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Video games and mindfulness

Do you think it would be possible to put those two together and introduce a "new" concept of mindfulness to the modern world?


  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    @dantepw you might find this of interest :)

    "“The game offers a leisurely journey through any of half a dozen scenes, from a barren desert to a fantasy staircase spiraling heavenward. At the beginner’s level you tap an iPad screen with one finger every time you exhale; the challenge is to tap two fingers with every fifth breath. As you move to higher levels, you’re presented with more distractions—a helicopter flies into view, a plane does a flip, a flock of birds suddenly scud by.”

    The objective is the same as that of meditation—to draw attention back to a central point despite the number or intensity of distractions dive-bombing one’s focus. Goleman adds, “When players are attuned to the rhythm of their breathing, they experience the strengthening of selective attention as a feeling of calm focus, as in meditation.”"

  • howhow Veteran Veteran

    @dantepw said:
    Do you think it would be possible to put those two together and introduce a "new" concept of mindfulness to the modern world?

    Hmmm...I bet this thread will fire up some visual stimulation deniers out there!

    It would be like trying to practice sexual abstinence in a house of prostitution
    or trying to be a recovered alcoholic while working as a bartender.

    but unlikely to be as mindfully efficacious as simply not indulging in it.

    Try looking around to see if this is just your ego playing with you.

  • dantepwdantepw Veteran

    @how Nice point! :) But I think it could work like an interesting introduction to mindfulness, specially for modern people.

    If there was something like that when I was an angry and rebel teenager it would have helped me a lot earlier, hahaha.

  • dantepwdantepw Veteran

    @Shoshin Wow dude, that is actually really interesting! Thanks for that link!

  • I think some games can help you be more focused, and might improve your decision making. The "focus" part can be applied mainly in the game, as it tends to disappear once we get on to doing other things. I think the decision making part can be applied in real life if the in-game situations are relatable, such as those from a role playing game.

  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    @dantepw said:
    Do you think it would be possible to put those two together and introduce a "new" concept of mindfulness to the modern world?

    Yes but it is not easy. Most games and players are mindless.

    I have played GTA (Grand Theft Auto) mindfully BUT this involved trying to avoid cars and swimming and running out of the city ...

    I sometimes enter SecondLife and attend joint practices, dharma talks, good company etc.

    VR is likely to increase in potential, possibly as early as next year.

    It is not possible to play most games mindfully. There are some Buddhist games, not tried these

    Yoga on the wii is probably the last console based mindfulness I engaged in ...

    NB: No Zombies or other imaginary ctreatures were killed in the production of this post

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator

    Some video games I play for "mindless" entertainment. Though not many these days. I focus on building good qualities in some games though, like The Sims. From Dust was a good one (though our box 360 died and I can't get it on the new xbox which makes me sad). You "played god" and helped tribal people save their land from disasters and rescue them. Fable games could be either or, it tracks your good and evil deeds so you can focus really hard to keep your good deeds up.

    I think really we can make anything mindful. But I'm sure not much value comes for anyone in using mindfulness to play games. I don't come away a better person for having had my Sim charcater make good choices. I would be more likely to come away a better person to shut off the game and visit my grandma, clean up the park, play with my kids, walk my dog, or whatever.

    I think it's good to bring mindfulness to all that we do. But I think when we do so, most often we start to find which things are really deserving of our time and focus. If video games are such a huge part of your (whoever) life then maybe it's time to look at why rather than look for mindful games or being a more mindful player (though that certainly doesn't hurt). Most people play games as a means of escape, especially to wish we had a life different than what we have. Playing a game based on mindfulness just means we are pretending to live a more mindful fictional life.

  • yagryagr Veteran

    Every action that I've brought mindfulness to, at the very least, changed my relationship with it. Most times that change was full stop.

    Paid very close attention to my eating; I became a vegetarian.
    Paid very close attention to my poker playing; I quit after making a good living at it for twenty-four years.
    Paid attention while I was listening to music; changed the music I listened to.

    Television, sporting events, internet usage, etc.; the list is extensive.

    So by all means, bring mindfulness to your video game playing. Mindfulness changes you - how it will effect your video game playing will be revealed.

  • Invincible_summerInvincible_summer Heavy Metal Dhamma We(s)t coast, Canada Veteran

    A video game that trains the player to strengthen the four foundations of mindfulness?

    I'm not sure that would make much sense or be very possible without some sort of technology that can sense the player's brainwaves. Even then, if it becomes "fun," then that's sort of contrary to the point, isn't it?

  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran

    some of the arpgs I learn in playing how to grow my observation beyond my 'blinders' of my assumptions and learn new things about the mechanics of the game. also I learn not to panic during combat and how to feel out the opponents. so there is definitely qualities of awareness are there during games.

  • Straight_ManStraight_Man Gentle Man Veteran

    Well, I would have to say here, mindfulness needs needs to be tied to right effort to be on the middle path.

  • dantepwdantepw Veteran

    Thank you for all inputs everyone! It is indeed very clear and truthful, but I think I've meant what I wanted to say wrongly...

    I meant like building a tool (a game, in this case) to introduce people to mindfulness, and not to practice mindfulness restrictively through gaming, Pretty much like the app "Headspace", where it guides you through the path of meditation/mindfulness and you can keep it up if you want to :)

  • Straight_ManStraight_Man Gentle Man Veteran

    Um, why practice with a game when you can practice in real life?

  • dantepwdantepw Veteran

    You wouldnt practice only through the game! You would use the game to expand the idea for that particular public, the gamers/children, whoever it is.

    Maybe those people would never hear about mindfulness if not on a sort of "language" they understand :)

  • 0student00student0 Explorer

    I find old school stealth games to be meditative.
    You can only win if you stay focused and calm.
    But there are only about six or seven of them.

  • dantepwdantepw Veteran

    @0student0 Agreed, dude! Have you ever heard of 'Of Guards and Thieves'? It's a pretty cool (and simple) multiplayer game that was released back in 2013, I guess. I used to love Splinter Cell and Hitman too! hehe

  • 0student00student0 Explorer

    Haven't heard of it. I'll try it out, for sure. Oh yeah, the good old splinter cell days.

  • BeejBeej Human Being Veteran
    edited August 2015

    please explain the difference? aren't you playing games in-real-life? people practice kung-fu to learn mindfulness skills, and in most cases they practice through sparring, repetition, simulation, etc. Not a real, no-holds-barred type of fight, usually. How is this different than the video game experience?

    @Straight_Man said:
    Um, why practice with a game when you can practice in real life?

  • Doesn't Kung Foo involve interacting with humans and moving your body parts?

  • ShimShim Veteran

    @Steve_B said:
    Doesn't Kung Foo involve interacting with humans and moving your body parts?

    Some games involve that too! 8)
    Sitting in a cave in the Himalayas doesn't.
    Things are quite relative sometimes.

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