Harness the Flow & Fall Madly in Love with Life
Do you know what the number 1 misunderstanding many spiritually conscious visionaries have around the concept of Flow?
They mistake “Going with the Flow” with “Flow State”.
“Going with the Flow” is choosing the path of least resistance, whatever feels easy and effortless. Like the flow of water to lower elevations, “Going with the Flow” takes you on an enjoyable, meandering journey, where you may twist, turn and backtrack. This journey may not even take you to your goals. Instead, it may present other opportunities, and totally sidetrack you from your initial destination.
“Flow State” is a specific state of consciousness. Also known as “the Zone”, it refers to a mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity. In essence, flow is characterized by complete absorption in what one does, and a resulting loss in one’s sense of space and time. The end result is rapid, creative and joyful goal achievement.
What Happens If You “Go with the Flow”
The mistake that many spiritual visionaries make is that they have a big vision, and a burning desire to make a big impact, but want to choose the path of least resistence to get there.
Like water, they meander through life, trusting that they will arrive at their grand destination. Anything uncomfortable, that feels like too much effort, is avoided, because it doesn’t feel like it is “in Flow.”
The years slip by, and they start to wonder, why their big goals still seem so far away. Maybe they’ve made it incrementally closer, but at the pace in which they are going, it doesn’t look like they will be able to achieve it in their lifetime unless a miracle happens. They wonder how other successful people were able to “flow” into abundance and success. Maybe they need to do more spiritual work. Maybe there are more emotional blocks to clear. They’ve done so much inner work already, yet they invest in more spiritual or personal development work because that’s where they think the solution lies.
“Going with the Flow” rarely gets you to the top of the mountain, if that’s where you want to be.
Big goals require big effort, and the grit to overcome big challenges that might be in your way.
3 Great Reasons for Going with the Flow
That being said, there are really great reasons for “Going with the Flow”, and it’s important to apply this concept of Flow accordingly.
- For social engagements.
- When exploring a new relationship.
- When you are engaged in leisure activities or on vacation.
What Happens If You Achieve a “Flow State”
World famous psychologist, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, investigated the phenomenon of flow and interviewed thousands of people from a diverse background (mountain climbers, chess players, ballet dancers, tennis players, surgeons, etc.). He concluded that this is a universal experience. Those in the flow state are able to experience the following:
- They have clarity on goals, knowing what they really want to achieve, and are able to identify feedback on their progress.
- It’s easy for them to concentrate on what they are doing; the other things fade away in the background.
- Action merges with awareness, similar to that of a guitarist losing himself playing his instrument, making it seem like the action is effortless, but in truth, really is not for others.
- Feel a state of control over what they are doing, without any worries about losing or failing.
- Timelessness or losing track of time. Time flies by easily when one is in the state of flow.
- Losing self-consciousness.
- The activity in itself is intrinsically rewarding. They do the activities because it gives them a sense of fulfillment.
- They become less aware of physical needs.
5 Reasons to Seek a “Flow State”
Why should you aim to have a “flow state”? Here are some of the benefits for your consideration:
- It will help you exercise control. When in the flow state, it would be easier to grab a hold of your life where you are able to implement decisions and choices on your own.
- Gain freedom from negative thoughts. Flow prompts you to mindfulness, your attention is centered at the task at hand. And when you are focused on a certain task, you also become oblivious to the negative thoughts.
- You will become competent at what you do. According to K. Anders Ericsson, it takes 10,000 hours before one can be a master at something, or roughly equivalent to ten years. With the flow state, you are able to put more hours on a particular activity. This means that it is possible for you to achieve mastery.
- It’s possible to achieve personal growth and improve connection with others. The flow gives people the feeling of being capable, competent, and skilled. It also allows them to have better integration with the self and that with others.
- This can build your confidence. And this is not just a result of having been able to build some skills and being competent. It’s also about being comfortable about the person that you really are, not influenced by the what others think about you (such as the way you look).
Superfluidity – Peak Performance that is Beyond the “Flow State”
You have to understand that being in the flow state is not a guarantee that you’ll feel happy with what you’re doing. The flow state comes in different levels. The ultimate flow experience is what psychologists call as “superfluidity”. This is characterized by zero friction, zero viscosity, and superconductivity.
You may have witnessed this in one of the athletic performances at the Olympics. Superfluidity is peak performance, often described by those who have seen it as “humanly impossible”. World class athlete, coach, author, and political activist Christopher Bergland describes this as a “state of absolute harmony and endless energy”. A person becomes one with the task, dissolving in a state of superfluidity. While Csikszentmihalyi classified the “ecstatic state”, the feeling that musicians feel when they are outside of what they are creating with their hands, under Flow, Bergland on the other hand considers the “ecstatic state” as entering Super Flow or Superfluidity.
Regular Flow is readily accessible on a daily basis, but Super Flow on the other hand is more of episodic. Those in a state of Super Flow or Superfluidity feel spontaneous joy, but those in a state of regular flow may not necessarily feel ecstatic. As an athlete, Bergland says that he was able to achieve the state of Superfluidity during competitions. He described it as an out-of-body experience where he seemed like plugged to a “higher source”. Bergland believes that everybody has access to this universal source of energy. Channeling to this source is said to increase your abilities to new heights.
Flow is to natural, while superfluidity is to supernatural. It gives people the ability to do phenomenal things. Bergland believes that moments of superfluidity are not just a result of intense training and determination; it’s the result of divine intervention. And this can be achieved by anyone who’s in the flow. Superfluidity is based on your own skills and level of challenge. It’s relative to the baseline of your ability.
7 Things You Need to do Get Into a High-Performance “Flow State”
Remember that being in a flow state will be a different experience from one person to another. For instance, women from traditional societies find flow in housework, but this is considered a daunting task for those in Europe. For some, activities like socializing, hobbies, studying, sex, and work allow them to be in the flow. With this said, people will have their own concept of being in the “flow” and activities that will get them there. How can you find it? Here are some practical things that will help you get in the “zone”.
- Use music to your advantage. Music touches the soul, which can bring you from fluid performance to superfluidity. Store some of your favorite music and play these in the background to help you achieve peak performance.
- Shift from using your mind into intuition. To access the higher source, you need to get in tune with your intuition. Superfluidity is not bound by reason. It’s best found by exploring the impossibilities.
- Be intentional with your language. Language can attract those that you want as well as those that you do not want. Throughout the day, choose your words wisely and make sure that these are positive.
- Set clear goals. You have to define your goals and break down the steps on how you can possibly achieve them.
- Focus only at the task at hand. If you are doing a certain activity, eliminate distractions as much as possible.
- Take note of how you feel while doing a particular activity. It’s impossible to achieve the flow state when you are feeling angry, anxious, worried or the like. If you feel any of these feelings, stop for a moment and take the time to calm down.
- Develop your skills. If you already find a particular task hard, you’ll discover that this will become easier if you take the time to build your skills.
Flow State Journal
What are the activities that bring you joy?
Are there activities that for some reason bring you a sense of fulfillment? These activities may give you an idea to finding your flow.
What are the things that you need to let go of?
Are you doing activities that are not to your liking that’s eating up your time? See if it’s possible for you to let go of them so that you can focus on those that you truly love.
What are the goals that you want to achieve?
How do you plan to achieve them?
Break down the steps so that you have a set plan that you can follow.
Who are the people whom you think have achieved the state of flow or superfluidity?
You can learn from those who have done it and emulate their actions.
Art by Randal Roberts & Morgan Mandala