15 March 2017
After a long night out and upon the first glimpse into the mirror the next morning, some of us may sigh: “ogoh ogoh!”.
However, there is little or no connection to the namesake Balinese Tradition on the evening of Nyepi day, 27 - 28 March. This tradition and the amazing peace on the next day will be the issue this time.
As seasoned Bali friend you may already know that the Ogoh Ogoh parade and connected rituals have only been added to the Nyepi ceremony in 1980. Back then there was some uncertainty if under Soeharto this may be accepted and permitted to continue. Over time it became a standard event for which some people, mainly Japanese, even specially travel to Bali.
The spiritual background is, that by moving the monsters around, evil spirits are to be scared off the island. Next day, on Nyepi (Silent Day), these spirits will have great difficulty to find back to Bali, as there is no one supposed to be outside, no noise or light allowed and quite effectively, Ngurah Rai airport’s radar is not available for the evil spirit’s to home in on, because the airport is shut down.
Ogoh Ogoh demons, which have sometimes adorable features, such as tongues hanging to the floor, as if the morning beer delivery to Kuta Beach did not arrive in time, or huge bulging eyes, as you might expect to see upon witnessing the first effective rubbish cleanup awareness campaign, organized by the Provincial Government.
The demons are also meant to be symbols of purification from us humans polluting the natural environment, by burning them after they have been paraded around the villages.
No, really, -why does one think here pollution again…
There are also deeper roots, which have been connected to the ritual. The forms of Ogoh Ogoh, according to Hindu teaching, represent the Bhuta-Kala (Eternal Energy and –time).
Here is where my limited knowledge on the subject runs out to explain the connection.
Anyway, -we marvel at the art in which mainly the local youth groups, (Seka Truna Truni) every year come up with new shapes and designs, which are sometimes even funnier than the postures of the acting American President.
Did you notice how much the following Nyepi Day reminds of the old days in the long summer school holidays? Nothing more to do, other than talking on the verandah or cuddling the dog or cat much longer than normal. At 3 o’clock we are surprised, that it is really only 11.oo am.
If only all days would last that long.
Albert Einstein said about the perception of time, that ‘an hour spent in the company of pretty girls passes more quickly than an hour spent in a dentist chair’.
You, me, dear clients and friends of Ubudproperty, as probably most other good people too would sometimes want to poke a pencil into the wheels and springs of the clock.
However, we know that mechanical interference to stop time won’t work. Better leave the pencil to the little ones, hoping that their hand phone is misplaced for a while and the pencil is used to improve their hand writing.
However, there is really something we can do to slow down time. Please bear with me. I’ll come to that in a minute.
Last week on the 60th birthday of a good friend here in Ubud I brought the issue up about the seemingly accelerating time when we get older. (And I would know, because my own 60th is long since forgotten).
Unfortunately due to the alcoholic refreshments on offer, there were more jokes at the expense of the birthday child being made, than useful contributions on the subject gained. However, the following surfaced when I looked into resarch about perception of time. I am now happy to share the insight with you in the hope that you give me about 5% of the time, which from now on you will save and be able to use for extending your life.
(5% is the minimum commission on anything here, which seems fair, yes? )
- - - Maybe same as in earlier newsletters on about page 2 you may start thinking, ‘… and where is the Property Advertising’ which I expect to be subjected to on this website?
Well, you see, much is already contained in the above lines. We are talking about time. Everyone has his own time in which to make up life’s bliss or misery. And surely living in or near Ubud does not belong into the ‘misery’ category. There you go!
When people are using their time to set themselves up in Ubud, create a circle of friends, cultivate the garden, have a cuppa alongside the main road and muse about the variety of tourists parading by, this is indeed like going to heaven, without having to die first.
… and as you will soon see, being very aware of those blessings makes time seemingly passing by at a slower pace. Here is w h y :
It is not actually being aware of time, but being aware of what is happening. That is mindfulness. And then looking back, because you were so mindful, you experienced much more and in greater detail, so you have more memories and, as such, time feels to have passed more slowly and you have the notion of longer duration.
So it’s not actually being aware of time, but being aware of what is happening.
Let’s look at the other way. If you’re more hectic and not mindful and you’re doing this and that and switching attention back and forth – a classic work day – at the end of the day you might have done a lot of things but nothing really thoroughly or mindfully. And so looking back, even though you did a lot, you have this feeling of the day passing really quickly. When you do things thoroughly – and mindfully – you have more memories at the end of the day. And then the day will feel to have lasted much longer. Does this sound right?
This basic idea was laid out more clearly in the New Yorker by David Eagleman who had early in his life a brush with death and therefore plenty of motivation to consider time-
The more detailed the memory, the longer the moment seems to last. "This explains why we think that time speeds up when we grow older," Eagleman said - why childhood summers seem to go on forever, while old age slips by while we’re dozing. The more familiar the world becomes, the less information your brain writes down, and the more quickly time seems to pass.
Understanding why time flies is one thing, being able to do something about it is another. Can we voluntarily do anything to recapture the slower passage of time in order to savor our hours?
To slow down time, feed your brain more new stimulus to chew over. This might seem counter-intuitive. Our first impulse to slow down would most likely be to stop doing as much and minimize stimuli by kicking back in a hammock or on a beach somewhere. Do this, but then take out the Handy and check on the tempting listings by UbudProperty to stimulate your ideas about heaven on earth.
Keep learning. If you’re constantly reading, trying new activities or taking courses to learn new skills, you’ll have a wealth of ‘newness’ at your fingertips to help you slow down time. Also by memorizing property prices and market trends you are less likely to overpay when having found the place your dear one’s would love.
Visit new places. A new environment can send a mass of information rushing to your brain - smells, sounds, people, colors, textures. Your brain has to interpret all of this. Exposing your brain to new environments regularly will give it plenty of work to do, letting you enjoy longer-seeming days. This doesn’t necessarily mean world travels, though. Working from a cafe or a new office could do the trick, or visiting UbudProperty for a chat to find out which are the best homes or villas for your taste and budget.
Meet new people. We all know how much energy we put into interactions with other people. Unlike objects, people are complex and take more effort to ‘process’ and understand. Meeting new people, then, is a good workout for our brains. Sorry – no reference to our office here. Staff seem happy and there are rarely changes and new people to meet :o )
Try new activities. Doing new stuff means you have to pay attention. Your brain is on high alert and your senses are heightened, because you’re taking in new sensations and feelings at a rapid rate. Plan on planting a jungle corner with a tree house for the kids, see UbudProperty to find out how to set up your own solar cell system for little money and don’t pay PLN (the power Company) any more, or try painting or learning an instrument...
In the end, when having managed to mindfully going through your days, don’t forget about the 5% we spoke about. I sure can use your donation, because I am not quite as mindful yet as hoped to be.
In the next edition you will not find anything useful, so you may want to skip it. I will only talk about the funny aspects of April fools day and who in his right mind would want to read something funny, when life is so hopelessly serious, as we are told by politicians here and across the pacific ocean.
Yet, who knows, - maybe we meet here in 4 weeks again? Same place, similar nonsense :o )
Ramon (Sr. adviser UbudProperty)