“Inhale… feel your back relax…,” Wayan’s voice was guiding us as we began the Child’s Pose in our afternoon restorative yoga practice. The sounds from the jungle in front of our yoga shala in Kumara were the best soundtrack I could ever imagine for the occasion. In our guided meditation sessions, when Wayan asked us to be aware of the sounds, I would wonder what kind of bird produced those certain curious chirps I’ve been noticing lately. My mind was wondering when I felt Wayan’s cold fingers on a spot on my back, briefly applying some kind of balm. The act was unexpected, but the balm left a pleasant sensation, yet another wonderful detail I found in this retreat.
By the end of our yoga session, Wayan guided us to put our hands in praying position and touch them to our head, to acknowledge peace in our minds, as well as to our mouths… peace in our words, and to our chests… peace in our heart. “Know that in your hearts are kindness, peacefulness and gratefulness. Let them shine through.” These words somehow left a deep impression on me.
I have been too busy to realize that I have not been “kind” to myself. I have piled and piled my heart with problems, regrets, worries and even a good amount of joy, but forgot to really pay attention to it. These words that Wayan uttered in the end of our yoga session became something that I pondered upon during our Silent Day. To have peace in my heart, I have to make peace with all my shortcomings and regrets, which is never as simple as it sounds but I believe has a significant impact if done faithfully.
I made use of the Silent Day to scribble down thoughts that passed through my mind, trying to clear the mess inside by pouring it into words. The negative things that I wished to leave behind I wrote on the small papers that were provided in our rooms.
On the last day of the retreat, we made our own Balinese offerings and lit a small flame in a Mandala of flowers. We sat in a circle as each of us burned the papers, solemnly wishing that the negative things would cease in our lives. Then we walked down the stairs to the creek below Kumara to throw the ashes away as a symbol of hope for our better future, our better selves.
Joining this Immerse Yourself in Bali retreat was a marvelous gift. I feel privileged to have experienced the serenity of Kumara, the extraordinary spa, yoga and all of the activities, and to meet wonderful people from across the globe. This experience will remain in my heart and rest assured; the peacefulness that I found will be forever treasured.