The Middle Way

Zen Spot #40 — Mindfulness, meditation and a small, happy street far away February 1, 2018 00:05

Somewhere in Western Europe

I am sentimental to a point. Some friends consider me schmaltzy when it comes to music. That said, I do not respond to sentimental, schmaltzy artwork. 

I do, however, respond to an artist’s personal choice of iconography and certain kinds of technical ability. In particular, I am stunned by an artist’s ability to make a true spontaneous mark — without planning. 

Improvisation within a valued structure.

Graffiti

The image above was found on a building, on a small street, in a Western European city. Love and whimsy, tattooed to a building. Hearts tugged by destruction of property. 

Street art is all too often created by men. There is no way to tell the gender of this artist. The image belies a feeling not often associated with the daring, alpha-defiance of a painter who will need to sprint for a mile to outrun the cops if caught branding.

I hope it was a woman. I hope it was a man. The icon took me to a place where I had to evaluate my hope — and be mindful.

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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 Michael 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 #48— Mindfulness, meditation and opposing impossible mirrors with my son walking away January 31, 2018 00:05

The mirror when I shave

I don’t use the mirror on the medicine cabinet when I shave. A much bigger mirror hangs over the bathroom sink in front of me. The medicine cabinet is perpendicular, to my right, and is hard to use anyway. When it opens widely enough, and the mirrors are opposite each other, the reflection of both mirrors appears to go on infinitely, as opposing mirrors are wont to do.

We’ve all observed the phenomenon and are, perhaps, a little disappointed and frustrated when the reflection veers away from what would be billions and billions of repetitions because we can never get the opposing forces to square off perfectly.

Matthew

He is my first born. With that, for him, came the awesome responsibility of raising me. At the time of his arrival I wasn’t fully formed and, while no human being ever is, my unready, unsteady soul — and mind — could have served him better. Perhaps most new parents feel this way. Perhaps not. Perhaps comparison is a waste of time.

As with all first children, each milestone — the milestones that will serve as mile markers for the children who follow — presents a new and sometimes frightening experience.

He had curly hair — white blonde locks that spun like I fully expect an angel’s hair spins. Little old ladies would touch it in the grocery store. Middle-aged women remarked about how much they pay to obtain such elusive beauty. The sun, itself, was almost as bright.

The son ventures

Matthew was about 18 months old and our extended family was sitting in my parents’ back yard having a picnic. The next-door neighbors had four children, each of whom, believe it or not, was within in twelve months of Matthew’s age. At the time, we lived in a home twenty miles away, but Matthew was familiar with my parents’ back yard. We played with him often in the grass but, until that day, he’d never ventured away from us toward other children.

That day, the four brothers and sisters came into our yard to bounce around together. They neither welcomed Mathew or ignored him. They were following butterflies that didn’t exist and swirled in the usual proximal orbit that brothers and sisters always do.

Matthew looked over at his mother asking silently if he could go play with the other children. He was excited and scared. The unknown beckoned.

We let his hand go and he ventured out into the world.

Veering

Matthew and I were in Bologna Italy when we found the hallway shown above. For the first time in my life, the veering from reflecting mirrors was alive and in front of me. See the picture. I was fascinated. 

Matthew was living in the neighborhood and passed the hallway everyday. It had disappeared. The experience was pedestrian because, for him, it was truly pedestrian.

To me, it was very special. Silly glimpses into the infinite are wonderful. My camera raised and I took the picture as he was walking away. He was venturing into the world as I considered a place to sit and breathe. 

That day, I didn’t. And I’m not sure where the hallway is located or I would offer an address. The photo will have to suffice.

Close your eyes and breathe.

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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 Michael 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?