The Middle Way

Zen Spot #19 — Mindfulness, meditation and talking to me February 23, 2018 00:05


Lest I forget, idols are weird things. Fame is too. 

My love for street art is well documented. Among the creative elements I love most is some artist's embrace of anonymity. The fact that the need for expression is more important than the need for recognition fascinates me. Perhaps I’m sensitive to this fact because I believe, to my very core, that every artist wants a kind of acknowledgment they almost never receive--and, that, if they ever actually have the experience, it becomes morphine. What’s odd is the fact that artists chase a drug never having taken the drug. Meat hooks having sunk into the soul without the high.


Easy art, hard art

An artist I’ve know for a very long time remarked that religious symbols can evoke a strong response if used in a painting or sculpture, especially if treated with disrespect. It’s much easier, he said, to outrage a viewer than to generate a visceral response based on vulnerability. The fact that every Catholic church on the planet proves me right--and wrong--proves me right.

Who cares? It’s only art. Or, as Larry Flynt has often been quoted — “Relax, it’s only sex.”

Post no bills

Throughout Manhattan, at almost every construction site, plywood has been nailed to perimeter fences to obstruct the view to bulldozers and cranes. Posters, then, get plastered-glued to the plywood. Advertising for movies, DJs, hair care, fashion houses and trinkets stick to wood as if chisled. Often illegal. Often discouraged by members of one union brotherhood, or another, violently, if witnessed. 

Night offers the applicators cover. The authors are rarely pursued after 10 pm. They become bloody pretzels if caught in the act, though. Otherwise, they make money. Otherwise, they make morphine.

Some street in Northern Liberties

Who knows why I was driving toward Fishtown. There is a creative, impenetrable culture in these neighborhoods. Small crimes are romantic. Fifteen blocks northwest there are few small crimes. Sometimes they bleed southeast. De Niro is a small art crime. Plastered on a building on a tight street that holds both the fronts and backs of buildings, Bickle’s sidearm is pointed northeast, away from the bleeding.

What’s giappo?

Art crime.


Art crime.


I like Giappo.

Ubiquitous, authored and anonymous — all at once.

Mindful giant 

I am. Older, but I am. The chance of a romantic or violent gesture is remote, for me, in this part of town. I can close my eyes, in daylight, and nobody will bother me. At night, maybe. A uniquer gift allowing me to be mindful in a place where smaller stature is vulnerable. Maybe.

I’ll take it.


I parked my car on the sidewalk. Yes, the sidewalk. Hobbled across the street, leaned against the wall in the same way I lean against every urban wall. Listening for sirens, I heard none in a city where, if you listen, they are constant. The tinkle of glasses being placed in a commercial dishwasher coming from an open door at the back of a restaurant replaced sirens.

Seeking mindfulness below a small plastered crime. 

It worked.



Check out Giappo.



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?