Puzzling It Out

Do you like puzzling things out?  Have you joined the Wordle craze? National Daily papers have pages of puzzles and the weekly papers even more.  The Stockport Express has fourteen pages of Brain Teasers each week, including a crossword puzzle with more than a hundred clues.  Quiz Nights are popular – dare I say, particularly with men.

We humans like to name things, to categorise, to work out, to solve.   It’s very satisfying getting the right answer.  It gives us a sense of completeness and control.  There are, of course, times when the right answer just won’t come, even though we know we know it. Then, when we have stopped trying and relax, it just pops into our heads.

There’s a type of puzzle that relies on this ability to let things be and to allow our unconscious mind to make connections.  In  Zen Buddhism it’s called a koan, a puzzle that defies a logical solution.   In fact it leads to frustration if you try to reason it out.  Such a puzzle is a reflection of the complexities of life.  For life is full of  ambiguities and paradoxes.

Jesus knew this.  The Jewish teachings were all about logic and keeping the law.  Keep the law and you live a good life.  You are thereby in a right relationship with God and your fellow men.  The Pharisees often came to Jesus with a puzzle posed to catch him out, to show that he was not keeping the law.

“It’s just the other way around.  The very opposite.”

“What is?”


Blessed are the poor in spirit….To find yourself you first have to lose yourself….The last shall be first…

Chris Dawson 

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