As I walk the woods and lanes of a forgotten land, often alone and seeing no-one, I am surrounded by the ghosts of monks who walked here once upon a time on holy pilgrimage, by the farmers and labourers who toiled to make a hard living on rocky soil and steep mountains, by the women and children who harvested the wood of ash and alder and oak to make clogs and keep warm, and by the many creatures that have lived and died here over thousands of years. Despite the multitude of memory around me, it is spacious, and peaceful.
The present becomes the past instantaneously, and as I walk and sit and look I know that I too am a ghost in a second, that though I live still in my physicality, my essence, my life is shared with my past and with everywhere I go. As I walk the land, I leave an imprint among many that one day may be seen by another who, too, will leave their mark. It is a humbling but pleasing thought to know I am forever here, in a place I love.
Action as well as presence goes unforgotten too. Ancient records show that there was poaching and fighting here, animal abuse, and accidental drownings in the great River Wye, also support for each other in this always tiny community when the tracks were impassable with heavy snow and conditions for humans and animals were desperate. Every emotion that was felt, every word that was spoken, every deed done here ever is on an energetic record, and while the matter behind it may have disappeared, the rest lives on.
So it is for all of us. While life may seem fleeting and impermanent, we are doing far more that is forever than we may know. It is marked in particular if we have a routine that we carry out in the same way over a period of time, such a walking a child to school or commuting to work daily, even making a cup of coffee at the same time in the same place and in the same way. In spiritual practice, the benefit of meditation is amplified by rhythmic practice, and the power of using a mantra comes through its repetition and its co-ordination with the breath as well as its sacred sound.
To know that all that we do and feel, for good or bad, is indelible is great food for thought, and an incentive also to think, speak and be as kindly as we can. Much attention is being now given to the aggressive language and actions used in politics and beyond: in time it will be forgotten as human focus moves elsewhere, but the memory and energy will never go.
From time to time, think about what you are creating for and bequeathing to the world as you live your life every day. Remember, you are forever here.