By Cathy Eck
The Game of Life
It sometimes helps to look at life from different angles. When I get stuck, I find the analogy of the video game to be very helpful. Modern gaming can provide a magnificent touchstone for the initiate.
Video games are generally organized in levels. You beat one level, and then you move on to a harder one. Each time you beat a level, you feel confident that you can go on. You can’t imagine that the next level will be more difficult. You’re sure you’re going to beat the game. But then the higher level throws you a trick or trap that you’ve never seen before.
What gives you the most confidence is knowing that someone else has already beaten the game, and you can do it too. Somebody who has already won wants you to win too. But they generally don’t come do it for you; they don’t want to ruin your fun. They just help you take the next step. They keep you from staying stuck too long or from getting bored and quitting.
Much like video games, the game of life has gotten very difficult with some advanced and tricky levels; no one is beating it. The illusion has become more like the Hell on Earth game. Its graphics are so good that it looks very real. It promises big rewards, but no one ever beats the game. Everyone just hopes that they will figure out the codes and win some day. They trust the Game Masters, and don’t realize that the Game Masters are tricking them. You can’t win at this game.
It’s best to just drop that game and join the Freedom From the Illusion game. There are no winners in the Hell on Earth game; just the illusion of winners. But in the Freedom From the Illusion game, everybody wins. But you do have to play to win.
The game of life used to be fun and fair a long time ago, but now it is largely about suffering with a smile, enduring with patience, and dying gracefully. For some it is about outsmarting others or staying defensive around bad people (even Dr. Phil has joined this bandwagon with his new bestselling book). The game of life, for many, has become Hell on Earth because they are managing fear.
Others try to sell the notion that death is winning. They are wrong. If you die, you have to start over. Most want you to just accept life based on some low-level criteria that will support their win. For most people on the planet, life looks very routine like Super Mario running down the same path every day for fifty years.
The Big Levels
Like any game, the first levels are confidence builders and get you interested in further play. They are easy. Anyone can beat them. In fact, you can do it all wrong and beat those levels. I’m terrible at video games, but I can beat those easy levels. Fortunately, I’m much better at the life game.
Much like a video game, as one gets further and further into the Freedom from the Illusion game, you come to the point where you have to go for the big levels.
This part isn’t easy. The tricks and traps seem endless in the Freedom From the Illusion game. Circular reasoning often keeps you chasing your tail. Enemies show up that put you in danger. Beliefs, diseases, problems, and even evil look painfully real. It takes courage, persistence, focus, and knowing when to ask for help to get through those levels.
We’re Not Beating Others
Now, let me be very clear. I’ve been talking about beating the Freedom From the Illusion game, not beating other people. As I said, most people are playing the Hell on Earth game, which is all about one winner and lots of losers. The Freedom from the Illusion game is an individual sport. It’s not about winning while others lose. You beat your own false mind; you don’t beat any other person. And there is no race; you don’t have to be the first one to get there. Everyone gets the same prize — freedom.
When we all focus on our own games, we all eventually win. Those who get there first turn around and reach out a hand, offer tips and support, and help everyone else get there faster.
I admire good gamers — in video gaming and in life gaming. Really good gamers don’t compete so that others lose, they compete to improve their own skill. They appreciate their competitors because the ones who challenge them the most give them strength. And they return the favor.
The game, “Second Life,” (pictured above) provides some interesting food for thought. In “Second Life,” players create an avatar and live life, work, play, date, marry, and have children in a user-designed virtual world. People trade a currency in this game and some human people can actually live full time off the money that their avatar makes in “Second Life.”
“Second Life” started out much like the real earth. The people were given a piece of land and geometric shapes. In other words, they were given creative potential. Their virtual world continues to grow in sophistication as the players create new cities, new innovations, and even new beliefs. In the beginning, it was like being on earth without beliefs, the possibilities were endless. But as the game has matured, people demand more and more rules. They fight more and compete fiercely. They have brought their beliefs into the game. They will even go to the Game Master (Linden Labs or God) and ask that someone be punished or the rules be changed. They now have doctors and attorneys that they didn’t have at the start.
