A life in flow
When in flow, you’re immersed in the present moment, time ceases to exist and distractions fade away. Discover how to make flow your natural state of being.

A life in flow is something we all aspire to. A state of being where you’re so deeply immersed in what you’re doing that time ceases to exist. Thoughts vanish. Distractions fade away. It’s you and the activity you’re immersed in moving effortlessly through time as one. Pure bliss. Psychologists refer to this as a state of “flow”.

You might have already experienced this in your life — perhaps in a yoga class or meditation, playing music, cooking or surfing. There are many wonderful ways to experience flow state. Did you know you can also experience it doing something simple like washing the dishes? “HOW?!” I hear you ask. Consistency, mastery and growth.

According to positive psychologist Mihály Csíkszentmihályi, who coined the term “flow”, flow state is defined as an “optimal state of consciousness where we feel our best and perform our best.” Mihály describes flow as a mental state that involves “being completely involved in an activity for its own sake. The ego falls away. Time flies. Every action, movement, and thought follows inevitably from the previous one, like playing jazz. Your whole being is involved, and you’re using your skills to the utmost.”

“Be water, my friend” — Bruce Lee

It doesn’t matter what you’re doing but rather the quality of your attention to the task — your skill level, and your ability to progress. Water isn’t stagnant, after all. The more skillful you become at the task, the more effortless it becomes. Through this consistent practice comes greater experience of flow. If we don’t consciously evolve, we become stagnant.

Flow implies movement, even on an abstract level. Expanding your mindset will induce greater flow. Research shows that people who experience regular states of flow in their day are happier. We all want to be happy. Plan your week around the activities that you experience the most flow in. Then watch how the rest of your life begins to flow and happiness and bliss become your natural state of being.

Mind calm, life in flow

Once we learn to overcome the overactive intellectual mind, the mind by nature begins to calm down. This is achieved through practise and progression. Scientifically speaking, in this state we see an increase in alpha brainwaves and a decrease in beta brainwaves, which helps promote cognitive control, concentration, task immersion and creativity. Notice when you’re in a state of flow creativity flows through you, ideas come like a river and everything just “makes sense”.

Anecdotally speaking in my own direct experience with meditation, I’ve found a flow-on (pun intended) effect over my entire life. The more I meditate, the more I bathe in pure “being” in an effortless way, the more my life flows. Things seem to fall into place and I’ve developed a strong sense of following what feels charming in each moment. This practice works for me, but explore what it is that creates greater flow in your life. We’re all climbing the same mountain, after all — just taking different paths.

Putting flow state into a scientific, logical box is a great way to understand what it is and how it works. But direct experience outweighs any textbook understanding. Flow state as I’ve come to experience it is a deep letting go. Having “done the work” and continuing to “do the work” to understand the skill or task at hand (which could simply be living), there’s a certain sense of letting go of the thinking mind, moving beyond that and experiencing the fullness of life in each moment and trusting that you’re moving in the direction you need to be.

Repetition, practise and making a habit of your chosen activity are the keys to finding flow state and increasing your happiness in life. Try it for yourself and watch how one simple daily practice can have a ripple effect.

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