Nothing lasts forever
Well this is the end. From the end of this month wellpresent will officially cease to exist. This isn't without some feelings of regret on my part. Wellpresent has represented a lot of hard work and a steep learning curve for me over the last 5 years. At a rough estimate, we have taught mindfulness courses to around 700 poeple in that time and have run nearly 60 courses. It doesn't feel like it has been a waste of time; the many kind messages of support and appreciation you have sent us attest to that; but it is clear that this enterprise of ours has run its course and it's time to move on.
I will miss writing this blog which has been an interesting experience, particularly since I am usually allergic to putting myself in the public eye. I hope people have found something of interest in it from time to time. But before I go, I want to write a few words about change and how we should deal with it.
Above my desk, as I write this, are pinned the words "sabbe sankhara anicca". The same words are inscribed on the stick I take hiking, on the cover of my notebook and on a slip of paper in my wallet. The words are Pali, the language of the Buddha, and were uttered 2600 years ago. They mean something like "all phenomena are impermanent" or rather more obscurely, "all conditioned things are transient". I prefer, "everything changes, nothing lasts forever". It doesn't sound like much but these are probably the wisest and truest words ever spoken. In a sense all the words of wisdom ever written or uttered since, arise from this single blindingly obvious, yet utterly ungraspable, truth. I wrote a few months ago about my wonderful, much missed, friend Cathy who was one of the few people I have ever met who intuitively understood this truth and acted accordingly. Most of us can't and we need to remind ourselves that this life of ours is never static; it flows, ebbs and changes, never staying still and never leading to the places we expect. It's true that we all have to face up to our shared prognosis and we should always reflect on that, but we should also remember that the opposite of death is not life, it's birth. Life is defined by two points in time and in between are all the possibilities that life gives us. Yes, we will screw up from time to time. If so, we can exercise our free will and make a decision to move on, letting the flow of life carry us to the next destination, and the next, and the next... "Sabbe sankhara anicca" - it means there is no past and there is no future, both are fictional places. This doesn't mean we don't work for a better future or learn from the past but it does mean that we understand that both the past and the future only make sense from the standpoint of the present moment. So, folks, best to live it as best you can.
Given all of this, we need also to be mindful of the need to be kind to ourselves and others. An impermanent world is tough and we don't need to make it tougher. Nothing does as much to increase our happiness and the happiness of the world as kindness. It's not particularly fashionable, and in a dog eat dog world of free markets and maximising self interest, it's not even considered very desirable. But just imagine a world without it.
So I shall practice what I preach and let go of what once was, allow the future to arrive in its own good time and, in the meantime, exercise a bit of kindness by resting, learning and giving away what I can. Thank you, everyone, for your support and generosity. May you all be well.