Game of Life

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I recently saw an ad for a video game. Now, I never played video games as a kid, so that world, although it’s never been particularly attractive to me, has always been intriguing. This game was one of those where characters jump around a strange, two-dimensional landscape made of blocks that form chambers, passages, and dead-ends through which you have to navigate your little guy. From what I have observed over the years, the character (in whatever ridiculous/absurd persona s/he might be) is tasked with pursuing some ultimate goal, fighting stuff that gets in the way and finding treasures that restore their life force.  Every level has more surprises, more challenging obstacles to manage, and more rewarding treasures to find.

Sometimes a character has to give up a certain amount of their life force to accomplish some intermediate goal, which, once accomplished, gives back more life force than they had to begin with, or some special power, or access to a special place there is no other way to achieve.

It was this last concept that popped into my head. I was preparing for our weekly meditation focused on magnetizing resources to complete the purchase of the property surrounding Laurelwood. I think it came to me because, for no reason in particular, I was especially looking forward to this meditation.

There are moments when the game of life is just trench warfare, clawing tooth and nail to gain every inch, and all you can do is try to hold onto your sanity. There are moments that probably look just the same to observers, but in which we are able to enjoy the battle, dancing forward and back, greeting challenges, testing our creativity and willingness with new solutions to the obstacles before us.

I felt a sudden kinship with video game players in that moment, as though I were playing the great, Divine game of life. The ridiculous and absurd character I’m responsible for is called Jacob. Currently, he and his band of friends are trying to raise energy and funds to purchase some land to create an uplifting community that can help the world address its multitude of growing problems. He has a certain amount of life force, and I dance back and forth, always feeling for what the appropriate tact is. Sometimes I spend more of his energy— staying up late working on projects, going to long meditations, writing silly blogs. Sometimes I get more life force on the far side, or discover new levels of reality.

Sometimes I just crash into the wall.

The whole drama suddenly struck me as so amusing. The lesson I felt was that people play when they’re having fun, they’re not attached to the outcome, but simply enjoy the tests, taking comfort in knowing that if they fail, they’ll get to try again.

And so we are free to remain unattached to the outcomes of our efforts, and feel the Divine Joy of playing the game the best we can, honing our ability to listen to the guide of our intuition whispering to us, telling us which passage to take, which false pleasures to avoid.

The better we get, the more we enjoy the challenges that come. The more we embrace the challenges that come, the better we get.

I invite you to join me, friend, in this game of life. What level can we reach for that will challenge us? What obstacles have we been putting aside that we are now ready to tackle once and for all? What small step can you commit to that will take you closer to the ultimate goal of eternal happiness? Are you ready to give up a little time and life force to attain some freedom on the far side of a difficult circumstance?

Let us play with great energy, great willingness, and great joy.

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3 Responses to “Game of Life”

  1. Manisha

    I LOVE this analogy. It is perfect! I’ll carry this image with me for a long time. It really does help detach from the lila of our everyday lives, and put into perspective the tapasya we encounter in the corridors of whatever level we’re playing on. That we gain more energy on the other side, and that the key is our attitude while moving through our challenges, is wonderfully empowering. Thank you, Jacob. Great post!

  2. Paul Sweany

    Thank you Jacob. I love your epiphany. I thought you expressed it beautifuly. Even though I didn’t realize it at the time, I wittnessed a very similar lesson imbedded in the movie Tommy Boy just last night. Remember when Tommy inadvertantly pursuaded the waitress to turn the fryers back on so he could have his chicken wings? His entire experience as a salesman changed the moment he let go of his attachment to outcome. A number of factors get in the way of my ability to do this but my greatest hurdle is always fear. Whenever I am able to step into service in spite of fear, the outcome always takes care of itself.

  3. Sharmila Chakravarty

    Jai Guru,

    Thank you for sharing your thought, so beautifully expressed the situation common to everyone. I loved and enjoyed reading it.


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