Ulun Danu Beraten … The temple from my dream

I did not use to be much of a believer. I have been a dreamer ever since I remember though. My dad used to tell me when I was a teenager that I need to get back to earth. He meant it well. And I love my parents. But I am truly glad I did not follow this particular advice obediently. Because there IS more than just the earth and our senses. And the real balance lies in the understanding of that.

I got baptized in a Protestant Ichthus church in London when I was twenty-one, living in England. I left the church some years later, when studying in Prague. One reason for that was that a person I admired very much said one day that he thought Bush´s war in Iraq is a good thing because the Christian world needs to deal with the Muslim world. There was something in that sentence that made me shiver. I don’t think any war is a good thing. I would think that no human being should be deciding who shall live and who shall be killed.

I truly became a believer some years ago when yoga led me to the path of complexity. God is a word. In some languages and cultures they would use a different word yet mean the same phenomenon. The power we put into this word can have strong effects: beneficial, or not so… I think it is good to watch the words we let out, even our thoughts. They do often create the reality…

So far for the intro. To explain… I don’t know much about Islam or Judaism. I do not consider or call myself a Christian. I do not practice churchgoing. I am not a Hindu or a Buddhist, yet I strongly respect those concepts.

I am not a New Age devotee.

I AM simply a believer!

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The trip from Meditasi Bungalows to the temple I had in my dream four years ago, Ulun Danu Beraten, would normally take about three hours, but my driver and guide (a relative of the owner of the resort where I am staying) decided to take me to a few places on the way, some rice fields, monkey forests where monkeys run freely and get close to the roads to receive some bananas and other fruits from the people driving through the area, the Ponjok Batu temple and the amazing Git Git waterfalls.

The Ponjok Batu temple was my first ever visit to a Hindu temple. I wore the traditional sarong which I received as gift from my boss here. The Hindu priest blessed me with holy water before they allowed me into the temple which is not very well known to tourists (unlike Ulun Danu). They bless you on your crown chakra, third eye and throat chakra. On the latter two you glue rice that had been placed into water to soak a little and become stickier.

The temple was lovely and I shall remember the peaceful atmosphere with just my guide and another local family around. When I left, I was asked for a little donation – tourists are generally asked to kindly do so. Donations vary, but the recommended amount, especially when there are no entrance tickets to be paid for, is around 50.000 Rp.

Driving through the hilly inland area we saw so many rice fields from the car that it shocked and amazed me. Also, there are many waterfalls on the island, the Git Git falls are among the top rated ones and they truly are beautiful: there is one main one but also a few smaller ones on the sides. It is no longer allowed to swim in the water underneath the falls, unless you bribe a guide to let you in through some special paths and at times when the place is less busy. But I love water, especially “moving water”, falls, seas, oceans, wild rivers. So, I obviously got myself in into some of the smaller falls and connected with water like I usually do. Water always makes me feel relaxed, light, happy and trustful. I was leaving the place where people hike with their brand trek shoes walking on the trails barefoot, holding my long skirt in one hand, a big smile on my face. And the thought running through my head was: “I am water. I am life.” It felt beautiful.

My “connection” stayed with me for the rest of the day and just kept on rising.

We stopped in a local place near the Ulun Danu to get some lunch. Most frequently, I eat tofu and tempeh here, veggies and rice. My guide got Nasi Goreng. There was a woman in the restaurant who was just making the offering basket for Canang sari. She kept asking the driver about me, what brought me to the island, where I am from. After a while, she gave me a plate of strawberries from her field. That beautiful gesture felt like a blessing.

This inland area is very different from the northern coast, it gets pretty cold (around 15 degrees or even less) with clouds and rain or drizzle. When we were nearing the Ulun Danu temple, which is surrounded by mountains and situated directly on lake Beraten, we could not see any of the mountains around for the strong fog and mist running around.

