In Search of the Invisible Game
In Search of the Invisible Game
The only way to take control of your life, raise your standard of living and move beyond merely surviving is to create your own unique product or service that you offer to increasing numbers of people in exchange for the things of value that you desire. This simple formula applies to countries as well as people. A self-sufficient economy has its own products or services of value to export to the world. Similarly, a self-sufficient individual has something of value to exchange in the global marketplace. That thing of value is based on your natural talent, skill, or interest—in other words, your passion!
I’ve had the fortune, I believe, to attract so as to be introduced to people, concepts, ways of thought and action that have broadened my understanding of life, assisted me in the pursuit and attainment of happiness as I define it, allowed me the fulfillment of life-long dreams and aspirations, provided me the satisfaction of being rewarded financially for my talents and gifts, granted me the company of friends and lovers who have enriched my life’s experience, and honored me with the opportunity to share these experiences with others in a variety of ways to help them do the same. That in effect is how I define MY life lived well.
These ways of thought and action have served me well on this journey. They’ve helped me to maintain an even keel when all others around me have been buffeted by the waves of circumstance. They’ve helped me to navigate reality, make sound decisions, survive and thrive.
My personal mission statement in life is: "I share what I know, so that others may grow"
Therefore, I share these insights in my writings in the hope that others find them helpful to live the life of their dreams.
Now, as a writer, I don’t like to write things that have already been written. That is to say, what I have to say in these columns is not new. They represent a growing awareness, ways of thinking, and a perspective of reality which thousands for many years, and millions more in years to come will adopt. For those who have never heard some of these concepts before, what I offer is an overview for the sake of introduction, a distillation for the sake of brevity, and a quick summary for the sake of explaining, in possibly new ways old concepts that others have spent their entire lives introducing, distilling and summarizing.
A DEGREE OF CERTAINTY
As our thought for the new year, I’m going to suggest to you the following:
The reason life seems unpredictable, the reason why things happen the way they do, and often seem to defy normal standards of human kindness, morality and ethics is not because men are all evil. It’s not because things are beyond our control. It’s not because life is essentially bad. It’s simply because we don’t know the real game that’s being played.
There is a formula that goes like this: "Peace of Mind" comes when persons or a society are "centered." Centeredness comes from certainty. Certainty comes from only one place: the recognition of patterns. So when a person or society has recognized a pattern as great as all of Creation, there is great certainty and centeredness-and there is great Peace of Mind.
-from The Mayan Calendar: The Next Nine Years
When I read that quote, I instantly related to it because it clarified for me something I’ve been doing all my life. I realized that my mind has always been in search of patterns. It’s the quest and discovery of patterns that makes me good at mathematics and made obtaining my civil engineering degree a bit easier than most. It’s what helps me be an effective writer, coach, public speaker and (I believe) friend. Patterns help me understand life.
Once a pattern is discerned, it can be recognized, recorded, codified, tested, extrapolated to other situations and taught as an effective means of negotiating reality. If the pattern is based on natural phenomena, it can be recreated if need be, but more importantly it can be used to understand the laws that govern the patterns. Once a pattern is recognized it means that something predictable is behind it. A predictable thing is a knowable thing. It is this knowingness that leads to certainty.
Certainty, like the certainty of having a good tip on a horse race, can help you beat the odds. Life is like that. If you know with a degree of certainty what’s going to happen next, you can plan your moves, anticipate, prepare for, adjust and position yourself to create the outcome you desire.
So how can you achieve that knowingness? Answer: Find the right set of rules.
THE STORY OF THE FOREIGN GAME
Imagine that you are playing the game of soccer after having been taught a set of incomplete rules, skills and strategies. Imagine that you were never taught how to score, but simply how to dribble from one end of the field to the other. You could play the game for an entire season, and never achieve what others-with better access to the rules and strategies-are able to achieve.
