The Middle Way
Zen Spot #113— Mindfulness, meditation, a falafel platter, spicy fries and mint tea February 16, 2018 00:00
Sometimes it is best to eat alone. Sometimes it is best to not share. Sometimes the quiet, the solitude and the air mingle to transcend.
I’ve written of a moment etched, while pumping gas at a roadside station while travelling between Frieberg im Breisgau and Bologna. The moment was benign — just standing next to a rental car, in blinding sunlight, with mountains towering on both sides of the highway.
The station was a jumble of disorganization both inside and out. Clean Swiss design invaded by a human being. Outside: used tires and half-repaired cars. Inside: a mini-mart hit by a 1.5 earthquake.
While leaning against the car, stretching, the universe came to equal zero. No reason why. I didn’t see God. I wasn’t near death. The surrounding world was neither peaceful nor active. Potato chips and tea were nearby.
Everything stopped forever and never — like electrons and protons froze. I will probably never return.
There is a backroom that can’t be seen from the front door. The grill can be viewed easily, from the street, through the storefront’s plate glass window. Side to side, the restaurant’s facade is no more than 20 feet. Given the quality of a very specific dish, the entirety of the surroundings and threshold are unremarkable.
Only five tables fit in the back room and, when they’re full, the experience can be warm and tight. Bench seats that allow the sum total of tables and chairs to fit, are built into the opposing bare brick walls. Look up to see a plexi-glass ceiling that lets whatever light falls from the sky onto the table tops. When it rains, water gathers in spots to which droplets run from wherever they splash down.
A single perfect meal
Over the course of thirty-seven years, I’ve only ordered one meal. By my count, I’ve eaten the meal almost 150 times.
And, while I don’t reach the clarity and stillness I felt in the Alpine pass when I visit, the experience always confirms the existence of the path that leads to clarity and stillness.
Whereas the absolute zero experienced at the gas station was instantaneous, the reliability of a slow motion path leading to the gas station, from the back room of a Middle Eastern restaurant, is proof enough for me.
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?
- The truth of suffering
- The truth of the origin of suffering
- The truth of the cessation of suffering
- The truth of the path to the cessation of suffering
What is The Noble Eightfold Path?
- Right view
- Right intention
- Right action
- Right speech
- Right livelihood
- Right effort
- Right mindfulness
- Right concentration
What is a Dharma Wheel?