Zen Spot #12 — Mindfulness, meditation and the aftermath of an inferno January 25, 2018 00:05

The boomerang

A recurring experience, on my path, is the reinforcement of the idea that life ends each day when we close our eyes and another begins when we awaken. I’ve written of this idea in other posts but always in the context of creation. This Zen Spot is notable for destruction.


Where a strong brick building — and small family business — stood at 6 pm on a Saturday evening, a smoldering pile was found the following morning. I knew the family and wasn’t enamored. As a struggling Buddhist, it’s hard to admit those feelings.

I was unaware of the fire and only discovered the wreckage after driving by months later. The building sat back off the road about one hundred meters and, when I passed by, it was clear, but not obvious, that something had changed. The wheel of my car turn reactively. As I approached the address, I was overwhelmed by a staggering mass of twisted metal, blackened splintered wood, broken cast iron pipes, crumbled brick and dirt still impressed from the soles of dozens of firefighters’ boots. Chain-link fence cordoned off the blight.

I wanted to cry. 

I struggle with compassion

I got out of the car. My fingers gripped the fence, looking for answers. It was clear that fire had devoured the structure but, until you stand face to face with its destruction, and can compare the husk to the fruit, its hard to imagine the feeling. The shock left my mouth open and head spinning. 

Just then, I made the decision — an active decision — to try to walk in the shoes of the family who owned the business. It was a hard decision. I was overcome with an unsettled feeling that pales to that of the owners. 

In the moment, I found compassion and I’m forever thankful.


The site was razed shortly after my visit. A flat, anonymous two-thousand square foot pad site remains. The location will remain forever undisclosed.

Meditation will need to be practiced elsewhere. This Zen Spot reminds me to remain vigilant in looking for its next home.


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 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?