The Spiritual Practice of Play

During lunch with His Holiness the Dalai Lama in April 2012, one of the things he shared was that he learns best when he laughs.

Our spirits need celebration! What feels joyful to us encourages us along the path of personal growth and expansion.

“You don’t stop laughing because you grow old. You grow old because you stop laughing.” — Michael Pritchard

Play is the exuberant expression of our being, it fuels our joy and wonder. Play provides the energetic space we need to feel alive; it taps into unlimited possibility, inspiring us; it resides at the heart of our creativity and our most carefree moments of devotion. Play is a powerful way to feed our soul.

When was the last time you stepped into the transformational space of play?

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
— Laurie Buchanan

The Book—Discovering the Seven Selves
The Experience—Life Harmony

© 2013 Laurie Buchanan – All Rights Reserved

Find me on Twitter @HolEssence

61 thoughts on “The Spiritual Practice of Play

  1. When I am with my children, I shed every ounce of adult in me and just have fun but work and household management has limited my time playing with them. This is a wonderful reminder on setting priorities right. Thank you very much.

  2. I have never stopped. I work with children, after all. Best way to keep young and keep learning new ways of doing things. ‘Learning through play’ has been my motto ever since I starter teaching.

  3. This is so true. Definitely I get rid of adult ‘pondering’ when I’m with my grandkids, 4 and under. They just love laughter – we can learn from them, always. My dog likes to see me smile, too. When I worked with special ed students in a high school for 10 years, we teachers and tutors made sure to bring LOTS of laughter to the classroom. Made the students’ lives (and ours) so much brighter.

  4. Gosh, this is SO true. Actually,, I still don’t play freely. Maybe practicing play requires someone like me to unlearn rules about behavior and appropriateness–and just be in the moment. Love the sculpture. Sometimes play for me means getting lost in the fun of collecting shell on the beach or making art.

    • Kathy – I think there’s A LOT to be said about UN-learning certain things. I’m so glad you brought that aspect up. I believe that if upon examination something (person, place, thing, event, opportunity, rule) is not positive, uplifting, constructive, and healing…it’s time to let it go.

  5. Michael Pritchard is right: ‘we get old because we stop laughing’. After all, laughter is the best medicine – cliche, but true. I’m glad I work in the schools and have a grandson and many young nieces/nephews & grandnieces/grandnephews with whom I can play. They are my fountain of youth. 🙂

    • Mywithershins – You’re FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH sounds like a truly wonderful group of young people. I hope they’re geographically close enough that you can “dip your cup” into that rejuvenating elixir any time you’d like 🙂

  6. ‘Play is a powerful way to feed our soul’–I strongly concur, Laurie.
    My parents were dedicated advicates for play. I was educated and spent over fourteen years as a play facilitator caring for children in day care centres. I make play a key component in my daily practice. It’s made my marriage strong and my life fun.

  7. I am a very intense person. I need Zip to help me laugh and play. I tell myself to relax and lighten up many times a day. And yet, when something tickles my funny bones I can laugh for days. I am not an entertainer personality which so many successful people need to be these days.

    Many of the clergy and teachers retiring these days all mention that they are not entertainers and so not well suited to current trends

  8. Nice post, Laurie! I think play’s one of those essential circuits — like wonder and joy — that are hard-wired into us from birth. So it’s not as much about going out and finding it, as about letting it out from under all the heavy stuff we’ve heaped on top of it.

  9. Laurie, I use my “Fun-Loving Orange Brain” everyday to give me a happy and healthy perspective about my life! 🙂

  10. I am at my best at play… it’s the real me and all the seriosity goes BANG!!! (That is the 4th of July talking : ) I love all the answers and the question is the best advice ever to bring out the timeless kid in all. xoxo

  11. Hi Laurie
    You’ve seen the sort of stuff Ailsa writes on facebook. I live with that. Live that way takes one to the extremes of ideas, to the crazyness, the creativity, the hilarity, at the edge of every idea.
    Living with Ailsa is a journey that explores the limits, the highs and lows; and it is mostly laughter and love.

    So I am very fortunate, to have a partner in life that bring me out of the worlds of logic, or the worlds of existential risks to humanity, and brings me back to the sheer joy of being.

    • Ted, Ailsa is just the Yeast you need to leaven your bread! She makes things light and fluffy, toothsome and sweet! A perfect partner for you, you will never be too serious for long with that lady around. As enjoyable as she is to read online, I can imagine living with her could keep your eyebrows constantly levitating!

  12. Ah Laurie, the summer program that began last week and will continue till August 21st, includes some games and competitions among the 22 students in the program. So I’ve had my share of “playing” although the implications are aimed at some learning through kid-friendly means. Just yesterday I completed a three day chalkboard hangman game that tested their knowledge of countries, states and book titles, with some DVDs offered up to prizes for the winning team. It was fun for sure, and the kids naturally took on a competitive mind set. I’d say we all laughed quite a bit during the execution too.

    Great lead in with the Dalai Lama, which perfectly frames the essence of the post. That was a luncheon you will surely never forget and rightly so!

    • Sam – I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again. I SURE WISH YOU’D BEEN ONE OF MY TEACHERS WHEN I WAS GROWING UP!

      As the Dalai Lama said, learning takes place when it’s fun. You’re dishing up loads of fun, and that’s translating to knowledge in the lives of your students.

  13. Certainly not recently! lol 😉 Seems to be all work and no play whatsoever just now and with the prospect of cramming a 3 month IT course into 6 weeks in the near future, no play on the horizon for Wolfie! 🙂

  14. Oh, fiddle! I was so busy playing outside that I forgot to leave a comment on how much I do love to play. I would get worlds of thing done if I could get and stay serious, but it never happens. I go outside to work and before I even know it…I’m playing again.

    • Sandi – I know that what most of us consider labor-intensive work in the garden, you consider play. Give you a patch of ground, a hoe, a packet of seeds — and you’re one heckofa happy Master Gardener 🙂

  15. I reconnected with the power of play when I started caring for my granddaughter. She is now 4 and I have 2 other grandchildren added to my list of playmates :-).

  16. Play doesn’t come naturally to me, Laurie. I’m easily content and I am one of those raised to get a great deal of satisfaction out of accomplishment. LOL! I’m very happy, but not necessarily playful. But I do think it’s a quality to cultivate, and because I have young grandchildren I adore, there are so many wonderful opportunities to be child-like. As an aside, in my 30’s I found my way into early childhood education and fell in love with it. I was really an excellent teacher…and I think part of it was I made up for lost time, in some ways being “messy” with paint and playing in modes not particularly encouraged when I was a child. The universe knew what I needed! 🙂 Boy would I love to have that great piece of art in your photo…wouldn’t that remind us every day of play with abandon! I hope you enjoy your 4th of July, Laurie. Debra

  17. somehow, just recollected Charvaga philosophy 😉 just kidding…
    You are correct.

    But, “Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.” Hw’s this completely right? on the other way, even if we change something we will be indeed choosing that something…right?

      • I am currently devouring you blog…very very interesting…I will be attacking you with questions if any arises…loving it

      • Mocha – I’d be happy to do my best at fielding your questions. I certainly don’t pretend to have all the answers, but I’ll give it my best shot 🙂

  18. Pingback: Play | Ted Howard NZ's Blog

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