Mid-May 2021, I continue my trip to Bali. No plans were made. There is no fixed schedule. Where the heart leads, there the feet go. After being immersed in the natural and cultural charm of Ubud, Bali, I chose to go to the mountains. The closest is Mount Batur, Kintamani, Bali.
In my heart, mountains always have a special place. Around, or at the top of, mountains, I always feel at peace, and at one with everything. I decided to leave at 6 am. The journey between Ubud to Mount Batur is accompanied by bone-chilling cold weather.
My jacket is not thick enough for this kind of trip. As a result, every few kilometers, I stopped at the side of the road. While pausing, I enjoyed the situation. I took a deep breath of cool fresh air. My eyes are filled with nuances of Japanese Flowers in every inch of Bali. Balinese fences also stretch as far as the eye can see.
I enjoy the uniqueness of that kind of Balinese architecture. In contrast to Jakarta, which has been deprived of its distinctive Indonesian taste, Balinese people are truly proud of their culture. They take really good care of it. It is the same culture that inspires beauty throughout the world.
One interesting thing: the ride was very smooth. Maybe, because it was still early, so the streets were quiet. It's also possible, because of the pandemic, people are limiting many activities. What is clear, for me, the morning trip was very pleasant.
Before long, I entered Penelokan Highway. The sun had just risen. I chose the way down to Lake Batur. Oh, the view is amazing. I was surprised too. Spontaneously, I quit. The sun is golden.
The streets are quiet from traffic. Bone-chilling cold air. Everything is so bright and scintillating. It's like in heaven. Slowly, teardrops appeared. I cried, not because I was sad, but because I was touched by a beauty beyond words. This is the charm of the land above the clouds. No words can express it. There was no tone to say it.
In silence and beauty, I fell silent and shed tears profusely. Being touched by beauty is like being touched by God. No language can describe it. The chest overflows with a feeling of immeasurable joy. There was unspeakable gratitude rising in the chest.
Nature is God. Such is the view of pantheism in philosophy. Many thinkers have said it. To be with nature in its entirety is to be with God Himself. Nature is not something without direction and patterns. Nature has its laws.
This is called Dharma. By living according to the Dharma, one will find enlightenment and liberation from the sufferings of life. As natural law, the Dharma is universal.
There are two pillars. First, things change. There is nothing to hold on to in this life. Everything is like water and sand. Gripped tightly, then it will go. Gripped gently, it will settle down. Although, over time, it will still change.
Second, nothing in the world will be able to provide true satisfaction. Things change, so their values change. Wealth is not only a blessing but can be a curse that invites greed. Warm love relationships are also very likely to turn cold and murderous. True satisfaction lies only within.
One needs to look within, that is, to the consciousness that resides within him. That's where the house that gives complete happiness. Not anywhere else. Balinese people have their understanding of Dharma. They call it Tri Hita Karana.
This word means "Three Causes of Happiness and Prosperity of Human Life.". The three causes are harmony with God, harmony between humans, and harmony with nature.
These three things can be seen in various forms of cooperation in society, to realize this harmony. Religious rituals and offerings are regularly given to the Gods.
Natural beauty is cared for, so that life as a whole can be sustainable. With Tri Hita Karana in the hearts of the Balinese people, all the natural and cultural beauty of the island of Bali is very well preserved. Beautiful nature. Culture is maintained. Residents also find happiness and prosperity in their lives.
Isn't this the perfect life?
Balinese architecture as a whole also reflects this kind of understanding of Tri Hita Karana. What is also unique is that Subak (a community organization that specializes in irrigating rice fields), a typical Balinese rice field management system, is directly a reflection of Tri Hita Karana.
They reflect the harmonious interrelationships between the different elements. God, Man, and Nature are in a balanced and harmonious relationship with each other. Under the morning sun Batur, I continued my journey. I was like being embraced by the morning weather.
The morning mist was still thick, but immediately accompanied by sharp sunlight, and the weather was piercingly cold. Unconsciously, it was time for breakfast. I decided to go around Lake Batur. The water there reflects the sunlight.
It is like an amazing clear mirror. While calming my hungry stomach, I paused for a moment, absorbing the nuances of the land above the clouds.
There was one small spot that caught my eye. It is located right in front of Mount Batur. It was like in a fairy tale. It is above the clouds. I continued my journey there. Since it was still early, the place wasn't open yet. For a moment, I waited. Before long, two people came to me. They are a husband and wife couple who own and manage the restaurant.
With a big smile, they let me in. I also ordered food from the available menu. While preparing the food, I also chatted with them. I ask a question about the current state of Balinese society.
Bali is indeed undergoing a major purification, they say. Money that used to be so easy and fast has now stopped. Kintamani, which was once so crowded with tourists from all over the world, is now deserted. Bali is invited to purify itself, and return to its original identity, said Pak Wayan, the owner of the small restaurant.
In fact, in a crisis, we are tested, he said. Balinese people must maintain harmony with God, fellow human beings, and nature as a whole. Good deeds must still be carried out so that the whole society can go through all these crises safely. Various religious rituals, and efforts to protect nature, also need to be carried out.
Religion must guide people towards the nobility and harmony of life. Religion should not spread violence, let alone carry bombs to kill other people, he said.
Mr. Wayan was devastated by the Bali Bombing tragedy. He felt that Indonesia should learn from Balinese spirituality, namely the Tri Hita Karana. Before building this restaurant that directly faces Mount Batur, Mr. Wayan was a waiter at a hotel. He decided to do business by borrowing from institutions in his village.
While eating breakfast, I contemplated in front of Mount Batur. How long will this purification continue? In July and August 2021, things got even worse. The government made it difficult for all roads to enter Bali.
The reason remains the same, namely reducing the spread of COVID 19. Balinese people are very obedient to health protocols. They are also mandatory for vaccination. It seems the spread is really difficult to stem now. We can only prepare adequate health facilities and take care of each other's health.
How long will Bali, and all of us, have to continue to undergo purification, due to the COVID-19 pandemic? The answer is still a mystery to all of us.
Bali does have a very beautiful charm. Balinese people also maintain traditional values that continue to be maintained.