Koan. by Defined by Merriam-Webster as ” A paradox to be meditated upon that is used to train Zen Buddhist monks to abandon ultimate dependence on reason and to force them gaining sudden intuitive enlightenment.”
Doesn’t everyone logic things out? Isn’t rationalization my middle name?
Though the concept of koan has been around for years, I only recently read about it. As someone who tried to make sense out of everything (most recently the whole iHop/iHob fiasco- marketing gimmick? I think not. That was a capital F failure…) the concept of a question that is strictly meant to enlighten is mind boggling. Why should we be trying to become more intuitive? Doesn’t logic explain everything?
Except when it doesn’t. What about those times that you “just know”? Have you ever said that -“I just knew.”? I admit I have uttered those three words. Very little catches me off guard- I tend to “sense” things before they happen. Most recently I just knew my friends biopsy would reveal cancer before she knew or told me. I just knew.
So why am I so reluctant to consider this a valid thought process? Obviously, I believe in intuition. I’ve experienced it. Isn’t my thought process a sort of koan training ground- a question that has no logical answer?
Why? Because I believe that intuition is just highly formed logic. I believe that my sense of “just knowing” comes from my attention to what is there, and what is different. My ability to see patterns, and knowing when something is off. Maybe I make an assumption or two, but these assumptions are based on facts- they are more hypothesis than assumption.
Right now you’re all thinking- boy- she can rationalize anything. And yes, I can.
But for arguments sake, let’s think about the most illogical thing we experience every day: Love. Love is not logical. I can’t explain why I am in love with one person and not another. Can anyone? Can anyone give me concrete reasons why something is love and not like?
Does koan help us understand love? Is love the ultimate paradox?
I like when something can be named: when there is a concrete word for a feeling or action. Conversely, I don’t like when things are wishy washy or up in the air. In loud discussions I often say “Logic it out. Does what you’re saying make sense?” But love doesn’t make sense; it isn’t logical. I sort of like knowing that it’s OK to meditate on the things that don’t make sense- that there is actually an ancient practice devoted to it. And maybe thinking about it will help me make sense out of all the things that just don’t add up. Maybe, if I keep thinking about things, I will be enlightened.
What is enlightenment? Well, that’s a whole other blog post. I’m going to have to think about it.