Today finds me ruminating on the nature of riddles. At their silliest and simplest, they play with preconceived notions and linguistic tricks in the questions being asked. Brain teasers, good for aging minds, tend to have more complexity that requires some thinking outside the box. Then there are those Zen riddles we’re supposed to contemplate for the enlightenment they’re designed to bring.
I do yoga almost daily and I meditate and I have yet to fully grasp the sound of one hand clapping. It’s not for lack of trying. Zen koans, with their riddle-like stories, are meant to shake the mind out of its predisposition toward logic. It’s less about trying to understand what they mean and more about what the words evoke, very much in the way poetry works on us through the senses. What might seem like a paradox, or even nonsense, to the thinking mind, can become something of a revelation in a meditative state.
In essence, once you think aha! I’ve ‘got it,’ you’ve lost it.
I said riddles are on my mind. . .