September 2017 – Continually bowing to the might of Agung …
Please join me in prayer for the safety and wellbeing of the land, the animals and the people in the fragile time in Bali …
Black and white
When I first started coming to Bali thirty five years ago, as a surf-stoked teenager, I vividly remember the black and white chequered cloths wrapped around statues of deities, hanging from sacred sites and worn as striking sarongs by many locals during ceremony.
Over the years I have heard many varied perceptions towards this cloth by bemo drivers, priests and locals – all seem to reference the struggle we face in the world of duality. The light and the dark, the like and not like, the good and the evil, the shadow and the radiance. … the ‘us and them ‘
I am not unlike you, unconsciously placing lines in the sand around the world we see outside. I also notice that when I sense a lack of harmony from the inside, the more it feeds the outside … and vice versa. This mirror is a difficult one to accept. It’s much easier to blame the rock-n-roll circumstance; the single-eyed, controlling politician; or the impatient truck driver for the apparent lack of harmonious integration.
Yet when I step aside and see — giving space to really see — there is an allowing for something more integrated than black and white to step in.
Last night, at one-am, we were on motorbikes fleeing a potential volcanic eruption. With another 10,000 villagers, we were in fearful states of not knowing if disaster was about to strike. It was not an easy mind state.
A flat tyre on the busy highway had us looking for something magical to jump in and help out. Knocking on a door at one o’clock in the morning had four Balinese guys awake and changing wheels in a wonderful example of joyfully helping out another human being. In thirty minutes, and after lots of thankyou’s, we were back on the road. In that precious moment, the black and white of division and separation was instead completed. In its place was simply one human joyfully helping another.
This morning our beautiful Balinese friends headed back to their village, returning to be with their loved ones — brothers, sisters, cousins, nieces and nephews — who did not evacuate. There is the call to now cease their past differences, join forces and ‘do this thing together’. Does it really need a potential catastrophe for us to step away from the unconscious conditioned worlds of separation, into our innate world of harmonious integration?
Maybe my natural inquiry into the black and white cloth in Bali many years ago was a sign, asking us to “wake up and look a little deeper, beyond our world of separation”. Maybe it was asking us to be at harmony with the ups and downs, the light and the dark, the shadow and the radiance. By simply embracing the spectrum we can come a little closer to a more unified state of togetherness … inside and out.
Now more than ever I feel the planet is asking us to not only look a little deeper, but, like the midnight mechanic, to act from this fresh new integrated sense.
Everyday is an opportunity.