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Playful mind

Meditation is often thought of in terms of stilling the internal dialogue, of calming the endless fluctuations or whirlings (vrittis) of cognition. Often, beginners in meditation find this difficult, and its easy to get into the routine of making meditation a seperate space from the rest of our lives; of practicing it at times when we won’t be disturbed by too many sense-distractions. It is difficult to still the endless flow of cognitions – to lengthen the gap between thoughts. Why not do the opposite? Let the mind play.

This practice is suggested by Lalita’s quality of playfulness. She is occasionally described in Sri Vidya texts as restless – her eyes constantly moving to and fro, delighting in the play of Her creation. Our task, as transient glimmerings enfolded within this play, is to intensify – to dwell – in the wonder of the pulsation of consciousness; to drink the nectar of the flowers of experience.

There is no need to make playful mind a seperate practice – it can be done everywhere. Right now, typing this, I am aware of the touch of my fingers on the keyboard; the impact of the keys, the springiness of its response. I smell the coffee steaming in the cup to my left. I can hear a conversation somewhere ahead of me, a burst of laughter from further away. The muted rumble of a train as it passes by the window. The almost subliminal hum of the air conditioning. I feel the weight of my shirt on my arms. I can still taste the dates I ate a moment ago. Pausing for a moment and listening, I can hear the rattle of keyboards up and down the office. Glancing to my left, I let my attention fall upon the soft shadows cast by the edges of desks under the glow of strip lights.

She is the Mother Who gladdens creation, the cause of happiness in the world, causing all love in the world, creating the world, the Devi made of Mantra, great good fortune Sundari, consisting of all wealth, eternal, supremely blissful, joyful. Vamakeshvara Tantra


  1. elyos
    Posted March 19th 2010 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

    Yeps, one common side effect of satipatthana ‘s working is the perception of world as global copulation.

    You can easily induce this experience ( touch as caress, etc … ) both in an autoerotic way ( take pleasure of sensuality in your own body ) or in an exoerotic way, generally by amplifying some less used sense in your prosaic life ( odor, touch, taste, … )

    The Felicity generated by such way can quickly to an orgasmic experience ( for example, I have experimented such orgasm without emission with my mala :)) )

    Just a particular exercice toward Sat-Chit-Ananda as original nature

  2. Simon
    Posted March 24th 2010 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    I’ve always approached “meditation” as an unfocussing rather than a focussing on no-thought; and I find that easiest to do when performing a task which requires no concentration, which in my case has included busking (after performing the same songs daily for 4-8 hours).

  3. Joel
    Posted March 24th 2010 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

    This sounds like mindfulness without self-enquiry. Wasn’t there just smelling of coffee, hearing of train and keyboard rattle, and laughter and hum, and tasting of dates, and seeing soft shadows? Who’s the ‘I’ peppered into that little lot?

    • Phil Hine
      Posted March 25th 2010 at 9:04 am | Permalink


      You always pose the difficult questions, don’t you? Here, on reflection, I was highlighting the presence of the “indexical-I” – the “I” which experiences these sensations – which is, after all, how we tend to conceptualise the experience of sensations within, for want of a better term, the “western” notion of selfhood. Obviously, this “I-sense” can disappear/diminish in meditation (as with many other activities – running, playing an instrument, debugging javascript code). I’m not claiming this as a new idea, but trying to make a link between how Lalita’s quality of playfulness can underwrite a practice – and perhaps more importantly, an attitude to practice – which depends from that quality. Of course, there is no “I” which experiences – only Lalita’s delight in playing hide-and-seek with herself. I’ll be coming back to this, as I look further into the differences between Patanjali’s concept of personhood and that of nondual Sri Vidya/Trika.

  4. Joel
    Posted March 25th 2010 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

    Oh, that ‘I’, the ole indexical one. The old-habits-die-hard-I. The I I really must do something about, the I that is only a thought and never was anything else, the I that really ought to be embarrassed out of existence by now. That I. Gotcha.

    Have you read Nisargadatta Maharaj? After reading him godforms seem like middle management.

    • Phil Hine
      Posted March 25th 2010 at 10:17 pm | Permalink


      He’s the I am That guy, right? I seem to recall having that book with me when I was wandering around Egypt in ’82 (along with The Book of Lies).

      • Joel
        Posted March 26th 2010 at 12:28 am | Permalink

        That’s him. The other books are good too, particularly ‘Prior to Consciousness’.

        • Phil Hine
          Posted March 26th 2010 at 2:15 pm | Permalink


          I’m going to read I am That again, soon as I get time, so thanks for bringing that up. I’ve always liked Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, because his life was so far away from European expectations of a “guru” – he smoked, sold cigarettes, worshipped his guru’s photo every day and occasionally gave diksha whilst reading a newspaper. When he comes out with statements like “Consciousness and the world appear and disappear together, hence they are two aspects of the same state” I find myself in agreement, although the nondual approach I taking is different to Vedanta. His assertion that the realised (man) is simply “aware and affectionate – intensely” is another point that I’ve tried to act from.

          • Joel
            Posted March 26th 2010 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

            Yes indeed Phil, as he said when someone started talking about Dakshinamurti: ‘Hang Dakshinamurti! What about you? What is your experience?’ The emphasis on there being no personal volition, because no doer, such that spontaneity is how things get done, accords well with the Daoist wuwei (not doing/doing nothing) and ziran (spontaneity). So-called ‘true will’ in magick then would be the will of the total functioning, the will of nature, essentially, again, what happens spontaneously. No will, in other words, just standing aside (as the imaginary pseudo-entity ‘I’) and letting what happens happen. When you mention a point you’ve ‘tried to act from’ who is it that is trying to act and isn’t that point just another relativism in a cloud of thoughts? Charles Bukowski has on his gravestone: ‘Don’t try.’ It’s wasted effort to try to be or do anything. It’s unnecessary to emulate and just keeps one in bondage to what one is attempting to emulate for longer, rather realisation should come first, then it is for others to note characteristics that appear to be evident as a result. But we do skirt around this for years don’t we, wasting our time with the next thing and the next thing, without ever getting to the heart of the matter. That’s why Nisargadatta is great, because he cut all of that dead and wouldn’t permit anyone to indulge in that kind of fiddling about in his presence. I am that is a great book, but also see the books from just before he died, where he can’t be bothered with what he regards as kindergarten stuff. Well I’m curious to see what your ‘nondual approach’ is. Are you going to say you are at one with your duality?

  5. Phil Hine
    Posted March 26th 2010 at 6:33 pm | Permalink


    Are you going to say you are at one with your duality? No, I wouldn’t say that. I think you might have to wait a while though…

    • Joel
      Posted March 26th 2010 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

      Dharma combat in the pub it is then…

  6. Simon Dyda
    Posted March 27th 2010 at 1:11 am | Permalink

    Are you going to say you are at one with your duality?

    That’s a trick question if ever there was one.

  7. Lex
    Posted June 12th 2010 at 1:43 am | Permalink

    I have recently picked up the “I Am That” book, what a great book!. It has given me a tremendous insight to Yoga (Patanjali’s) Yamas & Niyamas. Some of the Dialogues are just amazing, it voices so many of the questions that i have.

    I might be wrong in my understanding but its almost like the Yamas and Niyamas are a formula to make the mind-body function automatically. What troubles me is the notions of beyond mind-body. But i dont think i need concern myself with that now.