Zen Spot #35 -- Mindfulness, meditation, wandering and wondering  in the dark May 14, 2018 00:00

Different street, different night

It was an early October Friday evening in the Olde City section of Philadelphia. Streets were alive with gallery openings, street musicians, open-air discourse and playoff baseball being broadcast into the air through the open doors of tap rooms on every corner.

The streets in Olde City are either extraordinarily well lit or weirdly dark. The latter are usually paved with pre-revolutionary cobblestones. I prefer the dark, after enough time in the light, and chose cobblestones to carry me back to my car.

Strolling down a shadowed side street, a woman walked quickly toward me on the opposite sidewalk, until reaching a doorway she immediately opened, slammed and locked. I am a giant. In the dark, if I was a woman, I suppose I would have protected myself, too.

The door was set into an old wood garage door that, if opened, would reveal the interior of a bright, cavernous, early twentieth-century carriage house. When it was built, horse-drawn carts would leave daily to carry ice or vegetables or home goods throughout Philadelphia. On that evening, light blast through the grid of hundreds of panes of glass that created two stories of windows hanging above the doorway. A chiaroscuro between the light and the dark.

A skeleton inside. Wheels and chains and girders and bricks intrigued me. It brought my ego and emotional innards to the surface. I felt outside. Truly outside. Like no matter what I did, no matter how successful I became, I could never experience the beauty inside. That was for other people.

It occurred to me, the next day, that the beauty I couldn’t experience was the beauty inside myself. Then, I realized that beauty, itself, is an illusion.

It doesn’t exist.


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.

Invented by DharmaMechanic