DEEP PLAY

“In rare moments of deep play, we can lay aside our sense of self….shed time’s continuum….ignore pain….and sit quietly in the absolute present watching the world’s ordinary miracles.
No mind or heart hobbles….no analyzing or explaining….no questing for logic….no promises….no goals….no relationships….no worry.One is completely open to whatever drama may unfold.” ~Diane Ackerman

Diane Ackerman in her book “Deep Play” , calls such creative engagement “a form of meditation in action. What differentiates deep play from simple play is the intensity of the engagement. Moreover, in the process of absorption, one finds mental focus, alertness, and even the ability to ignore pain, hunger or physical discomfort.

Mihaly Csikczentmihaly calls it “Flow,” emphasizing that the experience is totally intrinsically rewarding rather than for its extrinsic meaning. In this state of Flow, the deep player is completely forgetful of the self, time, and space.

A composer describes those moments when his work is at its best…“You are in an ecstatic state to such a point that you feel as though you almost don’t exist. I’ve experienced this time and again. My hand seems devoid of myself, and I have nothing to do with what is happening. I just sit there watching in a state of awe and wonderment. And it just flows out by itself.”

Basketball players, when they experience being in Flow report that the basket seems bigger, and feeling an almost mystical connection to it. The legendary hitter Ted Williams has said that sometimes he could see the seams on a pitched baseball. Gymnast Carol Johnson found that on some days she experienced the balance beam as wider, so “any worry of falling off disappeared.”

A surgeon recalled a challenging operation and after completing the surgery noticed some rubble on the floor of the operating room and asked what had happened. He was amazed to hear that while he was so intent on the surgery part of the ceiling had caved in-he had not noticed at all.

“In self-forgetfulness, one draws closer to God.” ~Henry David Thoreau

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