Playing In The Moment

The thing I enjoy about roleplaying games is the ability to inhabit the moment within an imaginary landscape and from the perspective of an imaginary character… or as the GM describing and responding to the moment-by-moment decisions of the players.

Being present in the moment is the place where calm and focus exist. The very act of describing the situation in the game as it unfolds, moment by moment, is the most immersive and engaging form of play that I experience. It’s almost as good as when I achieve this in the primary reality, albeit perhaps a little easier to inhabit.

I’ve come to realise that roleplaying situations in an imaginary landscape from the point of view of the character are excellent practice for being able to find the moment in reality. Once distractions fall away and unhelpful contaminated thinking is dropped, clarity emerges and I find myself in the moment – calm, focused, and enjoying the vistas of play.

From this I am beginning to understand that when I am GMing it is desirable to set up the situation without trying to manipulate the players into any particular expectation. More than that, it’s true that the tactical infinity offered by RPGs leads to far more interesting actions and consequences than most of the solutions I might have imagined.

Thus, letting go of an imagined future plan and dropping the past baggage of self-doubt allows us all to play in the moment. Situations unfold, decisions are made, and my role as GM is to adjudicate the natural consequences from those choices. Where things are unclear, I can choose to use the mechanisms of the rules to help me adjudicate.

Having played in imaginary realms, the act of allowing myself to inhabit this actual moment and discover the unfolding of each situation as it emerges in my life is somehow easier. Once we drop the requirement to think outside of the moment, life itself feels more calm and focused. Clarity emerges and problems are easier to solve.

In the end, the goal is to stay in the moment and see where the play takes us. This practice of roleplaying in imaginary worlds is helping me to discover how to remain present in the moment day-to-day in the primary world. For this, I am grateful for the practice of roleplaying and for the sense of play it encourages in my real-world life.

Game on!

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