I had the privilege of doing a talk and session on mindfulness on Friday afternoon with staff at Kilbryde Hospice, adjacent to Hairmyres Hospital in East Kilbride.
My father died at Hairmyres seven years ago, and my family have been so helped over the years by skilled and compassionate professionals at those most difficult times when death threatens or is imminent.
The image to the left is of a mosaic in the room in the hospice where I did the talk and session. Hope, it says.
Where there is life there is hope. We all know that. But where there is death there is also hope. There is hope for the living, even in the midst of grief, when a loss seems to drown us in sadness.
The image of a white bird as a sign of hope is so moving. Picasso did it most famously, with his white doves of peace. The hope for peace is the great longing of most of mankind. Something about the colour white, its purity, the way it seems to stand out against the darkness that sometimes befalls us. Artists use white to portray hope and peace, and we are mysteriously moved by such images; it's a wonderful part of what it means to be human.
The mind of mindfulness is pure. It is clear, calm, composed, unperturbed by the world around us, nor by the often ruinous feelings formed inside our own head. The mind of mindfulness is always the mind of hope, for in every moment there is the potential to make something more positive come about, purely through the power of a compassionate, kind-hearted mind.
The people who work in hospices do wonderful work, and the mind of mindfulness is filled with admiration and deep gratitude to them. We are very fortunate to live in a time and a society where hospices exist. We should wake up in the morning expressing our good fortune, and we should go to bed at night with the same heart-felt appreciation for all that is good in our lives.
So a massive thank you to the good people at Kilbryde Hospice for your vital work, and for entrusting me to come into your world for a time. I hope you found our time together of help and insight in your life - at work, at home with family, and in the innermost core of your life. Thank you for all you do.