Zen Spot #110 — Mindfulness, meditation and my feet hanging off the sides of a surfboard February 17, 2018 00:05

Knowing there’s a language

The way graffiti artists shape the language with their choice of words has always fascinated me. Often, the words are cryptic, with characters rendered so abstractly as to reflect the words of a tribe whose language I will never understand. Without doubt, something of substance is being conveyed, if only the chosen identity of another human being. 

A language within my language, without my language, is cradled in the collective mind, with a velvet rope holding back the great unwashed — of which I am one.

Inventing a language

Words come from somewhere, and each had to be invented. At some point in time, a dog went from having no identifying sound to having a group of people agree that a certain set of sounds would identify their furry, four-legged friend. One day, the sun rose and a human being made a choice as to how to refer to a dog. Before that day, the dog was not a dog.

The same can be said for the words rendered by graffiti artists. The Dead Sea Scrolls have nothing on the language spray-painted on the wall in the photo above. The writer plainly understood the word when it was written.

Inventing the poet

Choice and care are the hallmark of a poet. Consideration for both the meaning and the elocution of a word is valued. It is easy, however, for a poet to erase a word on paper — or throw the paper away altogether. 

Paint on a cinder block is less forgiving.

Waiting for the wave

It is impossible for me to look at the spray-painted word and not try to read it. The value I place on language and ideas compels me. My core reaches out, expecting meaning to divulge itself like a forty-foot wave instantly and expectantly rising from the glassy ocean behind me.

But the wave never arrives.

Feet hanging off 

Sitting up on my surfboard, two hundred yards from the beach, in ten feet of water, waiting for sharks and jelly fish to attack, it dawns on me that I will never be able to read the word and the sharks will never come. If a book exists for the language on the wall and it holds the secrets of the universe, the secret will never be available to me.

Not today.

Letting go of the language

The freedom of knowing that I will never understand is surprisingly warm. The pressure of the intellect to bulldoze, when abandoned, is replaced with the bosomy giggle of a teenager on ego-pilot, with the benefit of 55 years of living to ground the adolescent electricity. 

Walking away while remaining precisely in place. Bi-location of the pedestrian wise man. 


Not chasing. Not seeking. Not studying. Not adjusting. Not squinting. Not rationalizing. Not reading. 

And eventually not wanting. Just being, next to the blue.


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?