Zen Spot #187 — Mindfulness, meditation and billions of stories lost July 26, 2018 00:00

Click. Snap. Poof.

At some point over the last ten years, a tipping point was reached. Pay phones disappeared. Booths and privacy modules followed them into the abyss. Too, the stories moved away.

Culture of commodity

Communication is an ever-more convenient, mobile, affordable commodity. It’s these three factors, in particular, that magnify whatever object or material has taken the place of the spot where tens of thousands of people stood, with a handle pressed against their ears, while talking to whomever about whatever. In perpetuity, a human being may never occupy that space again.


Prayers. Lies. Love. Excuses. Outrage. Concern. Inventions. Wonder. Events. Invitations. Milestones. Purchases. Accomplishments. Endeavors. Apprehension. Recipes. Therapy. Support. Darkness. Struggle. Humor.


A strong case can be made that pay phones were the Typhoid Mary of twentieth century public culture. As much viral filth was spread as were powerful ideas. Ignorance, however, is bliss. To happily watch Mary die, never having seen the child in Mary’s eyes, demonstrates a misunderstanding of the past — and the joy that was found in connecting with another human being.


There is something transcendental about knowing one has shared a very specific place on the planet with tens of thousands of other human beings, at different times, for the singular purpose of connection.


Zen Spots, disappearing by the millions, with little evidence they ever existed. Pursuant to an understanding of the interdependence between the air that fills a bowl, with the bowl itself, the removal of the phones is, from my perspective, akin to the removal of air. And, if the air disappears, what happens to the bowl? 

Where did the stories go?


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?