The Zen of Farmville on Facebook? WTF?

Facebook is an idle relaxation time for me, when I have a few moments free, but am not free enough to actually leave the computer.  It lets me check up on what real life friends are doing, when I don’t have time to telephone and visit with them.  It lets me feel I am in the social loop, even if I can’t attend the local events.  Lots of my Facebook friends I don’t know at all, but am glad to expand who I interact with to be exposed to a variety of viewpoints. A lot of them post motivational quotes, which I usually skip over unless they include a personal comment.  I’ve been reading one liners like that my whole life – I’m on Facebook to learn what someone else thinks, not to hear a rehashing.  Post a quote, but also comment on what made you choose that one, right now.  I mostly like to know what people are doing in their ordinary lives.  That’s what lets me get to know them and want to follow what they say.  Those are the people who are on my Facebook News Feed.

I’ve never been one for computer games, so I don’t use Facebook for their Applications: like sending gifts, or My Zoo, although I will take the occasional quiz.   But when I began to see a bunch of my friends playing the Farmville game.  I wrote:  “Farmville must be like the new solitaire. Illuminate me, what does everyone get out of Farmville?”  I got some illuminating responses.

Timothy Martin:   I grew up on a farm and hated it, now I have 4 online!  It really does put me in a total zen like state of relaxation and I feel connected to all my neighbors though I have no actual interaction with them.

DiAnna Hinkley:  I used it as a tool at first to create my center. Like a treasure map. I have seen changes in my perspective, it gives me a daily awareness of organizing and building an abundant life, with the satisfaction of doing it on my own and with other people’s help. It really has been wonderful.

Jean Maurie Puhlman: I enjoy relaxing and growing. Yes, it helps with prosperity consciousness like a treasure map as DiAnna says. I didn’t think I wanted anything to do with it at first and I’m surprised how much fun it is.

Jinn Waddington: It’s like a bottle of wine. You can use it to toast and celebrate with family and friends, or you can wake up face down in the gutter. Do you control it, or are you controlled by it? As someone who cannot keep a simple potted plant alive, I do get a certain sense of satisfaction when I harvest a few thousand dollars worth of produce before breakfast. If I ever find myself scrolling down the news feed trying to score a pink cow, then I’ll know it’s time to quit. Perhaps they could make it more of a spiritual experience, by letting you feed the little homeless cyber characters and animals that wander off from the other games. Now that would be cool.

Janice Scott-Reeder:  It started as a small family farm, but I had to buy the groovy barn because it was so pretty which led to growing the medicinal herbs and then the crop circles showed up and a UFO crashed with green cows. I didn’t think that was unusual but some elephants showed up and then ducks suggested I could make more money with a carnival and bull riding. Somehow that led to the great reindeer invasion of ’09, which I am sure my neighbors are putting on my farm every time I sign off. Now I have calves in four colors, lambs and some strange penguins that produce ice cubes and a couple of guard geese. I have two golden chickens but all they lay are eggs with fuel tanks in them……

I told Janice: “Farmville sounds like a bad acid trip.”  But the realization really came when a real life friend who is like a sister to me made her comment:

Denise Marr said: You should view my farm and see how I have designed it according my life daily situations. IE: I have a circus tent and other things you will notice that I have put on my farm related to my daily living.  So come join as a neighbor. It is my serenity.

Having known Denise for lots of years – she’s my ICE (in case of emergency) contact – I know her life and I know her thought processes.  So when she said the words, “It is my serenity,” I got it.  I got what Farmville – and other games – are really about.  It’s about doing an activity that puts your mind to work while it allows you to release stress, to release resistance.

I could see Denise having a circus tent, to lighten things up.  She’s an organization freak, so I can see her having fun designing her farm.  Denise has to hear other people talking all day long at work, so I can see how it would be a peaceful evening to just click around on the computer, organizing it as you wanted.

I could totally see how  it could be used as a treasure map and stimulus for creativity.  But before I asked, I just secretly thought all my friends were playing stupid, mindless games. And then I remembered that mindless can be good.

The practice of No Mind can be very relaxing, whether you use a No Mind Meditation or – as I see now – you play Farmville on Facebook.

And we could all use a few more alpha waves.

In case the FTC is wondering, I am not endorsing anyone.

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