After having a conversation with some people and through my own experience the fact is that even an activity such as video gaming, an activity with it’s sole purpose to check out and escape from the world that the behaviours and experiences we avoid and react to in the real world are openly embraced and championed in the digital world.
There are so many examples of this but for this article I’m going to mention Religion.
It’s pretty safe to say that this word comes pretty loaded by all the interpretations, reinterpretations, complete twisting and bastardising of this word which I have in the last few years come to learn that it’s original meanings stem from to ‘Re-bind’, ‘re-align’ and how true religion is about relationships and the quality of that relationship. As I understand a religion is the act of binding to something or someone, having a bond, the quality of that bond however can differ based on the energetic basis that forms the bond. For example people can a have very strong relationship with their favorite TV show or as was in my case I can say that my religion while gaming was the game itself, getting to know the lore and history of my at the time favorite race - it’s no different to someone reading the bible or other like texts.
Which this has got me thinking and asking myself - if I could dedicate myself so strongly to that religion (relationship) handing myself over completely, in total compliance and obedience to the video game and playing out the lifestyle that came with that. What if that same energy could be flipped over into a true religious way? And what I feel is that it’s not a flip but a shift in where the focus of the relationship is, but how strong is our attachment to certain relationships such as with gaming?
Because I never would of asked these questions while gaming - no way, nada so what changed?
I started to look at the couple in the relationship - me and the games and then looked at the actions in between us that were required to maintain this relationship. In hindsight I would say it was an abusive relationship. There was no space for considering self-care of myself, staying up late and living off sugar and emotions, which lead to depression, neediness and escaping from the tension I felt in my body from living this way by going deeper into our relationship, exploring the game further, getting into roleplaying games and cutting myself off from reality.
As I started to bring self-care into my life and with support facing my feelings and the tensions and hurts in my life I felt lighter in myself. There was a pull to care for myself more and in this my relationship, my religious way with the computer was starting to strain. Online friends would occasionally call me back in but over time I felt that whenever I sat down I was chaining myself to the seat, away from a life that actually wasn’t as bad as I perceived and was not supported to see that actually I can be out there in the world regardless of how it feels, my reactions to the world need not own me and the ways in which the world gets us to withdraw from it are not where the power lies, that remains in and with our choices to contract and shy away or stand strong.
For me now the developing religion is the one within me, one that by it’s living way says to not hide away from the world but get out there, almost all of us can say that suppression and restriction is not something we should have in the world but we do, that’s a fact. But what if having a religion with anything outside of ourselves is one of the biggest suppressive ways of all? We bind ourselves constantly to something outside of us and proclaim to be a member of a group be it a mainstream religion, football club, faction, guild, group of friends etc. and what if all of this was not true religion.
And what if video gaming was just one aspect of a much larger religion (relationship) we have signed up to, because in righting this blog I realize that while I may have broken away from gaming that same relationship still plays out in other ways.
This then comes back to the fact of asking what if true religion was a relationship to that which lives within us? The qualities of life lived in developing true religion into our lives are very different when compared to maintaining the religious way of video gaming. This way asks to put ourselves first and to honor what we are feeling. In this way we are not suppressed but supported. Sleeping when we feel tired gives us more energy, expressing what we feel hurts us allows the hurts to heal, we then stop living life wounded, eating food that supports our bodies fuels a sense that we can and are worth caring for, getting out into life beyond the screen opens up the real ‘open world experience’ that is available to us without downloads but comes with non-stop constant ‘expansion packs’ for us to discover.
So what if the religious way of video gaming was the cheap version of what a true religion with life and ourselves can bring? And what if video gaming was not separate from anything but in fact always connected?
Further Reading - True Religion