Thursday, February 5, 2009

A Walk Down a Small Road in Bali

There are many roads to follow in Bali both large and small. One day while in Ubud my two friends and I decided to hike out of town on a small road. It had rained a lot and we went out during a brief dry spell. The evidence of the rainy season was everywhere. From the top of damp stone walls water cascaded down. The road itself was slippery and we did not know where our journey would eventually take us.

On every road there is always something to see. You can observe and enjoy the large and grand but sometimes the less obvious and subtle can please both the eye and the spirit more.

Just outside the Sacred Monkey forest I met Bapak Sudra who was sitting by his small shop that had no customers and few things to sell. Bapak introduced me to his fighting cock that he kept in a small wicker cage. He then took me into the back of his house to show me the wood carving he was working on.

It was of a large orangutan that he said he would finish in about 2 weeks. He seemed happy to have a visit even though I bought nothing. He wrote his name very carefully in my book. He asked where my friends and I were going and I said, "we are just walking." He smiled and laughed and said, "Oh, jalung, jalung, .....walking walking." He wrote it as well in my book beside his name. I used it all day long when people with taxis came by and wanted to drive us. There were a lot of them, it helped a lot.

I never saw Bapak carve but I have seen many artists do much fine wood work. This man was using a heavy chainsaw to cut a log into pieces to be carved later. You could tell that the section he was cutting would someday become a large Budha. It was hard work and he told me so. It is so hot that practically any job is difficult here.

This young boy was watching his father carve near by. He is learning early what may well one day by his profession.

It is easy to forget sometimes what hard long work goes into making things of beauty.

Any road out of Ubud has to take you eventually beside the lush green rice paddies. I have never seen a more beautiful shade of green anywhere. Young plants appear so full of life they look as though they could glow in the dark.
It is all planted by hand and tended to by people who will work all day out in the hot sun. This man owns these paddies.

I pointed in one direction after another asking him if he owned the rice paddies. He kept saying yes. He was sweating heavily, it was close to noon and the sun was particularly hot in the cloudless sky. He never stopped. He walked here and there and bent over often to adjust and straighten the small plants. At one point a heron had landed in one of his paddies and he took a stick and smacked it loudly with another. The noise scared the bird away. I was slower to leave.
In Bali you will find rice paddies in all stages of growth. Whether it be just planted or almost ready to be cut.

Most of the harvested rice follows a humble path before it ends up on a dinner plate. Once it has been separated from the stalk it is spread out on quiet roads and lanes to dry.

In the rainy season one keeps a close watch on the sky. The hot sun dries everything quickly when its rays can touch the ground directly. Chickens however have to be soshed away

I am reminded how really fortunate I am to be not working on this hot Bali Road. We meet so many on our walk who have no time to just wander.

The mind has only one road:

The division-road.

The heart has many roads:



And oneness-road.

Excerpt from Ten Thousand Flower-Flames, Part 13 by Sri Chinmoy.

For an unaspiring man,

Work is punishment,

Work is torture.

For an aspiring man,

Work is a blessing,

Work is a joy.

Excerpt from Ten Thousand Flower-Flames, Part 89 by Sri Chinmoy

God always wants His heart-children

To study at

His simplicity-purity-school.

Excerpt from Twenty-Seven Thousand Aspiration-Plants, Part 213 by Sri Chinmoy.

We cross many bridges on our little journey. Some precarious and some grand.

Even on the remotest roads in Bali the trinket sellers can find you and try and sell you something you do not want no matter how cheap the price.

What is more fascinating for me is just people going about their lives. No hour passes when it seems a sacred offering is being made. Always patiently and always with devotion. When it is repeated so often over many days and years it cannot help but add to the inner beauty of the place that is already so enchantingly beautiful outside.

I feel most often that I am both openly and secretly watching this world around me. No matter how much you look there is always more to see. Maybe just maybe, it is more than enough to just look within.

The human mother tells the child,

"Look up! There is the truth."

The divine Mother tells the child,

"Look within! There alone

Is the beauty of truth."

Excerpt from Silence-Seed And Sound-Fruit by Sri Chinmoy.

We walked down a small road in Bali. We felt the sun above us and felt its earth beneath our feet. We saw people of every description and stopped often to learn about their world. Did we make any progress on our journey? We did after all return from where we had begun. Perhaps there is never any return to a starting point. Beauty entices us to go forward. God pushes us ever onward towards our goal.

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