The Middle Way

Zen Spot #140 -- Mindfulness, meditation and finding peace in repetition February 16, 2018 00:00


Three hundred

Bowling is, perhaps, the only activity where perfection can be achieved. Roll twelve consecutive strikes and you’ve reached the pinnacle. People spend their lives trying to get to twelve. The achievement requires a curiously intense and effortless practice -- performing the same task thousands of times while trying to be completely present.

Saying the same thing over and over

I repeat myself — a lot. Subscribing to the the method of threes, I consistently do the following:

1. I tell you what I’m going to tell you
2. I tell you what I want to tell you
3. I tell you what I told you

The practice achieves as much clarity between two people as possible. Too, the process soothes my being. I don’t know why. It’s not because perfection is within reach.

The Dude abides one hundred times

For new readers, The Big Lebowski is my favorite movie. I believe the Dude to be a Buddha. And while I have more in common with the Dude’s best friend Walter than I have with the Dude, I’m evolving in his direction.

The Dude, Walter and their friend Donnie are bowlers. Good bowlers? Bad bowlers? Who knows? No matter, they practice.

In addition to loving the story, I watch the movie over and over because I always know how it’s going to end. That kind of predictability comforts me. Throughout a life where stability was hard to find, the security of knowing how something will resolve itself has an important place in my life.

Enlightenment is possible through practice and repetition.

Self soothing

When I get anxious, I stroke my own hair like one would pet a dog. Over and over and over again. The practice provides comfort. I used to do it several times each day. Now, maybe three or four times a month.

Mindfulness, perhaps.


There is that groove that can be found in a bowling alley where, as you roll, you find floor markings, finger placement, wrist angle, shoe slide and controlled breathing. With repetition, each gets adjusted and refined. After a thousand tries, one's practice becomes natural. Almost effortless.

Perfection is very rarely achieved, but few practitioners stop trying.



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

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