What is the sound of one hand clapping?
For many, it is a slap of the forehead in exasperation
For some, it is a slap in the face of the asker
Could someone lend a hand on this one
Without doubling the trouble?
This poem is based on the infamous koan. A koan, such as “what is the sound of one hand clapping,” is a paradox to be meditated upon that is used to train Zen Buddhists to abandon ultimate dependence on reason and to force them into gaining sudden intuitive enlightenment. I am inspired by Buddhist koans because they help free us from convergent thinking, the belief that there is a single best answer to any question. Perceiving reality requires holding paradoxes within our consciousness. A well-lived life requires balance and that balance is dynamic and always in flux. This flux and movement is well captured by the question: which is more important, breathing in or breathing out? The answer: It depends on what you have done last. May you find balance in your life. Surf the paradox!