After a minimal (yet invested) experience in my youth of playing Donkey Kong and Mario Kart on my older brother’s Super Nintendo – I noticed a few parallels between video gaming and the progression of life:
On a recent revisitation of a place I once loved when I was there the first time – a nature reserve – a very new feeling happened.
The GPS took me somewhere unfamiliar, but it was determined to be correct. Where was that visitor center? And the tall grasses that wind into beautiful trails? Rather, it was a country road that went past farms and an empty cattle corral.
Driving to a point to turn around, a series of dogs in varying sizes came out to greet me with barks. And then there was Kathy J –
I asked her where the reserve was, and she said it was right here, her arms stretched wide. Quite the backyard, she said. You can park next to the cattle corral, and the hike into town is beautiful.
I thanked her, and parked next to the wood fence, and walked into what must be the backside of the reserve. I hiked to the top of the hill. Looked up, saw the sky, and I felt –
an exactness of a pushpin being inserted into a map. Immediately to the ground. There – she did it. She made it to the right place at the right time (both seemingly random). Check point. She will not have to experience all that terrain again, in the next time.
At the end of each level, we encounter the Boss – big, bad, and mean. We use our skills learned thus far to combat and defeat the Boss. Often, it takes a few times. So we lose, then go back to the beginning of the level, jump around and learn and reach the boss again, only to gather more skills on how to react and respond in order to move forward.
This seems to be like our efforts to step out of our patterns (such that those in relationship bring to light). We go through the journey, then reach that moment when we are fighting or something is triggered when we can do something different, or calculate from the skills we have gained in our past experiences. If we don’t “defeat” the Boss, then we go back and start again, always learning more as we move forward, and always working on this path until it is ready to change.
A handful of years ago, at a Yoga Nidra class at Esalen Institute, I reached a new state of consciousness.
It lasted for about 20 minutes after the class. I walked through the garden, heard people talking, saw the colors. Accepted everything with no discussion in the head. It was a belonging of life to the body and senses, with everything aligned.
Later, I realized this was a sort of “Leveling Up” for me.
In the sense that, there are times when we experience something that completely changes our understanding or being. Something where we know what is possible, and the world will never really be the same for us again.
It is like after completing a level on a video game, and then continuing to the next. It is a new landscape, new perspective, new experience – we are excited to see this unfamiliar space and meet it with excitement. And then, it becomes familiar as we live it, and we keep learning, and keep leveling up when the time is right.