The Spinning Leaf is a Mental State, the opposite of the Heart of Stone. It's a mental state where the user simply "goes with the flow," letting his mind free to wander wherever it wants, talking and doing things without thinking twice about it, just doing it, no thinking.
Kvothe is the only person explicitly described to make use of this mental state in The Name of the Wind or The Wise Man's Fear , but Vashet mentions that a similar type of meditation is practiced in other Ademre schools of the Lethani. Indeed, Kvothe uses it to have a better grasp at the Lethani.
It also seems like the Spinning Leaf makes it easier for people to grasp into the Names of things, as every time Kvothe invoked upon a Name he grasped that name while in similar mental states, without thinking too much, being carried by his emotions, not by reason. He also uses the Spinning Leaf to see the Name of the Wind, under the Sword Tree, so that Kvothe himself seems to believe that it's easier to see Names while in this state.
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