I have been an avid gamer for most of my life, leaning more towards RPGs and Action/Adventure types. I remember in high school spending hours at a time building up my characters, or ‘grinding’, to get them to the level I needed to defeat the next big boss in the story line.
I now watch my wife playing an online first person shooter and wonder if something so violent can help to calm the mind. She has said it’s a great way for her to socialize with friends outside of our area and to concentrate on something other than today’s problems.
With RPGs I always felt the violence was so stylized that it was less like beating someone up to win points and more a way to push through to complete a hard earned goal or quest. I think that one can use these games to escape the body they inhabit and journey to somewhere else, almost like a parallel universe.
In this universe, you are no longer your body. You become the avatar you move only with your mind and a few choice finger movements. Time seems to stop when you are engrossed in a great game. I have had countless times where I ‘lost’ hours of the day in what felt like a blink of an eye because I was so focused on the game. This can also have major consequences if left unchecked. Addiction to this parallel world can sap precious time and even affect how you are in this one. In high school I was so obsessed with playing Final Fantasy VIII that my school work suffered and my parents had to forbid it for a time. But all things need balance.
Getting out of your body, out of your daily stress patterns and focusing on a task is definitely a mindfulness and meditation practice. I even watched a movie recently that showed the wife go and do yoga when stressed and the husband put on his video game. It made perfect sense to me. Every brain works differently. Find the path that works for you and find your balance.
Love & Light!