Our maps and descriptions of the world reflect something in ourselves. They say something about who we are, as a human being in the world, and they may say something about what we are. And so also lila – the play of life or the divine.
THE CREATIVITY OF THE MIND
Our mind is almost infinitely creative. It takes sensory input from a range of senses and creates the impression of a world. It uses mental images and words to create stories of all kinds, from labels to stories about ourselves and the rest of the world. It can hold these stories as true or not.
It can pretend, for a while and to some extent, that its imaginations about this human self and the wider world are true. It can perceive and live as if these stories are true.
It can recognize itself as capacity for all the content of experience. As what our content of experience – this human self, the wider world, and anything else – happens within and as.
Everything we know and experience is the mind expressing, exploring, and experiencing itself in always new ways.
This is the lila of our mind, of what we are to ourselves.
THE CREATIVITY OF THE WORLD
We know the lila of the mind since that’s what we are. And we can imagine that the actual wider world is the same.
We can see the evolution of the universe metaphorically as an expression of the creativity of the universe, the play of the universe. Everything that’s ever existed, everything we know, and everything we are individually and collectively, is an expression of the play of the universe.
We can also frame this differently. If we like, we can say that everything – all of existence including all we are and experience – is the play of the divine. It’s the divine expressing, exploring, and experiencing itself in always new ways.
MAKING USE OF THE IDEA OF LILA
Whether we see lila as the play of the mind, or the play of the universe or existence, or the play of the divine, it reflects something here and now.
How can we explore this for ourselves?
There are many ways, and I’ll mention just a few.
We can use the story of lila to frame our experiences – and existence in general – as the mind and existence expressing, exploring, and experiencing itself in always new ways. This can help us hold it all more lightly and approach it with more curiosity, receptivity, and even playfulness.
We can also explore the particular creativity of thought and how it colors our perception, choices, and life.
For instance, we can explore what happens when a belief is believed, and what happens when we recognize a thought as a thought. (The Work of Byron Katie.)
And we can explore how the mind associates inputs from different sense fields and creates an experience for itself. For instance, it can associate certain thoughts with certain physical sensations so the sensations give a sense of solidity and truth to the thoughts, and the thoughts give apparent meaning to the sensations.
LILA & FINDING OURSELVES AS CAPACITY
There is a mutuality between exploring lila and finding ourselves as capacity for the world as it appears to us.
If we explore lila, we’ll recognize that all content of experience is part of the play. In this, there is an invitation to find ourselves as capacity for the world as it appears to us.
And finding ourselves as capacity makes it easier to notice all as lila.
In a bit more detail:
If all content of experience is part of the play of mind and existence, including any sense experiences and ideas we have about this human self, we may see that this human self cannot be what we more fundamentally are in our own first-person experience. So what are we, more fundamentally, and in our own experience?
We may find ourselves as capacity for the world as it appears to us, and what our experiences happen within and as. (Perhaps aided by structured inquiries like Headless experiments and the Big Mind process.)
This, in turn, allows us to more clearly see all content of experience – including this human self and any thoughts and mental images – as the play of the mind and existence.
LESS DEPENDENT ON ANY PARTICULAR WORLDVIEW
Seeing lila this way makes it less dependent on any particular worldview.
If we are more psychologically inclined, we recognize it as the play and creativity of the mind, and something we know here and imagine onto the rest of existence.
If we take a more cosmological view, we may see it as the metaphorical play and creativity of the universe.
If we have a more spiritual view, we may see it as the play of the divine, and the divine exploring and experiencing itself as all there is and in always new ways.
We can also explore what we more fundamentally are to ourselves. We may find ourselves as capacity for the world as it appears to us, and what our experiences happen within and as. (Headless experiments, Big Mind process.) This allows us to more clearly see all content of experience – including this human self and any thoughts and mental images – as the play of the mind and existence.
When we (AKA life, existence) take ourselves to be something within the content of experience, it’s difficult to see that as the play of existence. It seems too fundamental to be something that comes and goes and is part of the general play of existence.
When we find ourselves as capacity for the content of our experience, including what we previously may have taken as fundamentally what we are, it’s easier to recognize that too as the play of existence and something that comes and goes.
If we more thoroughly explore lila, we may find ourselves as capacity for the world as it appears to us. And finding ourselves as capacity makes it easier to notice all as lila.