It is as difficult to articulate as it is impossible to fabricate. But we all know when we are ‘in flow’; magic happens; serendipitous events occur; life is better, brighter, a gift.
It is a state of being where we are aligned with our deepest purpose, instead of resisting, doubting, or questioning it. When we are in flow, we come from a place of trust. And it feels right.
When in this state, there is a certainty that every step we take is leading us to exactly where we need to be. We can easily access our core of creativity, explore our true nature, and seemingly play with all the possibilities in the universe.
We often naturally go into flow when we are engaged in pleasurable and creative activities. Time stands still. Senses are heightened; sound, smells, colors are brighter, clearer. Everything comes into focus.
It’s like we have pulled back an invisible curtain to reveal the secrets of the universe, secrets that were always there, but that we don’t usually have access to.
In such a state, immersed in a pleasurable, effortless activity, we simply go from one thought, one sentence, one action, to the next, without needing a plan or even thinking about it. When in flow, there is an intuitive knowing that leads you. A wiser, more informed state that seems to be guiding you.
Some would call it a meditative state, because by its very nature it requires being in the ‘here and now’. But it is more than this, because being in ‘flow’ often involves some sort of action. So unlike the passivity of meditation, there is movement. In a meditative state, this happens mentally, but when in flow, it’s not only the thoughts you have, but the words you speak, the actions you take, the decisions you make. This guided action spreads out to all parts of your life.
But beautiful and powerful though this state is, for many it is difficult to connect to... even though flow is a natural state of being, we spend most of our lives out of flow.
Why is it that this perfect state of being is so difficult to maintain? Why is it that we are so easily pulled away from of it?
Flow, by its very nature, is undirected, controlled, unplanned, unplannable.
Society, our upbringing and our culture have taught us to resist this seemingly chaotic state. In every instance this state which by its very nature is unmeasurable, unplannable, is dismissed and discouraged as frivolous, even dangerous.
That state of flow, so natural to a child, is labelled daydreaming, silly, unrealistic, a ‘flight of fancy’, and is quashed at an early age. And as we grow up connecting back to that flow state becomes rarer and rarer, and more and more difficult.
It begins to feel unnatural, simply because we are unfamiliar with it.
We are taught to look for the how’s and the why’s. We want a roadmap and a compass, and an insurance policy. Some sort of guarantee.
Stepping into flow gives us none of these. No promises. No predictions. Even the next second does not exist when you are in flow. The only thing that exists, that matters, is the second you are currently in.
And this is a scary thing for our logical, left-brained selves to embrace, because it ‘makes no sense’. There is so much room for error, so much that could go wrong…
And the irony is, that when we are in flow, the second we allow ourselves to think in this way, let the fear and doubt in, we are already out of flow. As soon as we lose that trust and begin to calculate, we are no longer tapped into that inner, innate wisdom.
At that moment, we really are flying blind. Falling in fact. And so then we do fail. We lose the trust, we slip out of flow, we fall and fail.
Then we point to that time we once tried ‘flow’ and failed miserably, as proof that is does not work. Unable to see that it was only when we allowed doubt and fear to come in that we lost flow. That our failing was a result of being OUT of flow. And that if we had managed to stay in flow, to hold that trust for just a little longer, then that is when the magic would have happened. In fact, the magic was happening already, and our fear blinded us from seeing it.
So we go back to logic. To safe, predictable, supposedly guaranteed and one hundred percent OUT of flow, logic... We think to ourselves, we may be out of flow, but at least we are being sensible. We may have missed the magic waiting for us just below the surface, but at least we haven’t made a fool of ourselves.
How can we enter into that state at will at any time? And how can we maintain it, even if we have some fear around it?
Well, it is easier than you think. Because it is our natural state, being in flow is more of a remembering than a learning.
Entering a state of flow only takes awareness and practice. And a perfect way to practice ‘getting into flow’ is to play around with it while doing the most mundane and even tedious activities, the things we do on automatic pilot.
To tap into this state takes no more than awareness.
Practice this for just short moments at first, but eventually the goal is to live your whole life in flow, because then you would be connecting with powers and wisdom that go far beyond the ordinary.
I wish you a Happy New Year in Flow!