How Are Meditation and Play Similar?

I have recently started meditating. I’m not managing to do it every day, or for very long at a stretch. But it’s a very interesting process. Some days my head is very noisy, and it’s all I can do to try to come back to breath, or a mantra, without drifting off on another thought current (or song stuck in my head). Some days I sink in deep, feeling like I’m sitting with my essence and discovering that I’m okay. Some days I have a conversation with my younger self. Sometimes I cry. Sometimes I feel like my body and my mind and my life are expanding, filling up with light and life and hope and love. I love these times the most. They make the hard days worth it. They make me want to go back, to sit still, to see if I can feel that amazing collaboration with the universe again.

It occurred to me that really good play sessions feel very similar to these really good meditations. Sometimes when I play I think too much, and sometimes I feel awkward, and then some days it comes easily and flows through me and I’m on a current, heading towards discovery and purpose without working very hard at all. One lovely thing about finding this same connection with the universe through play is that other people can join me there. In meditation, everything happens inside. In play, some of it happens in the physical world around me.

It is very easy, even necessary, in our daily lives to be guarded. When we are alert for danger, we are not likely to experience this sort of flow. It’s harder to be aware of insights, new possibilities, or gut feelings and intuition, when we are going through the world with our practical, logical, or self-protective hats on. We need to find a place outside of the daily grind to practice relaxing and letting ourselves go with the flow. Meditation helps with this. So does play.

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