Consciousness, Culture, and Community in Bali:
Intercultural and Transcultural Dimensions to Physical, Mental, and Social Health

Blessing ceremony, Tebesaya

For an overview of the Unfolding In Action Seminar Cycle, click here.

For mental health professionals and those wishing to explore issues of individual and collective health and well-being, refracted through the illuminating lens of Balinese culture

Participants will:

    • explore the delicate fulcrum where individual and collective awareness and cultural practices mysteriously meet
    • enter a life-changing experience at the edge of knowing, where the encounter with Balinese culture rubs against our Western experiential filters and biases
    • investigate how the Balinese maintain social balance and well-being in community
    • gain insight into the traditional healing practices of Bali and their current expressions
    • develop fresh filters and skills for approaching new contexts and cultures everywhere
Price: € 1100  ($1,500)
Commences: 6-13 March 2010
Duration: 7 nights, 7 days
Leaders :
Inclusions: Bed, breakfast, dinner, and most lunches in shared accommodation, course fee, airport transfers.
Options: Room sole occupancy: additional € 240.
Exclusions: Credit card charges, bank transfer fees, govt taxes and fees.



Seminar Themes

  • In this workshop, we

    • consider new ways of approaching healing and development
    • embrace non-cognitive processes that shed light on understanding the human condition
    • explore ways in which more intuitive knowing – and an openness to ‘not-knowing’ complement cognitive intelligence

    Participants will have opportunities to become more at ease in

    • Being fully present
    • Non-evaluative listening and observing
    • Reflective awareness
    • Tolerance for ambiguity and not-knowing
    • Holding multiple perspectives
    • Balancing the needs of self and others
    • Deepening a sense community
    • Working with the interplay of personal, impersonal, and collective awareness
    • Intercultural communication
    • Meditative and altered states of consciousness

    Why Bali?

    It is easy to assume that our own cultural biases are universal. Even when we recognize that cultural conditioning is relative, we may be unaware of how our usual context is skewing our interaction with the world.

    Western education and thinking tends to emphasize the rational mind, categorization, analysing, splitting, and prominent elements in the foreground of our awareness.

    In contrast, Balinese tradition, as with many Asian societies, tends to emphasize feeling, intuition, relationship, sensitivity to background context, complexity, balance, and a capacity to embrace change, while maintaining its core. In Bali the arts, healing, spirituality, and community are interwoven in daily life in a way that is unique in the modern world.

    The Balinese perspective provides a compelling contrast to our own, but one that is complementary, with profound implications for the maintenance of individual and collective well being, and the resolution of imbalances in our societies.

    Bali, thus, provides a context that will test and refine our assumptions, not just as an interesting cultural backdrop, but as a profound difference, through which we can probe deeper dimensions of well-being and inter-being, beyond empathy.


Our programme touches personal, interpersonal, transpersonal, intercultural and transcultural themes.

Our primary emphasis is not on assimilating conceptual material, but on culturing an openness to the seeding of new experiences that can ripen in a process of individual and shared reflection.

Our programme includes short presentations, individual and shared reflection, discussion, scheduled and impromptu visits and cultural encounters.

Participants simultaneously monitor their own responses while opening to new possibilities. As such, each day includes

  • periods of meditation and reflection
  • opportunities for discovery
  • attentiveness to relationships with ourselves and the larger context

In this way, a learning community emerges in which each person’s encounter with the edges of knowing provides an opportunity for the group to discover much that could not have been anticipated.

Our development as a learning community in relation to the Balinese context means that how we explore is as important as what we explore. In effect, the ‘goal lies in the way to it’.

A Typical Day at Nirarta:

07.30     Awareness Meditation
08.30     Breakfast
09.30     Morning Session
12.45     Lunch
14.15     Afternoon Session
16.30     Small Groups and Free-time
17.30     Awareness Meditation
19.15     Dinner
20.15     Evening Entertainment/Group Activities



Part One at Nirarta begins with arrival and registration on 6 March 2011

Part Two in Tebesaya, Ubud begins Sunday 9 March 2011 and ends with Departure on Saturday 13 March

Week One: Setting the Context – Nirarta, Sidemen (5 full days)

Looking Within: Exploring consciousness and building community

Our first week at the Nirarta Centre, in the rice fields and green hills of rural east Bali sets the context for our journey, as we settle into the Balinese experience, taking time for meditation and reflection, recognizing the rural roots of the Balinese way, while introducing the themes of the seminar. We

  • consider some of the key frames that shape Balinese holism, as we explore the emergence of polarities, their resolution, and integration
  • encounter the spirit of Balinese prayer and offerings, with an opportunity to create the latter. enjoy a visit to, and blessings from, a high priest in the village
  • see village weaving, a local school, and
  • visit a Balinese master healer, with an opportunity to observe and experience his work

We will be joined by Balinese psychiatrist-healer and activist, Prof. Luh Ketut Suryani, with her rich experience combing both traditional and contemporary approaches to what she calls ‘bio-psycho-socio-cultural-spiritual’ well-being.

Part II: Entering the Context – Tebesaya, Ubud (5 full days)

Looking Without: Exploring family, culture, and community health and well-being in a traditional village, attached to Ubud

Centred in Tebesaya, a quiet traditional community ‘Banjar’, close to Ubud. Accommodation will be in Balinese ‘home stays’, permitting close contact with extended families, including the full range of generations from babies to grandparents.

