Notes For Creators

creative soul surfing

A Balinese meditation: Confiscated from Eat Pray Love

by Elizabeth Gilbert


On highly auspicious days, when everyone wants a special blessing, he might have over one hundred visitors.

“Don’t you get tired?”

“But this is my profession,” he tells me. “This is my hobby — medicine man.”

A few more patients come throughout the afternoon, but Ketut and I get some time alone together on the porch, too. I’m so comfortable with this medicine man, as relaxed as with my own grandfather. He gives me my first lesson in Balinese meditation. 

He tells me that there are many ways to find God but most are too complicated for Westerners, so he will teach me an easy meditation. Which goes, essentially, like this: sit in silence and smile. I love it. He’s laughing even as he’s teaching it to me. Sit and smile. Perfect.

“You study Yoga in India, Liss? he asks.

“Yes, Ketut.”

“You can do Yoga,” he says, “but Yoga too hard.” Here, he contorts himself in a cramped lotus position and squinches up his face in a comical and constipated-looking effort. 

Then he breaks free and laughs, asking, “Why they always look so serious in Yoga? You make serious face like this, you scare away good energy. To meditate, only you must smile. Smile with face, smile with mind, and good energy will come to you and clean away dirty energy. Even smile in your liver. Practice tonight at hotel. Not to hurry, not to try too hard. Too serious, you make you sick. You can calling the good energy with a smile. All finish for today. See you later, alligator. Come back tomorrow. I am very happy to see you, Liss. Let your conscience be your guide. If you have Western friends come to visit Bali, bring them to me for palm reading. I am very empty in my bank . . . .” 
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