It is interesting that Hindus, when they speak of the creation of the universe, do not call it the work of God, they call it the play of God, the Vishnu-lila, lila meaning “play.” And they look upon the whole manifestation of all the universes as a play, as a sport, as a kind of dance.
I realized that the way of play was a part of all religions. St. Paul proclaimed himself a ‘fool for Christ.’ Jews honor the Sabbath, that time to stop working and to take pleasure in life. Hindus say that the universe was created as ‘lila,’ divine play. (After all, the Omnipresent Eternal One needed something to do.) Muslim Sufis teach through jokes about Mulla Nasruddin, a laughable sage/fool. Native Americans celebrate bawdy trickster-figures. (Try attending a Cherokee “Booger Event.”) Buddhists practice meditative games of breathing, attention, and joyful presence. Zen teachers poke fun at dogma, as in master Feng’s pronouncement: ‘The Buddha is a bullheaded jail keeper, and the Patriarchs are horse-faced old maids!’ It seemed the whole world was playing with Spirit in a thousand delightful ways.
The world of play favors exuberance, license, abandon. [In it,] selves can be revised.
Time is a game played beautifully by children.
Don’t play the saxophone. Let it play you.
The children sat in a circle around him & he said, I don’t believe in life anymore & no one said anything for a while because he was older than they were & maybe knew something they didn’t, but then someone said, let’s play a game & someone said, Spy & someone else said, Chase & soon there was no one there but the man sitting alone.
Humanity has advanced, when it has advanced, not because it has been sober, responsible, and cautious, but because it has been playful, rebellious, and immature.
I count that day lost when I am not moved to laughter or tears, but even more if I have not played.
I tell you; we are here on Earth to fart around and don’t let anybody tell you different.
Life is for sure the greatest game that you’ll ever play.
(Curated and adapted for KUF from the 2021 Soul Matters materials for the theme ‘PLAY’ by Rev. Beckett Coppola.)