Originally posted August 18, 2015
My first experiences of Flow state were at the Brickman Resort when as a young child my parents, 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 or stay in my head. This seemed as close to a life-threatening experience as I could imagine, although I did not have the time or ability (as a child) to put it into those words. I couldn’t even distract myself by paying attention to my fear! I was totally absorbed in handling the immense challenge of the moment.
This and other experiences when I was young made me keenly aware of the existence of Flow, although I had no name for it then and didn’t think about it consciously. I also noticed there were other incidents in which I was more like Hamlet, overthinking a problem while the time to move had long since 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 an immense challenge to me at the time — I had decided that I was not going to wear glasses or contact lenses, even though I needed them. I could not see well and required extra time to locate and 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.
On stage, I was frightened into paying attention to only that moment, the Now. The same thing happened when playing ball half-blind. No time for BS, I was forced out of my own little world into the world at large with no time to extensively pre-think each move. This was split-second decision-making. I was paying attention to the subtle inspirations inside and to everything outside at the same time.
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, I was fully swooped up in the moment. I would later learn that this was what Flow felt like, sans the stage fright.
Over time, I began to realize that this feeling of attention swooping outward can be cultivated by being fully in the moment. Thanks to Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi I was able to put the name Flow to this experience, and now consciously practice techniques to help me get to Flow more often.
Reflect on moments in your own life when you’ve experienced this sensation, spontaneously doing exactly the right thing down to minuscule subtleties, seemingly automatically while you watched from your ringside seat.
It’s our attention that is moving around when we go from one state of mind to another. Living our fullest life is all about attention and where we choose to put it.
Look for the sensation of Flow in each moment as you navigate the Now. By consciously practicing being fully in the moment, each moment, you too will get into Flow more often.
Best to all,
Originally posted 2015-08-18 10:56:46. Republished by Blog Post Promoter