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Deep, Divine Play October 7, 2022

Posted by ajoyfulpractice in Uncategorized.
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“Play is far older than humans. It’s so familiar to us, so deeply ingrained in the matrix of our childhood, that we take it for granted. But consider this: ants don’t play. They don’t need to. Programmed for certain behaviors, they automatically perform them from birth. Learning through repetition, honed skills, and ingenuity isn’t required in their heritage. The more an animal needs to learn in order to survive, the more it needs to play. The more leisure time it has, the more it can play.”

– quoted from “Chapter One – Deep Play” of Deep Play by Diane Ackerman Ilustrations by Peter Sis 

When was the last time you played… just for the sake of playing?
In some traditions, play is an element of the Divine. In Hinduism, divine play is lila (or leela) and the concept occurs in non-dualism Indian philosophy (as a way to describe everything in the universe as the outcome of creative play) and in dualism Indian philosophy (as the interaction between God and God’s disciples, in order to understand the nature of the universe). If you are having a hard time telling the difference, do not despair… play around with it a little.
Outside of Indian religion and philosophy, you find a similar concept in the ancient Greek philosophers and in forms of ecstatic dance (which exists in various Christian traditions, as well as in Judaism, the Sufism, various Shamanism, and Santeria). You also find it in sacred text. Plato wrote about it. As did Saint Paul and Saint Thomas of Aquinas (although they wrote about it in very different ways). Diane Ackerman has also written about it.
Born today in 1948, Diane Ackerman is an author and naturalist (i.e., a nature historian) who has written poems, essays, articles, and books (fiction, non-fiction, and children’s books) about her research on everything from monkeys, bats, ants, and penguins to whales, butterflies, seals, and albatrosses.
Oh, yes, and humans.
In the latter cases, she has written about the mechanics of the human mind, the senses, human ingenuity, lovingkindness and compassion, resilience and endurance during different kinds of trauma (including war), and her personal delight in her own garden.
Oh, yes, and she’s written about the importance of play… deep play – which is essential to our very existence. And yet, many humans “outgrow” play. We’ll, not really, but some people do stop playing – which is actually detrimental to our survival.

“Play is widespread among animals because it invites problem-solving, allowing a creature to test its limits and develop strategies. In a dangerous world, where dramas change daily, survival belongs to the agile not the idle. We may think of play as optional, a casual activity. But play is fundamental to evolution. Without play, humans and many other animals would perish.”

– quoted from “Chapter One – Deep Play” of Deep Play by Diane Ackerman Ilustrations by Peter Sis

Please join me on Zoom (tonight), Friday, October 7th 5, 7:15 PM – 8:20 PM (CST), for some “Deep, Divine Play” (a gentle movement practice).

Use the link from the “Class Schedules” calendar if you run into any problems checking into the class. You can request an audio recording of this practice via a comment below or by emailing myra (at) ajoyfulpractice.com.

Prop wise, you will mostly need something that allows you to be comfortable when seated, prone, and/or supine. A small ball or something you can roll under your feet can also be useful. There may also be some kneeling. [NOTE: You can always practice without props or use “studio” props and/or “householder” props. Example of Commercial props: 1 – 2 blankets,2 – 3 blocks, a bolster, a strap, and an eye pillow. Example of Householder props: 1 – 2 blankets or bath towels, 2 – 3 books (similar in size), 2 standard pillows (or 1 body pillow), a belt/tie/sash, and a face towel.]

You may want extra layers (as your body may cool down during this practice). Having a wall, chair, sofa, or coffee table may be handy for this practice.

Friday’s playlist is available  on YouTube and Spotify. [Look for “09032021”]
(PLEASE NOTE: The Spotify playlist may include extra music added by the app.)

In the spirit of generosity (“dana”), the Zoom classes, recordings, and blog posts are freely given and freely received. If you are able to support these teachings, please do so as your heart moves you. (NOTE: You can donate even if you are “attending” a practice that is not designated as a “Common Ground Meditation Center” practice, or you can purchase class(es). Donations are tax deductible; class purchases are not necessarily deductible.)



### Be Fearless & Play! ###