Video games and mindfulness

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Video games and mindfulness

Postby CoreyNiles92 » Mon Nov 05, 2012 3:28 am

I was just wondering if playing video games, for a short period, or long period of time robs you of mindfulness. I have noticed what seems to be dwindling mindfulness during extended sessions of indulging in this form of entertainment. I know this is kind of a mundane question, and may seem irrelevant, but I require some insight on this, so I might avoid any issues involving it.
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Re: Video games and mindfulness

Postby Ben » Mon Nov 05, 2012 5:09 am

Hi Corey

You are certainly employing mindfulness (sati) to a certain extent during gaming, but like a tight-rope walker or a hunter - it won't develop sammasamadhi (right concentration). I notice when my kids play computer games for an extended period - they appear to be more scattered and irritable afterwards. You may wish to limit the amount of time gaming and investing more time investigating meditation.
kind regards,

Ben
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in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

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Re: Video games and mindfulness

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Mon Nov 05, 2012 5:50 am

I used to play a lot of video games, and although I still play many, I have cut down. I remember a while back I was on a retreat for a week or so, and the first thing I did when I got home was pull up to my computer and start playing Counter Strike, which is a first-person shooter. I played for five minutes and I just felt agitated and tense; the concentration and mindfulness I had built up during the previous week did not mesh well with such an action packed, violent experience. I can't say all video games are bad but certainly they require a certain amount of heedlessness. My guess is that as you meditate more, your desire for the more coarse joys will come less and less.

I would recommend you:

1. Don't play video games right before or right after you meditate. Try and meditate first thing in the morning perhaps, or at least try and sit after doing something that is relatively peaceful and relaxing in its own right, like taking a shower or reading a book.

2. Try and limit your time and see how easy it is for you. I found that most of the games I played, I did it just to fill time. I got down to about an hour a day before I really started "missing" anything.

3. Consider trying to increase the frequency of your meditation or even replace a certain portion of your video gaming time with meditation instead. When you're trying to do something less, it's helpful to replace it with another activity instead of just leaving that hole there.

Good luck!
Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti Sutta

Stuff I write about things.
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Re: Video games and mindfulness

Postby DAWN » Mon Nov 05, 2012 6:40 am

Actualy this stability of concentration is absorbtion of mind by this dhamma. Like listening music, dancing, or sport. Mind is absorbed and feel stability, thas makes illusion of pure concentration.

When the ground is flooded, we cant see what is hidden under.
Sabbe dhamma anatta
We are not concurents...
I'am sorry for my english
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Re: Video games and mindfulness

Postby Yana » Mon Nov 05, 2012 9:09 am

DAWN wrote:Actualy this stability of concentration is absorbtion of mind by this dhamma. Like listening music, dancing, or sport. Mind is absorbed and feel stability, thas makes illusion of pure concentration.

When the ground is flooded, we cant see what is hidden under.


wait,are you saying that when your absorbed your not concentrating.I play xbox and it takes a lot of concentrating and alertness.I think it's not that we're not concentrating.The difference between meditation and playing video games is the object we are concentrating on..

For example:

Concentrating on the breath would be much calmer since we neither attach or push away from it.
We are focused on a fixed point.

Concentrating on video games makes us excited.We change from being attached to pushing away in a matter of seconds.Happy when you score points and hating it when your losing points.
We are constantly changing our focus..running,jumping etc..

Which is why none of us seem calm after a game..more like agitated and impulsive or just worn out.

:anjali:
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Re: Video games and mindfulness

Postby DAWN » Mon Nov 05, 2012 5:29 pm

Yana wrote:
DAWN wrote:Actualy this stability of concentration is absorbtion of mind by this dhamma. Like listening music, dancing, or sport. Mind is absorbed and feel stability, thas makes illusion of pure concentration.

When the ground is flooded, we cant see what is hidden under.


wait,are you saying that when your absorbed your not concentrating.I play xbox and it takes a lot of concentrating and alertness.I think it's not that we're not concentrating.The difference between meditation and playing video games is the object we are concentrating on..

For example:

Concentrating on the breath would be much calmer since we neither attach or push away from it.
We are focused on a fixed point.

