Balinese culture is deeply rooted in ancient philosophies that emphasize harmony, balance, and spiritual well-being. These philosophies can provide valuable insights and guidance for remote workers and digital nomads seeking a balanced and fulfilling lifestyle. In this blog, we will explore 10 Balinese philosophies that all remote workers and digital nomads should be aware of, drawing upon the wisdom of Balinese traditions and practices. These principles are supported by references to provide a comprehensive understanding of Balinese philosophy.
I am humbled and grateful to have lived on this island for over 8 years now. After moving from Australia. My first visit here was when I was 13 years of age. Little did I know that what I felt as a child, would call me back here later in life. After burning out as a health professional at 25 years of age with my dream job and on the back of a breakup with a beautiful soul that was heading on a different life path. I had a moment to sit and ask myself, what fulfills me (Surfing, Nature, Adventure). Where are there more people like me (remote workers, creatives, digital nomads)? What cultures do I naturally align with? (Hinduism and Buddhist philosophies) . What does my ideal day look and feel like? When I got really clear, Bali called me, and Indonesia called me. So I booked a flight to surf a wave that I had been dreaming of surfing since I was a kid. It was a magazine poster that had always been on my wall, in the Mentawais. I followed my heart and the rest is history.
Tri Hita Karana:
Tri Hita Karana is the cornerstone of Balinese philosophy,
representing the harmony and balance between humans, nature, and the spiritual realm.
Remote workers and digital nomads can incorporate this principle by nurturing relationships, respecting nature, and seeking spiritual well-being in their daily lives (Picard & Wood, 2018).
Taksu refers to the creative and spiritual energy that flows through individuals and their work. Balinese believe that infusing one's work with passion, creativity, and devotion leads to a sense of fulfillment. Remote workers and digital nomads can embrace Taksu by bringing their unique skills and talents into their work and finding purpose in what they do. Whilst, also sharing their talents with the local communities and children.
Rwa Bhineda reflects the philosophy of duality and balance. It recognizes that opposing forces exist in the world and that finding a harmonious balance between them is essential. Remote workers and digital nomads can apply Rwa Bhineda by seeking a healthy work-life balance, balancing productivity with self-care, and balancing solitude with social connections. Balinese people live for today and maybe tomorrow too. This means that business here can be very much focussed on the present moment, where ceremonies and family always come before traditional Western business etiquette.
Niskala refers to the unseen or spiritual aspects of life. Balinese philosophy acknowledges that there is more to life than what meets the eye. Remote workers and digital nomads can cultivate awareness of the Niskala by practicing mindfulness, connecting with their inner selves, and finding meaning beyond material achievements. Spend more time in nature here and you will feel what this is.
Bali feels free, which means it gives many of us the time and space to spend time alone. We have an abundance of time. When the traveler arrives. They have a past, shadows, traumas, successes, and identities. The longer you spend here, the marks are slowly removed, the shadows are illuminated, the wounds are highlighted to be healed, and past traumas and experiences are brought to the surface to be felt and healed. Resist this at your own peril. Many travelers are running away from something (a breakup, a failed business, a burnout, etc), in the essence of Julia Roberts from Eat, Pray, Love. A small percentage are running towards a lifestyle that they always wanted to live and a culture they always wanted to be part of. It can also be a yes and both scenarios too. Enjoy the ride, what we resist, persists. This island will invite you to surrender until your inner world mataches the external reality.
Karma is the belief that one's actions have consequences that shape future experiences. Balinese philosophy encourages individuals to be mindful of their thoughts, words, and actions. Remote workers and digital nomads can embrace Karma by cultivating positive intentions, practicing ethical decision-making, and treating others with kindness and respect.
Bali is renowned for having two sides. The ability to bring you in, nurture you as you seek, heal and create. However, it has a dark side. If you attempt to win at the expense of others, it has a tendency to slowly push you out, in ways that may never be expected. If you can always take responsibility and think in terms of win/win/win, then you will be welcomed home over and over again. Starting with a win for the Balinese people and community. Lastly, you. An example would be asking for permission and speaking to the local Banjar before starting anything. Helping a local partner's family, by helping their kids go to school or investing in their future, might save you a lot of time, energy, and money in the long term. Relationships matter more than money here.
Desa, Kala, Patra:
Desa, Kala, Patra refers to the concepts of place, time, and circumstance. Balinese philosophy recognizes the importance of context and understanding how different factors influence our experiences. Remote workers and digital nomads can apply Desa, Kala, and Patra by adapting to the local culture and customs of the places they reside, being mindful of time management, and embracing the opportunities presented by their circumstances. Many people come to Bali and see the difference in lifestyle, money, and business. Thinking that they are here to fix that or help that. After some time, we all realize that Bali is here to heal and nurture us. We simply need to align and reciprocate that energy.
Tat Twam Asi:
Tat Twam Asi, meaning "Thou Art That," represents the interconnectedness of all beings. Balinese philosophy emphasizes that we are part of a larger whole and that our actions affect others. Remote workers and digital nomads can embody Tat Twam Asi by practicing empathy, fostering connections with local communities, and engaging in acts of service or volunteering.
Bali is renowned for welcoming all people from all walks of life. Addicts, entrepreneurs, families, and even those seeking refuge from a previous life. However, their cultural principles have been around for thousands of years. Tune in and become part of it, to feel the magic and energy of this island beyond what is seen on Instagram or tik-tok.
Bhakti is the devotion and surrender to a higher power. Balinese culture encourages individuals to maintain a sense of spirituality and connect with something greater than themselves. Remote workers and digital nomads can embrace Bhakti by exploring their own spiritual beliefs, practicing gratitude, and finding inspiration and motivation in their work.
For many travelers to Bali, we carry a gratitude journal or an app to help us practice gratitude for what we have. In Bali, you will see the offerings each day. This is an embodied cultural practice of "Canang Sari" which represents the daily ritual of giving thanks for everything one has, without needing more, whilst being open to abundance and universal laws. If you see this simple practice whilst you are here, it will show you that simplicity is mastery.
Sapta Nawa represents the seven vital forces within the human body. Balinese philosophy emphasizes the importance of nurturing physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Remote workers and digital nomads can embody Sapta Nawa by prioritizing self-care, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and seeking balance in all aspects of their lives.
Pancasila is the national ideology of Indonesia and embodies principles of social harmony, unity, and mutual respect. Remote workers and digital nomads can embrace Pancasila by fostering a sense of unity, respecting the local culture and customs, and contributing positively to the communities they reside in.
By embracing these 10 Balinese philosophies, remote workers and digital nomads can cultivate a sense of balance, purpose, and interconnectedness in their lives.
Tri Hita Karana, Taksu, and Rwa Bhineda guide individuals to seek harmony, creativity, and balance.
Niskala, Karma, and Desa, Kala, Patra encourage mindfulness, ethical decision-making, and adaptability.
At Twam Asi, Bhakti, and Sapta Nawa promote empathy, spirituality, and holistic well-being.
Pancasila reminds individuals to foster unity, respect, and positive contributions to their communities.
By integrating these Balinese philosophies into their work and lifestyle, remote workers and digital nomads can create a more fulfilling and balanced experience, in alignment with the wisdom of Balinese culture.
- Picard, M., & Wood, R. E. (2018). Tourism, Ethnic Diversity and the City. Channel View Publications.
- Picard, M., & Putra, I. N. (2012). Tourism, religion and spiritual journeys. Routledge.