My spiritual path has been a consistent evolution.
Often along the way I’ve found myself in some counterproductive practices, although they ultimately shed light and grew my wisdom. There was a time when I would have dismissed any sort of video game as a waste of time and a distraction from the important things. I can now see that God is in everything, including video games, but I don’t need to apply this larger perspective to a game I recently encountered. I began playing Pokemon Go with my family and I find it to be fun as well as spiritually beneficial. As I play the game I’ve come to conclude that I am growing my spirituality in these ways:
An underappreciated spiritual practice is simply having fun. When we are having fun we experience joy, appreciation and laughter. These are the cornerstones of living as a spiritual being. This idea is often lost in the conflation of religion and spirituality. Religion is beset with rules and punishment, therefore it’s easy to conclude that a spiritual path is serious. Nothing could be further from the truth. The word enlightenment has the word light in it, as in light hearted, not heavy.
All things are God
I recently saw an article published by Bradley University that outlined the best mobile apps for stress and anxiety. The piece points to various helpful apps that remind us to breathe, time our meditations or create a gratitude journal. Initially, my inner critic was dubious of technology as a spiritual aid, but I came to an important epiphany: all things are spiritual. After I read through the list I stored it in the back of my mind for further gestation.
Being in nature is an important spiritual practice. Outside provides connection as well as fresh air. Being in nature refreshes our minds, invigorates us and reminds us that life is beautiful. This is true even if you are occasionally staring at a phone screen. Pokemon Go is an active game that requires players to go outside, walk around and explore new areas and, perhaps most importantly, get off the couch. The National Parks Service issued avideo suggesting that Pokemon Go players come to the parks to seek digital monsters, just look up once in a while. This sentiment is true for all places players might go.
Reminds Us That We Are Constantly Evolving
Before Pokemon Go came out I was completely in the dark as to what augmented reality was or what the future held for mobile applications. But playing the game has shown me that all of our disparate technologies can integrate into a fun experience even though that wasn’t their purpose at their origins. This reminds me that technology is like us in that it is always evolving, synthesizing and integrating. This gives me peace that even though I can’t always see the path forward, it is there, and it’s probably more amazing than I could imagine.
Law Of Abundance
When you play Pokemon Go you use Pokeballs and other charms that you carry in your backpack. Even though your backpack has limited space, you can go to Pokestops scattered all over the place to get more supplies by merely spinning the digital disk. Each stop allows you to get more supplies every five minutes. So, even though you are awarded limited supplies up front, there is always more available. This is similar to the law of abundance in that you always have more resources available to you. The trick is to not focus on what you lack, but that there is always more.
Ultimately, playing the game has reinforced my understanding that all things are God, and it has done it in a fun way that has gotten me outside, moving around and improving the bonds among me and my family. Because of that I now understand that being critical of such a game is just cynical and misses the value. But don’t take my word for it, go play. It’s fun.