Thursday, September 26, 2013

Relativity of beliefs in Bali

A moment or an eternity?

Karma, inner peace, enjoying (or at least accepting) whatever life brings in your direction, making your fellow beings more often happy than sad – is a core belief of Balinese.
And not a bad belief for anybody else.

True or False?

No worries, you get the same points for one or the other answer.

You may believe in karma, and that what you serve to others, will be in one or another way served to you.
You may believe in gravitation.
You may reject above ideas out of hand. And to hell also with Newton and his bloody apple.
You may be frantically googling for YouTube explanation of inner peace and how to achieve it in five simple steps.
You may be calling life bad names or embracing it day after day.
You may be a true friend to your friends. Or you may be sucking them dry.

Whatever you choose, it doesn't make you Balinese, Hindu, American, Chechen, Martian or even French. You will remain who you are, just your life will be slightly different.
Vibrating. Dull. Empty. Full. Bitter. Sweet.

And now we are coming to the pearl of this post.
To describe the changes in Balinese beliefs through my long time immersion into this environment.

Strongly opinionated remarks. Wise, brilliant comments...

But first it would be nice to make it clear what is changing. Their beliefs? My perception? Amount of chili in the sauce?
My rather frequently used expression “It's been really different when I was young...” doesn't really tell what was different – me or something else.
When thinking about all the inner changes I go through on my winding path from cradle towards the grave, a thought “More I change, more I remain the same... and more I remain the same, more I change...” appears more and more frequently.

Imagine a mountain stream, its crystal clear water rushing past you - same every day, every year... And not the same for even one second.

And my in-depth assessments of changes in Balinese beliefs goes happily down the drain ...

If you got digestion problems with all this food for thought, don't jump for Alka-Seltzer - if you have a chance better strap your scuba on and do a purification treatment in the clear blue waters.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

I want to see many fish!

Can you show me some fish?

I want to dive at Mejahaga … Myahagan … Meyagang … Whatever! At The Island! Because that's the only place to see some fish!
Above photo was taken at:

a) Menjangan Island National Park
b) a swimming pool
c) a shore dive
d) Close Encounters dive site at Pemuteran

How do we know Menjangan Island is the only place to dive where we can see some fish?
This fact is supported and confirmed by internet comments of expert researchers and adventurers, soul-mates of Indiana Jones, who managed to accomplish two dives in their life at Menjangan Island (and nowhere else in North Bali), so this must be the holy truth.

Any other opinions, especially from dive professionals diving in north Bali for good 15 years can not be trusted.

Joke is, experience, honest describing of what and how you see, offering a fair advice is too frequently worth very little (or less), and a shallow observation somewhere on the internet is granted all the credibility.
Some less compassionate and more sarcastic soul than me would say the virus of stupidity has been released and antidote is the most well preserved secret of today's world.

Obviously, as the information is a Siamese twin sister of disinformation, with tons and tons of information dripping into our heads day after day, we get the same amount of disinformation as well.
As there are no labels on packages, what is what, and our evaluations are becoming more and more poor, we'll start to believe the Moon is made of cheese, that we are happy, that our boss is our savior, that statements posted on FB are true, that it doesn't make sense to reach for stars as they are out of reach …

And where we will find the fish we have to see, to check one more box about our “must do” activities?
Google “I want to see some fish” and choose one of the good 200 million hits ...

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Bushido of scuba diving

A close call ...

Many things can go wrong when scuba diving.
Keep cool, look good, and probability you will be able to talk (or write) about it will be much better.
What would be the worst possible close encounter under the surface?

a) a wild clown fish trying to eat you alive
b) seeing a local “dive professional” struggling to stay alive in 5 meters of water
c) seeing a group of so called “certified divers” stampeding over corals
d) avoiding a torpedo deep down

With this question and choices I overdid it. Again ... What horrible options!
But let's try to dissect them one by one and see if we can make it through, even when encountering something so frightful.

The size of attacking clown fish can be consoling. A few centimeters big fish with a few millimeters of teeth can not really harm you. And, if you stop disturbing it, you are safe anyhow.

Well, the image of a self-appointed “dive professional”, whose machismo is comparable only to his idiocy, struggling to get a gulp of air out of his wrongly prepared scuba in shallow water, can be much more disturbing. But you get used to this.

However, when you see a group of proud holders of plastic cards, describing them as divers, crawling on all four on corals, well, these are the times when safety valves open ... And, at least me, I don't get used to this.
It's interesting that in a village with five decent dive operators and a dozen of dive kiosks, customers are by some magic almost 100% correctly distributed.
Divers with respect to ocean, environment, to each other, somehow find operators with similar attitude...
And people who just want to brag about what they did, but lack any respect to anything around them end with their soul mates...
One group leaving only bubbles in ocean, the other one leaving broken gorgon fans, table top corals, huge sponges with divers names inscriptions ...
I think Don Quixote fights with windmills was a walk in a park compared to changing some attitudes.

Compared to the above issue, a close call by Mark 48 torpedo seems trivial.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

SCUBA diving and chronic depression

Obvious signs of acute depression after a dive

World leading experts on scuba diving attending a symposium on “Onsets of severe chronic depression among scuba divers” were not absolutely convinced with the presented papers and were due to their disrespectful behavior excommunicated from the forum.
However, for your safety and well-being, here we will summarize the most dire warnings from this forum.

a) if you experience false feeling of freedom when scuba diving, visit your doctor
b) if you experience false feeling of pleasure when scuba diving, visit your doctor
c) if you experience false feeling of happiness when scuba diving, visit your doctor
d) never, ever do something that makes you feel better

If you are laughing at these serious warnings, as for instance those two scuba obsessed junkies, beware, you do this at your own risk.

As the most enlightened self-proclaimed professors stressed in the opening statements of the symposium the only way to successfully overcome our depression(s) is by becoming useful members of the society.
If you are born under a really lucky star, you will be allowed to give a good part of your life, your earnings and yourself to the company that is charitable enough to accept you to work for.
If after suffering a medical close call your sick leave is not too long, company will maybe even allow you to work for some more time.
Awareness that you can be on a list to hit the road on short notice, will put some additional incentive and challenge in your seven day working weeks.
And only such elements can lead a normal person to real mental stability and inner happiness.

It's hard to describe all the dangers of more and more widespread state of mind “Enjoy in every pleasure, small, tiny or big, coming your way”.
One of the worst is definitely scuba diving.
While diving, subjects can not be controlled, they are detached from all oppressive mechanisms and after diving they carry the seeds of freedom in their souls.
As through good, real diving your mind becomes familiar with very different dimensions, very different thoughts and feelings, it's practically impossible to bend and shape it again into a form we can call useful or at least acceptable.

Who's right? Who's wrong?
I don't care.
I'll just strap my scuba gear on my back and immerse.