It's been several months since I left Bali. I am still processing my experiences - and the things I learned (and relearned) about myself. Choices made and choices avoided. Choices to come.
My place in the world.
Bali's imprint is upon me.
I was recently sent some photographs documenting Nyepi. I was sad that I was not able to extend my stay by another week in order to participate... But some day I will!
According to Wikipedia:
Nyepi is a Balinese "Day of Silence" that is commemorated every Isakawarsa (Saka new year) according to the Balinese calendar (in 2019, it fell on March 7). It is a Hindu celebration mainly celebrated in Bali, Indonesia. Nyepi, a public holiday in Indonesia, is a day of silence, fasting and meditation for the Balinese.
Observed from 6 a.m. until 6 a.m. the next morning, Nyepi is a day of reflection, and as such, anything that might interfere with that purpose is restricted. The main restrictions are no lighting fires or using electricity; no working; no entertainment; no traveling; and, for some, fasting is common. On this day Bali's bustling streets and roads are empty, there is little light and silence reigns. Even the airport closes for the day.The only people to be seen outdoors are the Pecalang, traditional security men who patrol the streets to ensure the prohibitions are being followed.
But this doesn't really capture the whole story - at least not from my local guide - and the spiritual purpose (and precursor) is missing.
Before the silence comes the revel, where darker spirits and shadows are honored and one might even say celebrated... because balance.
After the revel is the silence, where the people stay inside and silent, permitting the shadows to pass them by. And the shadow spirits revel in the light and dark - knowing their purpose is honored. The dark differentiates the light; the silence calls us to listen.