Let’s play! Only when we play do we truly celebrate.
+ My dear friends,
This year, too, i’d like to send you warm greetings and good wishes at this festive season. However, it will be festive only if we learn to play again, play creatively, the way we knew how to play as children. Nothing was more important to us children, nothing more serious, nothing more necessary than to play. School, however, soon brainwashed us, replacing our childlike wisdom by mere knowledge and saddling us with work instead of freeing us to play. Wisdom plays. Yes, wisdom plays! In the Book of Proverbs, Lady Sophia, Divine Wisdom personified, sings of the part she played “at the very beginning, when the world came to be … When the primordial sea was not yet … when springs did not yet gush forth … before the mountains made valleys … I was there … When He set the sea its boundary … when He marked out the foundations of the earth, I was with him … playing day by day before him … playing on his rounding earth, and my delight it was to be with humankind” (Prov. 8: 23-31).
Finding meaning in what we are doing, that is true insight.
Whatever we do in these festive days, it can become work, or we can turn it into play. It’s up to us. As long as we have only our purpose in mind, we are working; but when we allow the meaning of what we are doing to take hold of us, we are playing. Work purposefully strives for a goal that lies ahead of it; but play has its goal within itself. When we play, or sing, we have no other purpose than singing or playing. Or do we dance in order to reach a goal? In all the many tasks, we have to tackle these days, we will succeed playfully, if we do not merely act purposefully, but allow ourselves to be seized by meaning. And is not the deepest meaning of all we are doing love? — love as our lived “yes” to the fact that all of us belong to all.
Celtic spirituality speaks of “Thin Places,” where the veil between this world and another is translucent. There are “Thin Seasons” also – and now one has come. Can you not sense the Great Secret – the meaning of all – beyond a thin, thin veil, these days? Let’s celebrate this: Let’s play! Only when we play do we truly celebrate. Some celebrations may have secondary purposes, but only if their main purpose is celebration for the sake of celebration, do they remain meaningful. Whosoever celebrates, plays — for no other reason than to play.
Once you can play again, you can celebrate, and every task becomes meaningful.
In the monastery, the solemn game of Advent liturgy culminates in the great O Antiphons. And the first of them, O Sapientia, invokes Wisdom: “O Wisdom, coming forth from the mouth of the Most High, you embrace the world from end to end. With strength and gentleness, you set everything in order. Come and reveal to us the way of insight.” – Finding meaning in what we are doing, that is true insight.
Wisdom seeking to take hold of us and to teach us to play, seems to do this more easily at this Thin Season. It may be a tune, a smell, or the laughter of children that grabs you. Let it happen! – and at once you can play again, you can celebrate, and every task becomes meaningful. If we enter the year 2018 with this attitude, we may hope to come a step closer to a global order of strength and gentleness — and that is my urgent heartfelt wish for all of us.
Your brother David
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Does anyone have any ideas for how to rekindle the playful spirit within myself? I have just taken myself very seriously for so long, I am finding it hard to break the cycle.
Brother David suggests asking frequently, “What is surprising in this moment?” This simple shift in my looking has brought me to be present and conneced to Spirit. And, it feels like playing.
Hi. Yes always starting with gratitude is very helpful, being grateful for even the smallest things, like my soft bed, the blankets, my heart beats and I never even asked it to. Thank you heart for beating, thank jaw for chewing etc, ect.
The fun part is to not make things mean so much. We take life and ourselves too seriously. Things that we take seriously might seem silly to someone else. Life is short and we might as well have fun. Do things that are fun and don’t feel guilty about it. You deserve to have fun and be happy. Get silly and crazy once in a while. You are a gift to the planet. Our job is to be as healthy and happy as we can be. Your health and happiness effects my health and happiness and it effects the health and happiness of the whole planet. Thank you for being as healthy and happy as you can be. Silly, Crazy Joe ;p)
It is not easy… but it’s funny! Worth trying ?
Singing alone in the car or singing in the rain (like the song)
Make faces in the mirror
Say hello (with a big smile) to a grumpy old man
Offer a flowers for a lady
“Forget” a gift book somewhere
Pay a coffee for anyone you don’t meet
I have found washing away the cobwebs with a swim in the sea or in a pool to refresh my perspective…and engender playfulness (freedom to be). Fly a Frisbee at the park, Fly a kite, read a comic book for laughter is the music of the soul. Reconnect with what it was when you were younger. Toss a ball against a wall….what did you do before it became so serious?
I always read a comic book and I feel like a children! Calvin and Hobbes. And I toss a ball against a wall (wih my dog), it’s wonderful!!
And like the song… I singing in the rain! Completely adorable and playfull.
A river flows, sometimes splashing, sometimes meandering. It has only that purpose, if we can call it so. Really, it just flows in a constant move toward its whole self in the oceans and in the sky as a cloud, only to return as rain to play some more and in its course it infuses the world with life. Thank you, Brother David, for your insight. I am grateful for that.
Spot on Brother David as always. I dance, I play, I sing and all the while I cry for joy at the sheer beauty of it all.
Thank you Brother David!
You are a very special person and always inspire me with your pure heart.
With fraternal love
These words of Brother David read like a breath of fresh mountain air for me!
His point regarding the so-called “education” systems and its effects on “saddling Joy” is so true. And thankfully there are currently numerous capable individuals pointing to this truth, the sterilization through education, so I will add this article to my growing list of powerful corresponding references and move to Br David’s more important, Christmas pointer.
The Power of Play. I wish to reflect on Brother David’s wisdom concerning “Let Us Play” by quoting another current and very remarkable source. His Holiness Pope Francis. This simple, short paragraph contains the importance of understanding that it is the Holy Spirit which gives LIFE to Life. Christos ( Logos ) is the manifestation of Life, in whatever form we wish to give it.
From his “Happiness in this Life”. Meeting with Seminarians and Novices July 6th, 2013
THE PLACE WHERE JOY IS BORN
I want to see one word to you, and that word is “joy.” Wherever there are consecrated people, seminarians, religious men and women, and young people, there is joy! There is always joy! It is the joy of freshness, the joy of following Jesus, the joy of the Holy Spirit gives us. There is joy! But, – – – where is joy born? For it is born….. On Saturday evening should I go home, or should I go out dancing with my old friends? Will joy be born from this? For a seminarian, for example? No? Or yes?
I say “Yes!” to that and Dance wisdom, dance and play and celebrate the greatest gift of all, that of Being Human and therefore a “son of God”. The celebration of Christmas is simply that!
Be Well Be Present