There are few things as sought after, nor as elusive as happiness, but what exactly is happiness? Are we born with it? Is there a secret source that we can tap into, or is our obsession with being happy actually dooming us to a life of discontent?
Delving into the question of happiness leads us deep into a labyrinth of spirituality, philosophy, religion, gender, culture, biology and psychology. It is the subject of thousands of books, countless contemplations and endless exploration by neuroscientists. But does it really have to be so complicated? Can’t we break it down and come up with some kind of cheat sheet for happiness? Actually, thanks to the rise of the positive psychology movement happiness has been taken out of the esoteric realms and planted firmly in the scientific arena, and the formula is surprisingly simple. It starts with looking in the right places. Continue reading
We found shelter for the night inside the crumbling walls of a crusader castle. As dawn approached we made our descent, clamoring over rocks and sliding down cliffs of sandstone, there, hidden amidst towering hills we found the city of Petra. Continue reading
Island of the Gods, surf mecca, shoppers paradise, land of golden beaches, big smiles and Bintang beer, Bali certainly needs no introduction, but its cuisine does! In recent years the island has become a foodie destination, with trendy restaurants in the ‘Eat Street’ district of Seminyak serving up flavours from around the globe. Those in search of cheap and cheerful Indonesian favourites still head to the atmospheric night markets and warungs (local eateries, ) but finding traditional Balinese cooking can be surprisingly difficult. Continue reading
I drive up to Ubud early in the morning, dark ominous clouds hang over the hills creating a moody backdrop. I hope the rain will hold off for the next few hours as I have signed up for a herbal walk, and trudging through rice fields in torrential rain isn’t quite what I have in mind. Continue reading
Published in The Bali Advertiser
The human connection to crystals and stones spans time, cultures, continents and religions. Ancient Sumerians included crystals in their magic formulas; Egyptian pharaohs had their headdresses lined with malachite in the belief that it helped to rule wisely; while native American shamans used them for divination and healing. Their curative properties are mentioned repeatedly in ancient Vedic Hindu texts and referred to in the Old Testament of the Bible; while the mysterious black stone at Mecca (possibly a meteorite) forms an intrinsic part of the Islamic pilgrimage.
In 1880 Jacques and Pierre Curie discovered the piezoelectric property of quartz – when squeezed or stretched, a voltage is produced across the crystal’s face. These days crystals are utilized in almost every form of technology. Liquid Crystal brings us the clarity in our computer screens, quartz keeps watches ticking, and electronic grade crystals are used in cell phones, clocks, games, television receivers, radios, computers and navigational instruments. But although science readily accepts the vibrational qualities of crystals, when it comes to the less tangible realms of crystal therapy, the suggested positive vibrations of gemstones is often relegated to the fringe of ‘new age;’ even though it is a tradition that is about as ‘old age’ as you can get. We have been communing with stones in one way or another for as long as we have roamed the earth. Continue reading
For devout Hindus a ritualistic dip in the holy waters of Varanasi is said to purify the soul, but as pollution levels of the River Ganges rise, spiritual renewal may come at a price.
I arrived in Varanasi at dawn and made my way to the Ganges as the sun began to cast its glow over the waking city. The sound of music, ringing bells and chanting filled the air as the city came alive in a mad frenzy of devotion. A man walked slowly into the river, arms outstretched, a look of ecstasty on his face as he called out “Ganga Ma ki jai” (Long live Mother Ganga.) Clearly this was no ordinary river. Continue reading