The Middle Way

Zen Spot #230 -- Mindfulness, meditation, Walter and The Dude November 28, 2019 00:00

The Big Lebowski

It’s my favorite movie — by far. If you haven’t seen it, moving on to another essay is probably best. This essay requires an understanding of the hilariously different personalities of two best friends. Walter is a high-strung rage-o-holic. The Dude is a jobless hippy slacker.

Along with close friends of assorted backgrounds, they belong to an ersatz community of absurdity. Walter and The Dude spend the bulk of their time together engaged in the elegant, repetitive, mindful pursuit of repeatedly throwing a fourteen-pound ball down a spectacularly waxed wooden lane housed in an epic working-class cathedral.


Bowling is perhaps the only activity where perfection can be achieved. Roll twelve consecutive strikes and you’ve reached the pinnacle. That said, people spend their lives trying to get to twelve. The achievement requires practice. Performing the same task thousands of times while trying to be completely present is an exercise in both agony and joy.

I am Walter

The boundless fury of a young man — my boundless fury — has been replaced by an evolution both natural and disciplined. An appraisal of my progress is not mine to make, but I’ve certainly learned to listen, work hard and demonstrate compassion. I was a rage-o-holic.

I am The Dude

When I shave the sides of my beard, with only my goatee remaining, my looks are consistently compared to those of The Dude. I don’t see it  --  and I’ve looked. Same thing happens when I shave the beard completely. Apparently I look like Jeff Bridges with and without a beard. Too, I’m told that I sound like The Dude. Am I a jobless hippy slacker?

Yin and yang

Perhaps far too many of my recent essays focus on the topic of interdependence. It appears, however, that interdependence is pursuing me as energetically as I am pursuing an understanding of it. Everywhere I turn the universe presents me with another spontaneous example. Hopefully, I haven’t entered that circular thought process where every problem I see looks like a nail because my only tool is a hammer. I’m not sure, so I write what I write.

Walter and The Dude are interdependent. They are two sides of the same coin — a coin with as many sides as there are members of their community. My love for their characters is based on an expanding view of myself where I can look back in order to learn while, at the same time, looking forward to the enlightened hippy slacker I one day hope to become.

Find your coin. Find your Walter. Find your Dude. Find your compassion.

Watch the movie. Get to know me.


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?