Zen Spot #20 — Mindfulness, meditation and the ample pungent wonder of trash truck juice February 4, 2018 00:05

The rear of the bodega in Mt. Airy where the dumpster was located

The rear of the bodega in Mt. Airy where the dumpster was located

Trash truck juice

There is that smell of garbage — the kind where hot vegetables are rotting, while sitting in a rancid stew of cooking oil and and saliva, that leaks from a trash truck as it stutters down the street — that can be held in the memory for years. It is a punch in the nose that is hard to avoid because one can never know one is in the boxing match until it’s too late. A mild, mild skunk. The smell is easily found behind a bodega or small strip-mall restaurant.

I offer this description, though revolting for some readers, because, while I was turning my car around in an alley near a dumpster in Mount Airy, with my car windows open, I found myself overcome by the stench. Meditation couldn’t have been further from my mind. 

A smelly moment of mindfulness

For some reason, immediately after my reactive desire to leave the scene, I was overcome with an instinct to stop — and I did. My stomach is strong and I wasn’t overpowered. So, I opened my car door, walked to the cinder block wall, sat on the concrete with my back against the wall, folded my legs and took a breath.

The stench was evident a little more after I closed my eyes. But, I committed to my position and waited until I got used to the smell. It didn’t take long, perhaps seven or eight minutes. When the fog lifted, the raw, hard-edged wall welcomed my attempt to be mindful.

I never reached the place I was trying to reach — but I’m glad I tried.


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?