Zen Spot #11 — Mindfulness, meditation and a street art zoetrope June 27, 2016 18:01

Nude descending a staircase

An urban park, the kind that embraces a full city block, holding a massive green field home to baseball in the summer, sits across the street from this small mural. The female figure stands about two and a half feet tall.

Among my first thoughts, after having stumbled on this artwork, was a question as to the gender of the artist. I don’t know why. 

The rendering is gentle and lithe, as is the subject. It borders on the erotic with an emphasis on the bare female bottom that could just as easily have been covered by a skirt. Did a female paint this figure based on an appreciation for the gift of the figure's shape or to express an ideal her body can’t achieve? Was she crafting a myth or illustrating a children’s story by blending Duchamp’s Futurism with a crude whimsy?

If painted by a man, why? Why the grace? Why the hair? Why the features? Why strand her in the dark as the sun goes down every afternoon? Why paint her in the dark as he almost certainly had to do?

This image is quiet, gesturing in a manner as though preparing to dance, waiting for that first bar of music. Its quiet, though, is visceral as well. As if the figure knows the artist never intended for the music to begin. 

The image brought me an interesting perspective on the physical movement we each take just before — and after — we sit to meditate. There is that process of slowing down, then preparing our minds to become still--and then   the stillness. The process, in my mind’s eye, takes on a stop-action quality until a single frame freezes into a mindful position.

Then, with a final breath, life begins again. The mind awakens, moves forward and the day provides.

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About DharmaMechanic

An artist, entrepreneur and writer walking the Buddhist path, his art focuses on the Dharma Wheel. The four wheels shown above are among over 600 DharmaMechanic has created over the course of his career. Each has a unique story. If you’d like to read the story of these wheels or purchase a framed 20" x 20" ready-to-hang print, visit SilkDharma.com.

What are The Four Noble Truths?

  1. The truth of suffering
  2. The truth of the origin of suffering
  3. The truth of the cessation of suffering
  4. The truth of the path to the cessation of suffering

What is The Noble Eightfold Path?

  1. Right view
  2. Right intention
  3. Right action
  4. Right speech
  5. Right livelihood
  6. Right effort
  7. Right mindfulness
  8. Right concentration

What is a Dharma Wheel?