Zen Spot #228 - Mindfulness, meditation and the sugary fire December 17, 2018 00:00

Fashion plate

Between the ages of 4 and 8, my daughter owned a truly funky fashion sense. Wearing a dress and pants together, with mismatched socks, a bandana and miles of plastic jewelry, her internal joy was worn on her sleeves. When an outfit was finished, she had this habit of jumping one inch off the floor, keeping her legs straight when she landed, sending a mini jolt through her little body that indicated she’d completed her sculpture.

Grounded in truth, the jump was. 

Carrying prayers

Having been raised in the Roman Catholic church, I was fascinated by the lighting of incense during special services. I called it the sugary fire. Never able to get close enough to the altar to see what was actually happening, except to see the thurible being filled with a spoonful of incense, I thought the practice was similar to sugar being added to tea. To this day, I’ve never been closer than 100 feet to the process, so my imagination plays a greater role than knowledge. The acrid aroma is unmistakable, though. It haunts and spirals and swirls.

When I, as an eight year-old, asked my father about the smell, he told me that the smoke helped carry our prayers toward heaven.

Sugary fire

During the same time frame described above, I was with my daughter when she smelled incense for the first time. Her nose wrinkle furiously, followed by the same instinctive and instructive hop.

Every time I smell incense, a little jolt goes through my body — taught by the sweetest little mentor I’ve ever met.


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?