Zen Spot #49 — Mindfulness, meditation and the lives behind the brick behind the mural February 23, 2018 00:05

Discovering a mural during a walk

There is, often, a soloist who stands on a scaffolding of shoulders and wood and steel; but the gift is one of the collective, for the collective, requiring children, neighbors, homes, love, faith, collaboration, patience, dialog and passion. Each mural speaks a universal language, and expresses a singular truth, that is as personal and diverse as every person who walks by.

Souls rise with surprise; turning corners, looking up and being absorbed. For those who choose to stand closely, perhaps nose to brick, the full force and feeling of a building’s life becomes evident. One can know a machine shop or a family’s home resides behind the image. A school radiates, a hospital saves, a neighborhood transcends; grabbing the paint as surely and passionately as the paint grabs the building. The mural burns to the touch in direct August sunlight and its color can occupy the October darkness in altogether unexpected ways.

For those who, over the course of their lives, may only spend one hour in our city, looking up, with necks twisted behind windshields, admiring giants, they will leave with stories soon to be told — in Oslo, Sao Paolo, Dar es Salaam, Perth, Beijing and Chennai — about an inspiring neighborhood of neighborhoods where people work together with a common belief in the ability of art to transcend. Perhaps one traveler, upon returning home, will find a wall and a community that, fifty years from now, will look back at a city transformed.

Sometimes a Buddhist artist

There is no replacement for the joy of mashing a two-inch round brush, filled with a half a pound of cerulean blue paint, into a wall, until the conscious and the unconscious collide in a rendering of the sky. A dialog with a child, or an adult, about how to mix ideas and paint will, in fact, alter every door of perception. The world is our classroom.

And, while commerce sustains the economy that begets the mural’s creation, beliefs beget decisions that will sustain the voice until only dogs can hear the singing bell. I believe technology separates us more than art can connect us unless the voice behind the art demonstrates the unswerving belief that the medium, most certainly, is not the message.

This is my disclosure. I believe in the voice.

I believe in the connection of two people sitting together painting one picture. I believe in the ability of art to heal and transcend. I believe in symbols and handshakes and forgiveness and the choice to reach out when the prodigal son returns. I believe in lost sleep, found objects, fractured clay and art screaming to escape from a mosaic of sixty families, living in fifty row homes, on one block, spread across less than an acre of concrete. Alone together.

I believe in closing one’s eyes, legs folded, leaning against a mural painted on the outside of a home where a family might be sleeping, so that the sounds of its home lead me into silence.


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?