So much of our lives seem to revolve around zero-sum games. Certainly, many of the actual games we play reinforce that idea, that there is a single (even if it’s a team) winner and everyone else falls short. Or as we get caught up in the false-gravity game of money and the economy of scarcity. Or when we were young and told to share our toys or treats with a friend or brother or classmate – that was super clear, wasn’t it? If I gave you half my cookie, then I had less for me (and certainly no more cookie was coming).
To be sure, there are zero-sum instances and games around, both the real and the ones we play (often inadvertently) as though they were real. But it is well worth remembering that not everything is one, and it is even more fruitful to live as though zero-sum games are the exception.
Love, happiness, generosity, wellbeing, joy, passion, satisfaction, vitality, health, performance, productivity, laughter, kindness, fulfillment, peace… there are so many areas in life where the things are not finite, are not created and destroyed in equal measures. They are abundant, never-ending, available to be pulled from, always gushing forth to allow us to drink from the proverbial firehose.
True, we may need to get over our own barriers to do so, and those barriers may be mighty indeed, but through this world of abundance and generosity we gain oodles of support and care, buoying us as we work our way to overcome or, even better, dismantle the barriers.
In this realm we get to play whole different kind of games, ones that have us build and grow and feel big and great and happy. And while the Buddha never really said the following, it’s a fine place to remind us of this non-zero-sum place in which to stand and live from: