What I find the most amazing about Bali is its people. All that charm that Bali has is reflected in mystical smiles of the Balinese. Rich cultural heritage, humbleness, open-mindedness, warm and welcoming attitude, artistic nature, spiritual characteristics, relaxed and friendly manners, easy-going personality are just some of the traits these people possess.
Community and family are very important to the Balinese and extended families often live together.
Banjar is an organization that helps all the activities of a village. Actually, it is the smallest unit of government in Bali. Banjar plays an important role in everyday life of the Balinese people.
Most traditional Balinese families live within a family compound in villages. Family compounds usually contain several houses for different members of the extended family. These compounds usually have a family temple. The family temple is a place where family ceremonies occur.
Family is important to the Balinese as well as religion. Balinese Hinduism mixes Hinduism with animistic traditions. Actually, Balinese Hinduism is a blend of Shivaism and Buddhism. For the Balinese, nature is power and should be properly respected. Spirits and ancestors are also treated with respect. Balinese religion is well-known through the richness of its rituals. And as it was written in the New York Times once, the Balinese “live in a magic world of people, spirits, gods and demons.”
Personality traits of the Balinese are what have really charmed me and other people who love Bali. The Balinese are by nature humble people with a relaxed lifestyle. Their attitude that humility and compassion are more important than any knowledge, beauty, or art, have always and still keep impressing me. And I guess I have learned from them that humbleness and compassion go together with love. You can’t truly love without humility, without forgetting about yourself.
The smiles of these people are something that sells the island itself and brings tourists to Bali. Friendly and welcoming, they live their simple lives with smiles on their faces. And those smiles are a kind of positive energy they spread. And believe it or not, the traditional Balinese healers recommend the smiling meditation since they believe that a smile washes away bad energy.
Why are the Balinese so relaxed? While the Westerners can’t help themselves but constantly being worried about every single thing and freak out if things don’t go as planned, the Balinese are taught to accept everything in happiness. They celebrate both life and death. Even in a funeral ceremony, bright colors of the traditional clothes are chosen instead of monotonous dark shirts. Furthermore, in the Western world we are under constant pressure to hurry up, to rush everywhere. We rush to get ready for work in the morning, we rush to eat our lunch and go back to work, we rush to meet work deadlines, we rush to the meetings, we drive fast to get somewhere. We unnecessarily fill up our time because we want to feel needed and productive. And it is exhausting and draining. Do we ever slow down and live in the present moment??? The pace of life in Bali is much slower and relaxed. There is no rushing. And that relaxed atmosphere keeps you in a present moment and stress-free. The Balinese complete everything with a focus on gratitude and connection to the present moment. Each action seems sacred. The process is as much as important for them as the result. Life is filled with amazing moments. We need to slow down and pay attention to everything around us. And that is exactly what the Balinese do. They appreciate the life that was given to them.
The Balinese practice meditation. And it helps them in cleansing the mind. Meditation makes your mind calmer and more focused. The Balinese practice through meditation that mental stability. With it there comes undisturbed peace and unending calm.
Those are just some of the characteristics of the Balinese I love and find amazing. There are so many others. It is not the secret that many Westerners come to Bali to learn from the Balinese how to live a happy life. And I completely understand them. We need to live more in the moment. Life unfolds in the present. We need to practice more humility and compassion. And we need to learn to breathe. Becoming aware of being alive is what brings happiness.