Blowin’ in the worldy winds

During 2017 I had two successful exhibitions and gave a talk as part of “Rewired”, an event at the Royal Geographical Society in London. I helped raise several thousand pounds for neurological charities and was featured in newspapers, a magazine and local radio. I also got divorced and lost a lot of money to solicitors.

I was virtually homeless for a short time but a few weeks before that was feeling joyfully overwhelmed by the river of people from all walks of my life streaming through the gallery door for the private view of my solo exhibition.

In Buddhism there is a teaching called the Eight Worldy Winds. The Worldy Winds are

  • Pleasure and pain
  • Gain and loss
  • Fame and infamy
  • Praise and blame

In 2017 I experienced them all in bucketloads.

Someone who has mastered the Worldy Winds is like the trunk of a tree. They can take whatever life throws at them and stay rooted firmly in place. But most of us live lives on our outer branches experiencing the peaks and troughs of our personal rollercoaster rides and just about hanging on.

I somehow managed to continue my meditation and mindfulness practice during the year’s tumultuous ride and even took some photographs (but blogging took a back seat I’m afraid). Much of the time though I was a solitary leaf, out there at the tips of the branches desperately trying to hold on.

Ill-will is one of the classic hindrances to living a mindful and ethical life according to Buddhism. Much ill-will was generated by my difficult divorce so I’m determined to offset it with positive feelings this year. Loving Kindness, or “metta bhavana” will be my main meditation for a while. I have also enrolled on a “Kindness behaviour Training” course (an awful title that really doesn’t do it justice).

Here’s a gallery of the photographs I exhibited in 2017. All but one were shot from the seat of my mobility scooter as I can no longer walk around with a camera. At times I was “blown away” by the pleasure and praise these pictures gave me – I’m still quite a way off from successfully navigating the Wordly Winds.

click on an image to enter gallery

Words and pictures © Miles Pilling

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