My consciousness is the gateway through which Divine Love flows, materializing my infinite Supply. I am now conscious of my own Inner Divine Presence—Infinite Love—expressing through me, providing me with the means to be aware, to understand, and to know It as my Self– more and more!
- Pick up a stone from 10000m deep in the ocean with dry hands.
- Take hold of a plough with empty hands.
- Mumon’s Poem:
Because it is so very clear,
It takes longer to come to the realization.
If you know at once candlelight is fire,
The meal has long been cooked.
- Gotama Shakya, an Indian monk in 5th century BC, for many years struggled with the question, why is all of life nothing but suffering? Finally, after a night of deep and intense meditation, he saw the morning star and cried: All the world is already enlightened.
These are examples of Zen koans. Koans are often written as illogical (what is the relationship of a morning star and enlightenment, with a question about suffering??) paradoxes or contradictions (read the first two above again), or simply a nonsense statement (example 3).
There are numerous articles about koans, what they are for, and how they are useful. In the articles that I read, I did not find the answer that I had come up with (why I was looking for an answer in the first place comes after this explanation). You can read those opinions by searching the internet for “Koan”; here is my (personal) answer about the purpose and usefulness of a koan:
When a student contemplates the Koan, the thinking mind is engaged. But the thinking mind cannot find the answer. No answer makes sense, the question doesn’t make sense. How can there be an answer? But it is the task of the student to find the answer, so, being a diligent student, s/he continues contemplating what the answer might be. At some point, the brain becomes completely exhausted, realizing the futility of its task, and abandons its assignment. This is precisely when the answer comes. To find an answer, all logic, reasoning, thinking, figuring out, or effort has to be suspended. The answer comes when “you open enough to allow the space necessary for [the koan] to enter into your depths—the inner regions beyond knowing.” – Don Dianda, author of See for Your Self: Zen Mindfulness for the Next Generation (emphasis mine)
Why I was looking for an explanation: today, the Guiding Thought felt like a koan. I read it, re-read it, re-re-read it…it made very little sense to me. I could sort of see the logic, or the meaning, or the purpose, but each time I felt like I had some understanding, some insight, it evaporated as though it was never there; then I had to start all over trying to understand. My brain could not see how it was supposed to figure out the meaning. It got really tired. I could feel myself (my brain) checking out, leaving the hotel. Maybe if I had stayed with it long enough I would have opened my eyes to gaze upon a street light and known the world as enlightened.