Zen Spot #15 — Mindfulness, meditation and waiting for the R5 February 2, 2018 00:05

Platform 3

I love train stations. In particular, Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station. It is a temple whose altar holds a thirty-nine foot bronze statue of the Archangel Michael carrying the limp body of a fallen soldier into the arms of God. 

The station serves regional commuters who ride the rails into Center City every day to work. Simultaneously, business people, tourists and worldwide travelers can catch a train that will take them anywhere in America — or to an any number of airports from which they can depart to Auckland, Dar el Salaam, Paris, Shanghai or Rio de Janerio. From this place, it awes me that people can begin an adventure or return to the warmth of home.

As you might expect, thousands of people move through it’s cavernous main hall, past brilliant sunshine that blasts through five-story cathedral windows, whitewashing the marble floors, sometimes blinding passersby. Despite the activity, the bustle is muted excepting the public address system updating and directing travelers.

The worldwide trains arrive and depart from beneath the main terminal. Regional rail carries people to their destinations from above and slightly to the north, departing on platforms that open to the east and west. The east holds a spectacular view of the skyline across the Schuykill River. The west, when trains head in that direction, mostly carry people home.

Above the platform is a curved glass roof held sturdy by thick, swerving steel beams with thousands of giant rivets. The curves are unthinkable and brilliant. How to bend girders like rubber into cupped hands that fold open to widely welcome blue through skylights?

People rarely speak to each other while standing on the platform. It’s always quiet, at any time of day, save the occassional distant hiss and squeal of steel wheels chalkboarding against rails. In the summer, humidity absorbs sound. At night, with few people on the platform, it becomes a warehouse palace worthy of a Paris Metro station. In winter, it is a desert — a tunnel-whistle that one can feel more than hear.

Spaced along the platform are wood benches that are both hard and comfortable.

Sit. Breathe. Listen. Breathe. Close your eyes. Become nothing.


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?