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  • Maarten Koener

'Compassion Through Play' -By Maarten Koeners

Updated: Jun 6, 2021


Feeling your pain and suffering

I swallow my “sorry”

I swallow my “would like”

I swallow my “buts”

Hearing without judgment or solution

Whispering I share from the heart


“I am here with you”

“I am here to help”

“I am here to accept”

Hearing in quietness and understanding

We smile together because I fart


To be compassionate, to be sensitive to suffering in self and others and commit to try to

alleviate and prevent it where we can, is an ability that you can learn and develop, and has

the potential to make the world a better place – if you have the courage and freedom to do

so. The act of compassion starts when you can truly see and accept the nature and causes of suffering. The challenge, I believe, is to acquire the awareness, skill and freedom to develop and foster abilities that can help you to be and act compassionate - be that for ourselves, for others, an organisation or a community.


One possible way to embrace this challenge, I believe, is through play and playfulness.

Play and being playful (childlike not childish) is increasingly recognised as a fundamental part

of the human experience and an ability to acquire awareness and skills through joy.

Importantly, a place or an ethos that promotes the development and the expression of being

playful is exceedingly fertile for the creation of joy through love, compassion and generosity.

This type of joy is very powerful - it is the type of joy that for example inspirational leaders

like His Holiness the Dalia Lama and Archbishop Desmund Tutu actively promote.

“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice

compassion” (Dalai Lama)


Play and joy through love, compassion and generosity can be long lasting and is different

from the joy more commonly associated with play - which is the brief reward through the

pleasure of the senses. Joy through being playful promotes the forming of meaningful,

compassionate connections with others. Therefore we can (and often do so without realising

it) use our individual and collective playfulness to create compassion through play.


Compassion through play, in my experience, is an activity or expression that is carried out

with the goal of increasing joy which promotes the creation and development of compassion

to oneself, others and their surroundings. It involves an enthusiastic and in-the-now attitude

or approach and is highly interactive among players and with the activity. Imagine a world

where we could create just a little more love, compassion and generosity - what are we

waiting for: let us play!







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