Zen Spot #278 - Mindfulness, meditation and the little blue box January 22, 2020 00:00

Suit and tie

From the time I was a child I hated getting dressed up and, in a world where my clothes reflected my mother and father’s ability to parent, I spent a lot of time being miserable. It didn’t help that our limited funds afforded a lot of polyester which, as a material, to this day, no fashion designer has been able to master. Cheap polyester. The kind that Andy Warhol made movies about. The kind the Village People wouldn’t wear. The kind that creases like a folded cardboard box. The kind that, matched with a pleather overcoat and a box of Marlboro Reds, guaranteed a fistfight from the kids who wanted to look like they could afford cigarettes.

My preferred uniform is cotton cargo pants, a long sleeved t-shirt and hiking boots. When required to dress up for a date night, the cargo pants remain but I will change into a collared dress shirt. A suit and tie are reserved for weddings, funerals, job interviews and, if necessary, office visits. Life is too short to be uncomfortable. 

My wife is frustrated by my choices. My friends and children accept me as I am. Oh yeah, I never leave the house without a baseball hat. No jewelry, tattoos, watches, designer labels or logos. I am a fashion cliche of such epic proportions for my age and ethnicity that it even makes me laugh.

Strolling down Fifth Avenue for the first time

The first and only time I visited Tiffany & Company was during my first time visit to New York City. On an all day bus tour, my girlfriend and I walked from 82nd and Fifth Avenue to Eighth Street, across Washington Square Park, and down to Houston. Then, we turned and found our way back. Among the landmarks we saw on our way south, was Tiffany’s. I didn’t know what it was but I knew it was famous — from a movie I’d never seen. 

With me wearing the early Eighties version of the uniform described above, we walked inside and, from the looks of the sales associates, our tourism was blatant. It was as if they could see the ten dollar bill in my wallet and the thousand bucks in my bank account. That said, I was as impressed with them as they clearly were with me. Having browsed for ten minutes, we were off on a greater adventure, never having paid attention to the little blue boxes.

A documentary about the little blue box

Two weeks ago, my wife introduced to the story of Tiffany & Company — and the other world’s passion for the weird powder blue box. A Netflix documentary described the history, the mystique and the joy associated with the very specific color owned by the company. Tiffany literally owns a color and the hue is viewed as much a jewel as any jewel held within the box. The blue and the brand prompt happiness in a large portion of the world. Interviews with women who had been given a blue box holding whatever, intimated a not-so-sublime joy. I couldn’t have been more confused.

Emotions and attachment are funny things.

The gift

By coincidence, during the week following the video, an associate showed me a ring she’d received. She couldn’t contain her joy. 

I asked. It was a Tiffany. 

Perhaps it was the love. Perhaps it was the blue. Perhaps it was something I will never understand. Perhaps I will someday be rich enough that I will understand completely if, for no other reason, I can witness the joy on the face of the person to whom I give the jewel.

It was, during the writing of the last paragraph that I realized, in fact, that the vast majority of the joy found inside the box isn’t about the color blue, it isn’t the about jewel and it isn’t about the wealth. It is all about the Zen of giving the gift.

I’ve learned a little bit today. Find joy.


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?