Mountain Meditation in Tabanan, Bali

Surely, I have been sitting here for at least an hour now.

I peak one eye open and peer down at my phone, it’s placed neatly in the centre of the yoga mat staring up at me and teasing my temptation to abandon my lotus position and sprawl out for hours of mindless scrolling.

12 minutes, the stopwatch reads—taunting me.

I exhale deeply and resume my position, hands placed gently on the tops of my knees, spine erect and eyes gently closed so the light still plays on the inside of my lids. I’m in the jungle. The owners of the eco lodge informed me that a few kilometres down the road I could find a small village but on my first mission to hike uphill, I was met by two ferocious dogs that chased me back to the safe confines of this hideaway.

I haven’t left since.

Do you know those busy days when you promise yourself that if you only had the time you would wake up early, meditate and do all the healthy aspirational things you’re supposed to? Well here I was, in the Balinese mountains with no WIFI, no means of transportation and a schedule with nothing but stretched out time and I couldn’t sit here for more than 12 minutes without dreaming up an escape plan.

The eco lodge was something out of a dream. My bungalow was fashioned out of floor to ceiling windows and doors that opened entirely to unveil a jaw-dropping view of the hillside that dipped and fell until miles below you could see the expansive ocean meeting the city. At night you could watch the city lights sparkle and in the morning you woke to a blood orange sky and a symphony of wild birds.

I followed a series of signs pointing toward a waterhole and after a snaking path of steps I broke through a canopy of trees to a natural waterfall that trickled down to meet a calm spring. There was no one there. I peeled off my dress and dipped each toe in hesitantly. The water was refreshingly cold and I welcomed it on my sun coated skin.

There was something about this place that shattered the barrier between indoors and outdoors. Maybe it was the open spaces in the cabin that allow geckos to roam freely across the ceiling. Or perhaps it was the constant chorus of birds that reminded you that wilderness is not just peaceful but rowdy, active and alive.

“They started to perceive themselves as meaningless fragments in an alien universe, unconnected to the Source and to each other.” —Eckhart Tolle

Living in the thick of the jungle was like welding a shattered vase back together with gold. I was no longer a fragment. It’s easy to build walls around our humanness and think we are better, smarter and different from the wild that envelops us. This ego rears us superior and also overwhelmingly alone. Here in the wild I felt small and insignificant, like one leaf on a towering 1000-year old tree.

So here I sit, in the centre of the bowing bamboo posts that held up the open air yoga hall. Entirely quiet and satisfied. The restlessness passed. I was no longer aware of the stopwatch rattling off meaningless numbers. I had all the time in the world and at this moment I was as still as the trees around me, with nowhere to be but here.