It was drizzling when my guide and I entered the temple. There were quite a few tourists there. And I felt very cold, even in my sarong and a poncho from Equator that was given to me as a gift by a very special friend. Normally, I would feel the mean reds, I would be in the blue, for the rain, the cold and the number of people around. It surprised me though that I felt good. Light. As if there in the place yet somewhere else already. I got the meditative state without meditation. I remember bits and pieces from my visit to the temple before I got to the sacred ground normally closed for tourists as some flashes and snaps and fragments in a movie. There were local people asking my guide constantly if I would have a picture with them. I always nodded my head and greeted the people with Namaskara mudra I front of my heart. I did not care about the snaps. But when those people neared me, I felt a funny wave running through my body and intuitively I would put my hand around someone´s shoulder, or take a child´s hand. I remember some of their eyes. I don’t know what was actually happening in those funny moments, but my guide stopped me at one point, when we were walking, said: “Excuse me” and put his hand on my arm, looked me straight in the eyes and said: “There are so many Western tourists around here and nobody wants pictures with them. People just come to you. As if they feel your good healing vibes or something.” I wanted to laugh and say: “Oh, it must be my bizarre outfit,” but I could not speak. The water of the lake was drawing me into something I could not describe, I could not speak. I felt as if I was getting high: there, yet not there entirely. I could hear and listen and understand, but not respond. With a smile glowing out of my heart I continued walking. I felt my guide´s hand slipping my arm and I remembered he had said previously in the car that his ankle is unwell. He did not walk with me to the waterfalls because of that and also did not want to go to the temple, but for some reason changed his mind when we arrived at the place. Then again, the thought was gone.

I saw a little forest-like place surrounded by a fence. It was situated next to the holy grounds closed for visitors. There was a small path running in between these which no one used. It was empty. A bird flew out of the forest place and sat on the wall of the sacred ground. It was calling me, I knew it. I turned to my guide and just invited him with my hand to follow me to walk through that narrow path. He hesitated. But then followed. The bird flew over my head and off it went. And I saw a door, a gate, in the wall around the sacred ground. It was open. I did not wait a second and entered. There was a security guard coming towards me. I turned to my guide who kept standing outside the open gate: “Coco (his nickname), you have to tell this person in your language that I had this place in my dream and that I came here to meditate.” It was an order, lovingly said, but an order. Coco spoke with the security guard. He looked me in the eyes. I did not move one bit. We have met before, somewhere, somehow. He invited me with his hand gesture to follow me into the holy grounds. There was one single bamboo mat in the whole place, as if waiting for me. I know that all this is starting to sound crazy, but I cannot but continue by saying what happened after.

The guard bid me to come up and sit on the mat. I intuitively took my shoes off and sat on the mat. I remember the guard´s eyes as he placed Canang sari in front of me with three incense sticks. I smelled the incense and the world blurred. The last thing I saw clearly was Coco sitting somewhere behind me on the right, by the entrance to the holy grounds.

I heard people´s voices coming from somewhere but I could not understand what they were saying. Everything was mist and fog, the whole place was merging into a silverly nowhere and everywhere.

The revelation, the epiphany that came to me gradually during the state of meditation and praying was strong. I lost track of time. When the whole THING was over, the clouds were beginning to tear apart and there were sun rays coming through, the last few moments of the golden hour before the sunset.

I cannot share with you what I have seen in that revelation. I may not. Let me just say that I remember crying and weeping and smiling and praying and whispering, as well as bowing to and receiving and sending with my breathing and heart opening a power long known yet forgotten to me. My emotions were spinning and alternating. There were so many visions of particular people on my mind. My family, some friends, some people barely known to me, like Coco, and faces I don’t remember at all…

There was a feeling of compassion. Gratefulness. Awe. Humbleness. But sadness too. And, eventually, just understanding. And love. Above everything, there was love. The purest form of love as an emotion. Finally, I grasped, I comprehended, in full consciousness and awareness, love as an unconditional power of creation.

I did not want to go back from my state of meditation which had never before been that revealing and intense for me. I had to force myself to “return”. Something that, until that time, I only heard about from some of my teachers.

But I did return, with and through love.

The incense in front of me has almost burnt off. I looked over my shoulder. Coco was waiting for me, smiling. The guard appeared from somewhere and said in very good English: “It was a good meditation, right?” I smiled and exhaled. The world had its perfect shapes again. “Strong!” was my response, as I got down of the mat. Coco joined us and the guard said: “We will go for the holy water now.” I just followed. The guard placed my Canang sari (with a donation I made out of respect and gratefulness) on the altar and gave me a frangipani (plumeria) flower to hold as he prayed for the holy water for me.

As my water bottle was filled, I received the blessing. Thinking of Dewi Danu, the water goddess to whom the temple is dedicated, I drank the water three times without any fear where it came from and what it could do to me. I knew the water can only help me. It tasted of jasmine and summer and fruits and something unknown. I washed my face and the third eye with it three times. Then my crown chakra was blessed. I felt a great wave of appreciation.

We left the holy grounds, the guard greeting me with a smile in his eyes.

As we left the temple, Coco told me suddenly: “The guard gave me his phone number in case you or someone in my family want to come back. And my ankle stopped hurting!”

I only smiled…

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