Positive Possibilities Living: Life’s Play – Immersing Yourself in the Mysteries of Lila, by Parvati Devi
When we are focused on our future and push to get ahead, or when we are stuck in our past, attached to our unresolved stories, we inevitably miss the richness of the present moment. We forget to pause and literally smell the roses that are in full bloom along our path as we rush to get to our next appointment. Feeling buried in bills, debts, children responsibilities, relationship and family tensions, health concerns, career stresses, we forget that life is about cherishing the gift of being alive, and enjoying it all with a playful heart. But in the midst of our busy lives, who has time to play?
I recently reminisced with my friends about how my sense of time changed, as I’ve gotten older. Between age one and age ten, I remember how life felt eternal. From ages 11 through 20, life was immense and vast. But as the years grew bigger, the narrower time started to feel and walls seemed to encroach on my sense of freedom. I started to become aware of an endpoint to my life. I also started to realize that time was one of the most valuable things in life. I questioned where my sense of the infinite had gone and wondered how to return to that sense of eternal play.
Children can lose themselves for hours in a technicolour world of make-believe characters, places and things. We may inwardly judge them as being silly or dismiss their frolic with a quip comment, such as, “They’re just being kids. They have no real responsibilities!” But perhaps if we were really honest with ourselves, we would marvel at their play and find that we envy their creative freedom and uninhibited spontaneity. Somewhere within our hearts, we remember how we too were once the same and that still today we yearn to live that way again.
If you have ever tried to encourage a child to leave a playground, you know that they deeply value their experience in the sandbox, slides and swings. If you have ever tried to put suntan lotion on a child collecting seashells along the lapping ocean shores, you know they have little interest in anything but the shapes and colours before them. They are lost in the experience of what they are doing. Somehow, the wonder of life has intoxicated their spirit and time expands into the infinite. Different from our tense and closed rush to get to work or do “what is right”, children’s playful spirits are immersed in the mystery of life itself.
As adults, we can experience this kind of immersion into a timeless space when we become fully engrossed in what we love. Then, we let go of the baggage we carry from our past and the worries we project into the future. We fully embrace the here and now and touch the infinite.
The casual use of the Sanskrit word “lila” refers to pastimes and sports. But used in Vedanta, the philosophy of non-duality, “lila” points to an important spiritual truth about life being a spiritual play, a spontaneous divine, playful creation. One of my favorite Shakespearean monologues from “As You Like It” points to this:
“All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts…”
Ask yourself which part are you playing? Are you caught up in temporal realities, things that come and go, but don’t come with you in the end? Are you allowing yourself to pause and smell the roses as you get to your next appointment? In which way you are getting caught up in serious interpretations of life’s play? Allow yourself instead to open to the divine play, and play with life in spontaneous, unbridled wonder at it all.
Parvati Devi is the editor-in-chief of Parvati Magazine and an internationally recognized Canadian musician, yogi and new thought leader. As a chart-topping touring musician, Parvati spearheads the Post New-Age musical genre with her independent success hit single “Yoga in the Nightclub” and accompanying show “YIN”. She founded YEM: Yoga as Energy Medicine, a powerful yoga method that combines energy work and yoga poses. Her critically acclaimed self-help debut book “Confessions of a Former Yoga Junkie – A Revolutionary Life Makeover for the Sincere Spiritual Seeker” is currently in its third edition.