After heavy monsoons, the day awoke pleasantly, the Balinese sun smiling and the previously evil winds settling for a brief respite. Having been living in Bali for some years, we decided to take a leisurely drive wherever we felt guided to go. The pull of directions drew us south to Tuban. We drove past a road and although we had been down this road before and knew it went nowhere special for us, we felt compelled to drive down this road once again. Following our intuition we drove to the end when it opened on to a fairly average Bali beach. Surprised that there turned out to no special reason we were to drive there, we turned back to leave.
Driving up along the road, our attention was pulled to the right for a second. In that instance there was a loud explosion and broken glass flew all over our car.
For a brief moment we were confused as to exactly what had occurred, although we knew we had just been involved in a large accident.
We immediately realised another car had driven in to the side of us and taken off down the road we had just traversed.
Looking behind us we expected the car to pull over, however it raced off down the road and disappeared into a driveway. Knowing this was a dead end road and they could not leave without passing us, we slowly reversed and turned around, heading towards the driveway he had entered. On pulling in we found it was a hotel car park and the driver in question had parked the car and fled into the confines of the hotel. Fortunately, able to speak Indonesian, we were able to inform the security guard and the police officer what had occurred.
They raced into the hotel and called the manager, where by the driver was able to be located via his hired car. It turned out the damage, although sounding tremendous had resulted in a broken rear vision mirror only. Amidst debate and discussion it was agreed he would pay for a new mirror, of course the question still remained as to how the mirror could be collected.
The manager of the hotel introduced himself as ‘Bambang’ and explained he was just about to finish work for the day and would personally drive the 1 hour journey to Denpasar to arrange and collect the mirror and the 1 hour journey back again. He would collect the payment from the driver for the mirror and personally fit it to our car if we could come back tomorrow. We explained that we were not guests of his hotel and he did not have to do this for us. “No matter” he said, “something bad has happened to you and I must do my best to make it right”. We were so amazed at Bambang’s generosity and kindness to do his best to make our journey more pleasant we began to look at why we had created this situation.
We had been planning to travel by 7-hour ferry to Lombok the next day with our car. Yet for some reason it did not feel entirely right to go. By our rational mind, of course there was no reason we should not travel yet my mind cast back to an incident from the previous evening. I had been sitting on the balcony of our bungalow watching with awe the power and force of a particularly dramatic Bali monsoon. My gaze was drawn to a bracelet I received as a special spiritual gift, delicately engraved with a likeness of Quan Yin, the graceful God of mercy and compassion. At the same moment a floating feminine voice echoed in my mind that whispered “Please do not go to Lombok, it is dangerous for you at the moment”. So clear was the message, it haunted me for the rest of the evening.
Remembering this message I queried to Bambang, “I wonder why this accident brought us to you, perhaps we have something to discuss”. He looked at me strangely, and said he was so honoured by our open minds at the accident that he would set aside time for us tomorrow and we could meet after our car was fixed. We thanked him for his time and decided to still take a drive in the country. As it turned out we ended up overlooking the Bali cliffs and were invited to witness a special banquet inside a cave and a Kecak dance on the beach. We felt very honoured by such a gift and a lightness filled our hearts.
I looked down at my bracelet and shared my message with Daryll, whereby he shared that he too had been told the same message. Upon asking about the seas to Lombok, we were told there were no problems and all was well. We decided not to question our message and changed our plans to stay in Bali.
|Sacred Kintamani volcano in Java|
Whilst the storm was in full force, confined to our room, I began reading a book on Balinese magic. I found that I was unable to sleep at all, even though I was very tired. The night went on and I read and tossed and turned, trying to fall asleep. All my efforts were to no avail until 3 am. At which time, I put my book down and instantly fell into a deep sleep.
The next morning we arose and headed back to Bambang’s hotel. His face lit up with delight at seeing us again and we were ushered to a comfortable table and brought refreshments. It was obvious he had something to share with us. The moment the formalities of providing refreshments were over, he burst forth. “All night I stayed awake thinking about the words you said to me about the spirits bringing you here to meet me”. “In 6 years managing this hotel, no tourist has ever even remotely said such things” and leaning forward in a hushed whisper as if he dared to say “I too believe the spirits brought you here”. “You know last night, I could not get a wink of sleep, I lay awake thinking about your words until 3 am, then I finally fell into a deep sleep”. Daryll shared that this was also the exact time I had been kept up until. Bambang’s eyes widened and he said “then we must have been talking in the air”.
I have since learnt that this is a strong Balinese belief similar to what we in the West call Astral travel, whereby if you have a strong desire to connect with someone you can do so on another level while you sleep. The difference here is that the Western belief usually requires both or one party to be sleeping, where as the Balinese belief is that if you wish to communicate strongly enough and are relaxed, the sleep state is unnecessary.
It did not take long to begin discussions about Balinese magic, beliefs and rituals and Bambang proudly proclaimed he could organise for us to meet the sacred healers and magicians we had been trying to contact for so many years. Now it was our turn to be delighted and our eyes to widen at such an amazing possibility. Many things we thought only available to the Javanese, suddenly became available on Bali also, although perhaps a little more hidden and difficult for the uninitiated to discover.
Our talk broadened into personal experiences and we were to learn that many unusual situations that had occurred to us on our previous visits to Bali were in fact quite common, although not spoken about. At the time we had shared our experiences with various Balinese people only to have been met with blank stares and told “how unusual”. Now we were learning they more than likely knew very well what we were talking about, yet did not dare to speak of it.
Bambang especially delighted in the topic of reincarnation and karma, also the strong desire to do well by others so as to progress and assist others to progress with them.
He relayed a story of a western lady he had staying at the hotel who began to show signs of a serious heart problem. With her clutching her chest, he quickly assisted her to the road and hailed down a taxi to take her the few metres to a hospital. The taxi driver told him it would cost 35000rp for the journey and although the normal fare is about 500rp, Bambang knew he had to get her there quickly. Delving into his pocket, Bambang had all of his money with him, exactly 35000rp. Knowing he had no other money at all, he handed it over and insisted the driver hurry to the hospital.
The lady recovered and the next day the same taxi driver pulled in to the hotel to deliver another guest. However, as he entered the driveway he did not see the large concrete statues that guard the hotel and drove his car straight into these and the wall. His car was destroyed, every panel crushed and the engine broken. He asked to see Bambang and explained forlornly what had happened. Rather than sympathy Bambang explained to him that yesterday the Gods had presented him with an opportunity to do good, to assist an unwell lady who really needed him. Not only did he not help her, he chose to make an unreasonably large profit from her misfortune.
Today, the Gods made him the one with the misfortune, now he would have to pay the money back to have his car fixed, plus a great deal more. He resignedly accepted his fate and declared he would never ever no such a thing again. Bambang said to him “it is good you understand your misdoing, although you understand a little too late and now have to pay the price”. His head dropped and he understood in his heart his lesson. The money, although a huge amount for him to pay was not the problem that caused him the most sadness, he truly understood the missed opportunity the Gods had given to him as a gift.
In daily life in Bali we can see the understanding of these unseen energetic forces that surround every aspect of life.