I was raised by my Indonesian grandmother in the San Francisco Bay Area. Growing up in an Eastern household, while living in the West, gave me a great opportunity to blend two worlds. One world offered a more internal reflection of life, and another world had an external expression of living.
What I really wanted to know, experience and see with my own eyes was a life filled with grace and ease, one that blended the East and West. I didn’t find too many models, so I found myself making up life as I went along.
Seeking truth and guidance, I traveled alone to Bali, Indonesia, in October 1998, delving completely into the unknown — culturally, physically and spiritually. I didn’t know anyone in Bali, much less understand the proper customs. I was, however, eager to find — not only seek. I became the observer, drinking in my new surroundings like a child with that wide-eyed wonderment of life.
Bali showed me a whole new world, one in which humans and nature were fully integrated. It taught me how to honor life in all its forms, including the duality of the light and dark. I became content, for I met people who demonstrated personal peace and centering, albeit within community. I witnessed wholeness and fulfillment within each individual, regardless of outside circumstances.
Who knew that people could come together in everyday life for the benefit of all? Here was a way of life full of grace, joy, fulfillment and the Divine.
Traveling to Bali, I discovered “home” and my true self. This was my journey of dying to my old self and awakening into the new me.
In Bali, the outlook and philosophy on life is called Tri Hita Karana, which literally translates as the Three Causes to Prosperity, bringing about harmonious relationships: Human to God, Human to Human, and Human to Nature.
This harmonious lifestyle includes maintaining the balance of the spiritual and physical worlds. It helps take ownership and responsibility for our: life, relationships, community and environment.
In this, we create cause and effect in a circular fashion.
Relationship to God
Based on Tri Hita Karana, I believe our relationship with God (Creator, Buddha, Allah, anything that is greater than you) is reflected in all relationships — relationships with ourselves, with each other and with the world.
This is faith: There is belief and connection. When centered this way, we can sense if another person has this inner strength. It shows up as inner peace, joy, deep love, and a quality of knowingness.
You can also feel when these relationships are lacking. It shows up in yourself and others as ego, judgment, disconnect, selfishness, loneliness and an energetic heaviness.
So many aspects of life are honored and revered in Bali, from the everyday, mundane vehicles of existence to the unseen forces of life and nature, because the people in Bali live in between the two worlds of heaven and hell. Because of this, they can acknowledge and accept both. As humans, we are the bridge between these two worlds.
To live by Tri Hita Karana, begin by creating virtues of:
- Sensitivity to self and others (translates as compassion and forgiveness)
Being at one (with all relations) opens us to a meaningful life — a life filled with connection, wholeness, fulfillment, and ever-present joy.
Life is truly expressed from the inside out.
When your inner world is aligned, the outer world reflects it back to you. You are in the flow, living your dreams, and the boundaries of work and gifts are blurred. You are living your truth, connected to All that is and sharing your gifts with the world.
Bali taught me how to live life.