A Zen Koan is a brief statement or question that is used as a meditative discipline to train Zen Buddhist monks to move beyond reason and intellect. Through engaging with a Zen Koan, one is ultimately able to exhaust the analytical mind and enter the domain of intuitive wisdom. There are approximately 1,700 traditional Zen Koans, including various versions of the most well known Koan: “What is the sound of one hand clapping?” “Magic Eye” images initially appear as a picture comprised of overall patterns of small images. As we focus on the center of the overall image and defocus our eyes a three dimensional image pops out of the overall pattern.
In both the Zen Koan meditation and “Magic Eye” disciplines, we immerse ourselves in the challenging task of letting go. It is only through letting go that we are able to clearly see and understand on a deeper level what is impossible to see via intense effort. At first, our natural human tendency is to work harder at the task. This intense focus and work which has served us well in the rational thinking approach, paradoxically takes us further away from the desired result. Through letting go, we are able be fully present in an intuitive, creative and transformational manner.
Where in your life could you benefit from a Zen Koan meditation or “Magic Eye” approach?