Balian, Balian


I call a Balian I have been guided to meet. He speaks no English but I will visit nonetheless, barely hanging on to the back of the motorbike of a staff member of the queen as we get lost countless times on the journey to his home twenty minutes outside Ubud. I need to ride a scooter. I want to spread my wings.

At a small compound I enter the gate and am welcomed graciously by a man wearing all white, sarong and head piece. He smiles delightfully and returns to taking care of a baby and family as I sit on the porch of one of the small houses with a guy with the most brilliantly blue eyes and a young girl. He is an exotic Balinese, an alien perhaps to the land and looks deeply into my soul as we chat. He speaks perfect English, a tour guide for many years, and is eager to chat. There is a deep layer of depression he is churning through and a new spiritually enhanced path calling to his soul. He shares about his visions of the archangels, a rarity for one encompassed by the Balinese Hindu belief system. Negative spirits and demons, constant chatter, Christian archangels, not so much.

He talks a bunch of Cokorda Rai, the Balian, answering many of my enthralled questions. A woman is preparing elaborate bundles of offerings for me as we wait, one of the baskets is filled with intricately cut paper, rice, various flowers, magenta and lime green colored sweet cakes, tiny bananas. I share about my visions of Ganesha and the Asian red dragon, ultimately Cokorda joins and interprets the images as my role as one who is to connect heaven and earth; I am a link between spirit and the physical. Using my birthday he calculates the day of the week in which I was born to share more information regarding my path. I am a Wednesday baby, a perfect day for one who is on the healer journey. I feel like becoming a healer is only one of my duties in service to the universe and I am excited to learn more skills to share.

In the sacred temple (every family has their own temple or “pura” in their compound in addition to the village temple as well as the town…sometimes temples are connected to rice fields, some to historical sites) I am gifted many blessings including the sanctification as a Hindu. Now I am perhaps a Hin-Jew, added to the pile of silly labels such as lover of Jesus, rainbows, the sun, moon, and stars.

I am covered by a red cloth, a yellow, and a white, representing fire, water, and air, sacred symbols written on my tongue and my throat chakra, my shoulders, the back of my neck with a brown paste three times in addition to the traditional water and rice blessings. Water is drizzled with a lotus flower. Rice grains cover our third eyes for protection. Ceremony, ceremony, ceremony. I feel the energy and grace even if I don’t understand the precise meaning of the rituals.

The three of us sit in a small sacred room behind the temple altar, praying with mala beads and singing mantras. I sing my favorite Ganesha mantra and the two men laugh, they have not met too many foreigners who love this deity so much. I giggle in my own head as I think of my childhood stomping in my parent’s home, my mother constantly telling me I walk like an elephant. See ma! There are no accidents for such behavior. I was simply honoring the divine Hindu god. Cokorda teaches how to harness the kundalini energy at the base of my spine and bring it up through my chakras, how to tap into divine universal light.  He talks of the four brothers and how to call upon them; I feel their presence on my hands and then filling my body cavity. I call upon Ganesha in the same manner, channeling through my crown which feels very warm.

Cokorda invites me to visit whenever I am free, I have met a new teacher and feel deep gratitude in my heart. He says he feels like I am his daughter. I give him a big hug, his body most similar to an Indonesian Pillsbury dough boy, and will return shortly.

The blue-eyed alien brother takes me to his home on his motorbike without asking. I cannot refuse a coffee, it would be impolite, although I intended on meeting with a friend in Ubud. No plans can be made ever. I should know this by now for I am on Bali spirit time. Surrender to the flow.

My brother chain smokes, I listen. He invites me to stay over, to meet his wife, to join his family any time I want to; I can sleep in the room with his daughter. We sit outside as his brother’s grandchild draws, intrigued by my foreign tongue. The extension of love and relations is limitless in Bali just like every open-aired temple which provides no separation from being indoors or out. All is one.

I am carried back to the center of town eventually and return to the queen’s home where I am quickly carted off with the queen’s daughter-in-law from the mother temple ceremony evening, an immense sister of light. We know each other from many lives before and I am excited to have this opportunity to play again.

She is going to visit a different Balian and wants me to come. Ok, universe, I am committed. I hop in her car with her kiddies and then am dropped off at her boyfriend’s place, a residence and bike shop where three other men leisurely enjoy cigarettes and grilled meat skewers along with her man. She says she will see me later. I continue to abandon any control. I am entirely being guided to be where ever I am intended to be. We all chat and I pretend to drive the bikes. It is a giant tease to sit on the sexy rides with no skills… yet. I change my thoughts; I will be the best scooter driver in Bali. I will bike with ease.

My Balinese sister’s man is a doll, peaceful and content with simplicity and covered in tattoos like a proper greaser. He shows me pictures of himself with long hair and around his abode before we head off on a bike to Balian number two of the day.

A couple with a small daughter follows us in a car, friends of the boyfriend. The mother is completely in a daze, mumbling nonsense and not answering any questions. Her eyes are vacant and it appears as if she has been in this state for more than a week. The Balian gives her blessed water to drink, she vomits releasing some of the negative entities and then more purification with one of the small sacred yellow coconuts where the Balian throws the coconut violently onto the floor after she screams and falls to the floor. She is emancipated and well again. I have only seen such removals once before, in the deep of the Amazon in Brazil by an indigenous shaman. It is beyond powerful and takes an inordinately large amount of strength.

My Balinese sister returns and we head out for some dinner, at a roadside joint  where there is no menu and all gather rice with their hands along with pieces of fried chicken and spicy red sambal. I am in India again, this dining experience quite contrary to the one with her sister-in-law.

At her warm and cozy home in Sanur, a few kilometers away from the beach, we sit and chat in a room filled with more holistic books than I have ever seen in one residence. Astrology, tarot, crystals, nutrition, inspiration, healing this and that, the range of religions, universal love. Deepak Chopra, Paramhansa Yogananda, Eckhart Tolle, Doreen Virtue, Dalai Lama, it is a new age library sans smoothie bar. She has it all and in English. I could crawl up on her colorful couch covered in pillows and never leave. I am invited to stay and I will with grace although there is no time to skim any writing tonight for we talk quite late.

Her three kids are adorable and welcoming, chatting away before crawling into bed with their beloved mother. They sleep together in a nest. There are two bedrooms in the house yet everything is shared and communal as is everything in Bali. Boundaries are non-existent. This is not the western world.

(The Balinese way…my business is your business as yours is mine. Simply walking down the street I am persistently questioned where I am heading, where I stay, how I am feeling. It is quite friendly and free.)

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