Forget trying to figure out the meaning or resolution to a Zen Koan. The entire purpose of these puzzling stories is to demonstrate the limitations of thought. Unlike riddles, there are no logical answers, which can be frustrating, but also humbling! It not only shifts ones attention, but it also demonstrates the limits of thinking alone.
The very first phase of SERA requires the development of an experience or psychological stimulus that triggers, jolts, or firmly guides a conscious Shift in one’s orientation to present-moment experience; or more specifically, from conceptualization to simply being. The word sera itself translates in Spanish to mean “it will be,” which resembles a conscious orientation to whatever may show up in our awareness. This orientation, which is known as beginner’s mind, is necessary because human attention has a tendency toward automatic preoccupation with active thinking (Kabat-Zinn, 2003).
Triggering or guiding a conscious Shift in one’s orientation to present-moment experience, from conceptualization to intuition.
Grenard, J. (2008). The phenomenology of koan meditation in Zen Buddhism. Journal of phenomenological psychology, 39(2), 151-188.
Magid, B. (2013). Nothing is hidden: The psychology of Zen Koans. Simon and Schuster.
Yamada, K. (2005). The gateless gate: The classic book of Zen koans. Simon and Schuster.