Taking The Zen Approach To Gaming
The first half of January has been loaded with the typical negativity, and in all honesty, we certainly contributed by calling out particularly absurd commentary and getting caught up in the maelstrom. As we emerge from the storm, we realize that nobody is free of scrapes and bruises; everyone has suffered a variety of injuries that cast a pall on a hobby that revolves around fun and entertainment. Regardless of our mood or passion, we can all take things too seriously, and now it's time to back off...take a deep breath...and get all...Zen.
Maybe you can't contort yourself into even the most basic Yoga positions, and perhaps you live nowhere near a peaceful shore. But you must make do and resort to feeding your inner self: as most ancient philosophies will tell you, the body is little more than a vessel of blood, skin, chemicals, water, and a bit of electricity. To release one's mind from time to time is a necessirty; if you don't step away from the body, the body is said to consume the soul. ...and if the throngs of the depressingly dazed and confused that wander Wal-Mart are any indication, this has already begun to happen. Therefore, think nothing of these trivial - yes, trivial - console wars. Ignore that forumite who called you an "ignorant fanboy." Stop seething about the latest anti-PS3 article. Don't lose yourself in endless arguments that involve circular logic, strawmen, and needless personal attacks. Just let yourself go.
Sit back. Close your eyes...(but first finish the instructions). Your soul is slowly tearing free from your physical self; it's a painless departure and one that triggers brain activity and allows your muscles to relax. The tension, which has managed to tighten multiple parts of your body, slowly moves upwards and passes out through the top of your head. This will leave shortly after the soul; the two will separate like oil and water in the plane of existence the human eye cannot see. Your breathing slows and your fingers unclench and come to rest lightly on your knees. Your shoulders slump but as your brain remains at attention, your back remains straight. The sensation of inward movement settles as you begin to experience something that's between floating and a mental massage. In this state, you are no longer removed from nature and the energy that formed the celestial beings we walk beneath but unfortunately ignore begins to spread. You're no longer battling. You're submitting.
As you hover in this completely satisfied position, all those warm, wondrous gaming memories will flood through your consciousness. You will recall the first time you saw a video game, and then, as an unconscious smile creeps across your face, you will recall your earliest hours of electronic bliss. You will see, with your far-reaching internal eye that is now only drawn to the memories that feed your freshly freed soul, your first accomplishments. Your inner child will giggle with abandon at the recollection of blowing on cartridges, arcade buttons slick with pizza grease, and unwrapping that new game (the one you got before any of your friends). The eyes will roll behind your closed lids as you remember the ceaseless frustration of Super Ghosts 'n Goblins, then quickly switch to unbridled mirth as you let the memories of multiplayer sleepover parties assault your receptive soul. The tears will develop when Aeris' death returns, and the jaw will tighten when you remember the console that finally stopped working. Even the latter adopts a rosy tinge of nostalgia.
It will all be there. The entire experience will have been relived in minutes, but the Zen approach has weeded out all the negativity and left you with one final thought: why you began to play games in the first place. When this happens, the session is complete and you can allow your soul (and a bit of that tension, which is a requisite for everyday life) to come back. But the goal is complete...you've resurrected your smile. ;)
1/16/2009 Ben Dutka