December 8, 2014

Meme-Art: Seeking Meaningful Expression in 200 Characters.

robert rabbin meme-art

In early 2013, I started creating what I call “Meme-Art”, which I post on my Facebook page.

These mini-artworks consist of an image on which I lay text, usually not more than 200 characters. Through these images, I endeavor to present coherent expressions: a meaningful insight, a useful principle, or a notion to contemplate.

If I were a dancer, a meme-artwork would be but one, swift movement on stage; if I were a musician, a meme-artwork would be a sudden, spontaneous riff; if I were a rock climber, a meme-artwork would be a focused, powerful lunge to a tiny handhold.

I realize that with the word limitation, I cannot articulate the entirety of anything. Nor do I try to be right.

As a writer, the discipline of writing a coherent, relevant and stand-alone expression in under 200 characters (including spaces!) is good to develop clarity and focus.

I always aim to give something to the reader.

I aim to authentically express myself in terms that can provide the reader or listener with something of useful value. I can never be sure what an audience will deem “of useful value,” but I consider this nonetheless. (Otherwise, I would be using my audience, whether readers or listeners, as a kind of masturbatory focus; you know, using the audience as an excuse for me to get off. Hmmm.)

From what people have said, my meme-art is of useful value. I’ve heard that these artworks have inspired clarity, courage, confidence, action and healing.

Without the images, the artwork is diminished, but it is my hope that the words will be of useful value to you, in the ways in which others have found value, and in new ways.

I think of the word-shards I’ve read that have moved my heart, revealed my soul or ignited some passion: from Rumi, Kabir, heaps of Zen folk, a bit of a song, a piece of a poem, or all of a haiku. I offer a sample of my word-shards, my meme-art. Here we go!


The antidote to mass confusion is simple, if not easy: jettison the entire notion of being right, and everything that goes along with it; then remain still, silent, and open. Non-dogmatic clarity will appear, and all will be well.


Within stillness of being, all thoughts and beliefs, fears and doubts, anger and hatred, greed and violence dissipate and dissolve naturally and effortlessly. I nominate stillness of being to be the global religion.


Stillness of being is an extreme form of social and political activism, because its silence neutralizes, rationalizations and justifications for violence.


Living within the borders of our own conceptualized self, we are trapped in beliefs, images and opinions; we can’t even imagine anything else. Outside that self, we become everything. How could we not become friends with everyone and everything?


What is in the way of your own peace? Compulsive thinking, compulsive speaking, compulsive acting. Compulsive thought, speech and action are the killers of peace. Silence and stillness are the parents of peace.


A prescription for global transformation: provide every child with healthy food, clean water, medical care, safe and peaceful homes, education, expressive freedom.


I don’t often use the word “love”; it’s become a cliché, a hazy idea, a hiding place of vague sentimentality. I prefer words like kindness, courtesy, generosity, empathy. I can observe these behaviors. What is the behavior of “love”?


To say we are all one doesn’t bridge our distance as well as appreciating and honoring our differences. We live in a world of diversity, though all comes from a single source.


Look carefully and you’ll see that every thought is automatically self-justifying. In other words, whatever you think and say is right! Except that most of it is fool’s gold. The real gold is silence.


As long as one has a body, one cannot rise above the world; rather, we become the world. Self-realization is not an end to engaged living. It is the beginning of it.


As our world’s seam of sanity unravels, we may want to escape through one distraction or another. It’d be better to learn to be the clear, calm, peaceful eye of the storm.


In the first grade of meditation school, we learn that thoughts come and go by the thousands. In post-grad school, we see them do so.



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Author: Robert Rabbin

Editor: Emma Ruffin

Photo: Author’s Own

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