This is a metaphor for a life that millions live every day. In many ways, there is almost an entire planetary population being misled by those who taught them an incomplete set of rules of the game, what is really going on, what the objective really is, and how to achieve it. As a result, they end up playing the game they THINK is being played, the only way they know how-with limited skills and strategy-only to find out too late, and after great frustration, that they're playing the wrong game, by virtue of not knowing the real rules.
I'd like to suggest to you that you may be playing a game by rules that are not the “real” rules-especially if things aren't proceeding in an orderly, predictable and pattern-based way in your life. You may be playing a foreign game. You may be playing based on a worldview that recognizes only what's visible.
THE INVISIBLE GAME
If you believe that this game is only about what’s visible, then many of life's questions appear to have answers that make little sense, and don't seem to maintain any degree of consistency as far as your basic understanding of reality.
Many people believe that many of life's important questions are without answers. By that I mean, sure there are logical, or scientific reasons to explain the events leading up to a war, or there are concepts like crib death that explain why infants die, or astute psychological analyses of deep scars and emotional disturbances at the root of people’s antisocial behavior, but when people ask "why" they want to know what’s the divine plan behind it all. They are seeking the invisible game, but are often encouraged to look at what's accessible by the five senses, while dismissing everything else as mystery.
If they believe in a supreme being, one who is just and fair (we’ll forget the vengeful and wrathful supreme being for now), then people are at a loss to understand the pain, sadness that comes from loss and why such a being would allow bad things to happen to good people-in this visible world.
I suggest to you that there is a different game being played. One with a set of rules that are going to require a great deal of courage to accept. Accepting these new rules is going to mean uprooting your beliefs; it’s going to mean living with the awareness that you’ve been lied to, that your parents, though not responsible for it, were collaborators in the perpetuation of the lie, that you will be perceived as crazy, and that you may be branded a heretic or dissenter for sticking to and promoting your new beliefs.
Again, these are not new ideas. They exist in many shapes and forms in a variety of texts (old and new), and are held and propagated in various worldviews, curricula, belief systems and observations.
In fact, the whole self-help, personal development movement is about introducing people to "new" ways of thinking, being and behaving that are more in alignment with the real game. More and more, people are being introduced to snippets of truth that allow them to live more productive lives.
I KNOW IT SOUNDS CRAZY, BUT...
You’ve got nothing to lose by holding two seemingly contradictory belief systems in your mind until one or the other wins out and proves itself more accurate. If you, as that un-trained team were now taught a new set of rules, skills and strategies, and decided to look anew at the game you've been playing with this new understanding, it would either seem to conform to your original beliefs or it would seem to be explained a whole lot better by your new beliefs. Once that happens, you’d be foolish to hold on to the old beliefs if they weren’t the best rules for the game. Right?
THE PAIN AND THE PAYOFF
Well, I suggest that in 2008, we embark or re-commit ourselves to continue on a quest for the invisible game.
Here's the pain:
Again, some of the things you may be required to believe about the real game have been branded and stigmatized as being so outlandish and crazy that you’d have to be insane to willingly suffer the slings and arrows of public condemnation if you consider adopting them.
Here’s the payoff: If you understand the invisible game, then the visible game gets a whole lot easier. If you understand what’s really going on, then you can be pre-emptive in your actions. If you understand where to look for answers, then you can never be lost for too long. If you recognize where power exists, you can tap into it and get on with the real game for which you game.
So why should you choose to adopt a new set of beliefs? If your life is exactly the way you wish it be, then there’s no reason to entertain a new belief system really. If, however, you dream of living a different sort of life, then perhaps there is reason to begin a search for a more effective set of beliefs about the world. Don't worry, I'll be here to help!
As this is an introduction to this new way of thinking I’ll keep it "enlightenment light" just to whet the appetites of those interested in learning more. But beware: Truth is not for the faint-hearted. Stay tuned.
[Excerpted and adapted from The Great Sheep Uprising, Book 2: Lessons for the Lambs]
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Until next time, remember, success is a journey, not a destination!-Walt