Flow

Flowing is allowing yourself to be absorbed in activities you love where everything else fades away.
I am a human being, not a human doing — Kurt Vonnegut

Being completely absorbed.

Flowing is being completely absorbed in the moment.

Focus on 'being' what you love

Remove distraction, focus on the being of what you love, maintain your focus and most importantly enjoy each moment with gentle awareness.

Follow your natural curiosity

Follow your natural curiosity and sidestep distraction. Take action on what interests you, and your natural concentration will follow. David Brooks, is the author of The Art of Focus. He states The only way to stay fully alive is to dive down to your obsessions six fathoms deep. Down there it’s possible to make progress toward fulfilling your terrifying longing, which is the experience that produces the joy.

Allow yourself to become absorbed and challenged

A well-known researcher into Flow is Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. He was a co-founder of positive psychology (positive psychology, the scientific study of what makes life most worth living). Csikszentmihalyi defines flow as those moments when you’re completely absorbed in a challenging but doable task.

Be the things we love doing

When we are being the things we love doing, the experience is enjoyable, for the sheer sake of doing it. The 'being' does not require much effort, and we find ourselves absorbed in the actions. Everything else fades away. Loving what we are doing is key, we become so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter. You are 'being it'.

Use our full involvement

When we are fully immersed in an activity, we get a feeling of energised focus and deep enjoyment in the process of being the activity. This no-mind state of being flows out of doing the things you love doing with full awareness and attention.

Stop trying and staining an simply be

When we are being it, we are not trying and straining. We are instead flowing and allowing events and situations to 'fall into place' from us. From the way we are being.

Experience optimal states of performance

Flow occurs when your skill level and the challenge at hand are equal. In Csikszentmihalyi's studies, people described their 'flow states' as those instances when their work simply flowed out of them without much effort. These were their optimal states of performance.
Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray. — Rumi

Create something worthwhile.

The best moments in our lives are not the passive, receptive, relaxing times . . . The best moments usually occur if a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile (Csikszentmihalyi, 1990).

Being up to your individual challenge

Flow occurs when your skill level and the challenge at hand are equal. As Rumi wrote, Everyone has been made for some particular work and the desire for that work has been put in every heart.

Nurturing 'flow' states

'Flow states' are those instances when our work simply flows out of us without much effort. These are our optimal states of performance.

Being fully immersed

Flow can be more precisely defined as the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energised focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity.

Living a life with flow

Living a life with flow is being absorbed in activities where everything else fades away. A flow state is being so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter. The experience is so enjoyable you feel compelled to do it even at great cost, for the sheer sake of doing it. The mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energised focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity.

Contributing something to the world

Being successful means contributing something to the world … and being happy well doing it … and enjoying what you are doing… if either of these ingredients are absent, there’s probably some lack of meaning in your work.

Making time irrelevant

By applying ourselves to doing things that we've come to love and that demand our presence, time becomes irrelevant.
Flow down and down in always widening rings of being. — Rumi

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi's Happiness and Creativity Research

Csikszentmihalyi is the author of many books and considered the world's leading researcher on positive psychology. He has devoted his life to studying what makes people truly happy. Csikszentmihalyi is noted for his work in the study of happiness and creativity, but is best known as the architect of the notion of flow and for his years of research and writing on the topic.

Happiness is an internal state of being

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi is an American-Hungarian psychologist who defines flow as a mental state in terms of challenge level and skill level. Csikszentmihalyi sought to find out what happiness really was. His conclusion was happiness is an internal state of being, not an external one.

Where people were happiest

He found that people were happiest when they were their most creative, productive, and in a state of flow. This flow occurs when your skill level and the challenge at hand are equal.

Flow without much effort

In Csikszentmihalyi's studies people described their 'flow states' as those instances when their work simply flowed out of them without much effort. These were their optimal states of performance.

Repression is not the way

"Repression is not the way to virtue. When people restrain themselves out of fear, their lives are by necessity diminished" — Csikszentmihalyi

He asked 'what makes a life worth living?

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi asks, "What makes a life worth living?" Noting that money cannot make us happy, he looks to those who find pleasure and lasting satisfaction in activities that bring about a state of "flow." He found that people were happiest when they were their most creative, productive, and in a state of flow.

Creativity Is Central To Happiness

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi says creativity is a central source of meaning in our lives. When we are involved in creativity, we feel that we are living more fully than during the rest of life.

Creative, Productive, Happy

He found that people were happiest when they were their most creative, productive, and in a state of flow. This flow occurs when your skill level and the challenge at hand are equal.
Those who flow as life flows know they need no other force. — Lao Tzu

Finding Your Flow

Ask yourself, what is it you really want to be? Imagine a 'you' that loves what they do. One who is completely present and fully immersed in what they truly love doing. Now be that.

Take a break

If you are living in a fog of emotions an indecision, take a break from work, cell phones, computers, TVs and email. Create some space around yourself. Become as aware as you can. And imagine the self you want to become.

We don't need to know how to be our selves next year, we can imagine and be the self we find exciting to be today. Tomorrow will take care of itself.

As you start to walk out on the way, the way appears. — Rumi

Ask yourself what is it you really want to be?

Now ask yourself what is it you really want to be. What do you really love doing? What are you drawn to? What gives you pleasure? What are excited about? What's close to your heart? What would you see through?

Now be it

When you have imagined a more exciting self, you can give yourself permission to be that self now. Ask, how could you be that person now? Then act it out. Become it by being it. Take ease, relaxed steady action by being the person you want to be today. You can relax into this new self-knowing you'll be just fine. The more you can 'be it' the quicker the world around will align with the new you.
The way you use your self is the self you wind up with.

FAQ

  • What is Flow?

    Living a life with flow is being absorbed in activities where everything else fades away. A flow state is being so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter. The experience is so enjoyable you feel compelled to do it even at great cost, for the sheer sake of doing it.
  • Why nurture a life with flow?

    As the classical Greek philosopher, Socrates wrote in 400BC, beware the barrenness of a busy life. Busyness has become a proxy for productivity. But a busy life is ultimately a life unfulfilled.
  • How do I find my Flow?

    Nurture your no-mind awareness, and take the actions that pop into your mind. Actions arriving from a state of no-mind have arrived free of mind chatter, your habit of planning and striving, and your established personality.
  • What is Deep Work?

    Deep work is working with a state of distraction-free concentration. Deep work opposite is shallow work, is non-cognitively demanding, logistical-style work, often performed while distracted. The term Deep Work was coined by Cal Newport in his book Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World.
  • Being not doing

    Flowing is being the action. And being it requires our full attention. To give something our full attention requires an uninterrupted focus. It is a skill modern life has eroded with its endless distractions and celebration of busyness and productivity. We can, however, nurture our focus of attention. We can meditate. Or simply practice using our full attention in the moment we are in.

    Out of full awareness, actions occur to us to take, they pop into our minds 'out of the blue'. We only need to be patient.

    When we take the actions that pop into our minds out of the blue, and use our full attention, our full awareness, we are being and flowing.
  • How do I nurture my awareness

    Distraction and busyness are barriers to deep awareness. You can give yourself uninterrupted, undistracted time to practice awareness. The more aware you are, the more deeply you are experiencing the moment you are in.