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Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Finding the flow

According to Wikipedia, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi once said "Repression is not the way to virtue. When people restrain themselves out of fear, their lives are by necessity diminished. Only through freely chosen discipline can life be enjoyed and still kept within the bounds of reason.” This is probably a reason why many New Year’s resolutions never come true. It is easy said than done.
However, I am in love Csikszentmihalyi’s notion of flow.  It is defined as “a state of concentration or complete absorption with the activity at hand and the situation. The idea of flow is identical to the feeling of being in the zone or in the groove. This is a feeling everyone has at times, characterized by a feeling of great absorption, engagement, fulfillment, and skill—and during which temporal concerns (time, food, ego-self, etc.) are typically ignored. According to Csíkszentmihályi, flow is completely focused motivation…It is a single-minded immersion and represents perhaps the ultimate in harnessing the emotions in the service of performing and learning. In flow the emotions are not just contained and channeled, but positive, energized, and aligned with the task at hand. To be caught in the ennui of depression or the agitation of anxiety is to be barred from flow. The hallmark of flow is a feeling of spontaneous joy, even rapture, while performing a task. ”

This sense of complete peace of mind in our everyday lives is challenging. However, once you get the feeling it is amazing. Sports used to give me that “in the zone” feeling. As a teen, drawing and writing “dark poetry” defined pure flow. Mathematics also was all about the flow. You must completely concentrate and be motivated to get it. Hobbies lead to the “in the zone” bliss. Of course, spirituality and meditation offer the flow state.  

Such flow is beyond blissful contentment or fulfillment. It cannot be programmed, forced or given. It just happens anytime and anywhere. Today, I am navigating through life adjusting my pace. My flow is within my soul. And I can feel it. I guess that the flow state is a gift of being in the present. The flow state is to live alive. It requires confidence, focus and balance. Even our global community is in flow of Oneness, one family, one Earth.
Let’s feel the flow. My last Happy 2011 to you!!!

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