Concentrating on video games makes us excited.We change from being attached to pushing away in a matter of seconds.Happy when you score points and hating it when your losing points.
We are constantly changing our focus..running,jumping etc..

Which is why none of us seem calm after a game..more like agitated and impulsive or just worn out.

:anjali:


Yes you are concentrated, but purity of this kind of concentration is not your true concentration purity.
Why?
Because the mind is flooded, and impurity of mind is hidden by weter.
What is that mean?
It mean that under ocean, when your mind is absorbed by the game/music/cinema/dance/sport etc..., when thre is a lot of water, we can hide all that you want, all problems, all negative side, all impurity, so we see only the water, smooth, calm and shiny. But when water go off, when your mind is no more absorbed, is no more flooded, so all become visible, all that was hidden by water, all impurity is here... And go clear all this can take a lot of time, practice, and effort.

So whet peoples do? They go play a game, watch TV, take drugs... they go flood their mind to hide all again. And an practitiones say to himselv : Oh it's ok, i'a concentrated, i keep my minfulness, it's cool, i keep playing !
But there is a trap.
This trap is that when our mind is flooded, whet there is an ocean, we can continue to drop all in water... aniway it's not visible, so it's not exist. But it's become a problem when the water go off... And what we do? We take a much more water to hide all this. And more and more and more.

It's an illusion of practice. We have to be carefull.
Sabbe dhamma anatta
We are not concurents...
I'am sorry for my english
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Re: Video games and mindfulness

Postby DAWN » Mon Nov 05, 2012 5:55 pm

To illustrate what i mean.

Image

Image

Image
Sabbe dhamma anatta
We are not concurents...
I'am sorry for my english
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Re: Video games and mindfulness

Postby Yana » Tue Nov 06, 2012 12:16 am

Hi Dawn,

Thank you for clearing things up.I understand now. :anjali:
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Re: Video games and mindfulness

Postby kellievella » Wed May 22, 2013 7:09 am

Can anyone clarify the difference between meditative practice such as sitting down and meditating, and mindful engagement in everyday activities? It seems to me it may be possible to engage with videogames mindfully but that this may be more easy with some games than others, just as mindfully walking in the forest or on an empty beach may be easier than mindfully walking next to a busy highway with advertising blaring out of nearby shops. Also that perhaps someone well-practiced in mindfulness would be able to mindfully engage with all conditions, however some conditions would sway those less practiced. Though perhaps this has more to do with the intention behind engagement. Does anyone have an opinion, insight, experiences they can share? Does anyone game mindfully?
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Re: Video games and mindfulness

Postby purple planet » Wed May 22, 2013 7:36 am

i love video games so i understand why its fun to play

from my technique i use the labeling technique of mahasi sayadaw which means whatever happens you mentally label it that way your aware of what is hapening but you are not "in"it but "outside"

example : when you listen to music you dont know that you are listening to music but if you label it(music music music) then you know you are hearing it but your not actually listening to it

when you play a video game you are not aware of what is hapening you are "in" the game

because your mind is trying to escape your reality which might be : boring maybe or you have a pain in the back while sitting or a hard task to do ect ect - so the mind crave for stuff to get "lost" in instead of dealing with reality

when you are truly mindful you prevent the mind to crave for stuff - when you hear something and label it music - then the mind dont grasp it your just aware of it


i didnt find a way to read mindfuly yet not to talk about gaming - because you crave to play its not so good because you attach to the fun of it and in buddhism we try to stop craving for sensual pleasure

i think the answer is its hard to be mindful while playing because its something you crave for - i can eat something really good like ice cream and "label" eat (eating eating or taste taste) but it wont be fun so i wouldnt do it i guess you can label a video game vut that would be extremely annoying - but you should try to play a bit less - you do lots of stuff that arnt mindful throughout the day - its very hard to be mindful all the day - i think you should try to be mindful all day - i think its good to cut a little on gaming - if you play all day than its best to cut it a bit - but if you stop doing things you like tomorrow you wouldn't get far - so keep meditating and see where you can add mindfulness like when doing chors

i believe it would become easier in time to avoid playing the video games - but to stop doing things that you like to soon is not good for the practice its important to be smart about things and even if you dont listen to music and dont play games ect ... that dosnt mean your going to be mindful in the time you cleared you can lose the game and just stare at the wall unmindfuly instead

im saying more or less what said before - but ill keep this post up so you have it in different words
Please send merit to my dog named Mika who has passed away - thanks in advance
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Re: Video games and mindfulness

