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Bernard L. De Koven

On Feeling "Connected"

The "playful path' is the one that best connects us to the world.

Pixabay
Source: Pixabay

There are times when we feel connected: to our bodies, to each other, to the ground and trees and clouds and sun; to the planet, to life – to everything within the reach of our senses and assuredly beyond.

These are our happiest times. These are the times in which we find ourselves part of the fun of it all. Recently, I was reminded of this in a post from Brain Pickings citing a passage from Willa Cather’s My Antonia (link is to a free download of the book, courtesy of the Gutenberg Project):

“The earth was warm under me, and warm as I crumbled it through my fingers. Queer little red bugs came out and moved in slow squadrons around me. Their backs were polished vermilion, with black spots. I kept as still as I could. Nothing happened. I did not expect anything to happen. I was something that lay under the sun and felt it, like the pumpkins, and I did not want to be anything more. I was entirely happy. Perhaps we feel like that when we die and become a part of something entire, whether it is sun and air, or goodness and knowledge. At any rate, that is happiness; to be dissolved into something complete and great. When it comes to one, it comes as naturally as sleep.”

This experience of connectedness is also what makes a game worth playing. We become, together, absorbed. Perhaps not as profoundly, perhaps not to the world at large, but to something deeply human. And when it is best, so are we. We are, for that moment, connected not only to the game, but also to each other: each other’s presence, each other’s intelligence. Connected, mind and body, not only to the game, but also by the game to our collective capacity for thought, compassion, competition.

So much of what we call fun, happiness, joy comes to us when we let ourselves connect to something larger: family, community, planet. It seems that regardless of what we connect to, it is this capacity to connect that brings happiness. And the wider the connection, the deeper the happiness.

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About the Author

Bernard De Koven is the author of The Well-Played Game. He writes on theories of fun and playfulness and how they affect personal, interpersonal, community and institutional health.