Silence and Nyepi – Less is More

bali nyepi

Last Saturday, March 17th, was not only Saint Patrick’s Day, the annual global Irish paty day, but it was also Nyepi.

Nyepi is the Balinese “day of silence”, a sacred day of silence on Bali, for self-reflection, silence, meditation.

This year, as The Guardian reported, even the mobile internet providers were switched off for 24 hours, hence they humorously captioned the photo above “Pokemon No”.

Regular readers of this site will know that I regularly and repeatedly riff on themes around silence, with Nyepi being a new word to me to add to words like Ikigai, Innsaei, Yugen and more. If you wish to be reflective with me around such themes, simply use the search bar for words like these (and silence, presence), or choose related tags to see a list of posts.

Why do I keep coming back to it ? For a very simple reason. Finding silence is so, so powerful for us as humans, and where we lead others, ever more powerful. When we avoid the constant busy-ness, barrage of demands on our time, decisions to make, then we can make fewer decisions and prioritise effectively.

Less is more.

In researching Nyepi, it runs from 6am to 6am, for 24 hours. It also involves restrictions on activity across society to allow focus on self-reflection.

It very much reminds me of childhood holidays on the Isle of Lewis in the Western Isles of Scotland. Over recent years and decades the sanctity of their strict Sunday “Sabbath” has been eroded, but in my childhood the only use of cars was to drive to church. No flights, ferries, no washing hung outside, no children playing outside (and certainly no energetic boys playing football loudly in the garden so the neighbours could hear.. oops, that was me and my brother once…apologies to my dear Grandmother!).

The more I see progress in our modern world, the more I look back to ancient wisdom, from the Balinese, to the Icelandic (Innsaei), to the Japanese (Ikigai), and to my own ancestors, the McLeods of Lewis.

Less is more.

Also published on Medium.