Silence is never empty. In fact, it is full of answers, once we surrender and soften into it. In our case, silence is where a lot of magic can be found that Bali bestows upon any of us who is lucky enough to be here during this most magical time.
This March 3rd we get to dive into the deeper mystery of this island once again. Nyepi – the Day of Silence that commemorates the Balinese New Year will be upon us. If you have been following us for a while you might remember last year's article in which we shared the tradition, the ritual, ceremonies and meaning behind this most auspicious day. If you don't, we encourage you to have a read. It might inspire you to join us in silence. Or to come to Bali next year. Because this day is truly beyond magical. ;)
A day in silence
The Day of Silence in Bali is a day reserved for meditation, reflection and fasting with the purpose of returning to one’s self, to instill purity and harmony and to contemplate upon our intentions for the upcoming new year.
While Nyepi is generally just during one day and falls on the day of the 12th New Moon of the Balinese Saka Calendar and marks the peak of ’Nyepi season’, there is a variety of ceremonies surrounding the actual Day of Silence. You can find a detailed explanation on all the rituals here.
After all these years living on this island Nyepi is still one of my favorite days here. Every year I am at a loss for words that serve justice to the atmosphere, the felt sense, the experience. It is hard to paint this picture for an external world, everyone who gets to experience this time is wildly touched by it.
The ritual of Nyepi
The rituals during Nyepi consist of five ‘rules’ which must be adhered to by everyone: no fire/light (which generally means no electricity), no work, no travelling, no self-entertainment and no food (fasting is recommended).
These rules include not leaving the house, speaking, cooking, playing music, watching TV. During this day the airport closes for operations, the shops remain closed and the internet is disconnected.
The purpose of these rules is to return to self-awareness and purification of the soul.
Nyepi begins at 6.00am and continues until 6.00am the following day.
An ode to silence & why we need it
In a time where technology rules and fast-paced lifestyles are heralded as ‘winning’ in life, slowing down and finding pockets of silence are becoming increasingly non-existent or difficult to find. I personally am looking forward to this day every year. It is an opportunity to officially hit the ‘off-switch’, to retreat and reset as I tend to get overwhelmed by the many offerings life has for us these days.
However, not everyone welcomes the concept of silence. In fact, there are cultural differences when it comes to welcoming silence. To suddenly stop and be our own best company can be challenging for many. Many fear the endless chatter of the mind that becomes obvious when the external sinks into quietness. The boredom that could rise when standing still abruptly. The potential necessity of facing things that show up in front of our faces when there is nowhere else to go. And all of this is very much understandable and I am sure we all have experienced this at some point in our lives in one way or another.
Silence offers us ways for self-reflection and daydreaming, which activates multiple parts of the brain. It gives us time to turn down the inner noise and increase awareness of what matters most. And it cultivates mindfulness — recognition and appreciation of the present moment – something we often lack greatly in our busy world.
Silence is like a day of wellness for your nervous system. We get to use calm, quiet moments to tap into a different part of the nervous system that helps regulate our bodies’ response to stress. When we look internally and delve deeper into our value system and wants and needs, we can communicate at a deeper level. If you crave to live and enjoy deeper connections, feel more joy and pleasure, be more present with what is, then tapping into your nervous system is key to a more connected life.
Embracing silence and stillness can be downright terrifying for those of us that are on the go 24/7. And I totally get it. Yet, it is so beautiful and rewarding when we do. Even if it is only a matter of 3-4 minutes. Can you think of something right at this moment in time that would be of support for yourself when you find yourself in a situation like this? It is when we are quiet, that we get to listen and our greatest insights reveal themselves to us. It is in the spaces in-between our inward reflections where the deepest secrets and desires are to be found. What bubbles up to greet us in these moments may not always be easy, yet this is an opportunity to explore what else has been there all along.
Weaving some Bali magic into your life
Even though you might not be in Bali on this auspicious March 3rd there might be an opportunity for you to weave some of this Bali magic into your day and carve time out for yourself, make it a home retreat, even if it is only for a few hours. Meditate, journal, contemplate, fast, rest, be. Share with us, if you do.
If this made you curious and you want to dive a little deeper into the rituals of Nyepi, follow the button below.
May you be well, may you feel loved. Selamat Hari Raya Nyepi from all of us.
We will be offline on March 3rd and will return on March 4th. See you on the other side.