Video Games & Meditation

Let me start by saying I’m a huge fan of meditation. I’ve done certificate trainings in mindfulness and clinical practice, classes on guided imagery and visualization, and meditation to enhance neurological development. I’ve seen the research on how meditation positively impacts the brain in general and specifically white matter connectivity as we age. More personally I have been a lifelong student and practitioner of meditation in various forms: I’ve chanted in ashrams, done walking meditation, participated in Dzogchen talks and practice, engaged in mindfulness practice, Benson’s relaxation response, yoga, the Eight Gates of Spontaneous presence, and many more. That’s a lot of meditation! I don’t do it as consistently as I wish, but I have a healthy respect for the various forms of meditation, and refer patients to it regularly.

This is one reason why I find it troubling how so many fans of meditation hate on video games and gaming. The same folks who are speaking about compassion and mindfulness and calm sound like raging fundamentalists when they start speaking about “screens” and the spurious research that video games are adversely affecting our lives and neurology. They seem to think that meditation has to occur on a bamboo mat in a candlelit rock garden to be meditation. Cultural misappropriation aside, this really limits the potential audience who could benefit from meditation.

Part of this is due to the recent popularity of mindfulness meditation, which made DBT sexy and available to the mainstream, much as psychoanalysis expanded from treating hysterics to the general population with our neurotic styles. This is wonderful, mindfulness meditation is very useful and effective. And it is only one form of meditation. Less talked about nowadays are the focusing or concentration meditations, and guided visualization meditation. But when we do remember those, the impulse for many is to imagine that the object of focus has to be something low tech. We think candles and mandalas, but what if video games could also be objects of focus? In fact, what if playing video games is a form of concentration meditation?

Recently, I decided that I wanted to do my part to make meditation more available and gamer affirmative. In particular, I have developed a guided visualization meditation called “Your Powerful Video Game Avatar.” Through the support of Insight Timer, I am now happy to share it with you. I hope you will find it of benefit. If you are a gamer new to meditation, I hope this may be the Welcome mat that invites you to try meditating. If you are not a fan of video games, I hope this deepens your insight and compassion into that art form. Mostly, I hope it brings maximum playfulness and status bar boosts to all sentient beings. 😊

Your Powerful Video Game Avatar

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