The Spiritual Bazar of Bali

Experiences of a spiritual seeker in Bali

Bali is a paradise island for everyone who is on a quest for self-discovery and healing. Many people are attracted by the beautiful nature, Balinese culture and mystical healing properties of the island. Bali is also described as a spiritual bazar with its abundant offers of esoteric workshops, traditional and alternative healing practices, countless yoga studios and wellness resorts.

The attraction and mystical energy of Bali

Why does Bali have such a mystical, mysterious and high vibe? It is said that the island is located on the crossing of ley lines, energetic pathways that cris-cross all over the world and create vortexes of higher vibrations. When I moved to Bali, I also learned about the “volcanic principle”, which means that all experiences here are intensified (the positive and the negative ones) and stuff that is usually hiding below the surface will come right up into our face. On top of all that, there are more than ten thousands of temples on the island and numerous holy sites that are revered. Daily offerings and countless ceremonies performed by the Balinese Hindus keep spirituality very connected to daily life and can be witnessed by those who visit the island or decided to make Bali their home.

Within the last decades, Bali has become a Mekka for Yogis, digital nomads and tourists from all over the world. The book and movie “Eat, Pray, Love” has for sure contributed to the boom of visitors. Before Corona times, the number of visitors per year has surpassed the number of inhabitants. Some tourists just come to have a nice beach vacation with the occasional trip to touristic sites or instagrammable locations. Others come on a deeper quest, with a calling to find depth and meaning, personal and spiritual growth or healing.

How I ended up living in Bali

My first trip to Bali was during a sabbatical year in 2012. I intended to visit the Balispirit festival, a popular yoga festival in Ubud, followed by a six weeks Level 2 yoga teacher training. I was blown away by the expat lifestyle that seemed to bring so much more freedom and joy than being in a 9 to 5 office job in Europe. I was deeply touched by the smiling Balinese and their way of living, admired the beauty of tropical nature and relaxed into the ease of living in a tropical island with warm climate.

When I was younger, I always wanted to live abroad for a certain time, but life had other plans before I could realize this dream. Although I had a nice life with a good job, intact social life and plenty of hobbies to fill my leisure time, I was always in search of something else to fulfil me and give my life more meaning. After some years of practicing yoga, which I started only as a physical exercise, I slowly became more interested in spirituality. Going on a year-long sabbatical to Nepal, India and Indonesia truly broadened my horizon and has sent me on a beautiful, life changing journey. After having spent five months in Bali during that year, I was offered a job in a wellness resort in Bali. In 2014, I finally decided to make Bali my new home. I would have never imagined myself living in a tropical island, yet nowadays it is hard for me to think I could ever go back to my previous way of life. Too much has happened that forever changed my way of thinking, my values and interests.

Offers of the spiritual bazar in Bali

Within the last seven years, I have immersed myself fully in the spiritual bazar of Bali: trainings in alternative healing methods, self-development workshops, visiting traditional healers, palm readers, tarot readers, astrologers, joined water purification ceremonies and blessings from priests, stayed at an Ashram with an energy master, visited numerous temples and holy sites, booked myself into therapy sessions and treatments, did some juice detox and raw food cleanses, silent days, joined cacao and medicine ceremonies, women’s circles, ecstatic dance, breathwork, meditations, sound healings, chanting and much more. The richness of events, workshops and trainings is incredible, especially in Ubud, but meanwhile Canggu is catching up from being mainly famous for surf, party & alcohol to attracting more of a conscious crowd. Some days I felt overwhelmed by having too many choices and feared of missing out the most special, life changing experience.

I gathered valuable experiences, although some of them could be seen as weird, crazy, out-of-the-box, inexplicable and way too woo-woo for a logical Western thinker that I used to be. I kept sticking to those modalities and gatherings that felt aligned and helped me reach more of my potential. Over the years, I got a better feeling of which offers are meaningful and helpful, which therapists and healers are trustworthy and I tried to stay away from fake, money-driven stalls in the spiritual bazar.

An endless search

I started asking myself where my search came from. What were the roots of my desire to always wanting to improve myself and finding answers? What kept me pulling to find the one modality or guru who would give me a magic formula how to be eternally happy and content?

The quest for meaning is deeply anchored in all humans. We strive to find happiness and want to live well. Our conscious thinking, which distinguishes us from primates, gives us the opportunity to actively influence our quality of life and make relevant choices. This can be a blessing and a curse at the same time, when we realize that no one else and no outer circumstances are responsible for our own happiness and well-being. We have the responsibility and the choice to create a happy and meaningful life.

I was always eager to learn something new and achieve things. There is this strong desire of improving myself and my life, always ready to collect more certificates and degrees, rarely allowing myself to lean back and simply enjoy life. Earlier in my life, this trait played out mainly in my professional life, wanting to have a good job, wanting to be recognized and earn good money.

As I went on my spiritual journey, I carried the same pattern with me, wanting to learn more self-development and healing modalities, wanting to be more spiritual, intuitive, serene and seeking for ultimate enlightenment to solve all my human problems. It was a hard truth, realizing that I never felt enough the way I was. Not evolved enough, not yet qualified for a happy life and for living my purpose, let alone knowing what my real purpose was supposed to be.

Will we ever graduate from the school of life? Will the loving-god-father hand us the ultimate certificate on our deathbed and a tap us on the back for having mastered another lifetime? What kind of approval are we longing for?

Nowadays, I am more aware of my limiting beliefs and practice rewriting my mental narratives. Before signing up for another training, I ask myself if it is really necessary and helpful. Does it help me in any way to add another training to my CV? When is it enough? How can I find the balance between the joy of learning something new and the acceptance of who I am and what I have in this present moment? How can I reach my full potential and reach out for help without giving away my power and inner authority?

Life itself is the ultimate training: how to be happy, fee and peaceful – no matter of the outer circumstances. Life will always throw lessons at us. Maybe our souls even signed up for those challenges before we came into this human form. When there were no questions left, would I be still enjoying life on this planet? Maybe I would get bored. For now, I will still continue being a seeker on this beautiful island of Bali, on a quest of finding happiness, love and peace – within and without.