In this community, where the arts are important primary or secondary activities, participants can feel connected to how the Balinese approach daily life, at work and relaxation, socially, organizationally, and ritually, while continuing to deepen and explore and embody the themes of Week One.


Making offerings with Dayu and her mother
Healer Cokorda Rai with Dana and Peter
Kim with mask dancer


'"We worked from a canvas of honesty and self-exploration, into an accepting and loving group of individuals and healers. This environment created many opportunities conducive to self-exploration and healing".

– Krista Italiano

"From the Balinese, I learned that I need to cherish life, slow down, let go of worry and stress, and enjoy my loved ones more...I know in my heart that this journey has changed my life forever, and I am eternally grateful for the gifts that Bali has bestowed upon me".

– Siri Rooney

"I was surprised at how deeply I was able to delve into the place of not knowing...I really appreciated learning about trusting my own experience. I found that the more that I trusted my experiences the more that I was able to enjoy and learn from my experiences".

– Connie Coleman

"I believe that I awakened my spirit while in Bali...I finally opened myself up to my spirit. I was calm and patient enough to finally listen to myself..I feel as though I did a lot of healing as a result."

– Andrea Decoster

"While in Nirarta, the "power spot" was influential to my experience. I for the first time felt a surge of energy. ...It made me realize how much more in touch I want to be with this part of myself. I was able to find this also when meditating in Bali".

– Andrea Decoster


Contact Us

Drs. Carla and David Osgood
+1 802-899-3965

Dayu Mayuni

Nirarta Centre for Living Awareness
Address: Sidemen, Karangasem 80864, Bali, Indonesia

Tel:+62 811 388 0065 or +62 366 5551124

Mobile:+62 81 246 52 123

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Payment Terms

Paying by credit card? We accept Visa, MasterCard, or American Express. Transactions will appear on your statement under the name Nirarta. Your charges will include an additional 0% for credit card use.

Paying by bank transfer? Please include your name as reference, and add € to cover bank charges if from outside Indonesia.

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Payment Policy

Your booking is not complete until full payment is received.

Cancellation and Refund Policy

If you must cancel after registering, please notify us by email. The following cancellation fees apply:
For Individual Programmes and Bookings to Scheduled Programmes:

  • 30 to 16 days prior to arrival 25% of contracted price.
  • 15 to 7 days prior to arrival 50% of contracted price.
  • 6 days or less prior to arrival 100% of contracted price.

For Group Bookings:

  • 45 to 30 days prior to arrival 25% of contracted price.
  • 29 to 15 days prior to arrival 50% of contracted price.
  • 14 days or less prior to arrival 100% of contracted price.



Purpose of Meditation

Ultimately, the purpose of meditation is to help us awaken to our true nature, that subtle Awareness, which is the ground and Source, not only of our individual selves, but of all that is.

True meditation is not intended as an escape from this world. It is a key to practical living. As our consciousness awakens, so do our abilities and achievements. Meditiation helps us become truly present to our experience in the here and now. We find that our minds and bodies function better. We enjoy more happiness in daily life. We become more creative and enjoy better relationships with others. And in bringing peace into our lives, meditation helps bring peace to our world. The practical benefits of meditation in daily life are many and immediate, while the long-term benefits of regular practice to the quality of life are enormous.


Types of Meditation

There are many kinds of meditation. Generally, their aim is to expand awareness, enhance mental clarity and focus, reduce stress, refresh the body, bring harmony to our relationships, and peace to our world.

Although there are many kinds of meditation practice, they may be grouped into a few 'families' of method, according to how they influence mind-body functioning.

Awareness Meditation, as practised at Nirarta, uses a mix of these methods.

  • Mindfulness or presence meditation practices
  • Introvertive or contraction/absorption meditation practices
  • Extravertive or expansion meditation practices
  • Energy meditation practices


Mindfulness or presence meditation practices

These practices assume that we usually forget about the knower or even
the process of knowing to lose ourselves in the various objects of experience.

We live absent-mindedly, often barely conscious of what we are seeing,
hearing, feeling or thinking.

Mindfulness practices attempt to bring us to greater awareness by emphasizing simple attentiveness to what is actually happening in our awareness in the here and now.


Introvertive or contraction/absorption meditation practices

These practices assume that there is a transcendental ground to experience that is 'smaller than the smallest', in and beyond every atom of thought, feeling, and perception.

They involve turning the attention within, directing it towards a chosen object of attention, which becomes increasingly present, but also increasingly subtle, until we pass beyond it to enter and rest in the simple expansiveness of pure awareness itself, beyond all thoughts and sensory objects of attention.


Extravertive or expansion meditation practices

These practices assume that everything we experience is always within our own consciousness, which as such is always 'larger than the largest'.

These practices bring our attention to the ultimate container of knowledge, our own awareness beyond all the various contents of consciousness.


Energy meditation practices

Energy meditations assume that integrated functioning of mind and body depends upon the free flow of a subtle energy which connects the different parts of the body.

When our subtle energy is able to flow freely, we are better able to maintain and enjoy awareness in our lives. We also enjoy great strength, power, and insight.

Energy practices stimulate and direct the flow of energy in the body. This may be a subtle internal process or it may become quite active.

As energy moves in the body, it can encounter blocks or resistance, stimulating sometimes dramatic spontaneous movements and shifts in breathing.

Afterwards we find ourselves more open in awareness and relaxed in body.

Such practice accelerates the ability of the body-mind to purify itself, enjoy better health, and to maintain higher consciousness.