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The first 10 years of training are hard, the next ten years even harder. And after that it starts to become joyful...
Harada Roshi

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What is the difference between keeping a koan in mind during daily life and just being preoccupied with a thought? Both seem disconnected from the concrete things that are happening in the moment like the taste of food or the feeling of the spoon in my hand. Could you please clarify?

Keeping a koan is to throw all thoughts away. We cannot try to understand a koan. There are things that cannot be understood and resolved by thinking about them. Who is born? Who is alive? You cannot comprehend this life energy through thoughts. Even if you try to, it will never be the same as the actual life energy. You can only become this life energy. Only becoming the Koan. The koan becomes your blood, your flesh, your life energy, as clear as a certain key fitting into a certain key hole. It is not a quiz in the head.

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