The first rule of an infinite player is that rules are never ‘serious’ and rules not taken seriously are open to change. Infinite players need not take rules seriously simply because they only desire to continue playing, because they realize that the games never end.
An ego-self demands rules, because rules maintain structure and an ego-self is nothing but a highly structured system of beliefs (rules). Lack of seriousness puts the rules in jeopardy and rules that lose credibility detract from finite players who have won rewards (recognition) seriously playing by the rules.
Imagine what would happen of you chose to no longer take your ‘self’ seriously? Who would you be?
Finite players do not recognize infinite players, but infinite players never fail to recognize other infinite players, because “you will know them by their fruits.”
The ego is serious business and NOT to acknowledge an ego’s 'seriousness' is a serious insult to an ego. In fact, the ultimate in ego seriousness is called the “sacred.” Merely to question the “sacred” is deemed an attack and will be met with swift justice.
Egos (the “I” you take serious) are by nature finite, since all individual egos believe in death and death is a finite game. But finite egos can play infinitely.
Some readers of this blog feel duped (I should post the irate emails, LOL!). They read the title Peaceful Self: Spiritual Perspectives Along the Path to Enlightenment and think “Wow! This must be a serious spiritual blog.” But, alas, after reading the posts, they become convinced I’m a fraud, but not because I don’t write about “Spiritual Perspectives Along the Path to Enlightenment,” but because I fail to take those perspectives seriously.
Spirituality is a game like any other game we play in 'life,' but this does not stop egos from taking it all very seriously. Yet, the only reason they take it seriously is that an outcome or reward is expected. Without the carrot, the horse won’t pull the cart to market. Expectation demands serious adherence to the rules in order to acquire the reward. Even the non-duality games require a carrot, since who’d seek an experience of non-duality if there were no reward from that experience?
The ego-self is serious business, hence, what it believes must be taken seriously, otherwise, why believe anything at all. If ego beliefs (rules of play) were not taken seriously, this would place the ego itself into question as not worthy of serious belief and if the ego no longer took itself serious what would that mean for “you.” Ha!
There are many ways a finite ego-self can play infinitely. However, like a finite player, infinite players also have rules and the chief rule is that all rules can and must be changed (especially when it appears someone might win).Even though infinite players can, and do, win games, they fail to take winning seriously and this entirely negates the point of winning (and tends to piss off the serious players who live by the rules).
Infinite players are unconcerned with a game’s beginning or end, nor are they concerned with conforming to a games boundaries or limits. Infinite players seek to make rules or boundaries more fluid, by questioning the very reason for the rule in the first place (What do you mean“the Bible says it’s so”?).
Of course, infinite players follow rules, but not seriously and this lack of seriousness allows infinite players to play with rules and NOT by rules. Even the rules of death are perceived as fluid and yielding to change. Infinite players are not anarchists and follow rules when rules are agreed upon and not because those who make the rules demand agreement.
Infinite players can play the roles required of finite games, but are not constrained by roles and do not take them seriously. Doctors, lawyers, gurus and Indian chiefs all have scripts to follow. However, although infinite players are aware of scripts, they have no fear of the impromptu and spontaneous (which often changes the rules delineated in the script).
Infinite players do not seek outcomes, but "surprise" (or that which eliminates outcomes). Infinite players realize that to be open to surprise one must be vulnerable and to be vulnerable one cannot follow a script.
Infinite players do not seek transcendence, which asserts an outcome, but seek transformation, which has no end.
While finite players play seriously, infinite players play joyously and laugh often. Even a game as serious as death is cause for laughter. Finite players laugh at those who fail to follow the rules. However, because they do not take rules seriously, infinite players have no reason to laugh at others, but only with others. Their laughter is not a result of winning, but more a response to discovering a surprising new way to keep the game in play and bring on more players.
Infinite players do not ignore the past. Yet, neither do they need to play by rules determined in the past. Rather, infinite players play at “reinterpreting” the past so that conclusions arrived at in the past need not be repeated in the future and the future remains open as an unending “horizon” of possibility (often referred to as "freedom").
Infinite players do not seek to forcefully block the actions of other players, but engage in actions that facilitate authentic actions from other players. This keeps boundaries “fluid” and limits always in flux.
Infinite players are unconcerned with applying power externally, but are more concerned with coming from an interior place of strength. Strength facilitates possibility, while power closes down all possibility.
Infinite players avoid ownership of ideas and seek to use ideas to engage the Deep Spirit of others in order to reveal their own Deep Spirit center. It is from the “center” in each of us, that the center of ALL is realized.
Finite egos can play life’s games infinitely by following these simple rules. However, keep in mind that the first rule of playing infinitely is that rules must not be taken seriously so that they can be changed...
...and change often.
(many of the concepts presented here were distilled from James Carse's "Finite and Infinite Games." However, considering that he supports playing infinitely, I'm sure he won't mind)
Artwork by Pauline Jones - "The Long Dream"