Definition: Koan; (Pronounced: koh-ahn) Japanese; noun
1. A nonsensical or paradoxical question to a student for which an answer is demanded, the stress of meditation on the question often being illuminating.
Why I love this word:
In Zen Buddhism, this word essentially means a problem or riddle that admits no logical solution. It sort of challenges the theories of philosophy and mathematics. It's knowing the question being asked is illogical, but the thought of trying to solve it is exhilarating (and stressful) but what I have learned from this is that it opens creativity. I think the purpose of this exercise is not to make you result in finding the right answer but to open your mind to the possibility of many answers whether they may be right or wrong. We live in a world now that it's not enough to just be smart. You have to be curious. That level of intelligence is rare.
Photograph by Jenna Thomas