On the following day, 28 September 2015, my guide, Nyoman, picked me up early from the Santi Mandala. We headed straight to the residence of the elderly Balinese healer, Cokorda Rai (aka Tjokorda Gede Rai). As I put on the sarong he handed to me, he explained we had come early to beat the crowd; Cokorda Rai was famous. He was the grandson of the last king of Bali and was respected widely for his healing abilities. We were so early that I was the first person Cokorda Rai saw that day. He sat down on a chair and asked me to sit on the floor in front of him, with my back towards his legs. He then started pressing his fingers against my temples, face, neck, and shoulders while asking me why I had come to see him.
“There is nothing wrong with you,” he said.
I didn’t know how to tell him my my heart was broken
“Please help me open up my chakras,” I said, having no clue why I suddenly mentioned about energy meridian points. I had never done any chakra work in any form before.
Cokorda Rai asked me to lie down on the the mat on the floor next to his chair as he got up and walked around to my feet. He took out a wooden stick and used it to poke my toes. It was so painful that I kept grunting, trying my best not to scream in front of the crowd that had started gathering. Tears rolled down the sides of my head. He moved to my head and started pressing my temples again. The pain was unbearable.
“Too much thinking! You need to relax. Rest your mind.”
Cokorda Rai asked one of his students to come over. Nick, who was a European doctor, was studying healing methods from the master for years. Based on Cokorda Rai’s instructions, Nick said some prayers and moved his hands over me forming specific mudras. After some time, Cokorda Rai poked my toes and pressed my temples again. The pain had disappeared! Feeling amazed, I thanked them and left.
Nyoman then took me for a bit of sightseeing to a nearby tourist attraction Monkey Forest. Basically, there were a lot of monkeys in a forest by a temple. Nothing like Indian Jones. I was feeling restless and did not enjoy it much. I was focused on healing myself. So, I asked Nyoman if he knew Ketut Liyer, the old healer from the movie. He told me Ketut Liyer had retired already and that his son had taken over. Then I asked about Wayan Nuriasih, the lady healer from the movie. Nyoman did not know of her, a strange thing given how famous she was overseas. I googled her address and asked Nyoman to take me to her healing centre.
I was expecting to see a long queue outside her place but as luck would have it, I was the only one there. Wayan asked me to sit down and gave me a file full of clippings from articles mentioning her and the movie. I told her I knew who she was and that I was there for healing. She started off with a palm reading then proceeded to talk about various things. I somehow lost track of what was going on. At some point she asked her young apprentice to prepare a seaweed mixture and apply it onto my head. And at another point, I was asked to put on a white cloth and lie down on a bed. The same apprentice put a rock on my stomach and I had to stay that way for a few minutes. After that was done, she told me she wanted me to visit her again on the following day so that she could take me to her grandfather for healing. Since it was a full moon that day, something I had completely forgotten about, she said she would be busy that evening. The process of healing she described sounded like voodoo, but maybe it was just my imagination. I thanked her for her kind offer and told her I could not make it as I was heading north to Tulamben for a diving session. I told her I would return during another trip and left her place.
After a quick lunch, Nyoman drove me to meet the third healer of that day. Agus Sihman used to be a tour guide, Nyoman told me, who now worked as a healer. He was a palmist and an aura cleanser, working out of his colourfully decorated home.
The session with Agus started with him taking my hand and kissing it, after we sat down in his treatment room. It took me by surprise. It got weirder when he started smelling my fore arm. I knew some people had Clairsalience; they know things through their sense of smell. This was my first experience of it. Agus started talking about generic things until he reached the topic of love.
“Don’t shut yourself in the room. There is someone standing right outside your door, should you choose to open it. You can be in a good relationship with them.”
“But I love him.”
“Why should I?”
“Because it is good for you?”
“Come on. You just said so many friends told you this.”
“So what if they told me? That is not what I feel any resonance with.”
“So many people cannot be wrong. Maybe you are thinking wrong.”
“Yes. Maybe I am wrong. But it is my thinking. Why should I listen to others?”
“If you don’t listen to others you will suffer in the end.”
“So be it! I would rather suffer from the consequences of my choice than from what others are telling me.” I was getting angry.
“What do you mean?” Agus asked, looking puzzled.
“What if everyone, including yourself, is wrong and I am the one who is right?”
Agus wanted to argue further but I got up, signalling the session was over. I had booked him for thirty minutes and we had argued beyond an hour by then. He invited me for some healing later that evening. I said I would think about it. I knew I was not going to return, not that evening, not ever. I bid a polite goodbye and asked Nyoman to take me back to Santi Mandala.
I was exhausted. My heart felt heavy. Why was everyone in the world telling me to do one thing and my heart was telling me to do something else? I felt a lot of pain in my heart. I had been listening to everyone’s views, some their own, some borrowed from experiences their friends had or borrowed from their friends. They were all trying to help me, but my heart was telling me a different story. My mind assessed the situation and agreed their logical advice made sense — that I should move on. But why was there an uneasiness about it? Why did I feel differently? Why did my heart tell me to stay? Why was my breath so short? Why was I feeling a constriction in my heart? Why did I feel physical pain all over my body? Why! Something was amiss. When I focused on what my heart was telling me, it felt good. And, then, I made a choice. I would listen to my heart.
At that very instant, I felt my heart go boom! It expanded exponentially. The constrictions disappeared. I could breathe freely again! I felt the burden lift from my shoulders. I felt happy, ecstatic!
I laughed out loud, surprising Nyoman and the driver. They asked me whether everything was okay. I said it would be okay from then on. I smiled to myself. I had finally stumbled upon a secret of the universe. And, my being in Bali to experience heart expansion on a full moon day, this was divinely orchestrated. My villa at Santi Mandala had an open roof bathroom. That evening I showered under the moon. I felt I was an innocent child again. The way we are meant to be, in a joyful natural state.