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The Spirit of Play

All life begins in a spirit of play. For instance in the mythology of India, the gods, bored to death with their own enlightenment, conjure
endless varieties of human dramas for their entertainment. Every action, every scene, every human thought are manifestations of the divine sport of the gods. Life itself begins in play. As children we are free of responsibility and this gives us the time and imagination to horse around, toy with things, do stuff “for the hell of it”. Krishna, the celebrated child like god of India knows this. He romps through the forest and his sole purpose is carefree play. He plays with his brother, fondles the milkmaids’ breasts and finds sport in conquering the terrible demons that come his way. Krishna’s frivolity is an expression of his enlightened nature.

Yoga and Enlightenment

Now, we typically think of enlightenment as some transcendental, supercalifragilistic state—a kind of high stakes wisdom. But what if enlightenment is simply play-acting and, like sport, a kind of amusement? In the mythos of the yoga tradition, play connects us to lila—the fooling around—of the gods. The point of play is that it makes the world appear less solid. In play-acting we make things up, we improvise and imagine. By necessity, we bend notions of what is real. Play is always overflowing, spilling outside the boundaries of right and wrong, good and bad, chaos and control. All play is an expression of the raw unfiltered shakti energy that is the creative impulse of the world. However, there is no way to “practice” play. It comes unscheduled, in the moment, as a spontaneous expression of the inspired, creative force that moves continuously through the world. May each of us come to embody playful joy and in so doing, participate in the delight of the gods.

Alchemy + Aim