It was quite an experience playing Snakes and Ladders with Anjali yesterday. For one thing she was in no hurry to get ahead, and was quite happy to plod along at her own pace, sometimes, miscalculating the number of moves she has to do. For her, the joy of playing seemed paramount. I was of course getting all worked up about getting ahead - seeing the snakes as my enemies and the ladders as my friends. And my happy-go-lucky opponent as my foe.
We were on even pace initially and then I surged ahead until I was just one move away from finishing the game. Pretty quickly. The last time we played the game I remember, many months ago, Anjali had beaten me soundly. Looks like things have changed now. But wait a minute, she seemed to be enjoying herself more!
Anjali encountered a series of snakes, almost every single one of them. 'Wheee' she screamed happily. 'I am going down'. She was treating the big bad snakes like they were a gigantic slide and she rode them down happily. Once she went down from some 90 to 3 and she was happiest to get a double ride on two big snakes! I could not understand that. Every time I got a snake I was feeling all victimised. I was all 'why me?' But for her snakes and ladders were the same thing - great fun to climb or slide down.
As luck would have it I slipped at the last snake on 98, 2 points away from my famous win, and came down. Anjali meanwhile slipped and slid so many times that I thought she would never ever come back into the game. But she was not bothered about me, only occasionally telling me with great enthusiasm that I just needed one or two moves to finish. And so after some more of her 'whees' and 'wows' which livened up her side of the board as if some party was going on, I noticed that she had quickly progressed up the scale. In two moves of mine, I slid down to 3. 'I need a 3,' she announced, threw the dice, got a 3, finished the game and smiled. 'It's ok nannna,' she said with her now customary advise to me. 'Keep on trying.' It was more like a 'Keep on crying' for me.
Yes. It's an attitude I'd do anything to get. I would want to keep on trying until my mind can look at the game as a game, and enjoy it. Until I can see both snakes and ladders as my friends. Until I can stop feeling the victim at every small fall. Until I can just enjoy each moment, even the downs as a 'whee' moment. What can anyone say to such attitudes when you slide big time and enjoy the fall as if it's a gigantic slide. That's happy-go-lucky for me. When you are happy, you automatically court luck. Your consciousness makes it almost impossible for you to lose. But who is bothered about all that anyway!
I played a game called 'satori' as part of a workshop I had done a few year ago. Something about the game and most of the workshop, reflects back to you your consciousness, in a hard hitting manner. Most games, life, does reflect our consciousness and this I realised after many years of trying to understand the art of winning on the cricket grounds. And to improve our consciousness, it is best not to get in the way, to trust the process as it takes over, to do the things you are expected to do only, and to be open. Trust is a key word. Snakes and ladders is a wonderful example of the state of your consciousness too. Try it.
The big lessons from yesterday's game. 'Whee' on the slide down with a big smile, the snakes are as important as the ladders so love them all, enjoy the process, don't get attached to the outcome and you'd just be at the finish line before others even in the most improbable circumstances. Thanks Anjali. Wheeeee!