Living Life In Total Flow
Years ago I lived in Santa Fe, New Mexico. During the winter I would go skiing at the Santa Fe Ski Basin, (Now called Ski Santa Fe). On the first day of the season I was skiing down a beginner run on my way back to the lift and I saw a child heading towards me and lost my concentration and fell. I broke my arm and had to ski the rest of the way down with my poles in one hand and my other arm being held by the hand with the poles. The doctor in Santa Fe set my arm in a cast and told me I would be unable to ski for the rest of the season.
I love skiing. It is the only sport I am good at and I refused to give it up. So I went to a seamstress and designed a large and long mitten made of Gore-Tex lined with warm fabric and sealed with Velcro. This fit over my hand and cast and allowed me to go skiing again but it would not allow me to carry poles
Having been trained as a ski instructor I was able ski easily without poles, so that is what I did. I went skiing 3 days a week and skied the rest of the season without poles. One day I woke up to see that a huge snowstorm had passed over the area overnight and that the morning sun was shining. So I got all my gear together and drove up the mountain to take advantage of the fresh and deep snow. I rode up the lift and saw no tracks on the steep slope just under the lift so that is where I headed. I stood at the top of the run looking down at the pristine white trail covered with about 3 feet of fresh powder. I took some deep breaths, focused on nothing but that moment, relaxed and then took off. Every turn was perfect. I was dancing on the snow, floating on the soft, deep powder snow, my arms in front of me. No control, no tension, no thoughts, I was not controlling the skiing, skiing was being experienced perfectly.
Then I heard people from the lift above yelling compliments at me. A thought entered my mind, “Wow, I am skiing great”. With that thought I fell head over heels, lost both skis and my hat. I was a snowman laying in the snow. I slowly got back up, collected my gear, got my skis back on and continued down the hill.
I learned a few very valuable lessons that day. When I started the run I was in the flow. The moment I started thinking about what I was doing and judged it I was out of the flow and fell. So one lesson was to just Be the Self and not try to be in control of the situation. This places us in the flow. Another important lesson was that in the flow, there is no ‘me’ skiing. There is just skiing being experienced. Almost as if a greater sense of being is actually skiing and it is just being witnessed. Another lesson was to never take any compliments to heart. Just hear them and allow them to fall away like water off a duck’s back.
The flow is a state when the mind is totally focused on a task or process but quiet at the same time. It is a state where we can experience performing with effortless perfection without attempting to be in control. It is a state within which everything just works smoothly and perfectly. It is a state when everything necessary is available and all questions are answered. It is also a state of objective, hyper-awareness. In the flow state our sense of time can be distorted – a few minutes can seem like hours and many hours can seem like minutes.
There are numerous activities that people engage in when they can experience the flow. The flow state can be experienced when doing any task that requires absolute focus and a clear mind, or ‘no mind’. I have trained numerous athletes in entering the flow state. Artists, musicians and writers often enter the flow state. Software programmers, gamers, web designers, inventors, public speakers and creative people from all walks of life enter the flow state. Physicians will often experience the flow state during surgical procedures.
The flow state can feel ‘magical’ and uplifting but it is usually temporary and associated with a particular task or process. But can the flow state last longer? Can we live life in the flow state? The answer to both questions is an unequivocal “Yes”!
The flow is constant. Life and creation are perpetually flowing. The flow is an integral attribute of Reality. Whether we witness this or experience the flow depends on a number of factors.
Experiencing the flow for extended periods of time or most of the time is certainly possible. It does require a shift in perspective and lifestyle changes though. Since the flow is ever present, if we are not experiencing it consciously it means that we are distracted from Reality. We become distracted from Reality by reactions to experiences, judgements, desires, suffering, needs, struggles, anger, fear, hatred, joy, love, happiness, entertainment and a million other distractions. To experience the flow, Reality, we must give up all distractions, have a clear mind and then surrender to the resulting sense of peace or quiet.
Here is a simple exercise I call, Deep Breath, that can help you experience the flow. This is the first is a series. Practice this every single day at least once an hour during all waking hours and even during the night if you wake up. In time it will become automatic and you will be able to do this during any activity and wherever you are. You will even be able to experience this relaxed state in seconds with just a deep breath.
