Doubt as an unconventional path to happiness
In east Asia, spiritual teachers have used an ancient tradition to help their students find a profound change of heart. The heart’s evolution comes from looking different at their world and reconstructing their preconceptions of joy and true happiness.
This Asian method of wisdom involves the teacher giving the student a Zen Koan. The Zen koan’s purpose is not to provide the student with a specific path to follow but the opposite. The teacher gives the student a koan to develop doubt, curiosity, uncertainty, joy, hidden kindness, and happiness for no good reason.
Creating doubt is good
Koans are an unconventional way to find happiness is the least expected places as they break our preconditions, attachments, and logical reasoning.
In other words, a koan is looking to create doubt because, in this tradition, doubt is a strength, not a weakness.
In my journey to a happier and resilient life, I realized the importance of doubt early in my journey. Having doubts about your life opens your mind and heart to new possibilities, changes, and evolving. Doubt opens your thinking into flexibility, creativity, and better problem-solving.
Since I discovered this Zen wisdom tradition, I have been obsessed with finding out more about it. In the last year, I have been reading many books about koans and would like to share one of my favorites so far.
Koans vary in length; some are stories, others about a discussion between teachers and students, and others are just a question, a sentence, or a short phrase. They are also about personal interpretation. Each individual can make a unique way to find meaning in the koan. What I see in a Zen koan might be different, similar, or opposite for you.
The way you use a koan is by immersing yourself in it. You use it in daily life, in meditation, in joyful or not joyful times. There are no limits to where and how you use a koan. You can write it in a sticky note, put in on your computer screen, or even turn it into a tattoo. Through your day, you keep it always in mind.
The zen koan that I want to share with you is short. Not only is it short and brief, maybe you will consider it a little boring. There is no story, no characters, no conversation. There is not even a question mark. I
This zen koan has only six words. It is one of the most minimal and straightforward that I have found so far. I have found it useful, and with infinite abundant wisdom. Also, it is effortless to remember.
If you want to practice Zen koans, begin with this one. Keep it with you and write it on daily reminders. When you feel bored, think about the koan. When you feel joyful and full energy, think about the koan. When you are challenged and feel like giving up, remind yourself about the koan.
Are you ready for the koan?
Count the stars in the sky.
Are you ready to join today to count the stars in the sky?