Tag Archives: Flow State

Smell the Sweetness — Revisited

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Have the daring to do the risky thing - Bill Harvey

Annie was moving fast. She always moved fast. She did everything fast. She even laughed fast, and then quickly moved on to the next thing.

She whisked through the garden doing the necessary watering without noticing the sweet fragrance of new-mown grass and wildflowers. The softly scented breeze on her bare arms itself felt delicious and somehow combined into one thing with the scent. Faintly and unheard, a small inner voice related the moment to the song about a kiss you could build a dream on. The perfumed wind and quiet meditation could have been a winged heart dream, but all this was literally beneath her attention as Annie had things to do and if asked she would have said all her concentration was on getting the job done. There was some truth in that. She was intent on getting the tasks behind her, but not because there was good stuff ahead that she was eager to get to. And there was nothing like a state of concentration going on in her head.

Like so many of us, Annie’s mind was all over the place. It was not focused. Her movements were not based on a carefully-thought-out plan with clear priorities. She was just keeping up with the to-do list — in line with the pervasive tone of life in the Accelerolithic Era (aka Acceleritis). Most of us spend our time in this distracted state, which precludes Flow. There’s too much noisy messy input, with seemingly not enough time to process it.

Annie could be an artist. She is good with her hands and can envision a piece and create it. Doing that got her into the Flow state, where she did her best work — her gift to the world.

Making money at her art seemed like an idle fantasy judging from the toughness of the world, her surroundings and friends and the lives they all led. There was great beauty in her surroundings but the mood created by the difficulty of making enough money to live pleasurably without constant fear of money problems made that beauty literally invisible.

If Annie were hypnotized and asked patiently about why she is always moving so fast, eventually she would come to realize something she does not know: it is because she is always unconsciously striving to make money. Without knowing it, she feels that she will make more money by doing everything as fast as she can. She does odd jobs for friends and acquaintances, like working in a dress shop, washing cars, walking dogs, and landscaping, so there is some logic in that unconscious thought. However, in reality the fast motion causes a slowdown due to the need to fix things not done properly. Of course this also eventually causes her to not get as much work from her employers as she would if everything were always done rather than half-done.

One layer deeper she might realize that the quest to make money isn’t really because she wants to buy specific things so much as to please her partner and also to have other people be proud of her or realize that she is more capable than the way they have treated her.

Annie went on a hike one day and as the sun passed its zenith and the breeze began to be cold, she nevertheless remained bare-armed and slipped into that waking dream where she was uplifted out of Acceleritis-mode and into the Flow state and into what You Are The Universe calls “Soul-Level Two” — the bliss state, ananda. She was not moving fast. She was not under the dominance of any have-to-do compulsions. Her mind and body and every aspect of her were all lined up in the moment. There was no rush. She could see everything around her, hear it, smell it, enjoying the moment itself with nothing causing her to lose freedom or break the fast on motion.

This is the place all of us can live at every moment. And because we then give our finest performances at any beloved Game, we get paid more money for it. We cannot get there if we give up the inner drive to do a specific thing we love to do because it seems unrealistic, and instead settle into a mortgaged life of second-choice work that is steady and dependable. Like the hero or heroine in a movie, in real life we must pursue our highest calling: have the daring to do that seemingly extraordinarily risky thing.

Then we will smell the sweetness of Life. And because the Universe is us, if we actually do what we are uniquely designed to do so that we provide true value to others, the dreams will come true in the end as if by magic.

            Do what you like to do. You’re going to be doing it for a long time.                                                   — George Burns, while puffing cigar

Best to all,


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Freedom from Fear

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Fear has been prevalent since the dawn of recorded history.

Today many of us live in fear of losing our job, and maybe we’re also fearful about our health and the health of our family and friends. And with a daily news diet of horrific acts of violence seemingly happening everywhere, many of us may be fearful about our safety and the safety of our loved ones.

Some of us are afraid because we’re constantly trying to prove ourselves to our mother, father, spouse, critic or rival sibling, or to one of the people who has been unknowingly cast into taking over one of those roles. These “critics” become internalized as hidden senators in our mind, playing the taped and aped voices of others. Continue reading

Getting to Flow by Living in the Moment

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My first experiences of Flow state were at the Brickman 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 time or the 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.

Rise to this 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 frighted 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.

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What’s the value of positive thinking?

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Do you know people who seem to be so mentally strong that they almost always seem happy and positive, never saying a bad word about another person? More and more of us are practicing random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty, loving our neighbors as we love ourselves. Our actions are more aligned with the Sioux proverb, “with all beings and all things we shall be as relatives”.

There is real value in getting ourselves into a good mood. We make better decisions. We think more clearly. And there is no downside. It feels good — we feel good — and we make others feel good. Getting into a more positive frame of mind is not just to pump ourselves up. It manifests more Observer and Flow state in our lives, so we enjoy life more.  We are more creative and effective in our work and happier in our life in general, which of course ripples out to all whose lives we touch.

Live more fully in every second.

So how do we get ourselves to feel good more often?

A daily vacation is a great start. Taking a break and doing whatever we want to do.  Creating a space away from other people (this isn’t always necessary but it usually is in the beginning) and then just doing whatever feels right from second to second. Playing, like a child again. Being who we really are.

When we’re on vacation, we want to be in bliss. So don’t hurry when you’re on your daily vacation. You won’t accomplish the vacation objective fully if you’re thinking about how soon you have to get back to work and thus trying to cram in the fun — still speeding, still in the clutches of Acceleritis. When I take time out, I go back to work not because the “vacation” ended but because it’s what I really want to do. A flood of ideas rushes in so fast I have to write in pseudo-shorthand.

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The Power of Gratitude

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One rainy day I was driving a little too fast plus the cruise control was on. I got onto I-84 East and as I reached the highway itself I must have hit an oily patch for the next thing I knew I was going backwards, staring straight at Eastbound traffic bearing down on me at high speed — a truck passing a car, both coming right at me with many cars and trucks behind them.

Reflexively I righted the car and pulled off on the grassy median just as the honking truck and cars rushed past, missing me. A car pulled off and drove up alongside to see if I was alright. He said he was a Navy fighter pilot and complimented me on my reflexes, then drove off while I sat for a minute breathing deeply.

Every second is precious. Be Grateful

I bet you know what I was feeling because we have all felt it at one time or another — grateful for being alive. Life was suddenly so sweet. Every second was precious. The average workday that lay ahead was now an exciting prospect filled with interesting possibilities. The rain hitting the windshield was beautiful and I could see rainbows in each drop. The air tasted delicious.

Authentic gratitude is a very healthy emotion that I am sure increases immune response and is conducive to Flow state. As I grow older and hopefully wiser I find myself more often being grateful simply for this life, for life itself and especially for the interesting and fun life I have had so far. But any life is better than the alternative of never having existed. Even a life of pain is more interesting than eternal unconsciousness, never having a sense of self, never having even one experience.

As long as one is alive, there is the chance to fix or accept anything that is disturbing. That’s what creativity is for. Troubles can be overcome in a flash of inspiration. Life is filled with endless possibilities.

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The Hardest Game Worth Playing

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Happiness is the meaning and purpose 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.

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