game

The Soul Game

[This is a chapter from an unpublished book on meditation and mindfulness.]

As a spiritual being, one possible way to think of life here on Earth is as a “game” that serves as a training ground for the soul. It’s a game like other games, so it has many levels, and they get harder and harder as you progress. So in this case, the better you become at the game of spirituality — the Soul Game — the harder the levels become.

To help set some rules for the game, let’s say that it has fifty levels. The first time you play the game you’re born here on Earth in Level 1. Hopefully you score some points and move up, so maybe by the time it’s “game over” for your first lifetime, you’ve passed Level 9 and you’re playing on Level 10. Maybe you get a brief break in between lifetimes, but the next time you’re born you start right where you left off, at Level 10.

This brings me to a very important rule: Once you start playing the Soul Game, you’re strapped in for eternity. (That was clearly mentioned on page 52 of the End User License Agreement.) Once you’re in the game there are only two ways out:

Book/story idea: Life is a game where you have to find your soulmate

New book/story idea: Life is a bit of a game, and as a result you’re put in the vicinity of your soulmate. Not right next door per se, but somewhere within your range of life such that you will encounter this person, such as the friend of a friend, someone you work with, a person you run into at a store, etc. So the game is, out of all the people you meet as your life unfolds, can you identify your soulmate? And maybe as a secondary plot, how do you handle it if you get get close but make a mistake ... say you marry a person which creates circumstances that put you in the vicinity of your soulmate, and you later realize your mistake?

How to meditate without distraction

If you’re interested in meditating but can’t quite seem to do it without getting distracted, I recommend making a game of it. One game I use is, “How long can I take to count to five full breaths?”

The game itself is simple: Just before you begin to meditate, start a stopwatch on your phone. Then breathe in, and as you do so, internally say “one.” Then breathe out and internally (or externally) say “two.” Try to take these breaths as slowly as you can, with all of your focus on the current breath and current number. Keep doing this until you breathe out and say “ten,” and when that breath is finished, stop the stopwatch and see how long it took. The game is to make this time as long as possible.

How to write Akka Actors: An example video game

Way back in 2013 — before my first fake heart attack followed by learning that I had thyroid cancer — I thought I was about to go “back to work”, and I decided to try to write another visual demo of Akka Actors before I went back to work. I gave myself 10 hours to write something, and at first I decided to just create some bubbles that would move about randomly on screen. But I got that working so fast that I decided to do something else.

Eventually I came up with the idea of a little “kill the bubbles” game, which turned into a “kill the characters” game. This video shows how it works:

The gift of a few guilt-free days

I gave myself two gifts for Christmas: A set of new bathroom rugs, and a few guilt-free days to learn the LibGDX game framework so I can eventually rewrite my football game. (Usually I think, “You need to finish writing XYZ,” so “a few guilt-free days” means not having those thoughts, or having them but ignoring them.)

Make a game of active mindfulness meditation

The best advice I’ve gotten for practicing mindfulness meditation while not sitting in meditation – i.e., in active meditation – is to make something of a game of it. When I wash the dishes it’s like, “How deep can I get while I wash these dishes?” Or when talking to another person, you both put down the cellphones and think, “Okay, we’re both here right now, how much can we focus only on each other and be here in this moment while we talk? How deep can we go?”

I was reminded of this when I read this line recently: “Finally, I got it! The menial tasks I had been assigned to around the temple were meant to be an exercise in meditation. Whatever I was doing, my job was to try to stay in samadhi.”

(That quote comes from the book, The Science of Meditation.)

This is a page from my book, Functional Programming, Simplified

A Functional Game (With a Little Bit of State)

“In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they’re not.”

Yogi Berra

Introduction

Now that I’ve given you a little background about what I think “state” is, let’s build a simple game that requires us to use state. I’ll build the game using recursion, and also immutable state — something I had never heard of when I first starting writing the Scala Cookbook.