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how to play - Play As Meditation – Week 1

Play As Meditation

Who said playing with our children is easy? Just like a meditation practice, if we are honest, the call to play presently and consistently

is wracked with systematic challenges.

From the moment we become a parent, the awareness that one of our fundamental priorities should be the joy and fulfillment of our child is often persistently nestled and nagging in a core part of our consciousness. Because of the innumerable details that dictate our individual experience of parenting, as well as our unique threads of relationship to each child, our capacity to give and be there for the child might not live up to our personal ideals on a daily basis. And yet it is precisely that random current of circumstance—our panorama of day-to-day variables—that mandates the immediate environment of interaction we have with our child, no matter how earnestly we may try to control it. It is here that we can be humbled most by the nature and velocity of change, by the unpredictable weather of life, and our own energetic reservoir that shifts from hour to hour. All of these details can distract us from an ascent towards magic in the moment just as it is.

Though for the child we want to give of ourselves energetically and creatively, so often when the child makes this specific call for our attention, as parents, just playing can be difficult.

Like a meditation practice, playing becomes challenging and thwarted when we wish the moment were different— if only we could be in a place where we could give more, where the experience would reap greater results, where we could maximize on our inner ability to be transformative—instead of engaging the moment in front of us with its many imperfections. We might believe that if only we were in another space, in a better state as a person, and could bring the highest vibration to the experience, that only then our participation in play with the child would be more effective. Once the laundry list is complete, we’ll be ready and the child will have us wholly and completely. That perfect moment will make up for all the times we couldn’t play or wouldn’t play. Yet contrary to these intentions, it is the precise moment of need, request, and spontaneity of the child that holds the most authentic opportunity to give and receive in the moment. This is true for meditation as well.

We benefit most from meditation when our time is the most limited and we are shouldering the greatest amount of responsibility. To play and to meditate we want most to be wearing our best, but the reality is that the gift of connecting and receiving appears when we arrive and engage as we are.

Meditation, too, teaches us the importance of the imperfect moment. From both secular and non-secular platforms, we know of the holistic benefits of meditation. Our state of consciousness, our emotional experience, and our ability to imprint life all transform with this practice. We yearn for an opportunity to meditate because we believe that through this practice, regardless what is on our path, we will handle and balance it better. No matter what, the formidable tumult of life is then more bearable, and amid all that strikes us or falls apart, we are able to arrive at an inner peace. Through meditation, we can recognize a place less fearful, more tolerable, and we faithfully open to the ascetic richness of silence and the infinite dimension and eye of the mind. Despite our laundry list and life’s details, we can find silence and ease in the moment by itself. But like the child to us, meditation is also so infused with our deepest struggles with self-love, self-reflection, and self-fear that we want desperately to meet