As time goes by, we become wiser and more mature, at least we think that happens. Yet, there’s always one person we know who seems to have it all figured out. They’re confident people who appear to achieve all their goals, while we still feel like teenagers consumed by fears, insecurities, and contradictions. But the truth is that we’re all the same: we all have irrational fears keeping us from fulfilling our dreams. We’re always constantly looking at others as if we were in a competition.
In this overpopulated world, we must stand out from the rest. Each scar or wrinkle tells a story. In the same way, tattoos can be a reflection of our deepest emotions and those moments that defined us. Perhaps the institution of religion, holds no place in your life. However, spirituality resides in most of us. You don’t need to follow a particular doctrine to find an ancestral symbol with a meaning that speaks to you.
A good example of is the Unalome, a buddhist symbol that represents each individual’s transcendence in this planet. It embodies our existence in this earthly plane and awareness of our role in life. It’s about analyzing our actions and learning from them, in order to reach the true meaning of benevolence.
In the Buddhist tradition, Unalome represents the path each person takes throughout their life. That road can be straight, circular, or winding. It might be filled with anxiety, fear, terror, happiness, or love. This path begins at the center of a spiral, which represents the way we’re trapped in our own weakness, fear, and uncertainty. As the path unfolds, the mind finds clarity, eventually freeing itself from the cycles of suffering.
When you learn to see yourself from a more objective standpoint, you’ll realize you’re attached to a web of emotions that cloud your mind. However, since we are merely human beings who tend to commit the same mistakes over and over again, it is not easy to abandon that cycle. That’s what the spiral represents, that inability of letting ourselves go completely.
The pursuit of enlightenment is what straightens the line of the spiral. The buddhist Unalome tattoo is a visual metaphor of that journey: the ultimate goal and culmination of our search for awareness.
Finally, the dot that appears far away from the rest of the Unalome represents the uncertainty of life. We ignore the final truth. And even if we can’t perceive it, it does exist. This is the ultimate reward life can give us.
This tattoo shouldn’t be a cheap attempt to portray your spirituality, but a reminder of our human condition and of how we, metaphorically, keep moving forward to become better humans. Ancient cultures represented their visions of life through symbols and icons. Get inspired by the ancestral meanings of these tattoos.
Cover picture @alex_maceda_tattoolandia
Translated by María Isabel Carrasco Cara Chards
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