We stop relying on the worry—on knowing who we are, on sorrow, on anxiety, on “if only I could get something.” Or get through this time. We stop relying on those things, and start relying on being here. A koan is something to put in your mind so that you have that there. So instead of Fox News or “Oh my god I’m afraid,” or “I’m sick of being confined”—gradually freedom starts to appear by itself.
PZI Zen Online Audio: Our disorderly karmic consciousness: John Tarrant Roshi on “the mind at midnight,” and our experience when we have no foundation to rely on. Koans stop our insistent minds—with an image or a predicament, they allow for a pause, a gate. As recorded April 26 2020.