Applied theories: Flow states
Anyone familiar with surfing, snowboarding, skiing or anything else like this is familiar with the state of flow. It’s when everything melts around you and you are just there. Not thinking just feeling - in movement. And, while you don’t really recall the moment as it happens, you can remember how it felt for years.
Getting perfectly into the pocket is probably the best example of being in a flow state.
Bringing flow with you anywhere you are is less easy. But it’s doable. Here’s a few pointers.
It’s not easy to feel a sense of flow when you’re doing someone else’s bidding, but not everyone can be their own boss either. Whatever it is you’re doing, find something that you can make yours, that you can put your signature on. This sense of agency is important to unlock your creativity.
Sense of quality
It’s not about getting things done, but the experience of the doing that creates flow. Having a sense of quality in what you’re doing, a sensation for the details and the process and the art of if, and an appreciation of the outcomes is what gets you there.
James Turrell, fully immersive states through the exploration of light as a form.
A Rhythm in what you do reduces the need to rethink. Finding a rhythm makes the practicalities fall away leaving you to immerse in whatever it is you’re doing. Maybe you aren’t the type of person to follow routines, but they do have their beauty.
All the famous Swiss physicists throughout history have been skiers. There is something about sliding down the side of a mountain that feeds clear thought. You don’t need a mountain to find flow though, even just taking a walk or standing while working can help send endorphins through your body. It doesn’t really matter what you do, just that you get moving. Sitting still for too long makes not only your body stagnate, but also your mind.
Allow things to happen
Pretty much every transcendental technique requires the participant to surrender in some way. Entering into a state of flow is involuntary. You don’t make it happen, it happens to you. Good news is you don’t need to surrender to anything to find flow, you just need to not force everything. By finding autonomy, seeking quality in what you’re doing, striking on a rhythm and remembering to keep moving, you will allow things to happen to you. Flow is most easily achieved when the environment changes around you and you simply respond to it without thinking and voila, you’re there. So relax a little, it’ll come.