Entering Flow State by Koan

Volume 3, Issue 2

Continuing on our theme from the prior post, we are sharing nuances of mind that can act as triggers to two successively higher states of consciousness, Observer and Flow. The assumption is that one is presently in what is known here in the West as “normal waking consciousness”, what we call Emergency Oversimplification Procedure (EOP) in our theory of Holosentience.

In the last post we quoted Zen masters dismissive of mindfulness. We explained that to get from EOP to Observer state one needs to strive for mindfulness, but to get from Observer state to Flow state (the Zone), one must be in natural mind sans intellectual overlays. The over-thinker is turned off. Language is not a prerequisite for anything. Wholeness is. Subject-object lens is off. There is no separation. Abstraction is somewhere offstage.

We are sharing these mental techniques as part of a noble bargain. If they work, you will naturally take on more and share as you wish. Many other similar experiential techniques and insights can be found in my book MIND MAGIC and will continue to be offered in this blog.

In the next post I will share some childhood experiences as useful to illustrate making mental transitions willfully.

Let’s lead into that story with an experiment in Zen. Most of us are familiar with one technique used in Zen, the koan, a verbal construct used to jog the psyche out of its EOP trance. Our theory as to how a koan works is this: something that makes no sense forces you to stop and NOT think in language, to back out of the EOP lens into original consciousness (or natural mind). Because language is not working it is instinctively dropped for the moment. Just as you instinctively stop trying to use a hand that has fallen asleep until it wakes up again.

This can be experienced. Remove yourself from all distraction. Concentrate on your breath and keep your eyes on whatever is in front of you. Then repeat to yourself the following: “I have no right to play God, even though I have every right to play God.” Obviously you will need to pre-memorize this or you won’t be able to keep looking straight forward. However, don’t spend any time thinking about the meaning of it — for the moment, you are concentrating on what you see and experience subtly when you first put your mind on this.

What you may see (and in future experiments of this sort will gain the knack for seeing) is that in one moment you were in a pretty normal state for you, and in the next moment your mind is naturally quiet and your senses are highly attuned. You are not easily distracted, you feel centered and aware, balanced and unafraid. Your attention is on everything around you and there is no obsessive stream of internal dialog. You are making no effort toward this whatsoever, you are not striving. It is doing itself naturally. When ideas pop into your mind you notice that they are unusually insightful and self-evidently important to your life.

You may at that point be transitioning in and out of Flow, with stability in Observer state. If negative emotion arises, take it as a signal of EOP resumption and see what comes naturally for you to stay above this weather. Direct attention to the causes of the negative emotion as if experiencing it for the first time. Mine and record insights into your (e)journal and tweet those of potential utility to all, if you’re into such things (journaling is provably useful, e or otherwise).

In next post, stripping my childhood bare.  🙂

A Daniel Goleman Must-Read

When I first met them a long time ago, Daniel Goleman, Richie Davidson and I formed a partnership called PRM and did brainwave research together in the media business. They have gone on to fame in their respective fields of psychology and neuroscience. I am belatedly catching up on their massive output over the years. This is a first installment, look for more in future posts.

Dan’s concise and powerful 2011 book The Brain and Emotional Intelligence: New Insights is packed with information conducive to Observer and Flow states. Drawing on the work of his long-term collaborator Richie Davidson among many others at the forefront of brain science, Dan does his reliable tour de force condensing the cutting edge view of the best and brightest ideas in psychology.

We are heartened that my published intuitions of the last decades are increasingly supported by real science. Emergency Oversimplification Procedure in my terminology does in fact exist as “chronic overwhelm” in today’s scientific parlance. The EOP interaction between the prefrontal cortex and limbic system, which I postulated in the theory of Holosentience (and was possibly obvious to others), turns out to be accurate.

What I felt from the inside and struggled to communicate in language, describing inner experience so that others could take similar control of themselves — what Dan calls self-management and self-mastery, one of the four key components of emotional intelligence — is now being described scientifically from the outside as well. Looking at both sides, inner/experiential/phenomenological and outer/scientific, contributes to self-mastery more than seeing only one side of the story — or neither side of the story, as in the case of the unenlightened, who by their actions are crying out for enlightenment but don’t know they are doing so.

Best to all,
Bill

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