240 Lives to Rescue the Princess

By Anthony Gold

Dragon's Lair

You may never have heard of this game, but the summer of 1983 saw the release of what would become one of the highest revenue grossing and popular arcade games of all time.  It is called Dragon’s Lair, in which a valiant knight attempts to rescue a princess from the clutches of an evil dragon.

I, along with many other young kids, was hooked – eagerly pouring in every quarter I had.  Some machines were generating $1000 per day!  Each game provided for three lives.  In other words, you had three tries to battle your way through the perilous obstacles of the castle to eventually reach the lair and combat the dragon.

The challenges our hero encounters include traversing precarious rapids, fighting many evil characters, avoiding engulfing flames, and navigating an electrically charged maze where one misstep met with instant death.  Each obstacle in the game, if not surmounted, resulted in the knight’s demise and a restart to the beginning (or game over if it was the third life).  Successfully navigating the entire castle, getting into the lair, and saving the princess took about ten minutes of perfect play.

But what made the game so addicting – besides its never-before-used videodisk format with state-of-the-art graphics (for its time) – was the idea that you had to keep repeating each obstacle you previously failed to overcome until you learned how to surmount it.  And the game presented the challenges in a random order, so you never knew what would be coming next.  But once you learned how to proceed past a certain level, the rooms where you might have died thirty times in the past were now a breeze.

As it is in life.

Trials are but lessons that you failed to learn presented once again, so where you made a faulty choice before you now can make a better one, and thus escape all pain that what you chose before has brought to you. (T-31.VIII.3)

We learn in A Course in Miracles that the challenges we face (referred to as obstacles to peace) are simply lessons that we haven’t yet fully learned – with a chance to face them again while making a different choice.

In every difficulty, all distress, and each perplexity Christ calls to you and gently says, “My brother, choose again.” (T-31.VIII.3)

The different choice referred to here is choosing against the ego and for the holy spirit.  When we make such a choice, the obstacle fades away into oblivion and we proceed in peace.

It took me about 240 lives to finally conquer Dragon’s Lair and rescue the princess.  But by that time, I had mastered all the challenges and could easily beat the game every time I played.  As did everyone else who resolved themselves to face each obstacle with this mindset: The last time I was in this situation, the choice I made did not end so well.  What is a different choice I can make this time?

Every trial we face in life, we can ask ourselves this question: What do I want to come of this?  If the answer is happiness, peace, and serenity – then all we need to do is choose the holy spirit as our teacher to guide us through the situation.  But if we are experiencing anything other than those wonderful feelings, we can be certain we chose the ego.  And in the gentle, encouraging words of spirit, we hear “My brother, choose again.”  We don’t need 240 lives to learn that lesson.

Join us in Monday’s class where we will discuss how we can choose the holy spirit to guide us through our ordeals and feel the subsequent tranquility.  I look forward to seeing you then.

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