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

Different street, different night

It was an early Friday evening in November in the Olde City section of Philadelphia. The streets were alive with gallery openings, street musicians, open-air discourse and playoff baseball being broadcast into the night through the open doors of taprooms 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. As I walked down a specific shadowed side street, a woman walked quickly toward me on the opposite sidewalk, until reaching a doorway which she immediately opened, slammed and locked. I am a giant. In the dark, if one is 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 carriage house, from which, in the early twentieth-century, horse-drawn carts would leave daily to carry ice or vegetables or home goods throughout Philadelphia. On this evening, light blast through the grid of hundreds of panes of glass that coupled together into the two stories of windows that hung above the doorway. A chiaroscuro between the light and the dark was created .

The amazing architectural skeleton I could see inside — the wheels and chains and girders and brick — intrigued me. Perhaps more importantly, it brought my ego and emotional innards to the surface. I felt outside. Truly outside. Like I could never — that no matter what I did, no matter how successful I became — 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.

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?