There’s an ancient Hindu board game known as Moksha Patan (‘ladder of liberation’) or Gyan Chauper (‘game of knowledge’) that reflects the Leela, or divine game of hide-and-seek Consciousness plays with itself through the experiences of individual souls like you and me—that is, through our desire and karma.
In a nutshell, it consists in moving through the different levels of awareness (or lokas) we must experience, and then transcend, to reach enlightenment. The British introduced the game to the West, redesigned as ‘Snakes and Ladders’ (‘Chutes and Ladders’ in the US), but the yogic viewpoint in the original was replaced with Victorian concepts or vice and virtue.
There are a few variations of the game, but it’s usually a grid with 9 or 10 rows of squares labeled with different mental states and qualities, and following the ascent of spiritual energy (Kundalini) from base to higher chakras—and beyond, into the spiritual liberation of the Cosmic Mind. You first enter the game at a spot called Delusion, because you can’t be in a physical body and develop an ego without the delusion of being separate from Consciousness.
Then you move through the different squares, in order, when it’s your turn to throw the die. If you land on a spot with an upward arrow (like, say, Purity or Humility), you advance quicker to higher levels; if you land on a square with a snake head (like Arrogance or Anger), then you go back down its tail to a spot on the lower levels. Obviously, everyone wants to move straight up to the top quickly, to feel ‘better’ or ‘more spiritual,’ but there are more snakes than ladders, so most players spend quite some time going up and down the different states of awareness—just like we do in life and through lifetimes.
This game is like a mirror that shows you where you’re at and how your mind changes qualities as you keep going, shifting from being open and adventurous to becoming proud or resistant or discouraged because your ego-mind wants to win the game and you find obstacles along the way. But the most amazing aspect is how even though your mind makes you feel or think or see yourself a certain way, the square you land on shows you with vibrational certainty the truth about your mental state!
This leela is no different from your life-movie, except that the game allows you to be more self-aware because you’re focused on it, while in life the ego has a much stronger hold of your states of mind and can easily trick you into believing your own delusions—of being separate, or alone, or angry, or spiritual, or gifted, or this or that (you fill in the blank). This is why meditation is crucial; it gradually allows you perceive life from a centered, more detached place. (See The Difference Between Spiritual Growth and Spiritualized Ego.)
Life Is a Game of Self-knowledge
Only when you realize that your life-movie is a divine game of Consciousness can you start dissolving the ego, increasingly remaining centered and at peace as you continue your self-exploration and accomplish your goals. But your own leela invariably takes you through a spiritualized ego as you reach higher levels of awareness. Why? Because the ego will use anything and everything to keep you under its control; yes, even the best of intentions go against your spiritual growth when your sense of otherness uses them to push an unconscious need to be ‘right’ or ‘good’ (i.e., spiritual) or to attempt to heal through others.
This would be quickly reflected in the board game as falling down a snake all the way down to the lowest levels, but it’s not easily recognized in life; there are too many distractions, too many opinions, too many life-movies intercepting yours. Whether you’re aware of it or not, you’re continuously dropping to lower levels, pulled by your and the collective mind; so you must be radically honest with yourself to stop going in circles, with the illusion of being where you’re not, allowing mental states colored with past impressions or devaluing your present by chasing a future that doesn’t exist.
You may read about and learn spiritual concepts, seek like-minded people to further explore or share them, or go through healing modalities that give you more insight into who you are. But without a continuous process of self-exploration and self-knowledge, it can all become fuel for the ego to keep owning your experience and feeding a self-image that separates you from Consciousness—taking you up and down the game of your life without ever reaching your full potential. Even enlightened masters remain alert of the deceitful nature of the mind.
To develop spiritual freedom—which means freedom from ego—self-discipline is required; you need the mental determination to know all of yourself: the good, the bad, and the ugly, as well as the unconscious motivations behind everything you think, feel, say, and do. In this chaotic world that promotes codependency and ignorance, you can’t get there without a strong spiritual practice and creative focus, to strengthen your inner witness, and the honesty to dissolve your negative tendencies (the snakes in your game) every step of the way.
You also need humility, faith, and devotion to open up to the infinite possibilities of your true nature. The divine game of life is dynamic, and you are a complex soul, so no book, workshop, or healing will ever compare to your commitment to a spiritual practice and ongoing self-exploration to dissolve the ego. This is how you turn darkness into light and balance the Feminine and Masculine within—to heal, grow, and evolve. Because true spirituality is self-knowledge—knowledge of your small self to remove what blocks your Higher Self. So contact me today to understand your resistance to look within and what you’re here to develop, nurture, and let go of, to discover who you really are!
© 2016 Yol Swan. All rights reserved.