Go with the FLOW
When we are in fear-provoking situations, whether the danger is physical or conceptual, it is essential for our safety that we maintain a good feeling inside. If we do not, our negativity has a way of bringing out the worst case scenario. The joyful feeling that we attain when in total flowing focus, the opposite of the negative state of mind, has been referred to by many as the “Flow State”. When we are in this state of consciousness we are our best. When we are flowing, we are enjoying each and every moment, and feel completely alive. As time appears to slow down for us, our minds become simplified and congruent with the necessary steps of the task at hand.
We all know this feeling. This is the joy of play in motion. It is the graceful flow of yoga, when our movement is guided by our breath. It is the fearless joy of skiing through light fluffy powder, always looking ahead, excited about what is next. Flow is the silent state that we attain when riding a bicycle, taking a walk in the forest, or swimming laps in a pool. Flow is the mind that knows nothing but the task, and the joy that it is bringing us.
The state of flow is our true nature. The world that humanity has created does not often resemble this feeling, and can lead us away from it with its complexity, aggression and fear. When we realize that we are feeling more like a miserable grown-up than a joyful child, we need to make a shift. We must shift back into the flow.
Going with the flow feels like surrender. It is letting go of negative thoughts and feelings, and looking for the brighter way to see things; the way that makes us feel better. When we see things from the perspective of struggle, there is no way for the light to shine in until we realize that we are not in the flow. We must then wake up from the bad dream called suffering, and immediately take a deep breath in and let it out slowly. In doing so, we find relief. When we connect with a feeling of relief, we begin to find our inner smile.
Children know this. They naturally go with the flow most of the time, and when they have a need that must be satisfied, they ask for it in the ways that they can, and when it is taken care of, they return to a state of grace. Their true nature returns. As adults, we develop the habit of struggling so solidly that we nearly forget how to let go and feel good. Our ability to flow is never gone of course, we just get well-practiced in doing the alternative, and we convince ourselves that this is the only way to be an adult. We unconsciously have accepted the belief that: “In order to face up to responsibility, we must work hard, and struggle against what is wrong with the world.” This kind of thinking leads most adults to a very unhappy existence. This is because we are living in a way that we were not meant too live. We were meant to be happy, and walk through the world with a lighthearted attitude of joy.
When we allow ourselves to experience the flow state in a specific task, we change our outer nature back into something that more resembles our true essence, and as a result we feel wonderful. The thoughts that naturally occur to us once we are in the flow state are inherently joyful in nature, and lead us to more happiness simply because like attracts like. Therefore, by doing things that bring us back to center, back into flow, we have a very easy time drifting into the mindset that leads us to appreciate our immediate surroundings and the aspects of our lives that bring us joy. When we tap into this perspective of appreciation, we begin to view everything in our lives, all the tasks, challenges and apparent hardships from this new viewpoint. We on now on higher ground, and begin to realize that our lives have purpose and meaning, and the overwhelming sensation comes over us: “Everything is going to be alright.”
By following our experience into flow, then into joy, then into appreciation, we are now in striking distance of the Holy Grail of human consciousness: Love of Life. When we appreciate the moment for its positive aspects, and expand that view out to our entire lives, we feel an even greater level of happiness. Beyond the raw experience of general love of our existence, we can begin to point this feeling inwards, and realize that we are, in fact, the person that we always wanted to be. True, we are on a path to becoming more and attaining more, but we are an expression of what we most believe in, and that awakening can only lead us to more self-love. When have let that feeling in, then and only then we can truly point this feeling toward another, and let the joy and appreciation of that other person in. We begin to look for what it is that makes us feel love for them.
This journey into loving appreciation is the path that provokes the highest level of fear. Since fear and love are on opposite ends of the emotional spectrum, the more we love, the more we fear losing the object of our love. If we are not open to the dangerous consequences of opening ourselves to love, we will never get to fully experience the most profound experience available to us. We must move forward into loving appreciation of our lives and our friends and family with absolute fearlessness, and completely without condition. True, they will disappoint us and hurt us, but if we do not keep opening ourselves up to the vulnerable, terrifying experience of love, we are not really alive.
Love is a choice. It is looking in the direction of where we want to go, even when we are not currently headed in that direction. When we look in the direction of the possibility of what we do not want, we feel negative emotion. When we feel negative emotion, we see more negative things. Although it feels as if we have no choice about these thoughts, we most certainly do. We can choose to look upon our situation, upon the people around us, and indeed upon ourselves with a sense of appreciation for the positive aspects. When we look for these things, we find that all of the aspects that were not to our liking begin to quickly fade away, like weeds deprived of sunlight.
As we point our attention toward the positive attributes of our reality, we help them to grow. When you tell the story about why you love the ones that you love, they will become more of that. Tell the story about why you love your hobbies and passions, and you will derive even more joy from them. Tell the story why you love your occupation, why you chose it, and all the things about it that bring out your best. In doing so, your life will become filled with purpose, and you will expand upon those aspects that make you feel powerful. You will realize that the positive aspects make up the vast majority of the mosaic of your life. The cup is indeed much more than half-full.
If you desire to live in a world of joy, appreciation and love, rather than fight, flight and freeze, you must be the change that you wish to see in the world. You must look for these things. When you look, you will find. When you find, you will nurture. When you strip away all of the anger and sadness that is in the world, you find people who truly desire to be happy. Since this is always the case, all you need to do is carry your own personal load by controlling your own vibrations. Like tuning your guitar from time to time, you must center yourself and stop the negative thought-loops, and begin looking for what you most want to see. Master that, and you will have found your way back to the flow that has been waiting for you all these years. You will have found your way back to your original happiness.
Where are you now?
with Brian Germain