Enter The Story

A famous Zen koan says “If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around, does it make a sound?”

My first rational response years ago was, “Define sound.”

I heard a Zen teacher explain that meditating on this saying and others like it means entering a story. The saying usually makes no “sense” but you meditate on that and enter a story about you.

I thought about how Jesus spoke these sayings. Rational, literalist scholars and students try to parse out all manner of rational explanations. Perhaps they are on the wrong path. Perhaps the path is that of entering the story.

Remember Jesus’s earliest proclamation about the Kingdom of Heaven is here, around us, in us? Let’s take Jesus’s sayings of “the kingdom of heaven is like…”

The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard that grows into a big bush such that the birds of the air can build nests in it.

I’ve heard several scholarly explanations drawing on biology or zoology or even symbolism (birds represent evil and that means…).

What if Jesus is inviting us into story? I desire the kingdom of heaven to dwell within me. I sit in mediation and enter a personal story. I am despondent. My faith feels so small, just like that small grain of mustard. But wait, I love the taste of mustard on my sandwich. Perhaps I have the worth of adding flavor to the world around me. And the seed eventually grows so large that perhaps I can have hope that one day my faith will fill me such that others around can find support.

Perhaps your story is different. That would be OK. It would be your story. You and the kingdom.

And when you leave your mediation chair and go to work how different will you be when you are working and relating to people you meet? That also is a story.

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