Living in the present - August 12th 2015

Yummy food again in the pavilion last night especially the spring rolls which we both declared were the best we had ever eaten. Awoke to another rainy morning and we returned to the pavilion for a great breakfast. The omelette that I had was full of vegetables and was delicious. Erica tasted it and decided she would have one tomorrow. It was so good I had eaten it before I remembered to take a pic!

The Sidemen valley is a good place to ponder life. I think the current Dali Lama summed it up well when asked what surprised him most about humanity he answered “Man. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he is so anxious about his future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then he dies having never really lived”. Indeed a very wise man.

In this valley the people go about there every day lives “Living in the present” and this may well be why they seem content with their simple and rewarding way of life. Again I keep asking myself the question “How far has mankind progressed?”

We live in a world where we are stressed almost every single moment. In the early days of mankind there was stress but only in short sharp bursts with much non stressful time to recover. The classic example that I like to use is when ancient man lived in high up shelf caves above the dangers of the valley below he was safe. We have explored such caves in France and seen the evidence of their occupation and marvelled at the way early mankind was insulated by them from the danger below.

When he had to leave the safety of the cave to hunt he was under extreme stress avoiding the wild animals that could easily kill him.  Eventually he would kill an animal and take it back to the cave to eat. He responded to this stress as his hormones kicked in by being super alert, strong, and able to hunt well and survive. On returning to the cave he could then recoup with no stress for a long period before he needed to hunt and encounter stress again.

My point in all this is that mankind was designed to get great benefits from stress in small doses but not to be stressed continually as we are in the modern city life. This “Over Stress” is I believe responsible for much of the problems of modern society, the drugs, the drinking, the crime and domestic violence so common today.

Enough philosophising! Back to this beautiful valley.

We watched a staff member cutting the grass next to our cottage this morning with a sickle. He then dug the area up with a pair of hoe’s, one forked and one normal and proceeded to plant many plant cutting to form a new garden. He has the enjoyment of achievement and being creative without the stress of our city way of life.

Decided to walk down to the Tukad Yeh Unda River that flows through the valley. As we started our downhill walk we struck a bike load of beans ready for market. The road descended quite steeply and we passed a great sign outside a retreat that captured in words what this valley is all about. A little further along a bamboo barrier heralded a problem with the bridge. It was a real problem as a fully loaded gravel truck had tried to cross with disastrous results, plummeting to the river below taking the bridge with it. The enterprising local people not to be deterred have rigged up a side way to get onto it and life goes on including motorbikes crossing the wrecked structure. We walked across no problems although it did look to be only hanging by a thread! Everyone is using it as if it was still in its rightful place! The river was a stunner filled with large volcanic boulders and crystal clear.

 Now we were in a little village at the foot of a valley escarpment. Saw school children leaving the village school who smiled and said hello, women carrying bags of rice on their heads, workers in the field’s rice paddies and the village itself consisting of humble dwellings and family compounds. All the local people smiled when we said hello and we felt most welcome in their village.

We both have picked up our first cold/flu and think we got it on the Air Asia Flight to Bali as many Chinese were coughing and spluttering as we now are. Decided to spend the rest of today before our next wonderful dinner resting and reading a book.