The Middle Way

Zen Spot #119 — Mindfulness, meditation and loving the buffalo February 15, 2018 00:05

Like buffalo

You can hear the gun go off from half a mile away. Fifteen seconds later, a phalanx of 500 latter day Scots, led by a high school harrier, like William Wallace, break the horizon, and charge across fifteen acres of bliss and pain, toward a cornfield funnel that will only fit ten across. Not to mix metaphors, but the funnel leads, like a tunnel, through two separate corn fields that split, like the Red Sea, for Moses.

Tunnel. Funnel. Moses. William Wallace.

Heaven, too, for those who love the sport of cross country.

I love the buffalo

There is no reason for me to visit these races anymore. My children are grown. There is, however, love for this event that is the only child who never grows old.

The buffalo.

Invisible four feet away

The tunnel is about 150 meters long. And, while the buffalo are civil, for the most part, they jostle and elbow and yelp and spit when confined, cramming together at the mouth of the funnel and moving into the future. Spit, perhaps, will invade the force-field at the edges of the cornfield, but little else.

Standing behind one row of stalks, facing the funnel of stampeding herd, the buffalo passed within arm’s reach, but they couldn’t see me. Too much speed. Too much focus. Too much to follow. The corn is almost sacred.

From green to brown

The herd having passed, I stepped into the funnel/tunnel/pathway and spun 180 degrees to look into the dark oblivion of cornfield where, whatever is on the other side of the field, is blocked by all the vegetation. No hard edge exists, the stalks just swallow each other into dark oblivion. No single stalk impedes one’s vision; they work together, without working at all. 

The stalks, too, are buffalo, standing still, dying. Chlorophyl draining slowly. Once thriving leaves turning into a kind of tobacco. Soon, these buffalo will pass, their remains will be cleared, the horizon will be obvious and the tunnel will be gone.

Were I too stand in the same spot in the cornfield as that where the buffalo passed, in six weeks, I could be seen from a mile away. The dark oblivion and its edges will have found dark oblivion.

A cornfield at night

At night, whether at the height of summer, when the stalks are twelve feet tall or, in winter, when the stalks are gone, I could stand in that place and there would be absolutely no difference. 

I once was a buffalo.

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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?

 

 


Zen Spot #168— Mindfulness, meditation, two people, the same time and a different existence. February 2, 2015 00:30

A couple of month's ago, I visited an athletic coach from my freshman year of high school - 1976. He has had a profound influence on my life. So much so, that I often still rely on the lessons I learned from him. Among the most important are mental toughness, grit and belief in the ability to overcome adversity through hard work. For the first several months of my tutelage, I possessed none of these qualities...and I knew it. There was shame associated with this understanding.

One day, I got tired of the feeling and decided...actively decided...to change my life and attitude. My life transformed that day. He demanded and I complied. The next four years were an incredible experience built on hard work, fraternity and achievement. That said, I was not blessed with the gift of athleticism and, as such, was not a dream to coach. Not a dream - for a coach who wanted to dream. I was just a guy who loved his sport. The experience set a standard for the rest of my life.

During the visit, I made very clear how much his coaching had affected me and I thanked him for his contributions. We talked about the people and events from those days. In particular, we discussed the most gifted of his athletes; those who a coach dreams about. For him, those athletes held the fondest memories. I was a nice addendum. My experience was profound, his was nice. We occupied much of the same space, at the same time, for long periods.

Two people. Same time. Different existence.

Several weeks ago, I ran into a colleague from fifteen years ago. My counterpart explained that my influence on his life had been profound. He intimated that the lessons learned during our discussions extended beyond the discussions themselves. Our discussions were never pedestrian...or nice...but I had no understanding that they could affect another human being as positively as my colleague explained.

Concurrently, my oldest son has described, in one way or another, that my parenting had a similarly positive effect. Given the fact that my younger children still believe I am quite obtuse, my son's perspective is welcomed...and important...because my children are the people I want to teach.

Another paradox that becomes less a paradox as life goes on. Perhaps one day I'll understand.



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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?