Zen Spot #285 - Mindfulness, meditation, the Brown Sound and Dave McCorry's blue Jeep Renegade January 6, 2020 00:00

Stick shift

We were driving south on Warren Avenue. Having just passed under the train tracks, through a half-circle tunnel, we were almost idling at the traffic light. Dave was inexplicably angry at having to drop me off at the light, despite the stop being on his usual route home following cross-country practice. The Jeep’s standard transmission was whining. A dog was chasing a chicken in a parking lot off to my right. Dave's running shoes stunk horribly. I was hungry despite the stench. 

Eddie Van Halen dropped in on a gooey personal experience. 

Dave, Dave and Eddie

It’s called the Brown Sound. While I’m not a musician, I understand it's derived by tuning a guitar unusually, then setting its amplifier in an equally distinct manner. The first power chord played thereafter -- by anybody -- blasts an unmistakable brownness that could not be more appropriately named. Eddie is its master.

Before the Jeep entered the tunnel, the quintessential 70’s cowbell counted upwards, followed shortly by the first chords to Dance The Night Away . David Lee Roth screeched coarse sandpaper.

I’d never heard anything sooooooooooooo brown. Amazingly brown. Seductively brown. Instinctively brown. I knew it was brown, never having heard the color. Life has never been the same.

Waffle Trainers

I’ve written before about my gift of memory. To this day, I can tell you what McCorry was wearing, the titles of the textbooks in the back seat, the brand of tires on the Jeep and the date of its next inspection. The label on the eight-track tape was scrawled with his older brother’s name. I was wearing two-year old Nike Waffle Trainers and my sweatshirt hadn't been washed in over three weeks.

Absolute zero

I’ve written before about a singular life experience when the first four dimensions were flash-frozen into a single experience of absolute zero. I was pumping gas at a mini-mart in the Swiss Alps. Benignly. Unexpectedly. Spontaneously. At once, I experienced a millisecond and an eternity. A near death experience without the fear of death.

Dave and Dave and Eddie were flash-frozen into the brown that day on Warren Avenue. One was angry and the other two didn’t know I existed. The brown, in hindsight, was well aware of my being.

Buddha and the Brown Sound

I recently listened to an online recording of the guttural chanting of a group of Buddhist monks. And, while I’ve heard the depths of their nothingness before, it happened, this time, that I was sitting at the traffic light on Warren Avenue, having just passed under the train tracks, through the half-circle tunnel.

The monks' sound was noticeably brown and my youngest son, sitting next to me, was angry for making him listen to the monks. I’m no longer sure that the two experiences didn’t happen at the same time, flash-frozen.


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?