Zen Spot #114 — Mindfulness, meditation and the birdhouse with a sunny door February 17, 2018 00:05

Philadelphia is full of murals

One can’t turn a corner without coming upon a giant — they reach out with a message of history, hope, culture or empathy. From the richest to the poorest, it seems that every neighborhood is blessed.

Giant scaffolds, giant brushes and giant gestures

No matter how detailed the image, painting a mural, in parts, requires broad gestures of bold color. Rendering a flower might extend the artist’s arms as far as they can possibly go while standing on tippy-toes. From the landing of a scaffold, raised five stories in the air, looking down can wither a painter in a way that standing in front of a canvas, at home, never would.

Life can’t reside in a mural

Rarely can truth be found in a painting. Parables and icons come with a viewpoint that is often incomplete or polished. Landscapes and cityscapes represent an ideal devoid of blood. 

In the mural shown above, the artist affixed a birdhouse — a real and precious home — to the rendering of a tree. Time was taken to build or buy, then paint, a place for a living thing to be warm. 

A doorway to the sun

The bird for whom the house will become home will always enter through a circular door painted to look like the sun. Parables await. In a city of neighborhoods, on a tree that doesn’t exist, a real bird hops through a symbolic sun to enter the warmth of its actual home.

Mindful and grateful

I didn’t notice the birdhouse when I took the photograph. It wasn’t until afterward, while cropping the image for placement in this blog, that I realized art was imitating life, telling a story more powerful than any giant, requiring a giant for the story to be told at all.

I am a bird. I am a giant. I am not a bird. I am not a giant.


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?