The Middle Way

Zen Spot #196 — Mindfulness, meditation and the size of any wave August 20, 2018 00:00

Excitement and joy

I’ve always found joy in wrestling water — diving, flipping, body surfing, racing, treading and wondering. At the beach, in the summer, in my youth, I would race toward the waves with reckless abandon, hoping I could dip my shoulder, at full speed, and slam into a wave at the precise moment its full force broke. Exploding through the wall was a near-spiritual experience, as was being splattered to the sand when the water had its way. Despite being skinny and possessing very little physical strength, I was fearless in the face of a wall of nature’s rhythm.

Too, water elicits primal fear from me. In particular, deep open water terrifies, especially if I can’t see the bottom. My mind’s eye fill with predators. 

Eating and getting eaten

In the face of the abstract, with an emphasis on one’s view of expectations of the other human beings, I believe that one is what one believes other people are. If one believes humanity is cruel, it is because the believer is cruel. If one believes humanity is kind, it is because the believer is kind. To expect predators to arrive as soon as I am vulnerable says something about me. The truth, I know, lies somewhere in the middle, but the fear — and belief — is instinctive.

Banzai pipeline

Much to the chagrin of archaeologists roving the planet with back hoes and dust brushes, the north shore of Oahu is the resting place of the Holy Grail. Perfect waves break. Ten feet high at least. In January, they can be three times ten. 

An adolescent’s shoulder, however, could never blast through to the other side. The water itself is a predator. Pipeline drops houses on surfers. Blood and bone are extracted at will. Its rhythm can sometimes cough up bodies. Apparently, though, life inside the tube, for twenty seconds, transcends all else. Those with skill, and guts, can get to the other side.

Ankle deep

Standing in the shallowest of water, while the sand and water around one’s feet races underneath the next small breaking wave, offer a cool sublime pleasure. Contemplating the horizon, eyes open and arms spread out, almost expecting to fly, can be as immersive as a cannonball off the deck of a sloop. Eyes closed, it can feel as though it’s possible to fall into eternity.

Any size wave can open the door.

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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 SilkDharma.com.

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?

 

 


Zen Spot #180 — Mindfulness, meditation and water’s power of erasure July 4, 2018 00:00

Pilings

Perhaps the image above is indiscernible. Water, hopefully, can be seen, with its surface being broken by two wood pilings. Taken with an old smartphone, the image’s color and aversion to detail muffle a muffled story. Pursuant to making lemonade from lemons, I’ve chosen to embrace the questions posed by the photo.

Almost still water

Pounded into the silt at the bottom of a pocket of near-standing water only fifty meters from the main currents of the Delaware River, the pilings are likely remnants of a dock that would allow a boat with a five foot draft to rest. Surrounding docks — those within two or three hundred meters — could, at one time, welcome large container ships.

The dock is gone. Among the questions begged is the role of water’s and man’s erasure.

Elements

Without taking time to review the image above carefully, the bolts protruding from the left post are easily missed and, if so, the element’s influence on this little corner of the environment are also missed. The river’s attempt to erase thousands of stories told by the boats and people who embarked could be misunderstood as an inability to erase — and erasure is a story to behold. Not to be missed, the slow-motion parable of a structure being eaten, after having been torn down, is one of elegance and mystery.

The bolts appear to have secured a wood walkway, before its planks were twisted out like rotten teeth with pliers. The image of a bloody jaw and gums notwithstanding, the bent galvanized bolts and washers betray a force of will directed to erase. Perhaps more mystery than elegance is evident but the image of the natural world performing a slow seductive dance, calling her progeny home, offers a movement to behold. Eventually, each piling will fall, its decay expedited. The bolts will be absorbed by silt and covered by mud, found perhaps in a thousand years.

Millions of stories erased by water.

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About Michael DeSoi  

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 Michael 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 SilkDharma.com.

 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?

 

 

 


Zen Spot #115 — Mindfulness, meditation and that place where the rapids begin February 14, 2018 00:05

Math and fluids

Engineers love me. Throughout university, they were my friends. Still are. A much-beloved giant black sheep, unlike my friends, I never sat in front of a college professor trying to learn fluid dynamics. Reminders of this fact abound from my friends. Truth be told, I had no idea what fluid dynamics were. Formulas of mathematical Greek, powered by factors and viscosity, were thrown at me, like mud, in only the way friends can splatter with love.

Crushing a brick

A friend’s professor, upon some inquisition, described a research project trying to determine the failure point of a red brick. Specifically, a variety of red brick, the kinds of which are used to build a home, were placed in a press and an increasing amount of pressure was applied until the brick crumbled.

The concept fascinated me. Rest dust was the result of the project. Red dust.

At the conclusion of the research project, the question posed by the researcher was answered based on the parameters, and the next research project was begun--moving on to metaphorically create more red dust, time after time after time, ad infinitum.  

To me, the failure of the brick was much more than the math of the failure. Suggesting discourse, when questioned about my larger/smaller curiosity, the engineers offered blank stares. To them, red dust was simply red dust. No more, no less--higher math.

The failure of the brick, to me, was an example of the crossing-over point from the blind mind to the clear mind. That precise nano-second when the brick crumbles was, as best I can describe, the building of a bridge.

A question about water

An influencing factor — a dynamic — is required for a fluid to move from its rest. Wind, erosion, heat, a broken vessel and a thousand other influences can disturb the rest. 

Water, when found in a natural setting, rests until it does not rest. Sitting on the bank of the stream shown above, it was easy to see a glass top section of water that appeared completely still, no more than fifty yards away. 

At some point between where I sat and that point of still water, a nano-second passed — a precise point in space/time — where the water transformed from stillness. 

Something failed and influenced the water's state in a most beautiful, sublime and natural way.

Oh, to fail.

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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 SilkDharma.com.

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?

 

 


Zen Spot #99 — Mindfulness, meditation and a drifting solitude January 29, 2018 00:05

Breathe

Sometimes it is best, while sitting in a boat, on a lake, to set the oars down and drift on flat, perfect water. Perfect water is everywhere — and sometimes it isn’t even water.

>

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 SilkDharma.com.

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?