Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Meditation in the wake of Pulse

In June of 2016 I became obsessed with sketching every wake, vigil, memorial and fundraiser devoted to the cause of the Pulse Nightclub Massacre. Every post at the time was about the shooting and the cities attempt to heal in the wake of the tragedy. To find some personal balance in my life I turned to meditation. I honestly hoped that the discussion on this day might be about the Buddhist teachings that might address such a tragedy. Certainly Buddhists must have thoughts that would shed some light on the feelings and confusion that follow mass murder.  I learned that the previous week had addressed those insights. The Mindful Medition Discussion Group meets weekly on Wednesdays behind the home of Peter Carlson (1818 Carrigan Avenue, Winter Park, 32789).

We all sat silently for an hour to meditate. My high blood pressure caused my ears to start drumming. I was concerned that my body didn't allow for enough quiet for me to get lost in the moment. My legs started to ache so I shifted to a new position. I must be doing this all wrong.  I was biding my time until I could sketch during the discussion to follow. Despite my annoyance at my inability to find any semblance of peace, I was glad that I had taken the night to do something for myself. I hoped meditation might allow me to come to terms with what had happened at Pulse. That never happened. Conversation turned to the four noble truths, but my mind wandered back to Orange Avenue just south of the Orlando Regional Medical Center.

I returned to mediation many times in the following months to  keep trying. Glen Weimer, an old college friend offered me a chance to escape to Nantucket and it was there that some quite meditation on the beach finally brought me a moment of respite.

The Dali Llama's thought on violence seem to ring true. He teaches the universal human values of peace, harmony, and community... "If we emphasize more on non-violence and harmony, we can herald a new beginning. Unless we make serious attempts to achieve peace, we will continue to see a replay of the mayhem humanity experienced in the 20th century. We need a systematic approach to foster humanistic values, of oneness and harmony. If we start doing it now, there is hope that this century will be different from the previous one. It is in everybody’s interest. So let us work for peace within our families and society, and not expect help from God, Buddha or the governments."

So what can  I do? I have just one tool at my disposal and that is to sketch. Now two years after the attack, I am still sketching and listening to try and understand.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at analogartistdigitalworld@gmail.com

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