I was thinking something, and this thought came to my mind “Can I imagine my mind?”. And then suddenly I felt like I was instantly zapped out of my normal cerebral foggy state, where I don’t even realize I am thinking, and was more awake, aware of the present.
Now I understand how a Koan works. Like imagining sound of one hand clap. Or imagining the action of grasping your own hand by the same hand. Thoughts have a certain way of perpetuating themselves. That continuous series, continuous flow is broken only when something happens that breaks the chain. There is a certain algorithmic breakdown that stops thoughts and brings you back in reality.
Naturally our cerebral processing follows a certain pattern. We experience some sensation. This sensation gives rise to feeling. Feeling gives rise to thought. But after a while, just thoughts give rise to thoughts. The purpose of Koan is to throw a monkey wrench into this chain reaction. Breaking the chain zaps you back into the reality , in short – mindfulness.
How can you imagine a mind? Or imagine a thought? It’s impossible. Because mind is the very process of imagination. This imagination fails not because it is hard to imagine abstract concepts. If you are told to imagine capitalism, most likely you will be able to imagine something related to capitalism. Some concrete symbols of capitalism, if not, at least visualization of the word capitalism. But imagining mind fails. Because mind is even higher level of abstract, there is no symbol associated with it.