There is nothing special about understanding this text. Everybody can do so. Yet, if you realize this, you realize something very special.
Noise and sound
“When a tree falls in an utterly lonely forest, does it make a sound?”
It makes a lot of noise, for sure. However, if sound is what a listener hears, then there is no sound.
If, as in the above Zen riddle, sound is what an entirely present person perceives, then the tree makes no sound even if some distracted person hears the noise.
There is a qualitative difference between hearing the noise and hearing it in a meditative way.
As such, nothing special
In meditation, nothing special happens. One feels one’s body, or one can hear a bird chirping in the distance. One can walk in meditation. One can do the dishes in meditation. There is nothing special to this, nothing that cannot be done by the same meditator in everyday life.
It may be better to say that everything becomes special.
Every moment of every day of every year is special if one finds out that it is. Meditation-on-a-cushion can show this is the case ― not only on the cushion but always.
Meditation doesn’t make it so, as it doesn’t make the noise. It lets the noise become sound.
Can anything be special that isn’t more special than anything else?
Indeed, it can, and is. It takes a meditative mindset to be able to see this, transcending dualism: this or that. It takes living in the moment, always starting again like some beginner.
In the beginner’s mind of the expert meditator, nothing is special, and everything is special. Does this appear zen-a-lidoo to you? No problem.
You might try to catch it for a few moments now.
Back to the sound and more
Meditation shows what neurocognitive science shows: Perceptions happen in the mind/brain, and so do experiences of anything that we usually ascribe to causes outside.
Of course, without the falling tree, there is no sound. Likewise, there is no sound without a listener. Likewise, there is no deeply present sound without a deeply present listener.
The tree that the deeply present listener hears falling is the tree inside.
The pain that the deeply present meditator feels in his leg is the pain inside his being present.
Even the Enlightenment (sunyata) that the deeply present meditator experiences is the Enlightenment inside.