Pick: How a Little Game Can Help You Get Over Your Hang-Ups

30 March 2010 - 3:39pm Comments Off

Last Manjushri class saw something a little different: playtime and a unique little game that got everyone thinking.

The class was facilitated by Associate Liaison Susan Lim, Apprentice Liaison David Lai and Liaison Jamie Khoo who “tortured” the class participants with the PICK GAME, making everyone confront their fears and make certain difficult choices… all with a good intention of course. The game began with everyone writing down a long list of their loves, hates, phobias, addictions, etc and being made to PICK.

The premise of the game is simple: You’re presented with two equally awful scenarios, something which really gets your goat and makes you cringe either out of hatred, disgust or sheer fear. Then… you must PICK.

The rules of the game are that if you don’t pick, you get both.

All hypothetical, of course, but if the two picks are bad enough, making that single pretend PICK can be a totally, awfully, painful experience!

So we asked Elaine: “Eat a bag of worms. Or take that nasty neighbour down the road out for a meal, every meal, every day for the next week. PICK.

We asked Ng: “Tell your wife how ugly she is and you never want to see her again. Or bash up your prize bike, run it over with your car, dismantle it and enjoy smashing it to bits. PICK.”

We asked Sarah: “Swim in the sea. Or date someone super clingy who will call you every half an hour. PICK.

Doesn’t sound like a big deal, does it? Except that it is for that particular inpidual. The funny part is watching them squirm, wince and then, finally, pronounce their pick.

There was a disclaimer of course – we said that nothing was meant to offend and that we would explain the point to this awful torture after all the questions were asked.

I actually like the Pick Game just because it never stops being funny. It is something His Eminence Tsem Rinpoche conceptualised and continues to play with his students today, throwing them indescribably terrible scenarios to choose from. The pick choices evolve of course, according to the flavour of the day – what our latest hang-ups or biggest attachments du jour are.

The pick options, on any given day, begin mildly, and crescendo to worse and worse and worse scenarios until, eventually, by the end of the evening, you find yourself picking the very thing you thought you’d never pick, the biggest hang-up, the biggest thing you hate at the time. Rinpoche has the most creative methods of “forcing” you to see things a different way and to realise that things are never as bad as you think they are.

It’s a little lesson in big lessons: Emptiness, Renunciation, attachment, letting go and non-duality… The Pick Game teaches you that no matter how bad or awful a scenario, person, thing may be, there is always something worse than that.

The game shows you your own mind – how much you struggle to pick reflects how attached to that hang-up you are at the time. It also shows you how much your attachments, perceptions of people and things dominate your mind and blow themselves up to enormous proportions in your head. Actually, nobody else thinks it’s a big deal and it’s really not as bad as you think it is. By the end of the game, you believe it too and you learn to let go a little more, you’re lighter and there’s one less hang-up nagging you at the back of the mind.

So now, Elaine might find it a little easier to pluck up the courage to say hello to that nasty neighbour, Sarah might overcome her phobia of the sea and dip her toe in the next time she’s at Port Dickson and Ng won’t feel so torn up the next time he accidentally scratches his bike…

Comments are closed.