Often we borrow words and themes from other languages because they encompass more than a direct translation might. Even though we may not grasp the meaning entirely, something of the essence of it comes through when we appropriate it into our language.
Menage a trois
Now consider this word . . . that Stephen Nachmanovitch speaks about at the entrance to his book Free Play:
There is an old Sanskrit word, lila, which means play, richer than our word, it means divine play, the play of creation, destruction, and re-creation, the folding and unfolding of the cosmos. Lila, free and deep, is both the delight and enjoyment of this moment, and the play of God. It also means love.*
See what I mean? There is a lot packed into that little travel bag. And yet . . . like the best infomercials . . . there’s more. (!) There’s also this connotation . . . .
Lila may be the simplest thing there is — spontaneous, childish, disarming. But as we grow and experience the complexities of life, it may also be the most difficult and hard-won achievement imaginable, and its coming to fruition is a kind of homecoming to our true selves.*
Pronounced lee-lah, “lila is a way of describing all reality, including the cosmos, as the outcome of creative play by the divine absolute” . . . to confiscate a line from Wikipedia.
Now . . . when you take our own word play and play with it a bit in your mind, it’ll never be the same if you incorporate a dash of lila in it. Playfulness as creation, both personal and cosmic. Playfulness in the sense of frolic and experimentation. Play, pure and light and creative.
Play! It’s where the absolute meets the ephemeral.
It’s a spirited term for a spirited era.
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* These two quoted passages are from Free Play: Improvisation in Life and Art by Stephen Nachmanovitch.
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For you —
Click here for (occasional) notes at the intersection of creativity and spirit. Once a month, maybe.
This post is excerpted from this little book. Check it out:
Burn Baby Burn: Spark The Creative Spirit Within