Volume 3, Issue 3
To recap this series of posts, instructions on entering the Zone willfully, the model posits three states of consciousness, EOP, Observer and Flow, each one driven by the manner in which attention is deployed. We have seen how the koan operates as catalyst between Observer and Flow. In this post, another catalyst.
One way to explain anything is in chronological order. Both Carl Jung and Anais Nin advised, “Proceed from the dream outward,” meaning not to lose sight of the door through which you came into a particular stream of thought. This is a key to the utility of a journal, because it records the beginning of an idea stream — the first door, with all the contextual underpinnings inscribed in memory. Without this remembrance of the whole context, ideas can become counterproductively abstract.
In my case, I discovered the Observer state naturally — it was my resting state. I sometimes reacted almost autistically when interrupted by a question or comment from outside my little head, and Solly Gaines, the headwaiter at Brickman, called me “the misanthrope” in observing my asocial ways as a small child.
My first experiences of Flow state were also at the Brickman when Ned and Sandy put me onstage. The height of stage fright got my attention. I was pulled out of my mind by the sheer challenge of dealing with it. I had no time to dawdle with the usual types of unanswerable questions pouring through my mind. I perceived this as being as close to a life-threatening experience as possible, although did not have time or the wherewithal to analyze my perceptions that way. I couldn’t even distract myself by paying attention to my fear. I was totally absorbed in handling the immense challenge.
This and other experiences made me keenly aware of the existence of Flow, although I had no name for it and did not think clearly about it. I was strongly attracted to it and would have made more conscious effort to achieve it were it not for the horde of EOP processes I was dealing with, in introspectional analytics. For me, EOP was the bleeding I had to stop before having the luxury of giving myself a nose job (Flow).
One instance in which I began to move toward solid methodology was when I was able to put the words “Mindquiet” and “Inforush Paralysis” together in my mind. This happened organically after a series of incidents in which I was Hamlet, overthinking a problem while the time to move passed. The first time I went with the Flow rather than insisting on thinking it all out in advance was on the ball field in Brooklyn.
Again, this was taken to be an immense challenge by my being at that time. Over-ridden by EOP viruses, I had come to the decision that I was not going to wear eyeglasses or contact lenses, and so I could not see blackboards, and required extra fractions of seconds to see where the ball was. At the same time I wanted to prove myself to the other boys as being more than a brainy kid.
Adults had flattered my mind from early on and this encouraged me to form a neuron cluster and a neuronal process pattern centering in that cluster, which operationally was the attachment I had been infected with — an ego need to always be praised for my mind. With the first stirrings of testosterone it became for some unexplainable reason important for me to show the guys that I was more than smart, I was also one of the guys.
Attention is the key to everything we talk about here. It is one’s attention that is moving around when we go from one of these states to another. It is all about attention and where we choose to put it (although our choice may not be a conscious choice).
On stage, I was frighted into paying attention to the Now. The same thing happened when playing ball half-blind. No time for BS to myself, out of my own little world into the world writ large, no time to extensively pre-think each move, split-second decision- making, paying attention to the subtle inspirations inside and everything outside at the same time.
I found that a helpful and instantaneous inner discrimination tool is Doing What Is Right when one is in Flow. This razor separates inner inspirations on the radio beam of Flow vs. inner impulses coming from ego clusters. One such ego cluster is the attachment to act heroically as a bias, without regard to probable risk/cost/value balance.
In those moments onstage and on the ball field, it felt like my attention was sucked out like a vacuum-propelled automatic fisherman’s net originating behind my eyes, and now that net was me and I was embedded in the scene around me, not centered in my head.
That feeling of attention swooping outward can be cultivated. You can sublimate (instantly gasify) into mixture with the scene. Look for this sensation as you process the Now, each moment. Know which of the three levels you are in. This is the game espoused herein. It is a fruitful life game not just a pastime.
Best to all,