Sunday, March 22, 2015

Behind the Smile

When I ask Adi, the young man who graciously picks me up and takes me places - otherwise known as a driver - about why people smile so easily and genuinely in Bali, he smiles. 

I Made Adi Wahyudi's smile

He tells me that behind the smile is respect for everything -- people, nature, community and the gods.

                                                    Respect for everything.

The day before he told me that from 11 years old through high school they learn about the Six Enemies Within -- lust/desire, greed, anger, confusion, excess, jealousy.  They learn to recognize these difficult feelings and then let them go.      "If we hold onto them, we will fall into a misery."

If you feel them with someone in your family, what happens, I ask? "We talk quietly about it and say 'I would appreciate it if you would not do this.' Then we let it go."

"It's really important to control these enemies inside us so we can feel peace, calm, comfortable and always have a good attitude to everybody in this world. We have a good attitude by smiling. Not a fake smile, but a real smile for everyone. From our hearts."

The Balinese are among the calmest, most relaxed people I've met. Easy-going, easy laughter. It may seem it's the heat that slows them down to mellow, but it's the heart. Gentle kindness embodied. Come to Bali for the beaches, the sights, the warmth and lush greenery, but it is the people who make our visits gracious and lovely.

Thank you Adi, you wise 23 year old teacher-driver. Thank you Bali.

Thanks to Atum O'Kane for inspiring this story. 

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