The wise view life as serious play.
On one hand, they know it’s all light as a feather.
They know everything is always perfect on the deepest level.
They know the world is made of openness, spaciousness, peace.
They know our essence is indestructible and forever beyond harm.
They know this is all a dance, a game that the All is playing with itself.
On the other hand, they know suffering is experientially all-too-real.
They know being a human fucking hurts sometimes.
They know sometimes darkness and loneliness press in, and life feels anything but playful.
They see that deep down the world is their own body, and thus the suffering of the world is their own suffering.
They feel no masochistic need to increase this suffering by stewing in it, absorbing it, and drinking it in all day… This would only inhibit their ability to show up and serve…
But they do feel it. At key moments of initiation they allow it to break their hearts open, and they weep long and hard for the pain of this world.
This activates them.
It helps them focus on what truly matters.
It helps them see that the most beautiful, exciting, meaningful, and fulfilling adventure they could possibly go on…
Is the quest to alleviate suffering.
The quest to birth “the more beautiful world our hearts know is possible.”
They see that this begins within themselves.
They see that most fundamentally, service is about what we are being; where we are coming from; what we are radiating.
They see that if they come from a mentality of resentment, self-victimization, blame, and infantile tantrum-throwing…
This will only produce more of the same. This energy will permeate everything they attempt to do.
Whereas if they come from wisdom, from inner stillness, from unconditional acceptance, non-judgment, and love…
They can be akin to heart-warming bonfires that melt the ice caps of frozen trauma in this world.
They see that this energy cannot be faked.
It must be authentically realized.
Authentically discovered as fundamental to our nature—to who we truly are.
By practicing to transcend the mind—with all its artificial divisions, identities, expectations, preferences, assumptions, attachments, dogmas, and dramas—the wise gradually discover what is beyond all concepts:
Spacious, open, all-embracing peace.
Genuine contact with this peace, this home, is what allows for a “sacred sigh of relief,” and brings an authentic sense of lightness and playfulness.
This lightness and playfulness is intrinsically fulfilling.
It also turns out to be profoundly useful, as it allows for longevity of service.
It allows us to not burn out through frantic push-push-pushing to try to ‘fix’ the world.
Instead, it allows us to see the wisdom of non-forcing and to play the long game.
It allows us to notice, again, that simply being here on Earth, coming from this energy of love-peace-home, is most fundamental.
Specific actions and projects are fun, awesome, and powerful, but they are secondary.
The being-ness is most essential.
What are you being?
This is one of life’s most vital questions.
The Middle Way
The Middle Way strikes a balance between seriousness and play.
Between love and wisdom.
Between form and emptiness.
Too much seriousness, love, and form, and we’ll find ourselves burning out through desperate martyrdom, trying to take it all on and ‘save the world.’
Too much play, wisdom, and emptiness, and we’ll find ourselves engaging in ‘neo-advaita nonchalance,’ floating ‘above it all’ and telling ourselves we don’t have to connect to the suffering of the world because “it’s all perfect deep down anyway.”
Yet the suffering of the world is the suffering of our very body, our very heart.
You are me, and I am you, and we are IT.
A balanced being integrates both the seriousness/love/form and the wisdom/play/formlessness.
This allows for a great, long-term, joyful-yet-focused adventure of service to the One.
And a gradual deepening of the recognition that, as the Heart Sutra says, “Form is emptiness, emptiness is form.”
And the eventual recognition that: “Play is Service, Service is Play.”
So… Play seriously, my friends.