Monday, May 29, 2006

The Flow

I can't really explain "The Flow" but I always know when I'm in it. When I'm writing, the words and images flow smoothly and ideas seem to come from nowhere. I read a book about this a few years ago entitled "Flow." It was written by psychologist - Mihaly Csicszentmihalyi (the first name is pronounced Mee-hil and the last name is pronounced Check-sent-mee-hil) . The idea is that when you are in "flow" you are in a place where time does not exist and thought can be media rich with words, sounds, fragrance, and images. Athletes who experience this phenomenon say that the level of focus and concentration is heightened and in the case of baseball hitters, or tennis players, it is as if the ball slows down. They are able to make connection like never before.
Artists, writers, and musicians report that they feel super creative and are able to make connections in unique and interesting ways.
In the book "Flow" he gives some suggestions about how to attain "Flow" but I can tell you it is easier to talk about than to actually attain the state of flow. He suggests that the next time you attain "flow" to be mindful of your thoughts, the feeling in the pit of your stomach, the way you are breathing....try to take a mental snapshot and save it so that you can go back later and relive that moment.
I remember the first time I ever played air hockey on a table similar to a pool table. There was a "jock" there that was the reigning champ and he challenged me to a game...I guess so that he could slaughter me and amuse his trophy girlfriend.
I was a little slow at first and he jumped ahead. Most everyone counted me out, but I somehow got into the flow and it seemed like that little puck was in slow motion. I came back and won the game. I know it was ego, but I was elated...the jock didn't share in my elation and made an early departure without so much as a goodbye.
I can tell you this; if there was some way to capture that feeling and enter the state of flow at will, there would be no limit to the things you could do.
If you've ever experienced what I'm describing, I'd be interested to hear what you have to say.
Post a comment.
I hope you had a good Memorial Day

3 comments:

  1. Yes, I've been in "the flow" a few times when I've written poetry. It's a strange sensation to try to put all the words down on paper so quickly. Sometimes it seems that someone is whispering in my ear.
    Bob

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  2. Anonymous1:52 PM

    The flow comes to me when I have had a couple of beers. Both types of flow!!

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  3. Anonymous8:41 PM

    I agree with Asa Faith, let the good beer, I mean thoughts, flow. Good thoughts, good beer, they both give you a warm fuzzy feeling. Unless their taken in excess that is. I think I will go have a couple cans of Coors flow developer right now.
    Flow is a real thing. Its like sync'ing your soul with the universe. Take care, as for me I've got to go and flow.

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