Gaming as a form of Meditation!
Individuals choose to meditate for many reasons. Two reasons being to quiet and focus the mind. Our minds are often filled with a storm of thoughts and if we're not careful these thoughts can literally drive us mad.
It's said that if we find it difficult to sit quietly with ourself we should start with a simpler task. When pairing the individual perfectly with a great book or wonderful movie a meditative like state can be experienced. Momentarily, life as we know it does not exist. We find ourselves within the pages of our book and within the frames of the storyboard. The seemingly unlimited thoughts that are usually on rotation within the mind disappear. For a brief moment there are no bills to pay, no upcoming events to prepare for, zero relationship issues left unresolved, etc...
Our minds experience a break from our internal chaos and it's very welcomed. The hope is after experiencing this sensation from time to time, through books and movies, one might decide to dive deeper into the art of meditation and study different styles for further growth and development.
I know these words to be true as life as I know it does not exist when reading a wonderful book or watching an epic movie. As long as the book and movie are paired well with my personality and interests, I can effortlessly experience a meditative state.
In late 2019, I began to consider other avenues besides books and movies that might be offerings for others to experience a meditative like state. The art of gaming was seriously up for consideration but I was very skeptical.
I have been close with a few gamers in this lifetime and they appeared to be under a meditative state but I truly never understood before now. In my past, I dabbled with Nintendo, Super Nintendo, Gameboy, and Virtual Boy but not one console captivated my attention and a flow state was never achieved.
Attempting to perfectly pair my personality with a gaming system, one of my teachers, Dehuel Juarbe, recommended the latest and greatest Nintendo Switch. Noting this to be a relatively small system for my life as an aspiring minimalist and super mobile to accompany me on my travels! He also agreed to go one step further and join me on this adventure, diving deep into the world of the Nintendo Switch! Through visuals and hands on moments he taught me how to use the system and exposed me to the Nintendo eShop where I could begin to make my game selections in hopes of reaching a flow state that could be titled a meditative experience.
My first selection was Ori and the Blind Forest by Moon Studios, released on the Switch September 27th, 2019.
Sidebar: Interestingly, 927 is a number I unintentionally notice several times a day, which has been the case now for seven months.
I fastly chose Ori based on the graphics being out of this world. If I was going to be dedicating time daily to the art of gaming I wanted the visual experience to be enchanting. I have been into graphic design now for 12 years when a former friend studying the topic sparked my interest. I now notice every day how graphics affect my being. In addition to the visual aesthetics, the background music was super important to me. Ori provided a melody that I would define energetically as meditative! I quickly fell for my new little dragon described as a guardian spirit within this 1 player game! The game preformed very well statistically speaking, receiving the following awards: best audio, game of the year, best art direction, artistic achievement, and outstanding achievements in animation, art direction, and music composition.
Dehuel Juarbe, with an interest in teaching me how to meditate with others, introduced me to the option of online gaming with players around the world. I downloaded Super Kirby Clash, Fortnite Chapter 2 Season 1, and Mariokart 8 Deluxe to enter the realm of gaming with multiple players, friends and strangers alike. I suspected it would be more difficult to reach that flow state with others present but I was incorrect!
I've spent a solid month now experimenting with the art of gaming and evaluating how it relates to a meditative like experience and my results are mind-blowing! Using gaming to quiet and focus my mind I can reach a meditative state 99% of the time. My life as I know it, is not present when gaming; my to-do list disappears; the standard rotation of thoughts are completely gone. What remains is a single pointed focus on the objective of the game.
When desiring to meditate with my Switch, Super Kirby Clash is my favorite, whether I am playing by myself or with others. Kirby is a spherical alien with no specified gender who lives on a far away star-shaped planet in the country of Dream Land! I meditate easy with this game as the Beam Mage since I understand the objectives well and the game is well organized by my standards. Although there are battles, we (playing with the computer, friends, or strangers) always win! The wins might cost us too many Gem Apples (one form of in game currency) but we always win! Choosing a happy, upbeat, positive game like Kirby keeps me in the meditative state longer. When I die as Ori in the forest, the Wavebreaker in Fortnite, and Mii in MarioKart my reality is often re-download during the loading screens as I patiently wait for my next adventure to begin.
Gaming as a form of meditation is not meant to take the place of other styles of meditation but rather to provide possibly an easier way for a noob to experience a quiet, focused, flow state within an otherwise cluttered mind. Too much of something good is not necessarily better. I often set my alarm when gaming, and would recommended others do the same, to avoid unintentionally meditating the days away. I feel a two hour max time limit per day is appropriate for the category of gaming. This helps to minimize sedentary activity and hopefully helps to preserve eye health as some research indicates screens to be damaging to the eyes. Dehuel Juarbe, gifted me a pair of glasses, just to be on the safe side, in hopes of protecting my eyes when blogging, using my iPhone, and now they also come in handy for my gaming meditations!
An unexpected positive outcome to my experiment was a huge decline in mindless time spent on social media platforms. In 2019 and prior, when I had small amounts of downtime I would find myself filling this void by scrolling on Facebook and Instagram. I knew this habit was detrimental to my being and had made previously unsuccessful attempts in reducing my time on social media platforms.
In 2003, I quite smoking and in 2020, I quite scrolling! I now use social media for professional reasons only and this unexpected accomplishment feels truly wonderful!
In summery, my skepticism has been squashed; gaming can for sure provide a fast and effective meditative experience for those interested in diving into this world! If choosing correctly the graphics take the player to captivating lands that excite the imagination while providing music that is delightful to the ears.
I now have deep respect for the gaming community. I feel lucky that I hold such an interest in meditation and was willing to test its boundaries entering new realms in gaming. Never in a million years would I have guessed I would turn out to be a gamer for life but that is the future I now see.
I bow to the makers of the Nintendo Switch and to Dehuel Juarbe for opening my eyes!
*Do you love your state of mind when reading a great book or watching a wonderful movie?
*Does the world of gaming interest you? And do you feel you too could experience a desired flow state?
*Do you find traditional forms of meditation to be challenging? Do you feel you need to take a step back and try a different avenue that might be easier to produce a quiet, focused mind? Could gaming be this avenue for you?
Sending my readers peace and love always!
After a wildly successful work day, It's now time for me to get my Switch on!
To my fellow gamers out there, see you on the interwebs!
(my gaming handle)