Embracing the Silence of Nyepi in Bali and Bond of Friendship

by Rahim Said

Photo credit: Seminyak Community FB

As the world rushes past, caught in the whirlwind of modernity, there are moments when it becomes imperative to pause, to reflect, and to honour the traditions that have shaped our identities.

Nyepi, the Balinese Day of Silence, offers just such a moment — a respite from the cacophony of daily life, a time to turn inward and find solace in the silence.

In Bali, Nyepi is more than just a day on the calendar; it is a deeply spiritual experience, a day when the island itself seems to hold its breath, waiting for the world to catch up.

On this day, Balinese Hindus observe strict rules of silence, refraining from work, travel, and even the use of electricity. It is a day of self-reflection, a day to contemplate one’s place in the universe and to seek balance and harmony within oneself.

This year, six friends have chosen to spend Nyepi together, seeking solace in each other’s company and in the tranquil beauty of a villa in Seminyak. Among them are a diverse group: a successful Singaporean entrepreneur, an Italian-Australian woman, a Swedish national of Italian descent and his partner, a wealthy 70-year-old Malay gentleman, and an elderly Malaysian couple. Despite their different backgrounds and cultures, they are united by a deep bond of friendship and a shared appreciation for the traditions of Bali.

As they gather in the dim light of the villa, the usual chatter and laughter are replaced by a profound silence, a silence that seems to envelop them, inviting them to listen — to the sound of their own breathing, to the beating of their own hearts. They sit together in contemplation, each lost in their own thoughts, yet connected by an invisible thread of companionship.

As the day wears on and the sun begins to set, they break their silence, sharing stories and memories, laughter and tears. They talk about their lives, their hopes and dreams, their fears and frustrations. They talk about the world outside, about the beauty and the chaos, the joy and the sorrow.

And as the night falls and the stars begin to twinkle overhead, they find comfort in each other’s presence, grateful for this moment of respite, this moment of togetherness in the midst of the silence.

For in the silence of Nyepi, they have found not emptiness, but fullness—not loneliness, but communion. And in that communion, they have found the true essence of friendship, the bond that transcends time and space, culture and creed.

As Nyepi comes to an end and the world outside slowly awakens, they rise from their contemplation, their hearts lighter, their spirits refreshed. They step out into the world, ready to face whatever challenges lie ahead, knowing that they carry with them the memory of this day, the memory of the silence and the friendship that have sustained them.

In the end, perhaps that is the true gift of Nyepi—not just a day of silence, but a day of connection, a day of renewal, a day of friendship. And as they bid farewell to the villa and to each other, they carry with them the knowledge that no matter where life may lead them, they will always have this day, this moment, this bond to hold on to.

Dr. Rahim Said is a human behaviourist and regular contributor on digital media platforms. He is a professional management consultant, a corporate trainer and an executive coach specialising in coaching of senior executives and individual entrepreneurs with the purpose of modifying their behaviour in the pursuit of their cherished missions. (The views expressed by our columnist are entirely his own)