Upon meeting a Zen master at a social event, a psychiatrist decided to ask him a question that had been on his mind. “Exactly how do you help people?” he asked.

“I get them where they can’t ask any more questions,” the Master answered.

-Zen story

I understand from my parents that I was a very inquisitive child. Apparently, my favorite question was, “Why?” haha! It still holds true that I learn the most when I ask questions.

In Zen and Taoist teachings, it is  a recurring theme to get to a place of “no words” or to be “beyond words.” To me, this means to be at peace.

I appreciate the story above so much, because it seems to be a part of the American culture to have psychiatrists ask “Why Why Why?” I’m not sure if knowing why ever made anyone feel better about anything. Or if they did, it was likely the result of their mind creating a barrier to ease the pain.

With all this said, I believe words are important…initially. Teaching occurs both in what we say and how we act. One must learn to be in a position to unlearn…and I think that is where enlightenment happens. Children are born wise and innocent. However, those who have gone from a childlike state (wise/innocent) to an educated/experienced state (exposed to harsh realities of real-world living)…back to a childlike state (free and at peace) are truly enlightened.

I believe enlightened persons  are the ones who have the courage to explore and ask Why?… and then get to a state of realization of the true oneness of everything and the matrix of illusion that covers everything. They truly see things as they are.

There is a Zen saying, “Before I was enlightened, a mountain was just a mountain. When I was enlightened, a mountain wasn’t a mountain anymore. After I was enlightened, a mountain was just a mountain again.”

Photo source: from innocence to wisdom (and on to enlightenment)