There is an aspect of all of us that relies on what we perceive as truth. This aspect is self-centered, in both senses of being for and of our being. What we want to be true is what we believe in, and for many of us this is in conflict with trusting what actually is. Individual truth is dependent on whether or not we agree with what is. Since everything is always the way it should be, the question that we all face moment to moment, is to ask ourselves if we are ok with what actually is. How we manage this is often disrupted by our inability to accept any given circumstance. Yet to reconnect with what is, we need to find trust within ourselves and let fall away any concealment of that trust. This can be accomplished for us all in play.
This article is being written in a form true to stream of consciousness, hence the title. Sure the edits, adjustments to grammar and so on are being executed, but that process too is a part of the message in which is being shared. That is the hope of this piece as much as it is an approach to authenticity.
Play is unambiguous when it is fully accepted by us as individuals and as observers. Interference to one’s own streaming of conscious play is intellect, social norms, expectations, interpretations and so on. Play is the greatest metaphor for life and needs not to be explained, simply exercised.
To define such a state is difficult because this state is synonymous with different activities or stages of life. Those activities and stages are globally affected by an individual’s interpretations, ideas and expectations of norms relative to what they themselves abide by. The social ideas associated with age, life skills, and other categories are disruptions as much as they are influencers of play.
To enact an authentic state of play is of the utmost simplicity when we remember how. We are born into a world in which, upon our arrival, the freedom of our life, our birth, is framed immediately. Depending on our birthplace, culture, and circumstances in which we are born into, will impact our perception, but not the need to play.
Play is a universal phenomenon. It occurs in nature, amongst the flowers, birds, insects, and it is in humanity as an expression of love, preservation, and with it comes a deep connection to our centers.
As we grow through infancy and become aware we begin to learn of our environment, we develop consciousness that varies person to person. We put into action, as small children, behaviors associated with our desire to express oneself, and do so in alliance of what we learn. For example, if we learn of love and care, we then are able to share with others through interactions that resemble what we have learned, and we do this through natural states of play early in life.
As a child the sense of now is all there is, and the life circumstances and education eventually invades this sense of freedom. We begin to shift away from consciousness and universal awareness, which is deceptive to the conciseness we have inherently. We eventually change perceptions dependent on what we accept or criticize. We are impacted by what we learn from education, which does not mean we have insight into ourselves, and that is certain if we accept the exterior education of our circumstance as truth, which then overrides deeper connections to what actually is. These deeper connections can always be reestablished later in life through meditation, and life style. And if we maintain play as an integral part of growth throughout our lives, we may reach beyond formal education and tune in to what is more readily available in ourselves to alleviate the conflicts within. This can eventually lead to complete acceptance of what is, and carry us as adults into a renewed sense of freedom, but without play this is not possible.
Children enact play as a reflection of their lives, their experiences and do so with a deep connection to their environment. Remember that sensation? Doing so in a nurturing environment promotes kindness and joy. To play in a less than suitable environment is often a protective factor, an escape, but it is still universal to allow us a way to process what we learn and experience. These attributes of play continue on in adult hood, but as adolescents (even younger) we continue to shift our habits into acceptable realms relative to adult authority, future ideas and our peers. We align these personal beliefs and habits with social groups and activities that reflect our internal perspectives of what is. But, our perspectives become jaded, even by the best intentions of those who teach us, and this cloudiness is ever present, even if we grow up under the most ideal set of circumstances.
The resistance to what is actual exists in us all, and this becomes evident when we measure it against productivity, those actions that are often associated with the exceptions of others. We begin to track away from authenticity of our true selves and build upon an ego that suits whatever we resist. We begin to play less, through the addition of intellect and social conditioning. We begin to reel away on tangents of what we perceive to be necessary behaviors expected by others. Those eventual expectations of work, property ownership, fashion, and other are not a concern of play, nor are they relative to our centers in this regard. However, we lose touch with these centers and play becomes something else, it becomes an idea. We exercise play as young adults attached to the perception of what we think play is, and eventually play becomes an intellectual expectation, associated with actions that we compare with others.
Powerful beliefs in concepts, things or ideas, which we all perceive differently, disrupt our connection to authentic play. We often move far away from play as it expressed here, and transition to work and adult responsibilities, and to be simplistic for arguments sake, these choices create barriers to personal connectivity. When this happens the art of play stagnates in each of us, but for our entire lives it yearns for an outlet. Play flows, and as we age if it is not explored authentically we may lose touch with our centers capacity to play fluidly, leaving us to fall victim to whatever circumstances we live.
In authenticity, we break away from the social norms, and when we play, we replace the expectations of others with an incredibly honest point of view from within ourselves. People in general are shy to expose their most internal self, the deep center of each of us, protected by social expectations and how we live up to the idea of ourselves, and our projections. Play does not do this. To play allows us to share the joy of freedom of self, with others, and it originates from deep within our centers. To allow this to happen (or to tap into the flow of our stream of conscious play), requires dedication to a total acceptance of all things and simultaneously nothing.
To introduce another idea at this point is not to confuse the reader, but inform the reader of a social idea in antiquity that is now associated with play or entertainment, and that is clown. Certainly the clown plays, but in a deeper sense of the self, the art of clown is not to entertain, but to reconnect with a source of universal freedoms, to demonstrate or interact with others from this state. That is clown art, but remember clown is a word, not a state of being. Instead, to be in play shifts our state of being, so that the person, with their authenticity, may return to the present. Even as an observer of that very phenomenon of authentic play, one participates.
The consciousness of play is a gift. To be aware of and present in the moment of play is as meditative as any other practice of deep focus, but during the expression, play is free of ritual when in action. Play and the art of clown are synonyms in this way. Ritual occurs in the preparation and practice, but in action, meditation is meditation, and play is play.
There is a much better developed sense of play, and practice of play in each of our centers than our egos are willing to easily disassociate. To arrive at this center and express oneself through play requires the center of our being to relinquish the censorship of what we have been taught since birth. To enter into a state of acceptance, share the joy of life from this center, is the practice of clown art. A clown gives life to their sense of play through connecting with the center in which their authentic play is generated. The clown is merely the conduit and play is the information in action.
Play is much more than entertainment. It is of the center, from deeper connections, and without social constraint. Play is even therapeutic in nature because of the stream of actions in play that are uncensored for the producer to experience, observe of themselves and process. This is an avenue, when experienced, that completely surrenders our centers to the now, as it did in early child hood, so that we may feel and see externally displayed psychological elements of how we process information.
We process life in various ways to function wholesomely, at least this is the ideal. When we cannot do so, we may over indulge in material practices or seek guidance through meditation, religion, spirituality. We attempt to distract ourselves via addictions, social media, work and even sex. We avoid processing truth from our centers in very creative ways. In authentic play we are free to feel what is ours, and exercise a deeper connection with our selves and also our peers. This form of play does not replace other sources of respite, however, it is an additional tool that runs parallel with the waters of how we establish those deep connections with ourselves.
Authentic play (or the art of clown as integrated in this text), is an absolute stream of consciousness when exercised from our centers. The sensations of those experiences are virtually indescribable with universal words that would resonate with everyone. However, play as described here, is a complex interconnectedness that is celebrated when in action. It is not easy or effective to describe intangible ideas that bond catharsis to the presence of any experience, but in the case of play we arrive here. That is why the simplicity of practicing play is the most effective way to grasp its principle function, and its ability to guide us as other mindful practices do, to reconnect our selves with our centers.
Author: Adam Zimmerman