Island of the Gods | Tegalalang Rice Terraces

Bali – Island of the Gods

In this landscape inspiration comes easy. But before I get too far ahead of myself. The journey is about researching solutions, exploring cultures and promoting higher values. It’s also about personal growth, and learning what we – and I – can live without. Here on the Island of the Gods among the temples, rice fields and volcanoes I’m taking an inspired look at how everything is connected.

How we perceive and interact with the animals and environment around us has cascading effects through society. Even the language we use needs an update, as the problems we face live in the words used to describe them. Systemic violence and destruction are justified with words that no longer carry any meaning. Without changing the language, the problems will remain. Our brave new integrated world is becoming more and more connected every passing day. Dialogue between people and nations is upgrading at blistering speeds. New connections and challenges also bring opportunity for creating innovative solutions. Our words and thoughts are connected, so if we can think and speak differently across these new channels the rest may just sort itself out.

The communication barriers which inhibited dialogue between peoples and nations are transforming. Channels now exist for collaboration between diverse groups who may not even speak the same language. But what will we say to each other? The messages must be universal, beneficial and inside the scope of their ethos. Using concepts from western society doesn’t have a great track record. This is why I look east for answers: Taoism, Buddhism, Jainism, Hinduism, Shinto, Animism and more. Everything is connected.

I believe there is a niche available for a new way of thinking that pays respect to all illuminated concepts. And it is this niche I will try to define through my travels and continued study. In the developed world I see glimmers of yearning – a need for a rich new outlook. It’s encouraging to see people recognizing our collective need for a sensible system of living. But, it isn’t happening fast enough and we’re running out of time.

Any new system must include the voiceless victims of the first-world’s excessive lifestyle. Animals and the environment are suffering, but there is another way. Our society and the definitions we use to justify our destructive behavior need an urgent upgrade. Without improvement, the developing world will continue to emulate western shortsightedness and the fallout will be catastrophic. Unfortunately, contributing to our own demise will also convict most of the life on Earth to a similar fate. Change will be difficult but it starts with you making one decision. Either remain a part of the problem or become part of the solution. Life depends on it. Everything is connected.

When you go for a walk today; stop and discuss this with one person. How much water does it take to grow one pound of beef or one pound of off-season avocados? While you’re thinking about it, I’ll move on.

The Balinese have an interesting life philosophy called Tri Hita Karana. Imagine a system that balances the individual with community and nature. I feel this system has a lot of potential but I wonder if it could evolve to address western perspectives. I think it merits future discussion.

Bali is a rich landscape that can spark deep reflection if you let it; all without any need for superfluous definitions. Mindfulness seems an easier concept to grasp here; but there’s nothing esoteric about living in the present. The challenge seems to be how people from different cultures can use such awareness to guide day to day actions and behavior. This is the message – everything is connected.

I’m in the middle of the island, far removed from the constant din of tourist trap Kuta Beach. I write among the vistas of a bygone era; dreamlike in their simple state. I write from the shadows of Gunung Batur, the island’s volcanic heart. It’s like stepping back in time to when human communities lived more in tune with the environment and had no excessive desires. This rich island landscape inspires me to create something worthwhile.