Being “In the Game”
Articles Inspirational articles from Hay House authors
Being “In the Game”Are you listening to your inner voice?
In my search for the meaning of life, I’ve come to understand that life is essentially a game, a game that consists of a daily search for the truth with the creator of your understanding. When you realize this, it gets easier to live in the present. If you think about professional sports, this makes sense: The players prepare for the game, play it, learn from it, and then play the next one. They don’t spend a lot of time beating themselves up over something they did that they can’t do over. They don’t spend a lot of time worrying about the next game; they understand the difference between preparation and worry. When they are playing the game, that’s all they’re focused on: playing the game right now. And that’s what you should focus on: playing the game of life right now in the here and now—that is, today!
The game of life is a lot like any game that’s played under a time clock. For example, in a basketball or football game, there are 60 minutes on the clock. The game starts, it’s played for an hour, and then it ends. It’s done. The scoreboard tells you whether you won or lost. And regardless of how you did in that game, you go on to the next one and the score starts over at zero.
In life, each “game” is one day. Today. Our season—instead of being a period of months, as in sports—is our lives. But if you ask professional sports players if they spend any time or energy while they’re on the field or the court thinking about the last game or their next game, they’ll most likely tell you no. They are focused on the now, on the game they’re playing at the moment. That’s how winning seasons are achieved and championships are won: one day at a time, one game at a time.
This isn’t to say that players don’t train; they absolutely do. They practice, they study their opponents, and they develop their skills. They have goals and strategies to reach those goals. But when they’re “in the game,” that’s the only place where they are. When they get “out of the game,” when they are distracted even for a moment, is when they make mistakes. They know it, and that’s why they exercise the discipline to stay entirely in the present, in the game, while they’re playing.
Of course, the “game of life” isn’t about making baskets or touchdowns. As I’ve said, it’s a daily search for the truth with you and the God of your understanding. A key word there is daily; the time clock is today. That doesn’t mean that we can’t have plans and goals for tomorrow, next week, and next year. We can, and we should. We just can’t live in those goals; we have to stay in today. If we don’t, we fall into anger, anxiety, frustration, fear, and doubt. We start to play the “what if” game: “What if this happens?” “What if that happens?” “What if I don’t have enough money?” “What if I get sick, have an accident, or experience some other crisis?” Play that game, and you’ll be filled with unnecessary anxiety. When you worry, you’re essentially planning for bad things to happen. The way to avoid worry is to stay in the present. Today all is well, and you know what you have to do today. Keep it there.
If God didn’t build us with enough energy to be in tomorrow, He certainly didn’t give us enough energy for yesterday. Usually when we go into yesterday, we go into guilt, shame, and resentments. Certainly we all have happy memories, and we should treasure them. But most of the time, when we go back to yesterday, we waste a lot of time beating ourselves up about things we can’t change. We focus on mistakes and regrets. That’s time off today’s clock.
If the game of life is a search for the truth and the time clock of life is today, you need a scoreboard to determine if you’re winning or losing. Your scoreboard doesn’t count points. Instead, it’s a ratio that measures how happy, joyful, and spiritually free you are against your feelings of anger, anxiety, frustration, fear, doubt, guilt, and shame.
One more critical thing to remember about living in the present is this: Where you are today isn’t where you were yesterday or where you’ll be tomorrow. You must keep seeking, keep learning, keep doing, keep taking action so that the plan for your life will continue to unveil itself.