The first time I stepped foot in San Francisco forty years ago, I was convinced I had found Heaven on Earth. I remained convinced of this notion until I spent seven weeks in Bali at the end of last year. My experience in this peaceful island paradise allowed me to see the world in a whole new light, where love, respect, duty and daily spiritual practice are the key principals of life.
I arrived in Nirarta in Sideman at the Living Awareness Centre in the foothills of Mt. Agung in December. The centre, created by Professor Peter Wryca from the UK, managed to create a utopia that I referred to as “East of Eselan.” Peter developed a beautiful, peaceful place to rest and quiet the mind of the world’s negative chatter. The centre reminded me how amazing it is that an individual’s fully-realized vision can create a place of Heaven on Earth.
In Nirarta, I was surrounded by the sounds of the river, birds singing, and the beautiful view of the mountains and rice fields. I watched the quiet Balinese people working on their much loved and respected land. I felt like I was at the ballet watching a beautifully choreographed dance between nature and the Balinese people, moving together in harmony to the sound of the river. This place was magical. God lives in places like this.
The Balinese sense of duty and dedication to their loved ones is to be greatly admired. In their culture, when it comes to the celebration of life and death, nothing else matters. All business comes to a halt. Isn’t that the way it should be?
Where is your heaven on earth?
Poem by Rumi:
“I have shrunk beyond the smallest atom
Expanded further than the last star
This garden laughing with fruit”