Zen Spot #155 — Mindfulness, meditation and letting sleeping dogs lie February 7, 2018 00:05


Apologies can have an almost otherworldly power. To reach out, after having committed an error, recognizing that your behavior caused pain, can bring about a rare intimacy. Too, reaching out can result in Hammurabi chewing off an equal portion of whatever. The unpredictability is excruciating. Walk into an apology with your face or loins covered and your sincerity can be questioned. Arrive defenseless and the bleeding could be profuse and extended.


Among the rationale for making amends during AA’s ninth step, as far as I am concerned, is the humbling pain one must endure as forgiveness is requested. If done correctly and thoughtfully, with the desire to do whatever is necessary to make amends at the forefront, the executor’s desire to never repeat the process can be a resource from which to pull the strength not to indulge when the opportunity presents itself.

That said, every person whose forgiveness I requested acted with an astonishing grace. My loins were sincerely exposed. None punted. 

Abscesses and my memory

I’ve written of blackouts. Weeks of blackouts. Time given away, and taken back spontaneously, years after, when a memory flashes back, bringing with it remorse that I thought was gone. 

Flashbacks bring reflexive facial contortions. The taste of an abscess bubble bursting on my gums is less bitter. Sometimes my head shakes back and forth spontaneously and automatically even before the memory arrives.

Abscesses and other people’s memories

The problem with a fearless and thorough accounting of one’s behavior is that many of the aggrieved don’t remember the grievance and, when approached, offer only a quizzical look. That said, in my case, almost everybody possessed a memory deserving of an apology for which I had no corresponding flashback. No matter.

The dogs

The latest boomerang to fly out of the dark and land at my feet concerned a client from twenty years ago. The indiscretion will go unnamed, but the compulsion to appropriately debit and credit the metaphysical balance sheet became overwhelming. An email was drafted. A phone call was pondered. Neither was executed.

I knew he wouldn’t remember and I knew he would forgive me. Of these two facts, I am absolutely sure. 

Forgiveness for the things I can’t remember found at the heart of the things I can remember. As the boomerangs continue to land at my feet, with this man in particular, my certainty in his grace allows me to forgive myself.


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?