Zen Spot #97 - Mindfulness, meditation and the Zen Blue Hat June 14, 2015 00:23

Zen blue

It’s not a color. Or, is it? 

I’d never heard of it — until I made it up yesterday. A simple description for the color of a hat I’d seen in a dream the night before was needed. 

The dream

I’d visited a used bookstore in Portland, looking for a Zen spot in the back corner, near the holy books. A blog entry I’d found, written by two lovers who use used bookstores in the same way other lovers use lavatories in jumbo jets, described the maze between the front door and the shelf of well-worn titles. One sentence in their blog described a bent metal flange, hanging from the sixty year-old ornamental iron ceiling, that would mark the spot above where they sat together and read Leaves of Grass to each other in whispers.

Walt Whitman — Zen Master

The lovers’ blog mentioned nothing of Zen but, it didn’t have to. Whitman, to me, is a Zen master, and those whose minds he engages sit before him in contemplation of a path to mindfulness. 

In my mind’s eye, the stacks appeared so close together as to barely allow two people to pass by without rubbing against one another. To sit together on the floor and read, one would need to scrunch up in a ball and block traffic. Some patrons would feel inconvenienced, others might choose to sit and listen and, if they did, would be welcomed into The Body. 

I followed the maze and found the flange and closed my eyes. Pages turned ambient above sirens in the distance. Patrons coughing conversations, resembling the sound of a television show that can be heard through the walls of a rowhome just before one falls asleep, searched for depth but delivered frustration. 

Noon struck

Having found the quiet, I sat in the corner. On the second shelf, about eighteen inches above the floor, crammed behind a row of books, each without a name, I found a blue hat.

Taking the hat to the owner, I asked her to leave it in the lost and found. She lit up and declined. Instantaneously remembering a man having worn the hat into the store a long time ago and never having returned to retrieve it, she told me to keep it. 

I agreed to leave wearing it, but not before returning to the stacks to look up and see the flange. I left the hat on a small marble-topped table - upside-down - and returned to find a copy of Leaves of Grass laying in the hat with a note that said “free”. I asked the owner if she’d seen who left the book behind. She declined and told me to take the hat — and the book.

Now, I’m looking for a real Zen Blue Hat.


About DharmaMechanic

An artist, entrepreneur and writer walking the Buddhist path, his art focuses on the Dharma Wheel.

 If you'd like to buy a framed artist's print of The Zen Blue Hat, click here.