What is Koanic Soul?
|October 23, 2013||Posted by Koanic under Learning Koanic Soul|
This is a followup to my previous post.
I’ve been asked many times, “What are koans?”
Now that I’m pretty much at the end of my journey, I can give the answer that I couldn’t give at the beginning or middle. I’ve identified the instinctive process by which I generated, refined, and discarded my koans.
The key performance indicator of koanic iteration is muscular relaxation.
Why? Because muscular relaxation indicates a psychological state without anxiety or emotional turmoil, and a relaxed “mind like water”. Credit to Illuminatus for this insight.
The causes of KPI failure are legion:
3. Uncaptured thought loops
5. Negative self talk
6. Negative social feedback
7. Work/ambition pressure
8. Identity incongruence
9. Sociosexual incongruence
10. etc etc etc
However, these can be divided into major categories:
1. Unprocessed, recirculating negative emotional valence
2. Unprocessed, recirculating intellectual activity – the “inner monologue”
3. Incongruence – social, spiritual, emotional, identity, etc
4. Biologically driven failure cascades
5. Impact of external social or real-world results/consequences/negativity
These five overlap, of course. But they are useful as primary paradigms for KPI failure.
Thus, to achieve a 100% KPI score, a koanic system must be
1. Robust enough to deal with every phase of life, from high to low.
2. Steady state. I.e, have no moving pieces. The pace of dynamic psychological experience outstrips the throughput of the rational-deliberate mind to shift frameworks. One framework must work in all scenarios.
In practice, koanic iteration follows a predictable pattern. A failure cascade overwhelms the current framework, creating muscle tension and performance drop, exposing a flaw in the framework. After a pain and resistance period, an epiphany arrives. Mood spikes, and the framework is updated to include the epiphany. As the epiphany mood spike fades, the true utility or disutility of the new framework becomes apparent. Repeat cycle.
Therefore, it is not enough to merely DO koanic iterations. One must do them WELL. Otherwise one risks running on the epiphany hamster wheel forever, or falling off entirely. One must accept the epiphany cycle, yet not be blinded to its subjective distortions. Rather, use the cycle to drive a steady improvement in baseline KPI score. Resist that temporary urge to throw the baby out with the bathwater, but also don’t rigidly suppress cycling when you hit a trough.
The epiphany cycle is a necessary part of koanic iteration. Just as the framework is dynamic, so also is your subconscious nature. Each cycle installs new imprints into the subconscious. The new imprint may render redundant a part of the koan framework that previously needed to be explicit. Since you have achieved unconscious competence, you can drop that portion. This frees up a slot or two in your limited explicit koan space. Wait patiently, and another epiphany will fill it. Or leave it blank, and focus on the others.
In my latest iteration, I shed the remainder of the deep mainstream evangelical Christian imprinting of my childhood, replacing that with a more relaxing and theologically accurate mental architecture of void and nihilism. As the epiphany faded, it was no longer appropriate to maintain the same intensity of the insight, because it was sinking into subconscious adoption. I therefore transitioned to “no mind”, a less radical but also less psychologically stimulating version.
So I went from:
“voidwalker” – height of epiphany
“nightwalker” – downward slope, adjusting to emphasize relaxing into sleep biorhythm
“no mind” – stable, adjusted to produce continuous relaxation
I expect and hope that the cycling will continue, because that indicates continuing subconscious adaptation, and new opportunities for psychological refinement.
Therefore, I define Koanic Soul as:
“An efficient loop for deliberate psychological optimization, to achieve muscle-relaxed fulfillment and performance, using a slowly changing set of short saying or symbols, silent tongues prayer, body loci, and writing on the wrists.”