Bali Woke Me Up

An awakening of the heart.

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Bali has taught me more than I’ve learnt in the last several months in the city that I live in, Hong Kong. I was at an Ayurveda and yoga resort tucked far away from the city. The serene atmosphere and the genuine people have been a huge reminder if not a wake up call for the need to slow down and connect with myself. The locals here, despite not having the fancy Ivy League degrees have a lot to teach someone like me.

Having lived in the city for decades, I needed to unplug because of the overdrive a metropolitan place does to the mind and the body. Being in the woods, people don’t need to run away and unwind because they are well aware of how to do things at a pace that is healthy for their mind and body.

There was a smile when I was greeted. A smile that was genuine because you can feel it and it makes you smile from within too. Their customs or hospitality or both are what echoes of calmness, genuineness, to serve from the heart, and nothing can be more spiritual than that.

Besides the smile, they were truly interested to know my name and trust me they remembered it after. Imagine learning foreign names and addressing you days after. (Yes, they had all this information but rare have I seen staff at a resort or hotel ask me my name. Perhaps they were trying to hear how it is pronounced so they can say it right. Again, the effort to go the extra mile was beautiful and heartfelt.)

Yoga and meditation classes are part of the program and one afternoon at meditation class, the teacher shared a story his teacher had told him. He said, “life is like sweeping the floor and we sweep because the floor is dusty. The next day you do it again because the dust comes again. It isn’t about the dust reappearing that is the concern but how you sweep. Where is your mind when sweeping? Each action especially those that are mundane are a chance to do it with love, surrendering the act of doing to a bigger purpose”. When I heard that it reminded me of what my Grandma used to say. She used to tell me that when we clean, cook or do what we need to do, we should do it as if we are offering it to God. What we offer to God should be the best of our abilities because God deserves our best but also when you love someone you want to give nothing but your best.

This was a huge lesson for me. The serenity in the woody resort allowed me to stop and learn from the simplest experiences. Seeing Balinese people smile like the way they do showed me who I want to be more of. I’ve always said I want to expand my heart and love unconditionally. Bali surely taught me that. It is in the smallest and the biggest things that I do every day that are my opportunities to practice unconditionally love. It also reminded me that it is easy to love when things go my way but I need to work on being extra loving when things DON’T go my way – that is what unconditional love is all about.

Terima Kasih Bali!

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.


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