I created the acronym for FLOW STATES below to help you remember the qualities of flow. But, if for any reason you forget those qualities, just remember the picture above. This is flow at its finest. As you read each of these qualities, see if you can match them up with these children running.
Focus – being in flow causes you to be process-orientated rather than results-orientated, fully immersed in the task at hand without becoming distracted. A famous example of focus while being in flow was amateur-golfer, Joyce Wethered. At age 19, she defeated English great Cecil Leitch to win the 1920 English Women’s Amateur title. Wethered sank a putt on the final hole of the match for the victory. It was a hole adjacent to train tracks, and a train sped past as Wethered was over her putt. She was asked afterward how she was able to make the putt with the distraction of the train. She replied, “What train?”
Loss of Self – being in flow causes you to lose sense of the ego. You are no longer driven by the ego’s desire for fame, fortune, and immortality, it merely fades away. This is a beautiful experience.
Oneness – being in flow gives you a glimpse of the interconnectedness and ultimately, the Oneness, of all things big and small, seen or unseen. Many years ago, after several hours of meditation, I left the meditation hall and walked back to my dorm room. In front of the building entrance was a huge tree…a tree I had seen many times before. Yet this time was different, for just a brief moment, I sensed the tree and I were one. My arms became its branches, my blood became its slow moving sap, my skin became its gnarly bark. I have no idea how long it lasted. An experience I’ll never forget.
Witness – being in flow gives you the ability to witness your thoughts, emotions, and actions instead of identifying as them. Eckhart Tolle says, “One’s attention chases a thought just as a dog chases a scent.” As a witness, you simply observe the thought without attaching meaning or judgment, you are not chasing the thought down the stream of consciousness and losing your space as a witness.
Strength – being in flow gives you a tremendous sense of power, energy and unshakable faith. Fear, self doubt, and lack of self worth are constructs of the ego, which fades away during flow.
Timelessness – being in flow you lose track of time. Regretting the past and worrying about the future are no longer a priority, only the present moment. In general, you sense of time while in flow seems to go by faster than actual time. Hours seems like minutes.
Alertness – being in flow gives you mental alertness not available outside of flow. In baseball, a 90 mile an hour fastball seems like its standing still in comparison to the alert state of the batter whom is in flow. In music, ideas flood the mind of the composer faster than she can actually write them down. You are as a cat waiting for the mouse to come from out the hole.
Tranquility – being in flow gives you deep and profound inner peace, inner contentment and inner joy. Its a though you are living off a strict diet of tranquility, no longer needing physical sustenance. The singer Beyonce, was so in flow during the creation of her new album, she had forgotten to eat for 3 days.
Effortlessness – being in flow gives you the sense of effortlessness during physical exertion. Its as though the effort is being done through you rather because of you. One triathlete had a feeling of effortlessness during his swim portion of the competition. While demonstrating relaxed and effortless strokes, he was a full 100 yards ahead of second place. Its as though with each stoke or pedal or step, the body becomes more energized and less stressed.
Stillness – being in flow gives you a sense of stillness that seems to impregnate even the loudest of environments.
F L O W S T A T E S are your B E S T S T A T E S