So, whether it is Brexit, the U.S. Capitol siege, real or perceived threats of terror or the human challenges due to Covid complications, struggles to maintain tolerance and cohesion on a global and micro community level is real. In Bali, the holistic and small-business Expat community seems challenged amid the crisis to maintain all round harmony in numbers. Local fractures highlighting we are not immune to the manifestations of fear that comes with living in ‘survival mode’. But there is hope, for where fractures exist there is room for remedy. And the local Balinese culture, offers wisdom traditions that are age-old with interesting cultural responses on how to navigate and harmonise a community ‘in’ difference.
In the realm of sound therapy the term ‘sympathetic resonance’ explains how a simple pure harmonic sound can have a profound effect on making other objects that carry the same ‘resonant frequency’ vibrate. In so doing, harmonizing natural sounds carry outward into the world and ‘RE’-sound other objects ongoingly, mostly without us noticing. Resonance helps explain how a sudden introduction of a certain vibration (however subtle) can create a domino effect that brings dead matter to life. Something from deep within our humanity also responds when stimulated by certain core ‘frequencies’ that are harmonious. Being inspired by the best of human nature - mercy, kindness, generosity, works in the same way.
You could also say negativity thrives on other negativity. As a force, negative charges may have emotional weight but many believe that there is little underlying true power or resonance in these emissions. If people are in a receptive place, harmonious resonance is always more capable of creating and carrying forward vibrations that are sonorous and empowering. Love will always create more resonance than fear.
THE BALI WAY
Bali has been heavily impacted by Covid and Indonesia is in its first recession in decades. There is no special bubble that preserves Bali from the same negative realities that are hitting people elsewhere. Reliance on tourism, which has virtually halted, is shuttering more and more businesses every week. While some call the Balinese simple and superstitious, the people here are not turning to conspiracy theories or fracturing as a community as a result of the world’s situation. Their way of life counteracts extremism and polarization because it has to.
The Balinese are a minority in Indonesia. Yet they are the majority on their own island. Traditionally, they live in community compounds often in close quarters with family. They may have major disagreements but they learn to live with each other. They have cultivated a life that largely integrates environmental consciousness, spirituality and an accepted system of village leadership.
The family and social structures of Bali mean its communities are consistently in close human contact regularly gathering, eating together, praying together, discussing, doing exercise activities, and playing music together. Sounds like the worst kind of conspiratorial socialist agenda, we know. But this is their culture, how they maintain community and family ahead of individualism -- for good or bad. It is not an easy way of life for the Western mind to make sense of.
When there are fallouts, the Balinese don’t normally lead to cutting out those close to them. Unfriending or blocking each other on social media channels because opinions diverge is not, seemingly, common practice for the community and its people. The Balinese try to stay smiling even when working out their problems. They know that anyone who loses their nerve when they start talking about a subject like politics is showing that there is a wound guiding their actions. They know to be suspicious of those people. After the Bali bombings, it is known that several younger Balinese leaders were intent on acts of revenge to balance the scales. It was the elders and other leaders who stepped in as voices of reason and prevented these threats of added violence.
FANATICISM AND FORCE
An online culture of idolizing our fellow believers and trolling those who oppose our views is becoming commonplace. As screen time polemics reach new heights meaningful organic contact is becoming far reduced, it is no wonder a lack of empathy is now commonplace…even among spiritualists who profess the opposite, the trend seeps in. Moreover, Westerners with no experience in policy creation or political life find it impossible to associate people with power as anything but corrupt and become susceptible to what ex-presidential candidate, Marianne Williamson calls ‘Cults of Madness’. We often hear, “The whole thing is rotten” in relation to governance. Those motivated by anger and fear use the combustible fuel of discontent to explode onto the scene, mostly through blaming others. It will always be fashionable to scapegoat in an uncertain world where things are not going as planned, but there is no harmonious resonance in such action, only reaction as force.
When pressing ex-progressive conspiracy advocates to share their reasons about their changes of heart, generally their values haven’t changed. It’s more likely that they have become more militant because they are convinced that the only way for humanity to truly move forward is for the whole political economy to come crashing down, so a true revolution of ‘love’ can rise from the ashes.
This is horrifying for those who have lived through real political revolutions like the 1978 Revolution in Iran. The sad truth is that power relations and dynamics of ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’ don’t mysteriously disappear when a revolution succeeds. Lives are lost, dreams are broken, families are scattered throughout the world and there is a whole lot more conflict and collateral damage. There may be a political vacuum in the immediate aftermath but this is quickly filled and oftentimes violently or with leadership that is more radical than before.
A CURRENCY OF KINDNESS
The Dali Lama said,” Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.” In a world that is increasingly dark, polarised and chaotic, it has never been more important to be kind. Yet both on social media and in real life, we are seeing the rise of more and more anger and even abuse. Politics and pandemic have compounded to create a strong energy field of fear and uncertainty which is manifesting around the earth. Tapping into and nourishing this energy field makes it more powerful.
For those who understand energy work and the power of intention, it should be very clear that our work now lies in positivity and light (and standing against hate). How can we identify as ‘healers’ or ‘light workers’ if we are feeding a beast of uncontrollable fear and anger? Our role is to create and keep balance, to become a calm harbour in this stormy sea and above all not to engage in fear-mongering.
And for those of us living in Bali, there is ritual to share highlighting how purification ceremonies, offerings and daily intentions invite harmony into our lives. All personal and gathered opportunity for prayer, meditation, yoga and sound healing is higher frequency and is what should be shared with the world.
We need not feed off negative emotions and create bias towards polarized group perspectives. All negative emotions arise from fear, and people who are fearful are much easier to influence and manipulate than those who are in balance.
So in regards to what media we choose to consume we need to be discerning. We have the right to dictate when and how much we engage, examining the sources of news and information. In our community we have been writers and researchers, either on hard or social science subjects, for decades. We have learned that the truth is not always spoken by the loudest voices. In this disturbing new world of fake news and downright lies, it’s essential to follow the trail of words back to the source before making a decision on what to believe. Here are some tips:
- Click away from the story to investigate the site, its mission and contacts
- Do a quick search of the speaker/author… real? Credible?
- Read beyond the headlines which are often sensational to generate clicks but don’t reflect the real story
- Click the links on supporting sources, keep digging
- Consult a fact-finding site
- Check your biases and consider how your beliefs may be affecting your judgment
We’ve seen some slick, well produced fear-mongering videos which have no identification or search links, very fishy...
Always remember the power of intention. Many of us have experienced how our positivity attracts more positive people and experiences to us. Negative intention, of course, will attract negative people and experiences. Multiply that by millions of people, and imagine the impact of that magnitude of energy.
And so now, especially in the context of the ‘healing’ community, it’s very important to build bridges to the light instead of succumbing to the darkness. One day when airports open and people can travel again they will return. We want Bali, and Ubud to remain a special place to visit for human connection, healing and harmonic resonance.