More About The Game

We ask questions of our gods. Questions like “why do bad things happen to good people” and its corollary “why to good things happen to bad people” … “why do the good die young?” “why do children die? “why do children suffer?” “why does anyone suffer?” We ask “If it’s true that we create our own reality, as many are telling us that we do, why would these awful things be true? Wouldn’t we create only good things, happy things, positive things, in our lives?”

There are several ways of looking at these questions. For me, the ultimate one, the one that answers everything, is that life on planet earth is a game. Look to any game that you are familiar with, something that you have or currently enjoy playing. It might be cards, video games, football, golf, tennis, swimming, fishing whatever. What is it that utimately makes any game or sport—in fact anything that we find enjoyable—worth doing? Is it when it’s easiest? Absolutely not.

In the gaming world there’s a concept that we call “god mode.” “god mode” is where you have all the tools the designer had at their disposal, at your disposal. It allows you to do whatever you want whenever you want. In god mode you can create as much money as you want, be as powerful as you want, overcome any obstacle in the game. Anyone who’s ever played in god mode will tell you that while it’s fun for a little while—an hour, a day, a week—eventually playing in god mode becomes decidedly not fun.

Why is that? Because what makes a game, any game,‘fun’ is the challenge behind it. We all have varying degrees of what we consider a fun challenge and what we consider too much of a challenge, but if you look at what you love to do and take away the challenge, I think you’ll see that you’d no longer enjoy doing it. This analogy can be applied to absolutely everything that you enjoy doing, even the most mundane.

The same can be said for hobbies, such as gardening. Let’s look at gardening for a moment. Do you love to garden? What do you like about it? Is it deciding how to arrange things—what to plant and where to plant it? Creating different looks and purposes for different areas, perhaps some shade here and some sun there? Is it the kneeding of the earth, feeling it in your hands? planting seeds? watching them grow? tending to the weeds and insects, giving your plants a nurturing environment in which to grow? Is it walking around, watering and weeding and tending, feeling fulfilled as you see how you turned a patch of dirt and weeds into something of striking utility and beauty? Is it the end product, enjoying the beauty (like flowers) or utility (like vegetables) of what you’ve grown?

Maybe what you enjoy is all of these things, enjoyed over time as the different stages of development occur. Now imagine, still remembering your love for all these stages, waking up one morning to a full garden, full of everything that you intended to plant—the garden of your dreams—and having it be there instantaneously, with no involvement on your part for the creation of it. Then suppose that forever after your garden looked just like that: it never dies, never grows, never needs tending or food nor water, never suffers from any malady. How much fun would that be?
At first you might be tempted to think “oh! that would be marvelous!” no more digging, no more shopping for seed and fertilizer and equipment, no more books and articles about gardening, no more classes, no more pondering what to plant and where to plant it, no more dirty hands, no more aching back, no more sunburn from being out in the elements, no more upset over weeds and insects, no more watering, no more pruning, no more gathering … it’s all just there without any effort. Gardening in god mode. How fun!

But I ask you, how long would that be fun? Some consider that fun. They aren’t gardeners. They have gardeners who do all of those things and all they themselves have to do is enjoy the fruits of the gardener’s labor. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this! But those aren’t gardeners, those are folks who enjoy what gardeners produce.

Be honest here, if you truly love the gardening aspect you will feel completely unfulfilled with a garden that instantly appears and requires no maintenance. For you, the end product is not all there is to gardening. Putting in your special touches, your creativity, your desires, your effort, is what you enjoy. To have that taken away would not only be undesired, it would be disappointing, potentially even depressing.

What makes this analogy any different than living as a human being on planet Earth? The answer may shock you: Nothing at all. It’s a hard leap to make, to see that life as a human being is a game. But think about it for a little while. Resist the temptation to think about the tragedies of life, think for a moment about the fun side of life because that’s an easier place to start. I think you’ll see that when you take the challenge out of anything it turns away from fun into boredom, or worse. Life is no different.

Our tendency, because this is the way it’s always been, is to see life as different than a game. Life is serious. If you don’t do things ‘right’, ‘bad’ things will happen. There’s rent to pay, food to buy, stuff to acquire, children to raise. It’s not a game, it’s real!

What if, just what if, life isn’t what you think it is? What if it isn’t any more, or any less, serious than any other game you play? And if you think about it, when you’re deeply involved in a game, it can be pretty dang serious! Is life any different? 

What if all the awful things that happen are part and parcel of the challenges inherent in the game of life? What if we set up the game for the purpose of meeting those challenges ‘in the flesh’, so that we could truly understand who we are—who god is? 

And what if, knowing that, we could choose to change what kind of challenges we create within our game? What if we decided to give some of them up? What if we decided we'd experienced enough of certain kinds of challenges and were ready to create a different way of living, a different kind of game? What if?

No comments: