Spiritual sages, prophets and gurus from all different spiritual traditions encourage us not to take ourselves too seriously. Their wisdom has echoed down through the millennia warning us that what we think we know is not always the truth and truth often shows up in the most unlikely places. To our sensible selves, their suggestions may seem silly, shameless or, even shocking. But humor and light heartedness has an important role in the spiritual life and can be found in the spiritual practice of play.
Play is the exuberant expression of our inner being. It is at the heart of our creativity, our diversity, and even our most carefree moments of devotion. It helps us live in a world filled with absurdity, paradox, and mystery. It feeds our joy and wonder. It keeps our search for meaning down to earth.
We can practice play by being flexible and doing things on the spur of the moment. Take some time out of your busy life to experiment, to try on different roles, to relax. Laugh heartily at jokes, situations, and especially yourself. Remember, laughter heals body, mind, and soul, and by extension, communities.
Most of us take life too seriously and don't play enough. We're either too "busy”, which can often be a code word for workaholism or a means of seclusion, or we become too serious, mistaking earnestness for accomplishment. Often we are predictable, as well, equating free-spiritedness with irresponsibility. The best treatment for these conditions is play. We need to lighten up.
But there is also a shadow side of play. Sometimes we get so involved in role playing and just having fun that we never reveal our true selves. In that case we may need the company of other fools to point out the folly of our foolishness.
Use different situations as a daily cue, reminder or vow and be blessed by the practice of play.
- Hearing someone laugh becomes a cue to practice play.
- Seeing a swing set reminds me that all ground is playground.
- Whenever you participate in a game, make a vow to play more cooperatively and less competitively.
- In prayer, thank God for providing us with play as a way to celebrate the lightness of our being and the awe and wonder of creation.
On Saturday, January 11th join us in the Chapel from 10:00 – 11:30 as our Prayer Lab group explores different ways to lighten our life with the spiritual practice of play.