Finding Balance in Bali
This is part 1 of a 4 part series about a recent trip we took to Bali
I am sitting in the stunning, airy bar of my gorgeous Balinese hotel and I am sweating… a lot. I’m on a spiritual tour that I’m leading and I’ve just had a ten-minute walk, the slow, meandering kind, but it has still taken its toll in the sticky, humid weather. Even with spiritual vacations, there is a delicate balance here between freshly showered and breaking out in a full, glorious dancer’s sweat and I am hoping to find it. Like the heroine of Eat Pray Love, I have come to Bali searching for balance.
It’s a challenge, because I am not exactly here on an actual spiritual vacation. My partner Greg and I lead spiritual tours to sacred sites around the world, and Bali is high on many people’s lists. So we are working. Managing a group of 35 American travelers, to be exact. This is not as hard as it sounds, if you take into consideration the group dynamic of “one mind.” I never thought I would want to travel with a group until I first took a spiritual tour myself. But when I did I understood the tremendous power of shared intention. This is furthered by the tremendous interest in Eat, Pray Love, where the author/heroine visited Bali for four whole months and found the love of her life.
We are traveling in Bali for two weeks, visiting temples almost every day. The emphasis of a spiritual tour is on pilgrimage, yes, but also on poolgrimage, its sister, spagrimage, and their close cousin, shopgrimage. At least the group is balanced. Our little band of Americans is made up of some real sports. They have bought their temple clothes – the sarong, sash, white shirt, and (for the men) headdress – indicating the devout intentions of a Balinese worshipper. Yes, most of the women have readEat Pray Love, though none of the men have. They go to the temples and learn how to pray like the Balinese Hindus. They clasp their hands in Namaste (not unlike our good old-fashioned American “prayer hands”) and hold them up – first to their foreheads, for the gods, then to their hearts, for our human selves. They wash their faces in incense smoke, toss flower petals in the air and tuck them behind their ears. They eat uncooked grains of rice (to suppress base desires) and are doused with holy water by “Pamungku,” the Balinese priests who accept our offerings and lead us in prayer. For two weeks, they give their lives over to the search for something greater, the core of any spiritual vacation.
Next week… part 2 of a Spiritual Vacation in Bali