Zen Spot #173 — Mindfulness, meditation, eggplant dusk, red taillights and bending a nasty note March 20, 2018 00:00

The timbre of the night

Lincoln Drive, in Philadelphia, parallels the dramatic curves of the Skuykill River, as it flows toward Center City. Swimming upstream, as I drove my car away from the city, I was listening to the radio — WXPN. Twilight embraced.

Red taillights wandered at warp speed, hugging the Skuykill as if glued to the asphalt in front of me. I was alone. Jonny Meister was broadcasting The Blues Show,  like almost every Saturday evening since 1977. His voice is unmistakable--its timbre belies a weird joy born of substantial knowledge of the genre.

Too, the night itself spoke with a timbre. Taillights began to trail like shooting stars into the fading purple darkness. Akin to the phenomenon of seeing black and red when experiencing rage, what wasn’t black was purple in my field of vision — except for the taillights. A deep comfortable eggplant purple. The immediate atmosphere absorbed and reflected music and light, in the moment. 

The possibilities offered by the coming darkness — numbness, gregariousness, primality, community, mindfulness—can bring both joy and sadness.

Smiling at a sad story

The Blues are born from sadness, and loss, just as assuredly as Jonny’s timbre is born of substantial knowledge, genetics and personal culture. Perhaps the reverse is true as well. Both births provide a paradoxical joy. Listening to stories of suffering set to a predictable rhythm and chord structure offers inexplicable connection to the tragedy of the body electric. With a little knowledge, the stories, too, are as predictable as the progressions — in the same way that most tragedies can be predictably sourced back to The Bard.

Jonny broadcasting tragedy. Warm tragedy. Welcoming tragedy. 

Following art in Philadelphia

There is a dramatic art tribalism that exists in my city. When pursuing local artwork, looking for discussion and insight from gallery owners and artists, I often remark that I was away from the creative scene for a very long time, and that I am still trying to find my way through the community — looking for a community that I am coming to believe doesn’t exist. That said, when I explain that I’ve been away for a long time, many people think that means I’ve been to prison — really. 

Where I’ve been for thirty years is my business, but I was definitely away from Jonny. On Saturday, I returned.

If you’re lucky enough to listen to Mister Meister, and you pursue mindfulness, may I suggest that you sit in a low-lit room, at eggplant dusk, with a 70s’ stack stereo equipped with a green neon-bar equalizer that jumps sharply with severely bent notes — and you turn the volume down to just above the imperceptible. Let Jonny guide you into the moment.

Sad. Suffering. Wonderful. Jonny.

Jonny's podcasts can be found here: The Blues Show with Jonny Meister - WXPN


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?