By Paul David Walker
[dropcaps type=”circle” color=”” background=””]H[/dropcaps]ave you ever wondered, “Is this as good as it gets?” Even though you are successful, does something seem missing? We buy new cars, homes, boats, clothes and jewels; but after a momentary thrill, that pointless empty feeling arises again.
We struggle to succeed, work all our life to be recognized and feel powerful or beautiful in the world, and often find that stress overwhelms our body and mind. We push through and reach our goals. Yet somehow, again after momentary thrills, we feel unsatisfied. Some pretend to be happy, not wanting to seem like a failure or disappoint their friends and family, but their face tells a different story.
I discovered years ago, while listening to a tape by George Pransky, that one of the reasons for this is that we have confused life with the game of life.
Eckhart Tolle said, “We are not living life, we are life.” Yet we seem to get lost in “The Game of Life.”
Life is moments of profound beauty. Life is looking into the eyes of a child, a moment by a river when everything seems to flow together, or when suddenly what seemed mundane now seems beautiful. It is moments of love where you feel deeply connected to someone, being “In The Zone,” or biting into a fresh sweet strawberry and responding with gratitude.
When we experience life itself, we feel peaceful and exhilarated at the same time. It is often a simple moment when what is coming up does not seem to matter, and yet you are fascinated with the arising of the next moment. When you can feel the love of a child or a parent, you are deeply living life. Its energy enters your being and you cannot help but smile with joy.
The Game of Life
The rules for the game of life are like the rules for tennis, basketball or baseball. They are not innate universal principles, like gravity, the need for water, sunlight to grow crops, and oxygen; we have just decided on them to create a game. In tennis inside the line is a point, outside the line is a point for the other person. Why? It is because we have decided. The rules change over time to improve the game. Likewise, each society in the world establishes rules to govern life within their countries. Each ethnic culture has developed norms of behavior. Like the rules of different games, they vary. If designed well, they will enhance life. But they are not life itself.
The River & The Game of Life
An example of this would be an ancient community that developed around a river that was fed by lakes in the high mountains. The community prospered, using irrigation to develop food production and trade. They developed a game of life that thrived off the river, and the innovations created by the game of life that evolved to meet the community’s needs. This is an example where the game of life was fed by life, which in this case was the river.
Many of these civilizations disappeared, because for one reason or the other, the springs in the lakes that fed the river could not support the growing demands of the civilization. The leaders became attached to their game, and did not notice the relationship of the game to the rivers ability to support the game of life that formed their civilization.
Likewise, an athlete who develops extraordinary physical skills playing a game has a deep level of enjoyment of life during play. However, many stay involved in a sport beyond their aging body’s ability to keep up with the game, some die and others are crippled. Why? It is because they have confused the game with life itself. They mistakenly assume that the game, not the life force, brought them the enjoyment.
When we lose touch with life itself, our ability to play in the game of life decreases, and like ancient river civilizations, the game of life can destroy our connection to life with terrible consequences.
While playing the game of life you may notice stress and difficulty increasing, yet because you are so attached to the game you cannot stop playing. You lose your connection to life itself and wither without knowing why.
Confusing Life & The Game of Life
The game of life we play in “Post Modern” society is much more complex than ancient civilizations or sports games. It is all pervasive. It seems to encompass the globe. We are part of a game that seems to have no boundaries. Most are not even aware that they are choosing to play a game. Many see the game as life itself, and this is where problems arise. In desperately holding onto the game of life, we lose touch with life. We become stressed, fatigued, depressed and angry. Something is missing. Our consciousness is focused on the game, rather than life, metaphorically, the springs that feed our life dry up, and then playing the game of life becomes more difficult. We lose contact with life, and hence, given “we are life,” we lose ourselves. We are lost in the game of life to the point of danger, and perhaps extinction.
Consciously Connecting With Life
In order to play the game of life well, we need to have practices that connect us with life itself. Without awareness that there is a difference between life and the game of life, it will be hard to take the time to drink from the natural springs that feed our life. So that is the first step to realize the difference.
The second step is to develop practices that help you let go of the game, and open your consciousness to the life giving energy of “The Life Force,” which is a multidimensional river beyond description. Meditation, walking in nature, yoga, listening to relaxing music, and many others similar practices can work. The key is to find ways to slow your thoughts about the game of life. As you do, life will naturally fill your consciousness and feed you, without which you will die, like a flower that is not watered, or a civilization whose river dries up.
Now you have an intellectual understanding of the difference between LIFE and “The Game of Life.” The thoughts shared here only point towards the experience of LIFE. In order to truly experience LIFE, you need to practice being present to LIFE. If you take time each day in a meditative practice, you will learn the difference. At first your head will be full of thoughts, but as you learn to let go of them, you will be conscious of LIFE instead of your thoughts about life. With practice, you will be able to be continuously conscious of LIFE every moment of the day. Your happiness will grow and what once seemed drab will be full of color.
Paul David Walker is a Senior LCS Consultant and one of the few CEO coaches who has worked with numerous Fortune 500 CEOs and their key staff members for over 25 years along with many mid-cap organizations. Some of the organizations that Paul has worked with include Star Kist Foods, Von’s Grocery Stores, New York Life, Anne Klein, Rockwell International countless manufacturing, global utilities, service and consulting organizations. Paul is the founder of Genius Stone Partners, and works with domestic and international companies to improve their bottom line today and planning for the future. Paul is the author of the best selling book, Unleashing Genius and his new book, Invent Your Future – 7 Imperatives for a 21st Century. You can reach Paul at Paul@lighthouseconsulting.com.
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