rice full in bali
Sheaves of rice hang from an arc of bamboo and red painted leaf, an offering at a rice harvest festival in a temple courtyard in Bali, Indonesia

A Balinese teacher once said to me, if there is one thing to learn from the beautiful island of Bali, it would be to take away with you the teachings of the ‘humble rice’.

I sat down next to him, attentively to listen to the wisdom  and teachings of his grandfather spoken to him as a young boy. Surrounded by the sweet fragrance of frangipani incense, the echoing of chanting from a local Balinese Priest in the distant hills, etched a blue print of a distant memory. Yet the teaching, has stayed with me.

rice field in bali

sunrise in bali

Rice has many forms of symbolism in Bali, through its daily ritual, ceremony and offerings. The symbol of fertility, abundance, but most importantly the profound teachings, rice has to offer on this beautiful mysterious island.

I listened attentively….

“When a person has achieved much success in life and they are prosperous and full, its important to keep your humility intact and become like the rice in the fields, which is full  of grain and leans to the side. Great wisdom, arises from people who are more like the rice leaning forward. When the full sheath of rise is mature and ready to harvest, a wise person will become like this” full rice”, to act with humility and happiness, quietly, without saying much, taking action and not being boastful about their achievements or success.


If a person walks around boasting about their success, symbolically, they become like the straight sheath of rice, reaching towards the sky, empty with big ego and no humility.

In Bali, the teachings of the rice are expressed at a young age and the Balinese say it’s best to be more like the ‘humble rice’ falling to the side and full than the ‘rice with big ego’ reaching to the sky upwards, stern and empty….

This is one of the most profound teachings I’ve learned in Bali, a reminder of the ‘humble rice’ daily.

Whilst traveling through different countries, experiencing various cultures, learning different languages, tasting the exotic food and exploring  the different terrain and way of life. This teaching is an important ‘reality check’, expressing gratitude and appreciation for the present moment. By not taking things or life for granted. A reminder, that humility goes a long way and what an enriching experience.

bali rice meditation
Majestic Rice Fields of Bali

~ Namaste, EC

Eagle Colleen in a traditional Balinese Kebaya for Ceremony