The role of playfulness in healing and awakening

There are some general orientations that seem helpful in healing and awakening.

The most obvious ones may be receptivity, curiosity, sincerity, dedication, and even fascination and passion.

To me, it seems that many traditions overlook one of the most helpful orientations, and that’s playfulness.

We all have these sides to us, and we can encourage and bring them out to some extent if they are not already here.

PLAYFULNESS

How does playfulness look in the context of healing and awakening? What are the characteristics of playfulness?

For me, it means to bring some lightness and joy into the process. Have the freedom to explore and investigate outside of the well-trodden paths. And find a way to explore healing and awakening in a way that’s alive and juicy for us.

Why is this often left out? Perhaps because many traditions like to present healing and awakening as a serious business? Perhaps because it’s not so easy to control playfulness? Perhaps it would threaten the frames of the tradition? Perhaps they are concerned people would use it as an excuse to indulge in their hangups? All of that could happen.

Do any traditions include or emphasize playfulness? Yes. Two modern examples are Process Work (for healing) and Headless experiments (for awakening and embodiment). Both of these invite a lighter and more playful and experimental approach.

Without knowing for certain, I also suspect that many of the old Taoists and Zen masters had a more playful orientation.

THE PLAYFULNESS INHERENT IN EXISTENCE

There is a bigger picture here, and that’s what we can see as the playfulness inherent in life and the divine.

Existence – the universe, life, the divine – is expressing, exploring, and experiencing itself in always new ways, as all there is including us and our lives and experiences. To us, what’s here is fleeting and immediately gone. And something new and different is here. Existence seems wildly experimental. Wildly unattached to its creations.

Existence seems, in a sense, wildly and inherently playful.

We have that playfulness in us. We are that playfulness.

So why not bring it into our healing and awakening process and experimentations?

BALANCING OUR ORIENTATIONS

We can take a playful orientation in a slightly misguided way. We can use it to never be serious about anything. Not go deep. Not be dedicated. Indulge in our hangups.

How do we prevent some of the potential pitfalls of playfulness?

The answer may be in the balance of all our different orientations.

Sincerely, honesty, receptivity, dedication, and fascination all help guide and ground playfulness.

Photo: I took this one midsummer night at Nesoddtangen, Norway.

NOTES / DRAFTS

We can see the divine as playful in the way it seems to always explore, express, and experience itself in new ways.

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Why is this often left out? Perhaps because many traditions like to present healing and awakening as a serious business? Perhaps because it’s not so easy to control playfulness? Perhaps it would threaten the frames of the tradition? Perhaps they are concerned people would engage in whatever, including dynamics that may just reinforce their existing hangups? All of that could happen.

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