Quiet Introspection

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Saturday, Balinese Hindus were urged to remain silent and engage in introspection. Bali, which first became known as a destination among hippies from the West a couple of generations ago, tuned in and dropped out, at least for the day.

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Enjoy the silent day! With a half-wary smile, he flashed them a thumbs-up. In Kuta, a rowdy beach resort on the southern tip of the island, only roosters and pigeons, usually drowned out by the din, could be heard Saturday. The pecalang peered down side streets in search of transgressors but found only other pecalang looking back, or the occasional stray cat. The tension between local tradition and outside forces is perhaps at its most intense in Kuta, where Islamic extremists bombed a nightclub in , killing people, and bombed three restaurants in , killing more than 20 people.

In reaction, officials in Bali have been reinforcing local customs, especially those of Nyepi. Sutama said Saturday. The day before, in one of the many local temples squeezed between shops in Kuta, the residents of a neighborhood called Pande Mas had been putting the final touches on their ogoh-ogohs, effigies 20 feet tall representing evil spirits that would be burned later. On Saturday, a group of boys, led by Wayan Putra Setiaman, 14, said they would obediently stay home, not daring to step outside lest they be caught by the pecalang.

They would not be allowed to use their television sets. How about video games?

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View all New York Times newsletters. Even as Bali has reinforced its traditions, some outsiders said it had lost a bit of its legendary openness. Ants come to it. On Saturday, Mr. Darsana and a dozen pecalang were taking a break from their patrol at a temple where they quietly shared fried rice. Darsana, who spoke English with an unmistakably American accent, said he learned English about 40 years ago from an American Indian named Joe.

Joe was among the hippies who discovered Bali, back when Kuta had perhaps a single guesthouse, Mr. Darsana said. You learn these things as you live. Been there, done that. Outsiders now owned almost all the major businesses in Kuta. His smile and constant cheerfulness, though, belied his expression of loss.

introspection, reflection, meditation, rumination, self-examination, concentration, quiet time

David Wheeler, an associate professor of psychology at Robert Morris University. Bill Gates and Warren Buffett both seem to fall in the introvert camp, preferring quiet introspection to socializing. Other famous introverts include Steven Spielberg, J. Rowling and Eleanor Roosevelt.

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In comparison, Wheeler says, extroverts feel at a loss when they are alone. Think Bill Clinton or Steve Jobs. They crave attention and recharge themselves by surrounding themselves with other people.

As an introvert, Sophia Dembling does not look forward to attending conferences. But Dembling, who lives in Dallas, recognizes that she needs to shed her natural reticence and be personable when interacting in crowds or at social functions. Situations that involve constant interaction are naturally avoided. This is also good career advice for introverts. Teaching would not seem to be a good career for an introvert, but it suits George well enough. She focuses on being prepared in classes, but for years another aspect of her career — directing plays — gave her difficulty.

I was overly exhausted by it.

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George finally found a way to direct without draining her energy. Not everybody directs that way, but I got a lot of results by turning it into a kind of intimacy about the role. Social media — notably Twitter and Facebook — provide introverts with forums suited to their demeanors. Wheeler thinks the inherent time lag between responses on social media sites is a boon for introverts. She prefers to view her online presence as a natural and comfortable outlet for her temperament. But there are perils and pitfalls if introverts rely too much on social media and connecting through the Internet.

I learned that lesson the hard way.


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