I am so privileged to live on a remote island in a situation where I have no real problems. And if there are “problems”…they are self created. Like maybe I didn’t eat enough…or I should have done laundry…or I have a headache from spending too much time editing my book. I have a poverty of desires, which Seneca once called the greatest wealth. I think he’s right and I feel tremendously fortunate.
Since I spend most of my time alone, I have a great deal of time to think, reflect, and meditate on life in an uncomplicated way. I have a lot of time and freedom here, so it naturally happens. While I was just making cabbage (one of my main staples, besides chocolate — which I’m convinced is because of the calcium benefits and vitamins haha), I reflected on a concept that I think really reflects my third book (Seven Lives):
All the world is a game and the object is to break free.
In an true game, there must be obstacles to success. The game is usually fun because there is a potential for a tragic loss or an epic win. We’re taught from a young age that winning is the goal. Loss is seen as devastating, and hearts are broken when the envisioned goal is not achieved. Die hard sports fans rise and fall emotionally with their teams. But someone without an attachment to a game or team can look upon that same match with disinterest. That person may merely view it as a contest with ups and downs that eventually comes to an end. Out of the die-hard sports fan and the disinterested party, who is more free?
It is an interesting concept to consider…and in many ways, I think it parallels life. If we become attached to our personhood, our emotions will naturally rise and fall with every up or down. Everything feels real.
To an observer, the world is constantly rising and falling and they have a feeling that it will continue to be that way. If they see it all as nothing, perhaps that might cause them to seek the source of everything. Or maybe they just don’t care…haha But I have the feeling that the person who is uninterested in sports is interested in something else. And that is usually the window.
The window could take the form of a win…but I think it usually presents as (what we consider) a loss. The lose drives us to understand. It could be death that drives us to understand what really happens after death. Or it could be the loss of a job that causes you to reflect on what you love and what’s really important. Or it could be the loss of a relationship that prompts you to heal yourself.
If we can see loss as opportunity, we can progress in our evolution. Sometimes losing is the very thing we need to kick start ourselves to make a strong comeback. We become motivated to beat the team that blew us out before. Or we become motivated to find what’s really real so that we don’t feel that pain or those setbacks again.
In this game of life, I think the object is to break free of our own “personhood” and discover true freedom. It is to find that which is constant and unchanging. It is to see that all the world is a game. If we can do that, we can see loss as a way to push us forward. We become motivated not to allow ourselves to get stuck. We know that the world is constantly in turmoil, but what’s real makes it all okay because it is all.
After that feeling of freedom comes, I think it inspires one to help others break free through. I don’t know that I have the exact prescription (haha!), but I’ve been inspired to share my progress. There are levels to the game, but I’ve come to believe that each stage of progression requires letting go. And that letting go could include people, things, or ideas.
I believe that if we can challenge ourselves to see the bigger picture, it gets revealed because we are simultaneously the player and the creator of this game. We are it, and, deep down, we want to beat our own game. We want to be found. And that is the game. Thankfully, great sages and masters have come before us to show us that the game is winnable ;) Let’s not give up!
Photo source: Joy of Life (Zanzibar) by Gabriela Iacobuta