Zen Spot #275 -- Mindfulness, meditation and words from the white space December 27, 2019 20:24

The choice of a word

In a past life, thirty years ago, when I was an art director at TV Guide Magazine, my mentor frequently observed that everything begins with the word


Young man that I was, I argued, as did every other visual artist. With an open mind, I learned. With time, I understood.

Words matter. And, while they do become visible when printed on a page or pixeled on a screen, those manifestations are almost as invisible as is any word that remains unspoken or unwritten. Ink on paper, pixels on plasma — they are the air that occupies a threshold, not the frame, hinges or door.

Dance, painting, drawing — they all begin with the word. Should you protest, examine why. Fewer truisms exist.


Among my more maddening traits is the long pauses that I spontaneously inject into conversation when trying to find the perfect word. Sometimes, ten or fifteen seconds will pass, while in mid-sentence, during which I will search the memory banks for the precision I value, and the search is absolutely sublime. I enter a white space of nothingness. Longer pauses accompany my writing.

White space

Spontaneously, my breathing slows down, I close my eyes, and I enter a space where logic means nothing. Despite not quite knowing my destination, I never crawl around in the dark. Instead, I simply exist in the white space until the word arrives — and it always does. Between the time I close my eyes and the time the word taps on my shoulder, time stands still.

Should the next life be the white nothingness where I wait for a word, I suspect I will be happy. Until then, in this life, I’ll occasionally search for the word  and be happy.


In this essay, the word from the white space was pixeled.


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?