A humble man playing with Fire overseen by the intent eye of Gaia
Collage by Karah Pino 2015
This collage represents a lot of my personal history. I was on the chess team in grade school, making it to the state championships in my 6th grade year. I used to blame my dad for my obsessive game play, but I eventually recognized that while he did introduce me to the game, he certainly didn’t make me play 10 games a day with my brother or team mates. I loved to play. Winning was nice, but mostly, I enjoyed an interesting game. It was my first form of meditation and mental training.
Later, after I abandoned the dreariness of early college science classes for the playtime of Art, I discovered the power of fire through blacksmithing, eventually taking an apprenticeship with Stoker Forge in Santa Fe, NM. This 6 months was a whirlwind of intricate metallurgy and oozing black mucous from the smoke of the coal forge. It was during this time I played and won my final chess game with an overzealous intellectual from the Los Alamos National Laboratory. I say it was my final game because I decided then to abandon zero sum games entirely.
My father bought my son a beginning chess set for his 4th birthday and he pulled it out recently. I showed him the basics of the game, how the pieces are set up, how different pieces move and how captured pieces are removed from the board. Mostly he enjoyed the clacking of the pieces interacting directly and the game quickly devolved into a melee.
Throughout my life, I have always had a deep connection with the Natural Order of life on this small blue green rock floating in space. While I have a deep faith in the powers of human creative ingenuity, I have watched for 4 decades a continuing pattern of destructive decision-making perpetuating suffering for the living beings who dwell in this place. It is troubling and confusing. And yet, with the training of Vipassana Meditation and QiGong, I am able to come into contact with the miracle of peace and love that emerge between the dysfunctional thoughts and actions of my fellow man.
When we play with the spark within our own hearts, we are in perpetual collaborative game of life.