The Middle Way

Zen Spot #168— Mindfulness, meditation, two people, the same time and a different existence. February 2, 2015 00:30

A couple of month's ago, I visited an athletic coach from my freshman year of high school - 1976. He has had a profound influence on my life. So much so, that I often still rely on the lessons I learned from him. Among the most important are mental toughness, grit and belief in the ability to overcome adversity through hard work. For the first several months of my tutelage, I possessed none of these qualities...and I knew it. There was shame associated with this understanding.

One day, I got tired of the feeling and decided...actively change my life and attitude. My life transformed that day. He demanded and I complied. The next four years were an incredible experience built on hard work, fraternity and achievement. That said, I was not blessed with the gift of athleticism and, as such, was not a dream to coach. Not a dream - for a coach who wanted to dream. I was just a guy who loved his sport. The experience set a standard for the rest of my life.

During the visit, I made very clear how much his coaching had affected me and I thanked him for his contributions. We talked about the people and events from those days. In particular, we discussed the most gifted of his athletes; those who a coach dreams about. For him, those athletes held the fondest memories. I was a nice addendum. My experience was profound, his was nice. We occupied much of the same space, at the same time, for long periods.

Two people. Same time. Different existence.

Several weeks ago, I ran into a colleague from fifteen years ago. My counterpart explained that my influence on his life had been profound. He intimated that the lessons learned during our discussions extended beyond the discussions themselves. Our discussions were never pedestrian...or nice...but I had no understanding that they could affect another human being as positively as my colleague explained.

Concurrently, my oldest son has described, in one way or another, that my parenting had a similarly positive effect. Given the fact that my younger children still believe I am quite obtuse, my son's perspective is welcomed...and important...because my children are the people I want to teach.

Another paradox that becomes less a paradox as life goes on. Perhaps one day I'll understand.


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?