So, as you might know I was recently in Bali. I had an amazing experience – attending a friend’s wedding, scooting around Seminyak, eating amazing food. But what really stands out for me was my trip up to Ubud. The spiritual centre of Bali, likened to a little India.

We headed up to Ubud to experience something different from the tourist strips  – western hotel pools, beach clubs, sydney-priced shopping – and surprisingly the drive to and from Ubud was where I learnt the most about Bali.

Having hired a driver to take me to Chokorda Rai (a local healer – more on that in another post) I didn’t expect that the driver, himself, would offer up so many nuggets of spiritual insight. Pearls of wisdom and if I may I’d like to share these with you today.

His name was Putu. He was a gentle, kind and open souland clearly, as most Balinese do, sees the world in a different way to most of us.

Here are a few life lessons from Putu and a few notes from myself.

1) Just go with the flow. If everything is heading in one direction, you have to decide if it makes sense to turn around and swim against the current.

So, if going in that direction doesn’t make sense, first, step out of the way and take a moment to be still. Figure out what it is you want, where you want to go. Don’t just do an about face and head backwards. You’ll just end up fighting against the flow.

2) Balance is important. It’s everything. Every person has their place, their role and everything has a place, a role. Sticking to this creates harmony in the long term.

We were talking about positions within the family and the ‘compound’ – the Balinese way of living – and Putu provided insight into the necessity of create balance within the family environment and within the roles. For example, the mother has a clearly defined role – to care for and raise the children and run the household. The father – the breadwinner, the decision maker. A very traditional structure, but Putu’s insight  was intriguing -“the father is tired from working, so if he gets too involved with the matters of the children he will rule them with anger and frustration. It’s better that the mother disciplines and raises the children because her approach is softer and will not damage the children”,

3) Read the eyes. Trust your instincts and respond to what you sense, not just what you see. Then you can follow the instructions after.

I asked Putu how he avoids serious accidents in such crazy traffic (Bali has serious traffic jams!) He responded that he notices the street signs around him second to the eyes of his fellow drivers/riders. “Their eyes will tell you what they want and where they want to go. You can do this in any situation. Not just when driving”

4) Don’t be mad. Don’t be mad at the street. Why be mad at something that only just that morning you asked it to protect you and guide you. If I am mad at the street I am bringing bad luck to me.

Again, talking traffic, I mentioned that road rage in Australia was much more apparent than Bali, despite how much worse their situation is. Putu, straight to the point, explained the Baliness belief in remaining calm in the face of frustation and testing times. A spiritual way of living with the knowledge that like attracts like. Your anger, in traffic or anywhere else, will only bring you more of the same.

5) We must always ask for a lucky day. It will bring us happiness and love.

We were chatting about marriage, buying homes and more. Putu explained the Balinese culture of choosing an auspicious day from a local priest to ensure that luck was always on your side. It made me realise that we don’t tend to connect with anything higher than ourselves – because perhaps many of us don’t believe that everything is connected as the Balinese do.

6) Just relax. Don’t worry. This doesn’t help anything.

After visiting a healer, which had me in tears, we were discussing my diagnosis over Lawak (coffee from the mongoose cat!) Apparently ‘worry’ coming up quite strong within my body. Putu very calmly told me – in the same tone as one would say “take the 372 to coogee’ – that worrying is pointless. Just let life happen, worrying isn’t life. It does nothing good.

It’s an understatement to say that Putu had me thinking, alot. Some of his little pearls were so simple, things I had read/heard many times but it was in his delivery. This calm, matter-of-fact way that made me realise he wasn’t reciting some concept he understood intellectually, in theory. He was sharing his life practice. The Balinese way of living and being.

I can’t wait to go back so I can explore this complex, yet simple culture even more.

Have you been to Bali and experience the people and the culture? Did you learn anything that you still remember today?

Saha to you,




  1. This is the exact reason why I fell in love with the Balinese people. I literally felt like they lifted a weight of my shoulders…

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