Tag Archives: Flow State

The Hardest Game Worth Playing

Originally posted June 23, 2015

Happiness is the meaning of life

Staying happy in every moment is the hardest game worth playing. Maybe a million years from now, or even in a couple of hundred thousand years, it will not be so.

But we can’t wait.

We need to develop methods and tools to advance ourselves mentally and emotionally that far into the future, now. The actual survival of the human race may well be at stake, but more importantly, our own individual happiness — yours and mine, and that of the people we love and those around us — is at stake for sure.

Happiness cannot remain up the trail somewhere, an elusive thing we are working toward. That’s an outdated idea. It’s time for the new idea. Happiness now, in every moment. Now. And now. And now. Happiness all the time, internally controlled, internally generated, by an act of will. Infernally difficult but we cannot abandon this game, believing it’s just too difficult and out of our reach. Now is the time to face it — fight it — and win. And keep winning, because the game is not won once but continuously. That’s what makes it so hard.

As you go through your day, keep coming back to your birthright to be happy, right now, and use your focus, your will, and your creativity to bring about your happiness each moment. Let inner impulses float downstream if they are not conducive to your happiness in this moment. Allow such unhelpful thoughts and feelings to occur, and then watch them float away without holding onto them.

An impulse to be unhappy is one such feeling. The typical reaction is to get stuck in it. Instead, practice allowing that unhappy impulse to float away. Perhaps as it goes you might realize where it came from, or not. But you can choose not to listen to it, obey it, or be taken over by it. It was just a thought, you can let it go.

Take notes on stuff you let float away if you feel it is worth coming back to later, but let it go in the moment. This is remarkably conducive to Flow state. There is a perceptible drag on Flow state caused by looking backward at the supposed imperfections of what you did a moment ago. In martial arts, one is trained to not gloat or sulk over one’s own last (good or bad) move. It’s a good practice for all of us. Let go of everything downstream of this moment, now.

In some version of this universe, it’s natural to be happy doing whatever we are doing at the moment, or not doing anything but just being. By an act of will and focus we can indeed learn practices that allow us some degree of control over our mental and emotional state.*

Keep working at this most difficult and most vital game, become conscious of it, keep coming back to these practices.

Beyond our own individual lives, I feel we all have a duty to posterity to spread awareness of how consciousness works, and how to make it work better. We need to start using and teaching methods such as “float downstream” in the upbringing of our children, in school curricula at all levels, and in our workplaces. That’s our mission and this blog is one of our means to that end.

My best to all,

Bill

*Chemical imbalances at the root of e.g. clinical depression need to be treated properly, and we are not suggesting we can “think away” such imbalances.

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Originally posted 2015-06-23 12:19:17. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Are you balancing activity and stillness?

Originally posted June 16, 2015

If we are always pushing toward our goals, we are inadvertently setting ourselves back from reaching them.

There is a stage in the creative process in which it is wise to turn away from the challenge and do other things, for it is during this turned-away phase that the Aha! moment comes.

not creating may be essential to creativity

Certain batteries get recharged when we take ourselves temporarily off the wheel that is always driving us. This can happen when we are entertained — on our screen devices, reading, watching stage or other performances, spectator sports, vacations, making love, being with family and/or friends.

The subtlest batteries, however, only get recharged when we are alone with ourselves. This can take the form of sitting meditation but it doesn’t have to. We can be alone in nature, alone at home, alone on an airplane, anywhere. As long as we are not working down the TO DO list, there is a greater chance that we will slip into the Observer state (the precursor to Flow state) effortlessly.

To help bring on Observer state — a mindset in which you are able to simultaneously observe and analyze your emotional reactions to situations somewhat impassively — this works for me:

  • Look more closely at the place from which thoughts/feelings arise.
  • Don’t add to what you observe inwardly/outwardly, i.e. stop interpreting everything.

If we spend too much time doing, our conscious mind will block the functioning of our subconscious mind, and we’ll interfere with the stream of consciousness. If we spend too much time not doing, we will under-actualize our own goals. The movement associated with creative energy is a good thing, but stillness in body and mind is also valuable.

Balancing movement and stillness is optimal for maximizing effectiveness toward all our goals in life for love, creativity, and ultimately spiritual fullness, intuitively knowing and feeling connected with all beings and all things.

Strive to achieve the right balance between times spent doing versus time spent not doing.

L’chaim! (Hebrew toast “to life”)

Best to all,

Bill

Follow my regular media blog contribution, In Terms of ROI at MediaVillage.com. Here is the link to my latest post.

