how to play the game of life

Today we ask that you consider the possibility that life, as you know it, is like a game.

But not in the way most people think of “the game of life” — as a competition, in which “he who dies with the most toys, wins.”

Life is not a game won by accruing possessions or status and passing this wealth and status on to your genetic offspring.  It is not the game of “survival of the fittest.”

Nor is it the game of accruing “virtue points” so that you can to go Heaven when you die, while the immoral masses are damned to Hell.  That is not the game, either.

In fact, there are no “points” involved with this game.  No money points, no status points, no virtue points.  It is not about proving that you are worth more than other human beings.  There is no competition, in this game.

The game of life is similar, on a rudimentary level, to a game like a solitaire — a game that is about the joy of playing, not about winning.

It is also similar to playing a game of chess against a supercomputer.  Such a game is not about winning, it is about playing.  It is virtually impossible to win such a game.  Even when a chess master defeats a supercomputer, it is only a matter of time before an even faster supercomputer is created that defeats the chess master.

So, in general, one does not play chess against a complex computer in order to win.  One plays against a computer in order to play, and to learn.  It is purely for the joy of playing and the honing of skill, without the expectation of winning.

Only instead of a game of solitaire or a computer chess game, the life game immerses you in a reality of vast, magnificent, and nearly infinite complexity.

Within this game, just like in the computer chess game, there is an opponent.

There are many ways of looking at this opponent, but one way to look at the opponent is to see it as the force of entropy.

Entropy is the force that breaks down things that are beautiful, harmonious, and complex into simpler forms.

All living things die in your reality.  No matter how beautiful, intelligent, or successful you may be, your body will eventually decay.  No matter how great your achievements, you will eventually be forgotten.  That is entropy.

Entropy is the mildew in your bathroom, the clutter on your desk, the bug that freezes your computer.  It is the traffic jam, the power failure, the mix-up with the bill payment.  There is no escaping it.  You face it every day.

Most humans strongly dislike entropy and take its existence in their lives very personally.

But it is not your enemy, in a personal way.  It affects everyone.  Everyone will experience physical death; there is no avoiding it.

So one could say that “entropy always wins,” just like the supercomputer always eventually wins the chess game.

In fact, entropy is very similar to the supercomputer in a chess game.  Although the supercomputer may seem conscious and “out to get you,” in fact it is quite unconscious and mindless.  The computer is not conscious, and entropy is not conscious.

When you play against a computer, you do so for enjoyment — to hone your skill, to grow, to play, to gain mastery.  If you are playing against a highly complex computer that is set to win, you know that you will lose.  But winning is not the point.

It is the same with life.  You came here, to this reality, to grow and play.  When the game finishes, you will leave.  That is to say, you will continue after your physical death, after “game over.”

All of you have chosen to play this game, even if you have forgotten that it is a game.  The forgetting is an intrinsic part of the game.

And you may believe this is all nonsense.  That is okay.

But if you understand this, then it is possible for you to play the game with greater joy.  This happens when you stop taking entropy personally and seeing it as your enemy.  Entropy manifests as an opponent, but it is an opponent with a good underlying purpose.  It is not cruel, senseless, or evil, even if it may at times appear to be so.

Notions that life is a game of points, a game for winning, a game of accruing wealth or status, of “getting into Heaven” — all of these beliefs are clever ruses in the game, meant to distract you from the fundamental truths of existence.

Only in a totally loving reality could such a game exist.

And it is okay if you don’t believe any of this.

The simple message is:

Life is not a game that you play to win.

Life is a game that you play to play.

If you believe that you are supposed to win at the game of life, you will be endlessly frustrated.

If, however, you play just to play, then you will know peace, joy, and fulfillment.