In the practice of meditation, you are often told to focus on the breath. Each breath is life-giving. You can’t be without it. And try as you might, focus with all your effort, and your mind will still wonder. One might posit that if you had perfect focus, you would be able to retain all of your effort just onto breathing; no intrusive thoughts, no wandering or wonderings. But we can’t. We’re fallen creatures.
The key is to return to the breath. Refocus. Try again. Recommit. The guidance in meditation will often tell you to do as much. “Come back to the breath, focus on the sensations.” And you’d think with something as important as breathing, we wouldn’t forget about it. But you can’t be without it.
It is often the case that we, in RPG discourse, often distract ourselves. We read blogs and rules, we discuss theory, we tinker with systems. We read less fiction, consume less brainfuel, and think more about the next campaign than the current one. We buy a supplement we probably shouldn’t or a tempting game to try or keep developing that elusive dice pool system when folks are perfectly happy with the game they got. We’re circling around the central activity with second-rate engagement.
The key is to return to play. Refocus. Try again. Recommit. Come back to the table. See what works with live players instead of thinking through scenarios in a vacuum. Be renewed by the enjoyment of play and the unrelenting nature of reality.
You’d think with something as important as playing the game, we wouldn’t forget about it.
The hobby is driven by play, not creation, or theory, or just talking about it.
Otherwise, it’s as good as dead.