“Can any of you recall a time when you were confronted with a scene of such spectacular beauty?
That it took you outside of yourself into a place of great serenity, maybe a rainbow, a mountain range, a valley, a sea, anything…
So one day I went to a beach and watched the day turn into night. The sunset wasn’t the best part.
In the evening of Saturday last week after my weekly session with Matthew, my ojek (motorcycle taxi) driver dropped me off at the Dhyana Pura beach in Seminyak.
With my loyal backpack and sandals, and a piece of peanut butter ball in an over-sized paper bag I’d picked up from a nearby organic restaurant, I situated myself on the best seat in the house;
an empty spot right in the face of the 5.30 PM sun, warmly surrounded by vendors, romance-seeking couples, vacationing families, and men with their dogs and Frisbees.
A little past 6 PM, I watched as the sun gradually lowered itself down into, what as far as my eyes could see is, the end of the Bali sea.
Its rays at first blinding my eyes and turning all that was in front of it into shadows; but then slowly and gracefully, extracting a trail of yellow-orange-pink-purple lights and reluctant gradating blue darkness all at the same time.
And for a moment just right before it disappears, you’d almost swear that you could see, just below the sun, a transparent formation of exotic gates, statues and palace-like buildings – like a defined outline of an ethereal city –
which may have been the clouds, but what I choose to believe to be the glimpse of a neighboring universe discreetly revealing its existence.
And just when I thought I’d seen all that the sunset had to offer, the beach started to clear off.
The romance-achieving couples walked away hand-in-hand, the vendors retired carrying away their bags, the vacationing families wrapped up their last poses and packed up their cameras.
I picked up my bag and sandals, and walked towards the shore. And once the gurgling ocean waters have reached my toes, I stopped and buried my feet in the sand like how my father used to teach me to do when I was small.
I stood there and followed with my eyes the trail of yellow-orange-pink-purple rays of light that was further radiating from the arc where the sun had just taken its bow, freshly dyeing the sky and uncovering the layers of heaven above all at the same time.
I dipped my hand into the silk-surfaced water and watched the waves diving in, their white foams gently swaying in and cradling against my open palm. The whitest of whites. The clearest of little tiny bubbles.
I looked around at the two men who were still throw-catching their Frisbee, at two other friends waiting for the water to rise and lift up their surfboards, and a boy who was half-swimming half-splashing just a few feet away from where I was a witness to it all.
I looked back towards the ocean. At tides vibrantly crashing into the shore, water eagerly creeping up towards dry land, dropping off fizzing white foams and quickly running back into the sea as tadpole-shaped glimmering tiny particles on orchestrated spot lights.
Everything moved in the sharpest of motions, with a glistening touch of the faintest yellow golden glow.
All, a part of what the sun had set to arise: This Life, live, in HD.
And that Life, ever so unconditionally, basked me in a sudden overwhelming embrace of its beautiful serenity and gravitated me to my knees.
I reached towards the seams between the beach and its sea, and grabbed a handful of sand just to let them slip off right through my fingers again.
I swept in and around a few more handfuls, letting the surface of my skin rejoice in the finely-textured carpet of velvety pixie dust beneath me with a dance.
I observed carefully as little lumps of moistened grains took shape, the way each one fell and merged itself back into earth, in a most elegant display of obedience, phasing from a lighter to a darker shade of gray.
The grayest of gray. The whitest of white. The most yellow-orange-pink-purple of yellow-orange-pink-purple lights. The finest of fine texture. The most luminous of glow. The most visible of the smallest particles.
Suddenly in those moments I was gone. My ego, the self that knew I was me, was carried off.
The sweetest momentary absence of the soul.
I became but a small atom that made up only an insignificant portion of the entire universe.
One with the world.
As the sky grew dimmer and the watch lights lit on, I gave my hand to the smooth oscillations of the ocean and let it memorize all that I’d been shown.
In lifted spirit I turned around and made my way back towards the entrance to civilization, lightly stomping each step on the solid bed of sand that had been a 60-minute home.
Thinking back to the wandering visitors who had dropped by for a little more than a shiny backdrop for an impromptu photoshoot, or some kind of an I-have-a-life digital proof,
“They’ve got it all wrong.”
Off-the-camera, is Life, as the universe has meant it to be. Unbuffered. Unpixalated. The highest of resolution. The best quality of experience.
Came not with the tool to prove it, but with the eyes for us to see it. And the power to let go of what we make it to be, and embrace what simply is.
“… Have you ever wondered why that happened? The reason that happened is that somehow, for some reason, at that instant, you accepted the universe exactly as it was.”
~ Srikumar Rao