The Middle Way

Zen Spot #43 — Mindfulness, meditation and an impending profanity February 5, 2018 00:05

Graffiti is quiet

A new day doesn’t begin at 12 a.m. While natural, and commonly accepted as that time when a page on the calendar is turned, for those of us who are alive and well beyond midnight, the new morning doesn’t begin until 4 a.m. Until such time, despite the world believing it is today, I believe it is still yesterday.

It is, during this time, when most graffiti is sprayed.

Ethics and compassion

Perhaps my greatest struggle on The Path is my natural compulsion to spew profanity when confronted with situations where I am disrespected or the safety of someone I love is compromised. I both write and act with two middle fingers. At times, I feel as though I am the only human being failing so consistently in this manner because, while attending various events that surround me with other practitioners, there seems to be a happiness — a centeredness — that eludes me for extended periods of time.

I struggle with compassion for the world, including for myself.

Idols, statues and temples

In Philadelphia, there are multiple temples within which practitioners can gather. The beauty of each reaches deeply within. Art and symbols abide--quiet doorways. 

And the quiet portends the infinite. I’m not sure if I am more effected by the quiet or the symbols. Certainly, in such moments, the profane is a million miles away.


I am profane. I am so much more. I am also nothing, both eventually and now. Spewing profanity gives me comfort that, ironically, is only matched by mindfulness. Despite my anger being direct outward, it is rarely received because it is shotgunned from a moving car. The Body electric, though, is wounded in the same manner as it would be had the eyes and ears of my target been aware.

Graffiti is quiet

The Buddhist viewpoint on sex falls very closely to that of most other religions and philosophies. That is to say, it should only be entered into with care, compassion and trust. Having been raised in a conservative home, anything but a straightforward approach was sinful. That said, it would naturally follow that most pleasure derived within a caring, compassionate and trusting environment falls within the course of the Path.

This graffiti

I had walked by the wall on which the words above have been sprayed many times. Three or four days before, the white of the paint didn’t cover the black of the wall. My discomfort was immediate. Shame followed shortly, though I had nothing to do with this summary offense.

At the same time, a single atom of mindfulness suggested that I sit on the sidewalk just below the words and let them hover above me while I closed my eyes. 

Everything fell away — the inside itch of confusion, the bowling ball of shame, the fear of failure every time a finger flies. 


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?