When you’re gaming your character doesn’t have a head. The whole focus is switched from the head to the environment. In life we have a tendency to see everything in relation to what we believe is a self, to project what is happening in our minds onto the world around us . i.e. If we’re in a foul mood, the day is bad, if we’re sad, everything is dull and bleak, if we’re happy, the day is brighter. In the gaming world, thinking isn’t required, our character isn’t thinking at all, so the focus shifts to the environment.
Engage, notice, process, respond. No thinking involved, no I am doing this so he’s doing that, no I am angry so the dragon is angry, or if I do this – he’ll do that. The thinking in the game world has already been done, now its just a matter of processing. Patterns are what we are looking for, once we become of aware of the pattern, we work within the pattern to advance the game. There isn’t just one pattern though, there are patterns within patterns, this gives the game what seems to be depth and complexity but it’s all still patterns. For instance you have different categories of mobs, each category of mob has a specific pattern, a caster mob does ranged damage, a melee mob does physical damage, an invisible mob does surprise attacks. Then you have a group of mobs, so you have to deal with the overall pattern of mobs acting within a group as well as the individual patterns, then you have to deal with the boss mobs whose pattern is usually unique or a combination of different patterns. The mobs and you are never separate from the surrounding environment, the environment is another pattern which is itself a part of a larger pattern, so with mobs that breathe fire, there’s an object to duck behind for cover, or mobs who are high in the sky, there’s something to shoot them out of the sky with.
Your character is a pattern, the mobs are patterns, the environment is patterns, patterns within patterns within patterns. So noticing the patterns, processing the patterns, then working with all the patterns together as a unified whole becomes winning the game. This process is not necessarily sequential, but it is a continuous flow, as we get deeper into the game exploring patterns within patterns.
So playing the game takes you out of the head, takes you away from the concept there is a self doing things or having things done to them. It becomes engaging the game, getting a sense of the overall pattern of the game, becoming aware of patterns within patterns, processing these patterns, then working within the patterns to play through the game. Even death in the game is a pattern we use to learn patterns. So if we approach life this way, without thinking, without the ego telling us what we should or should not be doing, or projecting how we feel onto everything around us, we see more clearly, as our focus shifts from our head we are naturally more aware, and we begin to see patterns within ourselves, within the environment and how these two interact. We begin see life as a unified process, rather than something that is happening “out there.”
Sometimes people don’t really play the game, they only want to beat the game regardless of how they do it, so they use cheats or methods that bull through patterns. Like zerging a mob, this is where you gather way more characters than the pattern requires to defeat a mob. Life isn’t like this, we can’t cheat our way through it, we can’t just blindly follow the pack and make it through, each individual has to see clearly, so they become aware of their own patterns, they alone can decide if a pattern is working for them or not.
So gaming is a type of meditation, in fact anything that takes you out of the head is a form of meditation. Any activity where you’re so engrossed in it that you forget you’re even doing it, is meditation. But by working within the multi-layered patterns in gaming we develop the habit of looking for patterns everywhere. The ego is like a nagging housewife, or boss, who thinks nothing would be done without its constant jabbering. “Do this, omg you shouldn’t have done that, I feel ugly, everyone thinks you’re ugly, you can’t do that so don’t even try,” all this idiotic chatter that only creates a distraction, a fog of mind noise, that prevents us from noticing what’s really happening.
So for those avid gamers out there, happy gaming, just follow the first rule of gaming, when your dreams are filled with Dwarves, Orcs and Dragons oh my, you know it’s time to take a break.