When experiencing the flow there is no ‘me’ involved. The ‘me’, ego, ceases to exist or is set aside. There is only the experience and the witnessing of the experience. The doer and witness are actually Life ItSelf. The One Mind, Infinite, Immortal Consciousness. So when we still the mind and just ‘be’, the flow is revealed. Not just in the moment of meditative stillness but in daily life.
When the flow is revealed we experience life as a constant stream of synchronicities. Like puzzle pieces falling into place perfectly. While life may include work, relationships, problem solving, creativity and discipline these activities involve less struggle, stress and frustration. Self-discipline, creativity, problem solving, strength and conscientiousness arise from the egoless True Self rather than from the intellect. This facilitates the flow of life experiences and choices that lead to the best outcomes.
Here is a simple exercise you can do to experience ‘egoless’ viewing. Use your imagination. At first it feels like pretending but the experience will grow and become more profound. Of course it takes consistent practice but it is an essential part of experiencing Total Flow.
When living in Total Flow choices and decisions are often made using a synthesis of critical thinking, creativity, knowledge, intuition and inspiration. Living ‘in the flow’ also requires a relaxed and quiet mind. I usually recommend using the Deep Breath exercise before making any decisions, even small decisions, when you are first learning to live in Total Flow. Eventually you will automatically take a deep breath and relax before making a decision.
To live in Total Flow it is also absolutely essential to let go of all distractions including emotions, goals, history, beliefs, value judgements and any attempts to control reality. It is essential to let go of and to surrender everything , especially your personal sense of a unique identity, the ‘me’.
Here is an exercise you can work with for this:
Practice this every day periodically throughout the day and evening.
If you need an additional exercise for learning how to dissolve you can work with this one.
Living in Total Flow requires flexibility, trust and the willingness to take risks without knowing exactly what is going to happen. It takes a willingness to let go of control. At first it can feel disconcerting or even frightening. It can feel like an insurmountable risk. But by doing these exercises every day throughout the day the feeling of fear and risk dissipates incrementally. Eventually, letting go, surrender and dissolution become automatic and there will be no fear at all. Each of the following exercises will guide you in the process of letting go of control and relaxing into Total Flow. Do these one minute exercises at least once an hour every hour of every day that you are awake. You can also do them every time you feel a sense of tension, stress, anger, fear or other distraction arising. They only take 60 seconds. Of course you can extend them as long as you wish. The more you practice these the easier they will become and the more you will experience the smooth flow of life.
Here is a simple 60 second exercise for letting go.
After you have mastered this exercise work with the next one.
Step by step.
After you have mastered this short exercise begin the next one.
Continue doing these short exercises indefinitely. At some point you will begin to get a sense of ‘coming home’ every time you do this. This is what it feels like to experience the True Self and the flow of life and creativity. Do your best to live that clear sense of Self as much as possible in daily life. It does get easier and effortless but it is a lifestyle, not just a short term practice or phase in your life.
If, at first, you need some sort of reminder to remember to do these exercises on an hourly basis use whatever tools you have at your disposal. Be creative. If it is helpful, post notes around, print these images, set alarms on your phone or computer. Make this a habit that becomes automatic. Eventually it will require mindfulness but very little or no effort.
Also, every time you experience a synchronistic event in the flow of life, every time you notice the magical flow, express gratitude. Express thanks in whatever why you feel inspired to do so.
One final note. For this to work, you must practice and live this as if there is absolutely nothing more important. Nothing. There is nothing selfish or self-centered about living Total Flow and the True Self. By living authentically you will be far more compassionate, caring, generous, loving, kind, wise, strong, creative, peaceful, charismatic and fulfilled than you could have ever been by trying to be what you are not or what you wish to be and by trying to express those qualities using emotions and intellect.
What I share with you here has been tested and proven for many years. A flowing life experience is not an accident, by chance or by luck. It happens when we live the True Self. Total Flow happens consistently when we live authentically as who and what we truly are.
Of course I am available to help you experience this should you wish my assistance. You can contact me through this website or email.
November 2022, San Marco di Castellabate, Italy
© 2022 Jon Shore
All Rights Reserved
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