The Middle Way

Zen Spot #150 - Mindfulness, meditation and every scar is cool February 3, 2015 09:39

Every scar comes with a story; often a tale of deliverance, stupidity, serendipity, insanity, frustration, sickness or love. The luckiest storytellers and survivors, those within whom an enviable fearlessness abides no matter how painful the cause, can copulate multiple factors into a wild child.

Scars are best measured in laughter and  vomit. There is that awesome ability, owned by a select few, to vividly depict, in words and undress, a forearm folded in half from a failed stunt or a nose ring ripped off by a blessed infant. Listeners heave and gag with delight; liked they've expressed a fetid cyst and smeared fists full of creamy goodness in their venial enemy’s hair. Whether a single stitch or a hardened gash that runs from boobs to jewels, every fable is intimate. 

And, every scar is cool.

The foreplay to foreplay, when you've entered a new relationship, is that discussion of deformities in preparation for the big reveal; that give and take of extra nipples, missing toes, half-finished tattoos and war wounds. The discourse that marks the first box on a flow chart that inexorably leads to orgasm or friendship is a tenuous virgin. American men inevitably have the most terrifying scar, from a common experience, with no attached memory, sliced within hours of landing on the planet. Some scars are cooler than others.


It's an ugly, unfunny word. That said, excisions leave the coolest scars of all. They scream of a violent confrontation with a nasty, relentless bully who holds no compassion; a sociopath willing to rip off one's wings and spit on the carcass. These scars are a scrappy fight for life; shards of glass jabbed mercilessly in the eyeballs of the monster.

Vicious, ugly, cool.

My father died from melanoma. It took its pound of flesh. He fought nobly from the day he was born until the day he died. Cancer was the final foe. He punched it square in the face more than once and, as a struggling Buddhist, I’m chagrined to say that I welcomed the violence. Love transcends mindfulness in my case.

Over the last few weeks, a very close friend began fighting breast cancer. My father was older when he passed and had lived as full as life as the entirety of his circumstances would permit. My friend is young; a mother and wife and intelligent comrade-in-arms.

Her scar arrived yesterday.


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?