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The Value of Talking, Feeling, & Playing Chess

February 20th, 2011

Rehashing the past to present day can be an invaluable activity for people (groups, families, couples, organizations, corporations or any other sum of individuals that adds up to 2 or more).

Recounting the past to present day helps people to know where they have been, what they have accomplished, and where they want to go. Reflective thinking allows people to make meaning of their life thus far. Without it, people have trouble figuring out why they are where they are now.

Talking politely, openly, and candidly with another person who is very important to you creates opportunity for existential relief and validation of individual experience. People need room to share the emotional/intellectual complexities that dwell in their mind. People need time and opportunity to unfurl any cobwebs that may be cluttering their mind. Moments of rest and togetherness are excellent times to do such things.

It is not necessary to unload absolutely every thought, feeling, and memory that occupies your mind. Yet, it remains essential to understand where your thoughts have been, where they currently are, and where they want or intend to go. Your thoughts, when openly expressed, will reveal where you are and what may or may not need to be done.

If you feel as if your thoughts may not be leading you in the right direction (however you wish to characterize the word right is entirely up to you), trust and rely on the intuitive feelings that line the landscape of your nervous system. Feelings often function as an effective signaler for potential interpersonal or personal imbalances that may be going on in your life. They are like a back-up system that takes over when a primary system fails.

It is possible to play a game of masterful chess with your feelings. You need not think of complex strategies and moves to emerge victorious in a game of chess. Instead, it may be more intuitive to glance at the squares to see where all the pieces are positioned. Look to see where the greatest volume of your competitors  pieces are placed and feel where the attack is coming from. An overloaded concentration of pieces on one side of the board lets you feel that your opponent is likely weak on the opposite side of the board. Repositioning your pieces to flood the other side of the board will have your competitor second-guessing their one-sided attack while attempting to beef up security on the other side of the board that more closely resembles a desolate hinterland.

Of course, chess requires a very high degree of patience and concentration. Adding alcohol to the game can water-down the effectiveness of your intuitive feelings and cognition. Couple this with a competitor who likes to create distraction and play psychological mind-games; and you got yourself a fiery game that will undoubtedly test the endurance and strength of your mind. Remember too, the calming effects alcohol can have on the mind (i.e. Рnot over-thinking the game and playing by feel).  

As in chess, you can play by feel in your life. Talking with someone about past to present day and future will likely settle your feelings and restore indefatigable cognition.

Do you value your feelings? Do you value talking through your feelings? Do you think chess is only for geeks and nerds?

Matthew Polkinghorne

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  1. February 22nd, 2011 at 11:35 | #1

    “Existential relief and validation of individual experience…” That is so much of what we each need to keep going, to get through the next day. The first thing I thought of when reading this is that it requires someone on the other side, listening. So it is important to balance the sides (of your chess game, let’s say) so that you can play both parts equally well – listening, and expressing.

    The second thought I had was how right you are about the intuitive aspect of expression – whether it is in talking, or writing. The expression of jumbled thoughts often lead to insights and foresights and awareness of things that are going on beneath the surface that we haven’t quite connected yet to our external reality. I see this over and over again.

    Very nice. And, btw, I haven’t played a good game of chess for quite a while.

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