The Middle Way

Zen Spot #335 - Mindfulness, meditation, a drum circle and the yellow doves of Mount Airy November 16, 2019 00:00

Finding Mt. Airy

I live near the northwest-most border of the city of Philadelphia. One among dozens of neighborhoods, Mount Airy is a diverse community of artists, activists, writers, gardeners and thinkers. Neighbors care for each other. Tolerance and kindness are ubiquitous. Education is valued. Spirituality holds an important place in the heart of many of the citizens. I’ve traveled the world and found no peer.

Finding Ivy Hill

My studio overlooks the Ivy Hill Cemetery and, despite my living in a rowhome in a jam-packed neighborhood of 68 homes, the view from my rear window extends one quarter mile. All I see is grass and trees, with the exception of those days when slow processions bury loved ones.

Finding the yellow doves

A legend exists about three doves — remarkable bright yellow doves — that arrive following the departure of the last person to leave a burial. Within a few minutes of the casket being left alone for the first time, it’s said that the doves drop from the sky to accompany the soul on its quiet journey to the other side. Having witnessed dozens of burial rites from the window of my studio, I’ve only seen the doves once — during a distant drum circle that gathered about two hours after the casket had been lowered and covered.

I don’t know where the doves come from and don’t know where they go. My vantage point offers a unique opportunity to witness a phenomenon that everybody has heard about, but few neighbors have actually seen. I don’t know why there are three. The drummers seemed not to notice the doves.

Finding peace

I think of drum circles as lively happenings that conjure the primitive parts of our souls, calling one’s soul to dance whether one possesses rhythm or not.

Finding rhythm

Every soul possesses rhythm or not. The drummers, the passed and the doves. What to make of the doves being ignored by the drummers? What to make of my seeing the doves only when I saw the circle? What to make of the doves?

It was all a dream.


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?