The Middle Way

Zen Spot #83— Mindfulness, meditation and throwing a boomerang with my dad January 30, 2018 00:05

The accidental Buddhist

My father was a devout Catholic. Never missing mass, he prayed faithfully and, more than anybody I’ve ever met, practiced The Noble Eightfold Path. He was humble and committed. He struggled and was more poor than I ever knew. His generosity and patience belied his struggle. Years passed before I realized.

In particular, I remember a light blue polyester hoodie, the sleeves of which strained awfully to reach the top of his wrist knuckles. People remarked that he was cheap. Twenty-two years of a sweatshirt that didn’t fit because he was poor. The money he earned went to my mother, brother and me. Selfless.

Self. Less.


My father worked a lot and, as a result, my brother and I didn’t see him much. When he was around, we didn’t do much together and this fact never bothered me. In hindsight, I don’t think he knew what to do because his father didn’t do anything with him. An alternative is that he felt he did enough, and sacrificed enough, that he had earned rest. A third option is that he didn’t care. I refuse to believe the third. Options one and two are a dead heat.

It never mattered to me that we didn’t connect more. I knew he was there. I knew he loved me.


There was a park one block from my home. Ten acres of open space plus two baseball fields, two tennis courts, a corn field and swing sets. One day, when I was about nine, my father brought a boomerang home. I didn’t know what it was but, when he told me that you could throw it in the air and it would return to you — like magic--I was curious.

The idea confounded me. In my mind’s eye, I pictured throwing a baseball and having it return. Curve balls were, at that point, beyond my ability but I’d thrown a baseball thousands of times. I didn’t understand. He must be mistaken.


We walked to the park together. I didn’t listen to a word he said because I was waiting for the magic — and he delivered. The curve curved tighter than any bird I’d ever seen. And it spun funny, like it was being jerked into the turn while, at the same time, being completely smooth. 

It fell to his feet. Right where it started out, it finished. 

A full circle with up and downs along the way.


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

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?