Have you ever seen the video game Doom? You play a marine on a space station on Mars, shooting your way through obstacles of radioactive slime, monsters, crushing ceilings and locked doors, trying to get to the exit so you can go on to the next level. As soon as you reach your goal, you start the process all over again with a whole new set of obstacles and monsters – bigger, scarier, and faster.
Do you ever feel like your life is like this – that as soon as you think you got somewhere, the game starts all over again, only this time it’s harder?
I was doing an intuitive reading for a person experiencing some life challenges, and the metaphor of the Doom video game came up. There is a common belief among spiritual seekers that if you navigate through some hazards and conquer some demons, then you can get to place where everything is fine and you won’t have to grow anymore. It doesn’t really work that way on Earth, however. Life keeps happening and sometimes it’s hard.
So what can you do?
First is to accept that you’re in the game and look for the things that make it better.
In the Doom game, as you went along through the labyrinth, you would run across stashes of fresh ammo and things you could blow up to get more energy for your character. What came through in the reading is that as we move through life, we can find places of healing or reprieve, or special tools to help us deal with what is in front of us. A lot of our vitality is locked up in what is commonly called the “shadow” side of the self. These are the emotions, thoughts, and gifts we aren’t always aware of, that we deny or avoid because we think they hold pain. However, if you go into these places and release the good things that are stuck there, you have more energy to move through life.
The second thing is to relax and not be in such a hurry to get to the exits.
I’ve never actually played Doom – just observed it. I like games where you talk to other people, and I like to do creative projects that have a positive result. But I have chosen to be in stressful and challenging life situations where no matter what I did or how hard I tried it just got worse. At the time, I must have thought I was having fun, or I wouldn’t have kept doing what I was doing.
Some people really like the excitement of the challenge and the thrill of conquering the next thing and the next thing and the next thing. It can become a form of addiction. You may tell yourself you are gaining ground, but at the end of the day, you’re still all by yourself on a lonely space station with a bunch of slime and monsters. If you can at least slow down and realize that there’s nowhere to get to that is better than where you are now, then you can relax and see what’s good where you are now.
You might be one of those people who likes to tell your friends that you are “over it” and ready to be enlightened. Don’t kid yourself. You’re still looking for the exits in the game and you must still like it or you wouldn’t be here. See the fun in the challenge and congratulate yourself for the progress you’re making.
Ultimately, the real game changer is forgiveness. When the illusion of moving forward is no longer fulfilling to you and you stop blaming other people and things for your unhappiness, it gives you the power to change yourself, and that changes your life. It makes the monsters disappear because you realize that no matter what is going on inside your body or out in the world, the experience of pain or joy is all in your head. Then you break free of the Doom game – or whatever game you’re in – for good.