A text interaction with my friend Jay from over a week ago that began just as I was entering the LAX International terminal—

Jay: Bon Voyage yuichi

Yuichi: Thanks Jay! [Also, sent the photo below]

 Excitement!

Excitement!

Jay: I thought you might be there now, knowing when Asia bound flights depart.  Just seeing a pic of an international terminal evokes a good feeling.

Yuichi: Yeah, it’s funny, isn’t it?  Just being here gives a light and happy feeling.

Jay: Yeah, freedom.

Yuichi: Ah, so that’s what it is.


I arrived in Bali a little over a week ago.  Got picked up by my friend and host Cito, a local Balinese.  

 This is Cito. Or a photograph of him. He’s a very kind and good man. Or I think so.

This is Cito. Or a photograph of him. He’s a very kind and good man. Or I think so.

And so far, I’m mostly getting taken care of by him and his family, just like last time.  

Most days, I don’t do much.   Maybe sit around for large stretches of time, by myself or with Cito’s family, shooting the breeze, and occasionally, typing some words.  

Or some prayer and meditation. Or that’s the sitting around by myself bit.

Some of it happens here:

 That’s my laundry bag acting as a rug so that the floor doesn’t feel too cold. The little table was some stool for the desk. The Buddha was room decoration that I fetched off the wardrobe closet. And the cushions belong to the bed. But the postcards are mine! Easy to travel with!… As a long-time meditator, one of the things I’ve learned is that the set up really doesn’t matter. You just basically sit anywhere you can, make it kind of nice, and rest the mind.

That’s my laundry bag acting as a rug so that the floor doesn’t feel too cold. The little table was some stool for the desk. The Buddha was room decoration that I fetched off the wardrobe closet. And the cushions belong to the bed. But the postcards are mine! Easy to travel with!… As a long-time meditator, one of the things I’ve learned is that the set up really doesn’t matter. You just basically sit anywhere you can, make it kind of nice, and rest the mind.

Or I sometimes get on a motorbike and ride around for no good reason other than for the feeling of riding around for no good reason.  Or to fetch myself some mangosteens!

Or this is me at the height of my productivity:

Yes, no joke.  Almost everything good (for me) comes from this.  Or maybe everything.

Let me quote Thomas Merton:

Our being is not to be enriched merely by activity and experience as such. Everything depends on the quality of our acts and our experiences. A multitude of badly performed actions and of experiences only half-lived exhausts and depletes our being. By doing things badly we make ourselves less real. The growing unreality cannot help but make us unhappy… There are times, then, when in order to keep ourselves in existence at all we simply have to sit back for a while and do nothing. And for a man who has let himself be drawn completely out of himself by his activity, nothing is more difficult than to sit still and rest, doing nothing at all. The very act of resting is the hardest and most courageous act he can perform: and often it is often quite beyond his power. We must first recover the possession of our own being.

 In the lava fields of Mt Batur, one of the holy mountains of Bali. I’m pretending to be free! In reality, it was baking hot in the lava field, and I just wanted to be out of the sun.

In the lava fields of Mt Batur, one of the holy mountains of Bali. I’m pretending to be free! In reality, it was baking hot in the lava field, and I just wanted to be out of the sun.

I feel blessed to be able to sink into a sense of peace and contentment here.   A hopefulness and optimism naturally arises. And I suddenly find myself surrounded by teachers everywhere I turn.  (Solo travel for some of us turns the mind more open in ways that’s hard to manufacture otherwise. But I also think that those who live here have benefited from being here, and they lead me into further connection with this place.)

And so yes, for some of us, there’s something going on here.  

When I was younger, I visited Sedona, and felt an undeniable and vibrant energy in places that they called “power vortexes.”  And things happened. I could say the same of Mt Shasta, or it’s not quite the same, but unexplainable things happened for me there as well. It’s not quite like that here.  And yet, it is. A different kind of energy: things just happen if you’ve been working inwardly, I’m guessing.

Living in a sleepy and “mundane” (for me) place like Chico is wonderful in that there’s hardly anything to draw the heart or mind outwardly, and so, one has nothing better to do than to practice and to work on inward things.  And then, when one comes to a place like this, boom! It just blows up. In a good way that is!

Or I guess there’s the other kind of blow up also! If there’s a lot of shit karma, then that shit (karma) comes out with a vengeance, literally (a la, “Bali Belly”). Been there, done that! Haha. But even that’s great, since it all comes out, and it’s an intensive enough cleansing so that things can start happening subsequently!

I’m convinced that I could run an amazing retreat here and take all sorts of credit when a gorilla could be doing the same thing and getting similar, possibly better results.  (I stole this idea from a fellow bozo on a bus.) ;) <—for James.

So anyhow, I’m building a home here, and a guesthouse.  It’s going to be lovely. Come visit me sometime! Or my guesthouse, whichever.

This is the land where I once stood (about five months ago) and had a somewhat random thought of, “It would be like a dream to live here.” In about one year, this will be a home to me. It will also be a guesthouse for others… That’s Cito’s father as the protagonist of this short film. Or maybe he’s just the side character to the clickety thing making a big scene, won’t quiet down!


A few days later:

After drafting the words above, I suddenly became inspired—or is it, enamored?—with the idea of making a “pilgrimage” of sorts through the seven main locales that the Balinese have long held as sacred.  

I consider myself good at “feeling” a place (and I used to be good at reading objects as well, but haven’t tried my hand it in a while). But I’m confident that there were gifted individuals who were significantly more attuned than I am to these things, who could feel the utter power and sacredness of particular spots on this island of Bali, and so as to preserve the sanctity, as well as to point others to their significance, they consecrated them as temples.  (Yes, I think the temples themselves are merely signs, like road signs that point toward a locale as being spiritually important. One could blow up the temple, and what’s significant would still remain.)

These seven places happen to be the six main temples of Bali along with the central water temple, Tirta Empul, which acts as the cog to the spokes that point to the six temples in the four directions (two each in the west and east, along with one each in the north and south).

When I told Cito that I was going to ride off on my own to each of the temples in the next few weeks, he offered to accompany me and teach me the Hindu-Balinese ceremony that takes place at each. Later, his mom joined in! (She actually has never been to two of the temples, having lived on this tiny island her entire life!) So now it’s a group pilgrimage!

I plan to engage in the traditional offering rituals at each temple with the sincerest of intents, but also, I plan to spend a few hours at each, just sitting, offering my being. (Cito and his mom will have to wait! haha. I already told them. Based on how long we tend to shoot the shit together, I’m sure sitting around for a few hours for them isn’t going to be a problem!)

If I feel compelled to do so, I’ll return. Again and again. I may want to get to know the spirits at each temple.  Or try to be of assistance to them if needed.

I might report here—this blogging station, I mean—on what I find, but I might also become interested in other things.  It’s hard to predict when you’re just going with things.

Oh, this is me being excited:

I had spent the morning praying for souls and spirits that were trapped nearby. I felt happy doing this.

Then, in the evening, this.

It felt like someone was saying, “Thank you.” Just showed up out of nowhere! (Not a single firefly in sight outside, either.)

During my last trip here, I also witnessed exactly one firefly, while I was sick, in a daze, staring out the window. Its appearance heralded a shift in mindset toward something magical.

8 Comments