Originally posted 2015-06-16 14:04:43. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Transforming Our Emotions

Originally posted June 2, 2015

In the complex accelerated culture in which we live (we call it Acceleritis™), self-mastery of our inner space, or even awareness of what is going on in there, is extremely complicated. Neuroses can arise like biocomputer viruses, and spread through society by intercommunication between people, through our thoughts and ideas and through moods upon which neuroses depend.

Be the masters of our emotions

Two recurring neurotic themes most of us can relate to involve money and frustration. Our culture is set up to cause most of us to worry excessively about money. Money is often the leading indicator of our feelings of self-worth, belonging, achievement, status, freedom, wellness, potency and security. I’m probably leaving some things out.

Frustration can mount, for example, in the workplace when co-workers and bosses don’t go along with the inspiring ideas we have about how to do our job better. Or when society does not encourage (or recognize) an inborn skill or talent and instead of channeling us into a career we love, we find ourselves doing work we can tolerate but that may do little to bring out those inborn talents.

Over time the mix of frustration and money fear can turn to a growing anger, often bottled up inside where when left to simmer and build it can become one of the causes of illnesses of the mind and body. We fall into a counterproductive cycle. We become blocked from getting into the Zone, where ideas, action solutions and clever ways to break through would lead us to create a path to more money, security and happiness.

With the emotions as a wrapper around our whole mental experience, thoughts flit along the surface of the mind. Emotions program thoughts and vice versa. Everything affects everything else in there.

We can ignite the start of a new cycle by seizing the control point where the avalanche starts — our emotional mood. Becoming aware of our emotional state and then working mindfully to take back control of the emotive space around our psyche is key. Detachment from outcome is the core of heroism. A sense of humor gives perspective. Willingness to face the worst with confidence in oneself (and for many, confidence in God/the Universe/a Higher Power) confers a courageous fatalism that has been rediscovered by all of the heroes in history.

In order to (re-)program our emotional wrapper, detachment is not enough. We are emotional beings, hardwired to have some emotional drama going on in the background at all times. Getting into the Zone aka Flow state requires awareness and management of that background emotional mood. If we are not proactively programming it in alignment with our intentions, it will continue to program itself.

Each of us needs then to work to transform negative emotion, the nemesis of the Zone, into positive emotion — which means remembering all we have to be grateful for, and all there is to look forward to and be excited about.

We may experience challenging (even heartbreaking) trials but we need to be able to shift our focus to see them as opportunities that reveal what we are really made of.

Best to all,

Bill

Follow my regular media blog contribution, In Terms of ROI at MediaVillage.com. Here is the link to my latest post.

Originally posted 2015-06-02 11:12:13. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

A Practice for Starting Your Day

Originally posted May 26, 2015

Set Your Intentions

Have you noticed it’s often difficult to overcome a bad start to the day, and that as the day begins so shall it most likely go? This makes the first moments of waking up in the morning a perfect time to remember and practice slipping into the Observer state.

Observer state is a mindset in which we are less caught up in the process of our emotions, and are able to simultaneously observe and analyze them somewhat impassively. Wearing the Observer lens makes us more effective and creative at changing the conditions that cause negative emotions. It also makes us more able to flick into the Zone, where our performance and creativity are sparked and further upshifted.

So how do we get into the Observer state? Here’s what works for me. I begin by remaining in that transition state from sleep to wakefulness, avoiding the use of language orally or mentally, and filtering out any distractions. I stay focused on the feeling of whatever dreams I’ve had, and recapture whatever images I can from those dreams. Try this yourself upon waking. Then stay with the feelings and images a moment or so longer until you can get a hunch as to the possible meaning of those dreams — what is the message from your subconscious?

It helps if you can then move your thoughts on to the day ahead while still in bed, still sleeping as far as anyone can tell, in that transitional state. Get a fix on the possible significance of your day, what you can potentially accomplish. Visualize an upside outcome that will make you happy when you go to sleep next. This is your strong intention, your Will. Picture it. Feel it.

Then imagine what could go wrong and come up with ideas as to how to deal with those challenges. This can be just brief flashes of an idea to be worked out in detail later. Making notes while they are fresh in your mind is often a huge advantage so I encourage jotting down (or keying in) a few thoughts as soon as you feel you have to actually open your eyes and get out of bed.

What keeps us out of the two higher states of consciousness, Observer and Flow, is usually the ego. This ego process is often driven by fear of failure in one form or another, and comes from excessive attachment, and perceiving past events as failures instead of embracing them as wonderful learning experiences. Practicing wearing the Observer lens helps us improve our ability to float upward out of this debris, gain perspective on it, and flow into the Zone.

