by Iam Saums, ZenGardner All the world’s a…game: Our society is built upon a foundation of competition. When we are born, we inherit generations of history lived habitually through cultural integration, relativity, co-dependence and survival. These are the driving forces that ultimately impose the course of our lives even before we are conscious and present to their gravity and influence. The more we live our lives, the more we are conditioned and assimilated onto the terrestrial chessboard. Most of us remain oblivious to the fact that we are incorporated into it, let alone understand the elusive and variable rules of the game. We are livestock in a global farm. We are raised and programmed to compete with each other in the grand game of “life.” Everyday we go through the motions of playing a role to which we adopt and comply. Our experience upon this earth has and is massively manipulated. It pits us against our fellow human being in a commonly accepted and dysfunctional community called “society.” This distracts and amuses us away from obtaining the vision, intention and purpose to establish our calling and create our destiny. Competition is everywhere, in everyone and in everything. It begins for most of us at an early age in the mandatory educational system. We are integrated into classes that signify the degree of our assimilation, comprehension and social programming. It is then we encounter one of the greatest and most effective stimuli of opposition, sports. This influence impacts the many facets of our lives. Through them, we are introduced to dependency, aggression, involvement, and contention. Spectator sports provide the vicarious thrill of victory and the inevitable agony of defeat. “War is the ultimate expression of competition…someone wins and someone loses. We even pray to God to favor our side for “victory.” – Laura Saums Choosing Sides: Our participation in the game begins when we enroll and engage by taking a side. It may be in our selection of a political candidate or party, a spiritual leader or religion, an athlete or sports team or a product or its corporation. This false choice ushers us into a realm of vicious cycles and endless sparring. We become conditioned into believing this cutthroat custom is the meaning of life. We develop an attachment and addiction to this lifestyle. The fix to the craving is that someone must win while many others must lose. This approach to life sacrifices our creativity, potential, individuality and spirit. Once we have drawn the line in our proverbial sand, we further entrench our heels in deeper with our egotistical projections. Our arrogance, self-righteousness, defensiveness, blind faith and fear constructs the wall around us. We are eventually isolated from the way society and the world really is. We become seduced and ensnared within our personal fantasies, simulated security, hollow professional accomplishments and imitated existence. With every anxious and oblivious breath we take we give away our personal power, possibility, purpose and destiny. “Competition only leads to destruction. Whereas amity leads to creation.” Inner Contest: In order for us to identify, understand and transcend the competition that motivates, influences and imprisons us, we need to discover its origin. As it is with every element in our experience of life, it must first exist within us before it is brought into our lives. We are blinded by the drama of social reaction. We fail to see our possibility, claim our intention, establish our truth, and express our purpose when we are drawn into the elaborate, two-dimensional web of opposition. We become so enamored with the game, we relinquish our reason, sensibilities, enlightened emotions and intuitive potential. It is extremely difficult to create the necessary energetic containment, balance and expression within to transcend reality. We are constantly provoked, stimulated and influenced by the illusory life of yes and no, up and down, right and left, back and forth, day and night and dark and light. The more we engage in the energetic vortex of competition, the less likely we are to experience not just the truth of our lives, yet also the truth of ourselves. When we are immersed in the chaos, drama and synthetic excitement of contest, we sentence ourselves to a life of division and defeat. This begins and ends within each of us. As aggressive as we are in our daily lives is as much or even more of how we are with ourselves. All of us are our most bitter rivals. When we are sparring with others it is a reflection of how we are relating to ourselves. What is ultimately both challenging and intimidating is observing and accepting how unconscious we are of the competition we hold with ourselves. We are always at war within. When we are oblivious to our inner dysfunction, we surrender our attention, focus, awareness and energy. Transcending the Game: For many, life is simply a game. The design of this game is always the same. There is engagement, participation, drama, trends, successes, failures and outcomes. We deceive ourselves into believing that there is nothing more important or worthy of our time. It becomes our sole purpose of existence. How we participate often determines our personal, professional and social worth. We are so driven and obsessed by it we become slaves to its strategy and agenda. The thrill of the game far outweighs the essential need for an intentional, empowering and fulfilling life. We are all addicts of the game. We compete against ourselves with unrealistic ideals, unreasonable expectations and impossible aspirations. We are distracted from the possibilities, purpose and destiny that originally inspired our engagement in our lives. There is always a steep price to be paid when we play a game that readily devours our vision, confidence, imagination and inspiration. We willingly sacrifice the greatest aspects of our lives and ourselves to contend for the mirage of our heart and soul’s desire. When we “win” the game, the victory is fleeting, lonesome and artificial. It is virtually impossible to compete with others. Every person is different based upon his or her social environment, upbringing, family dynamic, inspiration and quality of life. Yet, we are constantly provoked and conditioned into vying for achievements, assets and greed instead of creativity, illumination and community. Competing against our selves within the confines of reality is just another artificial endeavor. It is a simulated lifestyle of civilizing ourselves at the cost of our consciousness, unity, love and destiny. Freedom, wisdom and enlightenment are experienced when we refuse to comply. The game is not only fixed, it is an illusion. Transcending it is the only way we all truly win.