I have heard Athletes talk about being “in the zone,” and I have read many accounts of Artists and Musicians describing their experience of “aesthetic rapture.” Now I am finding people from every discipline talking about “Flow.”
Flow is a state of complete focus, mental clarity and instinctive action. The characteristics of Flow are: the sensation of being outside normal reality; the feeling of timelessness; the sense that you are part of something larger; the absence of physical pain; and the experience of ecstasy.
The term Flow was coined by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, (pronounced “CHICK-sent-me-high-ee”) one of the world’s leading researcher on positive psychology. Check out his Ted Talk “What makes a life worth living?”
In a WIRED interview about, of all things, web sites, Csikszentmihalyi was asked “What do you mean by flow?” His response was:
“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.”
I experience the state of Flow every workday in my healing practice. I watch my clients access Flow. Healers are Flow Hackers.
My fascination with the concept of Flow began when a friend sent me an NPR link of Dave Iverson interviewing Steven Kotler. Kotler is the author of “The Rise of Superman: Decoding the Science of Ultimate Human Performance”. Kotler is now on my genius list and “The Rise of Superman” is waiting for me at my local bookstore. In the video below Kotler takes the concept of Flow to a new level:
Definitely check out the videos on Kotler’s website. They are beautifully produced and give you a compelling look into the athlete and artist’s access to the state of Flow. I got an adrenaline rush just watching them. Scroll down to see the videos of Flow Hackers Patricia Parker (Dancer), William Parker (jazz bassist) and Jason Russell (video maker) talking about their creative experience of Flow.
In his video How Far Will You Go For Greatness – The Dark Side of Flow Steven Kotler states “Flow is built around Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose. Three of the most powerful motivators know to man. This is a dangerous edge to walk.” This video address the addictive side to Flow when reached through high-performance athletics such as skateboarding and mountain climbing. It also touches upon the neurochemicals the state of Flow releases in the physical body.
I would say that as a healer, I have experienced Flow though Connection with Higher Source, Mastery and Setting a Loving Intention.
I propose that Flow + Love = Sacred Space.
I think it’s all the same state. When attained through energetic healing and breathwork there isn’t the addictive aspect of the flow state. Healing makes whole, and after a healing clients feel much less addicted, unbalanced, and needy long after the session. In fact, in my practice, energy work has helped many clients overcome physical and emotional addictions.
Flow is a healing state.
Please comment with any thoughts, experiences or ideas.
Jeri Lawson is available for Healing Touch, Reiki and Clarity Breathwork sessions Monday through Friday, 10am to 6pm, in the Temescal Area of Oakland, California. 510-601-9632