Friday, November 4, 2011

Playing with Deepak Chopra's universe

High tech and new age come together in Leela, a game for relaxation and self-awareness invented by spiritual teacher/philosopher Deepak Chopra. Leela follows the line of games such as flOw, Zen Bound, Zenses, Flower and Osmos, that all were meant to calm the mind and relax the user. But Leela takes cosmic gaming to a much deeper level.

Based on the notion of the seven chakra's, vortices of energy that correspond to locations in the human body, the user can explore different experiences. The gamer-practitioner will do meditation, breathing, and movement exercises and enter a state of flow while experientially gaining insights about his own body and mind. Considering also the radiantly colored environments, playing Leela for a year or so may well be as effective in stably expanding consciousness as a decade of doing psychedelics.

I think the interactive experience of video gaming is an excellent opportunity to get people out of the apparent chaos of everyday life, and ground them in a continuous awareness of energy flows. In a game, nothing really matters and you have free play. In the world we call real, it seems as if everything matters and is bound by social rules and conventions. Where in the real world we are identified with a person and are afraid of its mortality, in the virtual world we perceive ourselves as immortal. When your character dies, a new one can just magically pop up, and in the real world we're generally not so sure how that kind of thing works.

Leela is a Sanskrit word meaning 'the play of the universe.' It literally lets you play around in an environment that is abstract and beautiful, just what we picture with the term 'universe' or 'cosmos.' Now the task is: can we see that this beauty and universality is always there in every moment of life, and start playing?

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