If Life is a Game, Make Sure You Are Playing The Right Game

What kind of game do you want to play in life? How do you see the world: as a bunch of separate material object or things, of which you are one? In other words, you are some sort of a meat robot that has to fight and struggle to survive; and beyond mere survival, satisfy desires, avoid feared things, get more of the pie, or be a victim, or disappointed, or frustrated or angry if you aren’t getting what you want?

Alicia Vikander in Ex Machina (2015) • Photo by Universal Pictures International

Articles like these an old friend from the past sent me (asking what I thought)—The Jordan Peterson Moment or The Atheist Who Strangled Me—are more of the realm of opinion-ating, and the battle for mindshare. As a wise young friend, Andrew Hewson pointed out, this is an extension of the animal mind, the primeval survival “ego”, into the human mind ego. Or, they are self-advertisement of the author, or entertainment, like much of the news. A way to get your attention– which generally is a waste of your attention.

But what really matters? Does matter matter?

Who cares what such and such says? What you want is to find Truth. Why? Because what you really want is happiness. If the battle for things or ideas isn’t bringing you happiness, but at best a promise for future happiness, or mere temporary pleasure, are you going to settle for that? Do you really believe in your heart of hearts you are that small?

In school we are taught, subtly or overtly, that life is a competition, and this instills fear. The implicit presumption is a reinforcement of a separate self that has to defend, and gain, or else lose out. Fear can get people moving, but is a double-edged sword, and in reacting from fear—that is, being unconscious—one can react in ways that are non-productive, self-destructive, or other-destructive, or that merely don’t bring you closer to happiness and truth. It leads you around in a circle at the same level of life satisfaction and dissatisfaction you were before, still chasing. Fear closes down the openness to being receptive to what is, and makes one more obedient to thoughts that are like parasites on the soul. What you want is not only freedom from those thoughts, but from any thought: to know you are not thoughts and not feelings.

However, thoughts and feelings are worshipped, and there is widespread, nearly universal addiction to them: just look at the state of psychology, therapy, or the symptoms of depression, substance use, not to mention greed for money, power, objects, and experiences.

There can be game-like aspects or elements of life, at the level of the body or mind, and these can temporarily be worthwhile to engage in to have an advantage on circumstances that are overall conducive at a certain level. Let’s say there is an apartment you want to rent that fulfills your vision for quiet and light, and you make sure you get there in time, and communicate clearly to the owners the advantages of renting it to you. When acquired, game over. It was meant to be. This can be fun and exciting, but it’s not the end of the world or to affect my happiness if I don’t get it. The universe is a big place and you don’t know what will pop up. You are not dependent on circumstances. But, why not optimize them, not from fear but from fun and joy, from a sense of play and the opportunity of saying yes to life? Why not do it from freedom: from celebration? Don’t just see “bad” things but allow “good” things. Pay attention not just to lack but to the totality of what you are.

If Life is a Game, Make Sure You Are Playing The Right Game

The goal is absolute happiness, here and now: As close as one can get to that, given the conditions of the bodymind that must be let go of, the remnants of the seeming past, of nature and nurture. This requires finding your true freedom.  

There may be a movement of things in that space, in this life, just as there is metabolism going on in a plant or animal: out with the old crap, in with the new crap. For instance, I have some money, so I buy a new pair of shoes because the old ones were cramping my feet. I throw out or donate the old shoes, and wear the new ones. I was happy living my life while wearing the old shoes, they were just uncomfortable and annnoying at times and inconvenient. Another example: I get a car that’s better on the freeway for going to visit friends who take some traveling to see. The new car is faster, smoother, quieter, and more efficient. But I’m happy in my old noisy car, which has it’s own charms, like good visibility and spaciousness, and good offroad. But now I can celebrate the drive in a car that is faster and quieter. However, I’m happy either way. It’s just an experience: stuff, things, coming and going. There is no net gain in life or net loss: overall everything is still the same universe, the same consciousness, the same here-now-ness, seeing things come and go, with a basic background of peace. There are apparent people, noises, objects, thoughts, feelings in the body, and so forth.

Occurring to who? You may think you know, but do you really know who you are? What are you? 

People ask, “What do you believe?” but that is missing the point. Beliefs will get you nowhere, or not very far at all. Attacking things at the level of mind, such as through therapy or self-improvement games, or religious conversion, can change beliefs, certainly. But where will this get you? To a new battle of beliefs? Every belief implies a counter-belief, and a need to defend it. A belief implies a restriction. The iris of reality has been reduced to a thought. A battle with no end in sight. You could spend a lifetime refining and searching and compiling beliefs, ideas, opinions… or several lifetimes. Or perhaps an infinite number of lives. The cosmic situation is akin to one of those computer games that simulate life, with the little critters moving around gobbling each other up and spawning new ones, and going through mutations and endless changes and groupings and ungrouping. Does the mass get closer to beauty love and truth? Or just variations on the same system: moving the deck chairs around. What is needed is a new deck, and a new boat. 

The real game, if you are fortunate to get that far, is to pop out of the game board, or the simulation screen, and off the boat deck entirely, and look down on the whole thing (yes, like in The Matrix, as a metaphor, but translated to life with a capital L: reality)—not in the manner of superior and inferior, but transcendence—to see the game for what it is, and not take it seriously. Before you had been lost in the game: you thought you were one of the players, the objects, the little critters moving around on the screen, gobbling and being gobbled. You were totally identified, anxious and on a mood swing, depending on how well it did. Manic if it was eating up all the other critters and getting fat, or depressed if it was getting gobbled, smaller and threatened by death, not reaching its objectives, or dying. Blip, poof, critter number 9072 pops out of existence from a memory cell.

Interestingly though, no matter what, the game goes on. You are watching it are you not? Someone, or something is watching it. Who or what is that?

There are an infinite number of games. Can you enumerate the possible number of games in a universe? And are you attached to an outcome of any one?  If it’s just a game, does it have any substantial reality? 

These are questions that are not asked, or that feel too “out there” and unanswerable. So we go back to playing the game, getting lost in it, being identified with one of the players, the little critters. And the game goes on, identified or not. 

So given that that body you appear to be in is not going to last forever, how are you going to choose to spend your time? The choice is yours.

Why reader, do you choose struggle: do you love the drama and violence, limitation and restriction? If it’s in your life, it’s been chosen at some level, even if you claim you don’t choose it.  True, you didn’t choose it as a separate tiny thing, alone in a harsh and unforgiving and blind cosmos. You just seemed to find yourself there: a machine of sorts in a ruthless turning of gears, and beset with other people wanting things or doing things to you, one damn thing after another…  But, as consciousness, there was a choice, a creation, a thought, sometime. 

There are no victims in reality. I realize you may not cognize that just yet … in any case, I have great empathy and love for those that are suffering—especially since I went through years of intense suffering myself—even if it’s seen for what it is: unreal and all part of the game. This is all paradoxical to the mind and may take a very long time to comprehend, and even sound offensive, or not PC, not popular… ignorance is very fetching to most humans alive today. It’s the name of the game for most of 7.5 billion.

But, you may ask: “How do you find happiness then, if it’s not in the game and I’m not this critter, or what it does, or gets? What are you saying? Are you saying give up, or don’t play the game, or quit, or die?”

The truth is, you’ve already won but don’t know it. Another way of putting this is, since there’s nothing ultimate to win per se, is that you are already happy, because it’s what you are.

But if thats true, how to realize it?

Let’s look at it: let’s say it’s possible there is something we could call “causeless happiness”, or a joy that is Being in its own nature. Pure, unadulterated peace and love in a absolute or complete sense, not human or any other form but all those forms… sounds crazy, theoretical, pie in the sky New Age, crap?… “so let’s get on with life and the game of pursuing pleasures of the senses, of win and lose, as we’re wasting time, us hardened and smart ones who know what it’s all about.”  Well if if you truly that’s working for you and making you happy, then why stop: you will find the limits on your own.  I’m not here to say anyone “should” do anything, unless they ask… When you reach the end of the road with your particular brand of seeking,  you will start seeking again in another way, hopefully in a deeper, more intelligent way. Overall, in the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t matter, it all self-adjusts to innate perfection of the totality.

If there is this causeless joy or happiness, it would mean that we are spending a tremendous amount of time and energy playing a game that isn’t getting us closer, but just tempts us or goads us on with little bits and fragments of pleasure or temporary relative peace or relative happiness compared to other times. We still need more time. Time, money, energy, thinking, work, hard work… and meanwhile the body ages, things change. So what do we conclude? Time to go faster, work harder, get more, get fatter? Get more lost in “sex, drugs, and rock and roll”?  Well whatever floats your boat but be honest with yourself, and eventually some light will get through, and you get tired, sick and tired of being tired. You’ve tired out the engine of the mind that was driving the old way of seeking. The computer is running out of CPUs. Maybe you discover it actually feels better when the computer slows down, and STOPS for a moment.

Then you are on the right track. Notice how good ideas, insights, bright lights sneak through the cracks of thinking, in the silent gaps? Did you will those into existence? No. Do you notice moments of causeless wonder, joy, lighter energy? Do you need to make an effort for your ears to hear?  Do you need to will your vision to see something when you wake up in the morning? Do you know the next thought that’s coming into the mind, or what you will be thinking 5 minutes from now? You feel your body now even if you don’t make an effort…

This may sound like a recommendation or being an advocate of being passive. In fact, at every moment, there is an intention, a will (willingness would be a better term) and a choosing. This is not forced, but in fact totally free, whether it is conscious or not. Yes, this can be hard to see, or accept. How can we be this conditioned creature, this meat robot at one level – a product of history and genetics, doing what has to be done to survive and enjoy life-as-human-animal and at the same time be totally free? 

Because all is not as it appears. 

This website (and book) explores this remarkable reality of being human and being consciousness. 


Be Happy
Be Free


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