Martin works at one of my favorite breakfast places. It is called La Mercerie and serves the best croissant I have ever eaten. A couple of weeks ago, Martin was serving me and I noticed a circular tattoo on his right forearm. I asked if we would be willing to share his story and luckily he was.
“I got my tattoo about two months ago in Vienna. The place is called Tattoo Art. I met this tattoo artist named Matt, he’s from Italy. His art just surprised me in such a positive way. I don’t know why, but it touched me. It had these geometrical figures, they really impressed me and touched me.
“I like geometric figures in general. Mathematics makes sense to me because everything starts at a point and then it goes on like a vector. And two points make one line. That is very simple to understand and I like simple things. It also looks good.
“My tattoo is the Yin and the Yang and the Flower of Life. The Flower of Life is the beginning of life. Like in the Bible, it starts with one thing and then God hovers over the sea and He creates something. That’s the key of life. Also cells in science, they start as one cell and then they multiply into two and then four and then eight cells. Holy geometry has interested me for four or five years because it is the key to everything for me.”
I looked up later what holy geometry was and discovered it is also called sacred geometry. It is described as, “symbolic and sacred meanings to certain geometric shapes and proportions.” Often times, this holy geometry is used to design sacred buildings such as churches or cathedrals.
“Then there’s the Yin and the Yang,” Martin continued. “It stands for the positive and the negative energy. Like you can see the light in the darkness, and the stars only shine when it’s dark. It’s also like female and male, like the energy of fire and water. I just wanted to remind myself every time I see this tattoo to not forget the essence of life.
“The Flower of Life was always in humankind. 2,000 or 3,000 years ago the ancient Egyptians drew this Flower of Life, they understood the meaning. Every high culture, like the Mayans, the Incas, the Aztecs, and the Egyptians sought a sense of unity that brought them to the same thing; this flower. Archeologists still see new stuff with this design on it.”
I asked Martin if he affiliated himself with a specific religion. “First I was into Christianity and I was trying to understand the Bible, the Word of God. But then I came to the conclusion that Jesus is not God in my eyes, he is just a prophet, a symbol of God’s love and forgiveness. Then I came to Islam, then to Buddhism. I don’t see myself as a Buddhist specifically but I try to see the essence and the reality and the positive things in every religion like Christianity, Islam, Judaism, in every lifestyle and integrate it into my life. I try to live it, although it’s hard because I drink and smoke some of the time. I also eat too much ham, for example, it’s not good. I’m trying to understand my higher self and follow the rules.
“Every lesson has it’s own worth and is very important in itself. For me, I try to remember to never give up and to always love others like I want to be loved. That’s a very strong sentence in my opinion. I try to keep everything in balance. Like the Indians had an ancient religion, something I’m very interested in, because they had this relationship with nature and with one another. This is one of the most important things religion teaches us.”
He pointed to his sweater. “Also this quote is an important lesson for me.”
I asked Martin if he was planning on getting any other tattoos. “I’ve thought about expanding this one down the arm and making geometrical figures and maybe a wolf. I once read a book about the shadow wolf and the light wolf, it’s the same principal as Yin and Yang and it’s asking which wolf do you feed; the good or the bad? So let’s see what the future brings.”
Previously, Martin mentioned his higher self, so I decided to ask him about it. “Everything is a reflection of yourself. I learn from you, you learn from me, and then we expand. We are like two ants in a way and then there is the human being which is the higher self, the higher consciousness of the ants. It is more improved. We are not at the end stage; if you see yourself in a dream or a fog, like you remember something, you are now the higher self of your own past. The future is our higher self and sometimes you can talk to it. That’s the higher self, they are always present, you just rarely see them, especially when you are in a town or big city. Sometimes I feel like my higher self wants to say to me to do something or not do something else. The higher self wants to warn you and keep you safe and on the right path to nirvana or paradise. A few times I have heard from my higher self.” He described his higher self as one would describe a conscious, like a gut feeling that leads one to follow or shy away from a course of action.
“I believe in an afterlife. I think it’s possible to expand your consciousness and achieve a new state of awakeness and awareness. But I think it’s impossible to have a full knowledge; our brain doesn’t have the capacity to get it. It’s just a theory of mine, but when we die, our spirit leaves our body and transforms into another state of being. Like a tree grows and then in the winter time it looks dead, but it isn’t. Then it awakens next spring. The leaves fall down and gives energy to a new plant with another state of being. That is the endless circle of life. Albert Einstein once said that energy cannot get lost, it just can transform.”
Thanks to Martin for sharing his story.
Thanks to Amy Peabody for photographing.