The Middle Way

Zen Spot #140 — Mindfulness, meditation and finding peace in repetition February 16, 2018 00:00

 

Three hundred

Bowling is, perhaps, the only activity where perfection can be achieved. Roll twelve consecutive strikes and you’ve reached the pinnacle; people spend their lives trying to get to twelve. The achievement requires a curiously intense and effortless practice--performing the same task thousands of times while trying to be completely present.

Saying the same thing over and over

I repeat myself — a lot. Subscribing to the the method of threes, I consistently do the following:

1. I tell you what I’m going to tell you
2. I tell you what I want to tell you
3. I tell you what I told you

The practice achieves as much clarity between two people as is possible. Too, the process soothes my being. I don’t know why. To be sure, it’s not because perfection is within reach.

The Dude abides one hundred times

For new readers, The Big Lebowski is my favorite movie. I subscribe to the school of thought that holds the The Dude to be a Buddha. And, while I have more in common with the Dude’s best friend Walter than I have with the Dude, I’m evolving in his direction.

The Dude, Walter and their friend Donnie are bowlers. Good bowlers? Bad bowlers? Who knows? No matter, they practice.

In addition to loving the story, I watch the movie over and over because I always know how it’s going to end. That kind of predictability comforts me. Throughout a life where stability was hard to find, the security of knowing how something will resolve itself has an important place in my life.

Enlightenment is possible through practice and repetition.

Self soothing

When I get anxious, I stroke my own hair like one would pet a dog — over and over and over again. The practice provides comfort. I used to do it several times each day. Now, maybe three or four times a month.

Mindfulness, perhaps.

Practice

There is that physical groove-practice that can be found in a bowling alley, where, as you practice, you can find floor markings, finger placement, wrist angle, shoe slide and, yes, even controlled breathing. With repetition, each gets adjusted and refined and, after a thousand tries, becomes natural and almost effortless.

That said, perfection is very rarely achieved, but few practitioners stop trying.

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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?