The Seeker, Season 2 Bali / Java: Episode 8 “Leaving Bali”
I’m leaving Bali in a few days and I have decidedly mixed feelings about that.
It’s not easy to leave a place this beautiful and transformative.
This 2200 square mile island in SE Asia has so much allure…so much wisdom to offer. I believe it’s one of the giant energy centers on the globe…like a portal…almost anyone who’s spent a month here will tell you that.
There’s something very odd about this island. The way it pushes you out of your comfort zone. Which is ironic given its reputation for pampering by way of luxury resorts and infinity pools.
What did I expect from Bali when I arrived here, 2 months ago?
The same things I expect from any new destination:
2. Awe-inspiring beauty
3. To find some of the world’s most effective healers and/or mystics.
I got all 3 just as I did in Peru and Bolivia.
I started my journey in in Ubud, near the center of Bail. Why? Because Ubud is a spiritual place and I’m a spiritual kind of guy. Heck, the name Ubud even MEANS medicine.
Ubud is an exotic place with monkey forests, sacred temples, yogis galore, and an opportunity to taste the rich Balinese culture. But it was the worst trip of my life. It seemed like a new thing went wrong every day. ATMs not working. Trouble with transportation. Mosquito infested lodging. Loneliness. Depression. And, finally, a deeply troubling bout with insomnia.
At week three, I seriously considered flying back to the United States to re-group and choose another destination. Perhaps one with functioning ATMs that didn’t charge as much as $20 USD per transaction or required one to ride a scooter or motorcycle every day – the one thing I promised myself I would NOT DO in Bali so I could mitigate risk. The incidence of accidents is very high.
So, now, I needed a healer to sleep again regardless of my job. Every day in Ubud was more painful than the last. In the first episode of this season, I eagerly described all the local temples I would visit. That no longer mattered to me at all. I focused on healers.
I went to (arguably) the most famous healer in all of Bali – Cokorda Rai – grandson of the last king of Ubud. He poked me with a sharp stick until I jumped up in the air. It had zero effect. Nada. Zip. Thank god it only cost $25 USD.
Next, I went to the Pyramids of Chi for sound healing. I did feel better after my session – no question -- but it didn’t help me sleep at all. I became depressed. Wasn’t Ubud supposed to be one of the great healing centers of the world??
It was through this frustration that I realized that health is everything. Without it, not much else matters.
I decided not to give up on Bali, but I did give up on Ubud. So, I moved to Canggu Beach on the south of the island.
In the car, driving from Ubud to Canggu, every mile that passed I felt calmer and better. By the time I reached the beach I knew I had made the right decision.
At my new guest house, the owner greeted me warmly and showed me my $13 USD a night room which was charming, immaculate, mosquito-free, and 5 minutes from the ocean. As an afterthought he pointed to a scooter and said I could rent it for about 2 USD per day. This event changed my life and the way I looked at travel.
I said yes to the rental and broke my one promise to myself about Bali because I remembered how nearly impossible not having a scooter made my life in Ubud. I was going to have to face some risk I was not comfortable with.
Something unexpected happened next. When I rode the scooter the following day I felt a sense of exhilaration and freedom I hadn’t felt since the day I moved to Peru a year ago. Riding in the throngs of humanity and minor chaos made me feel more aligned with the island and the Balinese, not to mention it made my life 1000 times easier. My life in Bali opened up like a flower.
I still had trouble sleeping…but the ocean, riding down the highways at 70kmph, and the casual, non-pretentious atmosphere of Canggu all made me feel alive and vibrant again. My heart became deeply intertwined with Canggu and the gracious attitude of the Balinese people.
I was lucky to be in Bali for Galungan to experience the elaborate preparations and adornments of ceremonial dragons everywhere. The Balinese people put an enormous amount of effort into beautifying their surroundings and making them meaningful in some way. Offerings are placed literally everywhere throughout the day in gratitude. The generosity of the Balinese people will restore your faith in humanity. It is rare when you worry about being ripped off or mislead by anyone here.
After a week of pure leisure I resumed my search for an effective healer in earnest. I was sleeping a little bit, but it was still a big problem.
I saw 3 people, 2 of whom you saw in previous episodes.
1. Pak Heru from Jakarta, Java. I went to see Pak 5 times.
2. Shi-wana on the beach in Sanur.
3. Sami at Bali Chy Healing, who I did not show in an episode because it was too dark to show the process.
After I saw these three people, my ability to sleep returned completely to normal. Now, of course, I can’t prove that these men were the cause. But I feel confident in telling you this: if you go to see any of these men for a session in Bali, you will feel different and you will feel better. In my opinion and experience, there are substantial health benefits from reflexology when practiced by competent individuals.
What are the most powerful lessons I learned from Bali?
An idea dawned on me traveling to Java…and idea that took hold of me. I was going to interview people on all my travels, for the foreseeable future, with the question “What is the most important of your entire life?”
Here’s Texas resident Daniel French’s answer:….
I also learned a certain amount of risk is healthy and necessary if you are a world traveler and there is no way around this if you want to truly explore. I was trying to be an explorer without the risk and it doesn’t work like that.
The scooter opened up a whole new world and my spirits soared.
Other lessons from travelers and healers:
- meditation is important (clip from Sanur Healer)
- Breathe properly (clip from Collion on street)
Because of what I went through in Bali, like a Phoenix rising thru the ashes of difficulty, despair, and insomnia, I feel deeply connected to the island.
I went to Bali to find what I consider to be great healers, and I succeeded. Their names and locations are in the credits.
Come to this island in SE Asia.
You will not find a more magical place or kinder people anywhere on this Earth.