense, have patience. They will. I am grappling with one of those typical moments in life where decisions meet actions. It is so easy to make a decision, but having the guts to follow through is another thing entirely. All I can say for now is that my spiritual path is taking me away from my relationship and it is something we both have to come to terms with. How exactly this is going to pan out, neither of us are certain, but we can only have trust that if we are meant to be, we will find a way. Yes it is terrifying to let go, but going inwards, on that path of self discovery, I can’t take anyone or anything with me. It is the ultimate sacrifice, the final detachment from my physical world.

As I sit up to meditate, still under the doona, I look at the time (10.52am) and I think 18 minutes. Closing my eyes I notice the sounds outside. The ceremonies have begun for the upcoming festival of Nyepi, the Balinese Hindu new year that happens this year on Friday 23rd March. It will be the year 1934 according to their calendar. I can hear that beloved rooster from next-door (yes beloved is a euphemism for a much more profane adjective), motorbikes, rain, coughing, voices and the distant sound of bells and gamelan as the crowds of devotees march to their temples. Everything that is going on in the outside world is outside of my skin, so I stay inside my skin. In Bahasa Indonesia the soul is called the Jiwa. Sometimes I think it resides in my gut, where the instinct comes from. Other times I feel it in my heart, where I choose to be led by. Sometimes I am sure it is in my head, behind the third eye. But then other times I swear I can feel it in my fingertips; in a moment of passion when my fingers go tingly with pins and needles, or holding the hand of someone (even a small child) and feeling their divine energy sweep through me. Maybe the jiwa is never in one spot for too long. Like electrons- if I remember anything from science it was that you can never accurately predict where an electron is going to be at any one time. I meditate being within my skin. The jiwa, atman, soul, spirt, true-self, dances like licking flames, curling and shifting within my skin. Everything else that happens to me; sounds, wind, people, relationships… all occur outside the skin.

When I open my eyes exactly 18 minutes have passed.

The roads are blocked with the march of Balinese playing various instruments, their drums covered in plastic bags, raincoats over sarongs and of course, the sunglasses. Just because you are wearing a skirt, doesn’t mean you can’t look cool. They move as a collective Jiwa, their procession a united offering to the gods. They will spend the next couple of days clearing the bad spirits and negative energy out of the island and then come to rest o the day of Nyepi in silence and meditation. The crowd marches with joy through the rain, carrying gongs and flags and even through the traffic, I fall in love with Bali all over again.

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