Best to all.

Bill

Follow my regular media blog  “In Terms of ROI“ at MediaVillage.com under MediaBizBloggers.

Originally posted 2015-05-26 12:02:13. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

How can you seize the day?

Originally posted May 12, 2015

Not just the “set the world on fire” days are important — you can seize the day every day.

make every day count

Sometimes what will make you feel good and would serve as the day’s best strategic move actually begins with an insight. Imagine the type of insight that sparks a throbbing impulse to creatively optimize it in ways that will continually bubble up in your mind.

We have the power to make every day count and to feel like it’s one of those days by prioritizing our mental state over the to-do list.

Achieving this is mostly by remembering the intention to do so, and bringing your attention to the intention. Intention without attention goes nowhere.

Typically, when the To-Do List has supremacy over our Intentions, each day is kept from being a day of great strategic insight or other accomplishment. We’ve become slaves of the To-Do List!

How often do our To-Do Lists supersede all higher values present in our accumulated intentions sac? How often do our intentions mostly live in a figurative mindspace where they are saved like an Amazon Wish List and perhaps looked at about as often? This is what is happening on a grand scale every day that we stay stuck in the pervasive Acceleritis™ cloud.

Pragmatically, the reason for giving highest priority to one’s own mental/emotional state over the To-Do List is that without shifting into Observer state or Flow state, the quality of one’s work is not going to be world class and the day will not have been fully seized.

Optimizing each day includes keeping track of the key moment-to-moment tradeoff decision between the To-Do List and one’s mental/emotional state. By stepping back, reexamining your intentions and your attention, you will notice that you take more frequent breaks from the To-Do List and in so doing you get sudden rushes of brilliant insights and ideas.

Don’t you breathe more deeply now that you’ve merely entertained the notion of freeing yourself from mental slavery? Doesn’t that air feel good? Is a slight headache you take for granted strangely gone?

With more practice every day, we can all seize each day. Carpe diem!

Best to all,

Bill

Follow my regular media blog  “In Terms of ROI“ at MediaVillage.com under MediaBizBloggers.

Originally posted 2015-05-12 12:21:31. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Do what you’re moved to do.

Originally posted April 28, 2015

One of the challenges of our current reality is the pervasive condition we call Acceleritis™ wherein we feel we never have enough time to do all the things we feel we ought to do.

Don't overthink it.

Do you feel like you are always behind and have too much to do? Do you speed up your actions to the point of increasing errors that require fixing (which then slows you down and makes you feel even more behind with no apparent hope of ever catching up)?

You are not alone! We have a natural drive for closure, and the seeming impossibility of ever reaching closure on everything the mind desires closure on makes us uneasy at most times — but we have gotten used to that feeling.

During your work day or at play, are you often not sure what to do next? Try to not overthink it…

Do what most inspires you at that moment. Why? Because the chances are higher that you’ll be doing it in the Flow state, which never occurs when you are doing something because you should do it. I call that “doing it to get it out of the way”. Flow state only occurs when you are enjoying what you are doing, and doing it solely or mainly for its enjoyment.

If you’re in the grip of Acceleritis and therefore not in the Observer state, you may not know what inspires you more, X or Y or Z. The solution here is to just let your body go and watch what it does. The body often makes decisions before the mind is consciously aware of making the decision.

Don’t be driven by email/text/social media.

It has become all too easy to become driven by incoming email, texts, Tweets, Facebook and Instagram posts — meaning you don’t decide what to do next, you react to the ubiquitous digital input stream. This goes on all day and you become a willing slave to others’ priorities rather than your own. Instead, practice setting aside a time each day to deal with and catch up with emails and texts and whatever else is queuing up. This puts you in charge of what you do for the better part of your day.

Create a practice to step away from the to-do list.

What works best for me is meditation — where the mind observes itself, watching thoughts as they come and go. I find this is the most effective way to allow assimilation and closure of the most salient “anti-closures” bugging my mind subconsciously at any given point in time.

Like trying to remember a name, meditation does not work by “trying to do it”, it works by letting go of everything going on inside, and continuing to let go of thoughts/feelings/ images/hunches as they arise, watching them float away (or whatever imagery works best for you). From this effortless place comes clarity that often moves you closer to closure.

Next time you are overwhelmed, step back, and do what you are moved to do!

Best to all,

Bill

Follow my regular media blog “In Terms of ROI“ at MediaVillage.com under MediaBizBloggers. Here is my latest post.

Originally posted 2015-04-28 11:53:07. Republished by Blog Post Promoter