Sometimes it feels difficult not to be rigid or controlling when it comes to life. Usually, if not always, this rigidity and desire for control is motivated by fear.
Michaly Csikszentmihalyi (pronounced “cheeks sent me high”) named and investigated “flow,” the state of gratification that we enter when we feel completely engaged in what we are doing. (Authentic Happiness by Dr. Martin Seligman, 113.) Flow happens when we are not resisting or working against ourselves; we are simply connecting wholeheartedly with our experience.
Many of us spend much of our energy in resistance. We don’t always realize how much energy we expend resisting, until we stop resisting!
Most of us know that when we are in flow, time flies, we feel we are working outside the limits of time and space, and we know we are being authentic. Think back to a time or different times when you felt you were in flow. What were you doing? Who were you with? What were the specific circumstances? What were you thinking about? If you can clearly identify many of these aspects of your flow state, you may find it easier to be deliberate in creating flow each day. Ideally, we would each be in flow at all times. It seems to me that flow is actually our natural state.
Chuang Tzu wrote “Flow with whatever is happening and let your mind be free. Stay centered by accepting whatever you are doing. This is the ultimate.”
I find I have the best experiences in my life when I am willing to hand over the reigns to spirit. When I try to make things happen in an attached way, I often end up with untoward results. Interestingly, when I truly go with the flow, often the outcome is better that anything I might have been able to create on my own.
My friend Lauren always reminds me when I do have fixed attention to be gentle with myself and breathe through it. I also have little tokens throughout my house that say “trust.” They remind me to trust the flow of good in my life.
We may choose other ways to create flow in our lives, like eliminating clutter. Proponents of feng shui know the power of flow when they design a home to make the best use of chi (the natural energy of the universe). There are many ways to create flow; listening to your heart is possibly one of the best ways.
May your life flow with ease and beauty!