How to get into FLOW at will

What is Flow? How do we get into a state of flow at will?

Have you watched an athlete play and been amazed at the ease and grace with which he moves? It seems so easy, natural, efficient, and just right. There is no hesitation in action. There doesn’t seem to be anyone deciding anything; action arises mutually with circumstance.

Athletes call this being in “The Zone.” Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (whose name is just slightly less unpronounceable than mine) first researched this this phenomenon and coined the word “flow.” He points out flow is happiness.

Flow is the Zone, Grace, and being in the Now.

I’m sure you have experienced this state. Perhaps while you were playing a sport or playing music or making love or enchanted with beauty or deeply absorbed in an activity you enjoy or for no seeming reason at all. Most of us have experienced flow, and we mistakenly believe that this is a temporary and rare state which came about because of some activity or event.

Flow is not elusive at all. And it has nothing to do with what you’re doing. It has nothing to do with the external world. Flow is simply being in the Now, and getting out of the way.

When in flow, there is no thinking going on. If thinking happens, it is incidental and not relevant. There is no sense of time. There is only deep presence and action is not deliberate. Action just happens. There is no doer. There is no anxiety. There is no future. There is no past. There is Now. There is being. There is no “me.” There is no mind. There is no hesitation. There is no deciding. There is rightness.

Flow is awakening. Flow is natural being.

In his book “Flow”, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi says it is possible to access flow for particular activities. What you need are:

1) Highly developed skills and practice for that activity. The skill must exceed the demand of the activity, so you are relaxed and confident, and you don’t need to think about what you do.

2) The activity must be challenging enough so you don’t get bored.

3) The activity must have rules.

4) The activity must have feedback. There must be an action-reaction dynamic.

What is an activity that we are all highly practiced at, which can be highly challenging, not boring, has rules, and the action-reaction feedback?

That activity is existing. Life. Living. Being.

And living can be in flow all the time.

When you can remember again how to release, be here and now, let go of clinging to thoughts and concepts and beliefs, let go effort and struggle, and be the gentle, unoccupied, constant, choiceless awareness which you already are, and learn to get out of the way, you are living in flow. This is happiness.

Your turn. What is an activity where you feel completely at ease and you are deeply in the Now?

14 thoughts on “How to get into FLOW at will

    1. Kaushik Post author

      Namaste Srinivas,
      My name isn’t hard to pronounce; just easy to mangle with western tongues.

      Yes, flow shows up frequently in sports. When I played tennis, there were days when I could do no wrong…and days where I couldn’t get the easiest shots. At that time I did not know that the flow is immediately accessible.

      Good to see you here!

      Shanti,
      Kaushik

  1. Albert | UrbanMonk.Net

    Wonderful stuff! I think it’s great that psychology or at least mainstream writers are talking about this. (Is MC a psychologist? I forget!) More and more phenomena that are previously dismissed are being researched and accepted, which is a great step forward. Reminds me of Morihei Ueshiba (founder of Aikido) and some of the feats that he achieved through a spiritual approach.
    .-= Albert | UrbanMonk.Net´s last blog ..Core Practice: Welcoming and Releasing Emotions =-.

    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hey Albert,

      Yes, I believe MC is a psychologist. You’re right, there is overlap with Morihei Ueshiba’s approach. I’ll have to look that up.

      Good to hear from you; hope everything is well with you!

      Kaushik

  2. alex - unleash reality

    hey kaushik 🙂

    ah… the magical zone of glory. the beyond within. the long now 🙂 just thinking about it makes me feel golden.

    haha. really liked the turnaround on the rules and then “that activity is existing”. made me smile 😀

    to me, the best way to get into the flow is to just take a deep breath, close my eyes and feel myself melting into reality. sedona method also works a treat.

    awwwsome post.

    i think the toughest part is remembering that real life is better than the illusion, remembering to flow.

    thanks for reminding me 🙂

    stumbled

    keep well and in touch
    alex – unleash reality

    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hi Alex,
      It’s always a pleasure to hear from you. You’re absolutely right: the way to get into flow is to be deeply present. Release methods such as the Sedona can give us freedom from the trap of negativity. Awareness and Release…

      Thanks for the stumble!

      Peace,
      Kaushik

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  4. Kakie

    This is a great post and helped me think of the term “flow” in a different light. A speaker from my home town had this great quote that I really think relates to #1 in your post. “What we learn, we practice. What we practice, we become. What we become, has consequences.” -Earnie Larsen

    Getting caught up in the busy-ness of life can be so easy. There are times being a parent reminds me to slow down and be in the present, enjoying and soaking it all in. Thanks for the great post.
    .-= Kakie´s last blog ..Magnet word poetry pulls a family together =-.

    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hi Kakie,

      It’s nice to see you here. The flow that we feel at rare times, when we are absorbed in a sport or game or activity, is accessible to us all the time. This is where there is no sense of time, there is no hesitancy in action, and there is no thinking, and there is a feel of rightness. It’s just being present.

      You’re so right; we can learn how to be from children. Children know the joy of being, without trying or calling it anything.

      K

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