The Middle Way

Zen Spot #184 — Mindfulness, meditation and Sonny Rollins standing on the bridge in Giverny April 9, 2018 00:00


A case can be made that Claude Monet invented Impressionism. He painted an inspiring series of water lilies in his gardens in Giverny France. Familiar to most art believers, the painting shown above is an exceptional example of his greatest works. In particular, the bridge is a well-known icon. 

That said, when viewed in-person, paintings from the Giverny series are among the best examples of abstract expression I’ve ever seen. Stand within three feet of an individual water lily and it disappears completely — and becomes a brushstroke of pure color exclusive of story, composition and context.

While the central images of his extensive Giverny series don’t seem to be metaphorical, they do tell a powerful visceral story of serenity and calm. The bridge is singular despite inspiring a different myth for each viewer. I believed the bridge to span 400 meters despite my understanding of the average size of a water lily.

I want the bridge to span 2500 meters. I want the bridge to descend into chaos on both sides. I want a mindful calmness too.

Sonny Rollins

Despite both sides of the Williamsburg Bridge descending into chaos, neighbors in both New York City boroughs frown on the volume of certain types of noise. Control is a funny and unpredictable thing. In the early 1960s, later in the evening, when he needed a place to practice his saxophone, myth holds that he would walk the span perfecting his instrument’s voice.

I’d love to hear him playing while standing on the bridge in Giverny--improvising mindfully, even if he chose silence as his statement.


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?