This “Second Life” world started out perfect, but it has adopted the same baggage as its human creators. I sometimes wonder if earth started as another planet’s “Second Life” game, and we inherited the problems of our creators. I don’t have the answer to that one. Imagine gamers on some other planet far out in space controlling our movements and minds with joysticks until we discover that we are free and leave their Hell on Earth game. Think about your destiny actually being created by some teenager on planet Zulu, and you’ll have plenty of incentive to let go.
Ultimately the Freedom from the Illusion game is about complete freedom — not temporary wins. Freedom is not won in battle because another battle will come along again. One must achieve freedom from battles all together to be free of the game.
Freedom is about letting go of all the beliefs that keep us from being totally in unconditional love 100 percent of the time and from creating everything we desire (without harming others). There is no love without freedom. You’ve heard the saying, “If you love something, let it go. If it comes back it was truly yours. If it doesn’t it was never yours to begin with.” People quote it all the time. But they don’t dare try it. The Freedom From the Illusion game is about dropping all of our social pretenses and customs so that we’re not people pleasing or looking for approval from others.
This Freedom from the Illusion game would be easy except that we’re born into a sea of shit with parents that are absolutely clueless. Our parents cart our asses to religious classes and stick our butts in a chair all day in school listening to boring teachers talk about stuff that isn’t true. When you say you want to paint, they send you to medical school. When you say you want to be free and travel the world, they tell you that they want you married with children. When you are frothing at the mouth to take that next big risk and open the business of your dreams or produce that movie that’s been in your mind for years, they get sick and need you to come home and care for them. Their job is to keep you stuck or so they think. But it’s just part of the game; they are simply playing a role in the Hell on Earth game. They don’t know it because if everyone knew the rules of the Hell on Earth game, they’d quit.
The Power of Story
Okay, scary huh! It is, because we’ve made this illusory game so real. We believe our roles. But you see, the life game works through story. We just have to look to Hollywood or the storyline of a video game to understand it. If the movie protagonist doesn’t have many beliefs, the story is a comedy. Comedies don’t make for challenging games. More beliefs in the protagonist produce a drama. Lots of strange beliefs create a sci-fi, and lots and lots of beliefs that seem insurmountable make for a horror movie. Horror makes great video games.
However, our ideal life state is more like a comedy. We like just enough beliefs to be part of the creative fun but not so many that we have to deal with suffering, sickness, or death. But even the comedians rarely have comedies for their own lives. Quite frankly, we mostly suck at the Freedom from the Illusion game.
The reason we suck is that we’ve stored the rules of the game in our True Self, and we created minds that avoid listening to our True Self. We created scary authorities, false beliefs, and the need for fitting in. We created experts and more bullshit information than we’ll ever need. We’re told our True Self falls for temptation, is selfish, and will get our asses hung on a cross if we listen to it.
Most humans are like someone who buys a game and attempts to play it, and we scream and swear and hit our desks because we can’t figure it out. Meanwhile the instructions are lying untouched in the box.
The truth is that all of our games differ on the surface; and yet, they’re all the same at the core. No one’s game is more important than another. What makes us truly important to the world and its continuation is our ability to win our OWN game. What makes us unimportant is sustaining the illusion of good and evil and win-lose, competing against each other in the Hell on Earth game, and driving in other people’s lanes. Those things are destructive to our continuation.
When we are so bad at the game that we can’t even win if someone gives us big clues, then we hope for an apocalypse or a savior to come in and fix it all. Fat chance…I’ve never once seen a video game where you won by putting the game back in the box, putting it in the closet, and praying that the Game Master calls and tells you that you’ve won.
