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Koan

October 5, 2014 - cool stuff
Koan

For a while I’ve been thinking about documenting my thoughts on strategy and operations, entrepreneurship, and personal experiences. My posts are an exercise in analysis and I invite your comments. I am not looking to take a position if I don’t feel like, nor to please anyone. It is a selfish need to document my views, and perhaps something I leave for my kids and loved ones. Nor do I plan to focus on specific subjects. I find myself at the intersection of many things, mostly how technology impacts business and life.

For many years I’ve been a fan of Koans.

A kōan (公案?)/ˈkoʊ.ɑːn/; Chinese: 公案; pinyin: gōng’àn; Korean: 공안 (kong’an); Vietnamese: công án) is a story, dialogue, question, or statement, which is used in Zen-practice to provoke the “great doubt”, and test a student’s progress in Zen practice.

They helped me recognize, yet not always understand, that most of reality comes with hidden meanings. The lesson for me was to take more time to question my perceptions, my mental models, and the filters I use to understand events.

I’ve always had an appreciation for Buddhism and meditation, not necessarily with the intent of becoming a monk, but instead to elevate my spiritual awareness, achieve calm in a restless world, and be mindful and compassionate.

I am a big believer in achieving balance and by that I mean focusing on three lenses:

  1. Mens; achieving intellectual growth and clarity of vision. How do we keep ourselves engaged in the world around us? How do we keep learning with purpose? How can we find new ways to learn and better ourselves in a fast-paced world?
  2. Corpore; keep ourselves healthy and physically active. I find myself more and more using intensity instead of quantity. How has time to go to a gym these days? I actively pursue healthy habits such as eating whole foods, sometimes following paleo principles, stretching, or just taking time to enjoy my daughters.
  3. Spiritualis; finding daily happiness, meaning, purpose in who we are and what we do. Some of us use religion, others yoga or meditation. Sometimes good friends are what we need or a good conversation. Volunteering and doing good to others helps too. Whatever works.

Mens sana in corpore sano

I will try to frame my posts along the lenses above so I keep myself and the reader situated.

The True Path
Last, I will leave you with a koan.

Just before Ninakawa passed away the Zen master Ikkyu visited him. “Shall I lead you on?” Ikkyu asked.

Ninakawa replied: “I came here alone and I go alone. What help could you be to me?”

Ikkyu answered: “If you think you really come and go, that is your delusion. Let me show you the path on which there is no coming and no going.”

With his words, Ikkyu had revealed the path so clearly that Ninakawa smilled and passed away.