Postby barcsimalsi » Wed May 22, 2013 12:06 pm

kellievella wrote:Can anyone clarify the difference between meditative practice such as sitting down and meditating, and mindful engagement in everyday activities? It seems to me it may be possible to engage with videogames mindfully but that this may be more easy with some games than others, just as mindfully walking in the forest or on an empty beach may be easier than mindfully walking next to a busy highway with advertising blaring out of nearby shops. Also that perhaps someone well-practiced in mindfulness would be able to mindfully engage with all conditions, however some conditions would sway those less practiced. Though perhaps this has more to do with the intention behind engagement. Does anyone have an opinion, insight, experiences they can share? Does anyone game mindfully?

I always love racing game but when i tried to be aware of the process by noting "driving-driving-playing-playing", the fun was gone. Yes, it is possible to be mindful in gaming but at the moment you are mindful, the illusional joyful feeling is neutralize as well so there's no point of playing game without enjoying it. Another thing is it screw up your speedy response. If you are a serious gamer, i won't encourage about gaming with mindfulness, it really mess up your playing skills and fun.

But if your right mindfulness is strong enough, i'm sure you won't feel like playing games anymore.
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Re: Video games and mindfulness

Postby kellievella » Thu May 23, 2013 3:55 am

barcsimalsi wrote:I always love racing game but when i tried to be aware of the process by noting "driving-driving-playing-playing", the fun was gone. Yes, it is possible to be mindful in gaming but at the moment you are mindful, the illusional joyful feeling is neutralize as well so there's no point of playing game without enjoying it. Another thing is it screw up your speedy response. If you are a serious gamer, i won't encourage about gaming with mindfulness, it really mess up your playing skills and fun.

But if your right mindfulness is strong enough, i'm sure you won't feel like playing games anymore.


That's interesting. I'm new to all this so forgive me if I'm barking up the wrong tree, but my understanding of mindfulness equates to acceptance and non-attachment. So pleasurable and painful experiences can be accepted for what they are without attachment. I can see a real challenge with disengaging from something as engaging as playing videogames (when you happen to enjoy it), but if you practice mindfulness in your everyday life this presents an opportunity for strengthening your mindfulness doesn't it? That said I don't play a great deal, but I do enjoy enjoying things when they occur :D
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Re: Video games and mindfulness

Postby barcsimalsi » Thu May 23, 2013 12:36 pm

kellievella wrote:That's interesting. I'm new to all this so forgive me if I'm barking up the wrong tree, but my understanding of mindfulness equates to acceptance and non-attachment. So pleasurable and painful experiences can be accepted for what they are without attachment.

That's right but being mindful throughout gaming will leads the mind to intervene by keep on questioning yourself "is what i'm doing now right?" , and when it blends with the understanding of annica, anatta and dukha, the typical joyful fantasy of gaming like "wow, look at those combos, my skills are so damn good, i think i'm the best player in town...etc" have no chance to arise hence how can you still enjoy? Even playing boring games like Sim city will requires the player to feel proud of himself about what he is building to get the fulfilling sense of entertainment, and being proud is when you aren't mindful(unless a person does not agree with the Buddha's version of 4 noble truth).

kellievella wrote:I can see a real challenge with disengaging from something as engaging as playing videogames (when you happen to enjoy it), but if you practice mindfulness in your everyday life this presents an opportunity for strengthening your mindfulness doesn't it? That said I don't play a great deal, but I do enjoy enjoying things when they occur :D

It is not a challenge actually, disengagement will happen naturally when the development of right mindfulness cultivates enough amount of dispassion. And this also applies to other sensual activities, if a person tries to masturbate mindfully it is unlikely he can ever achieve the same climax of joy.
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