We don’t mind a hard video game; in fact, challenging games sell much better than easy ones. But we expect the game to be fair. I write this blog to make the Freedom From the Illusion game fair. You see, if you have the rules, you can beat the game. I can tell you where to look and where not to look. You have to do the rest. If other people have the rules and you don’t, you will probably lose. And they will look like heroes and Gods because they’ve won when they just had the rules.
But there is also another side to fairness. You did agree to buy into this game fully knowing that finding the rulebook was part of the fun and part of the challenge. So you’ve gotten some big clues; find that rulebook within, and start beating your own game.
What Smart Gamers Know For Sure
Gamers get a bad rap. They aren’t bad people; they aren’t lazy either. I like them a lot. If you think they look stupid or unmotivated, you ought to see how you look to them.
The truth is that they know they came here to play a game, and usually gamers can’t stand the Hell on Earth game in reality so they play some version of it virtually. Often kids who game compulsively are just mirroring their parents unconscious baggage — my son did that for a long time.
I’ve noticed that gamers do really well at the Freedom From the Illusion game once they know it exists. Gaming seems to prepare their mind and give them focus, concentration, and persistence. They are also less afraid of games because they know they can beat any game in time.
Here are some other things that good gamers tend to know for sure:
If you tried something and it didn’t work before, it isn’t going to work if you do it again and again.
If you need help, don’t ask someone who is on a lower level than you.
If someone asks for help, give it to them. If they don’t ask for help, shut up and play your own game.
If people on a lower level give you advice, ignore them.
If someone gave you bad advice before, don’t ask them for advice again.
No one is going to beat the game for you. So stop waiting for someone else to beat the game and save you. Stop whining that you didn’t win the game yet. And don’t act like a victim because you can’t beat the game.
Don’t quit when it gets hard. Try thinking outside of the box. Take a risk. Set the game aside while still looking for ideas, and often the answer will come to you.
New ideas come to you when you let go of the old ones. If something didn’t work, let it go. If it did work, microwave yourself a hot pocket because you probably won’t be eating when you get involved in the next level.
Good gamers spend zero time thinking about their mistakes and all their time trying new things, looking for ideas, and staying wired in to the game.
Hang out with other people playing the same game. It is fun, and you help each other to get better and win faster.
Martyrdom and death are never the goal of the game. Losers die. If you end up as a martyr or dead in a video game, you get the privilege of starting over. Gamers don’t like to start over. It is a waste of time. (I look forward to the day that we go to a funeral and they say, “Too bad; he lost the game. He was a lousy gamer.”)
There are no victims in the game; there are just really, really bad players.
Kill what isn’t real. (Beliefs, which aren’t real, show up as enemies in video games as in life; gamers actually know that those enemies aren’t real. They eliminate the enemy (beliefs) because it is an illusion that they need to get past. They know the are the only real thing in the game; and they will win eventually. People that don’t play video games can’t seem to understand that; but then they are the same people that wear magic underwear to protect themselves from evil or think Noah had dinosaurs on the ark.)
The joy is in playing the game; the prize is winning the game.
The Game Master isn’t going to change the game for you. So don’t ask.
Being part of a gaming community and helping everyone in the community win is very rewarding.
Gaming doesn’t have borders. When you log on to a game, you are your avatar. You aren’t your nationality, your looks, your income, your race, your degrees, your sexual orientation, or your religion. You are respected based on the game level you’ve achieved. In other words, your fruits that relate to the game determine your status, not your false self pedigree, degrees, or persona. No one in the game has authority over another; all players have equal opportunity.
But here is the most important lesson of all. You think you’ll quit when you beat this game. But you won’t. You’ll play again and again and again. You’ll start a whole new game with new rules and new challenges. So stop whining about the game and start looking for ways to beat the next level. Life was designed to be fun.
If you are a gamer, add your gaming lessons in the comments below. What do you know for sure? What tip can you offer so we can all become better gamers?
Here is some more gaming fun in Life Lessons from Nerdy Gamers, my tribute to alias Day, i.e. Sean Plott who made the Forbes List of most influential people. You rock Sean!