Lately, I’ve been feeling very frustrated with my formal meditation practice. In other aspects of my daily life, I find it fairly easy to be mindful, meaning: I try to keep my thoughts directed toward whatever I am actually doing at the time. “I am washing the dishes. I am writing an article. I am trying not to fall in handstand.”… You get the picture. But when I sit down and decide to focus on nothing, my monkey brain goes off every which way!
This Thanksgiving, in an effort of total leisure, I decided to download some mind and puzzle games onto my Kindle. I don’t usually play games, but it seemed like a chilled out thing to do while my Tofurkey roasted in the oven and the rest of my family watched football. I quickly became enchanted, perhaps obsessed with a word game called 7 Little Words. After an hour whizzed by, I came out of my game haze and realized I was completely focused on the task at hand. I didn’t think about the past or future. I was fully focused in on those 7 Little Words. I felt calm and focused: very similar to how I feel after a successful meditation session. So now I wonder, are there any correlations between gaming and meditation?
Both logic games and meditation have been shown to improve cognitive functioning, specifically in focus and memory. While solving a crossword puzzle may not help one find his or herself spiritually, it’s positive effects on the brain and on mood and temperament can be a positive step in the right direction.
Let me be clear, I’m not promoting swapping a meditation practice for games, but when your meditation cushion becomes more of a source of frustration than enlightenment, a round of Bonza can be a nice alternative to calm the nerves and focus the mind, maybe better preparing you for your next meditation sesh.
Other brain games I recommend: