I also noticed how Balinese spirituality is integrated into everyone’s life. The temples are active-they are used multiple times a day. Their days are filled with ceremony. It is not uncommon to go out for dinner in the evening and to see rice (leftover from a blessing)on your servers brow.
This simple, daily household offering is a way the Balinese people thank their God for the peace that has been given to the world. The offerings take time and effort to prepare, and the act of preparing the offering is just as important as the offering itself.
The Balinese people very much live off of the land, and as a result, have a deep respect and reverence for All parts of nature. Being an agricultural society (rice being the most important crop) the Balinese take special care to nurture their fields. They understand the importance of respecting the land, and the importance of being in balance with nature. For that reason they spend pain-staking amounts of time and energy to honor their Deities, the Gods of the sky, the Gods of the rice, etc, by making beautiful little baskets of offerings. Waking about Bali, you will see hundreds of these offerings everywhere. On cars, in front of stores, houses, restaurants, at Temple gates, and on local and city sidewalks.
I also noticed the cleanliness in Bali. Before most tourists are wandering the streets the Balinese are out sweeping up all of the previous day’s offerings from around their businesses and homes. Buckets of water are used to wet down the sidewalk and the perimeter around their doorways. I actually witnessed a Balinese man dusting his car with a feather duster. The cars in Bali are kept immaculate, despite the dusty streets. Once the streets of Bali are spotless, they are now ready for the daily gift of offerings.
At the end of our class we spent a few days on Sanur beach. It was a beautiful way to end the trip and get ready for the long journey home.
When I was in Peru years ago and asked the Q’ero shaman what I could do for Peru. She replied for me to bless, love, honour and create ceremony in my own homeland. The land is thirsty, she said. It needs to be loved and cared for and honoured and respected. She explained that by blessing and honouring my land I am helping the rest of the world.
After my time in Bali, witnessing yet another culture that is beautifully and deeply connected to the land, and loves and honours the earth ~ it has brought that lesson home to me yet again, to do more here. To create sacred space here. To honour our blessed land here. So if you see me leaving offerings and burning incense outside then you know what I am up to.