The Flow State of Bliss

Volume 4, Issue 8

In this most recent series of blog posts we are reviewing the highest levels of consciousness above the divided levels in which most of us live most of the time. Two posts ago we discussed the three Observer states and in the most recent post we covered the first of the Flow states, the Flow state of Action.

These five Flow states and three Observer states are nested upward, meaning that the benefits of the Observer state inhere in all the Flow states, and each Flow state contains the benefits of the Flow states below it. It is because of this cumulating upward characteristic that it is logical to consider the states progressing upward in the sequence in which we have placed them.

I began to discover the Flow state of Action at age four when performing onstage. Fascinated and sensing that this strange experience had something to do with the purpose of my life I studied my inner states constantly after that. I suspect introspection has always been a strong natural tendency for me.

In my 30s I began to realize that I was not alone in experiencing these states. Gurdjieff and Ouspensky had written about their efforts to organize and understand states of consciousness, and then Oscar Ichazo founded a school called Arica Institute. John Lilly had written a book about his studies with Oscar, and in his descriptions of the states of consciousness I saw correspondences with my own experiences. Much later I read Czickszentmihalyi, who advised the Human Effectiveness Institute (THEI) for a few years in the 90s and it was at that point that I adopted his term “Flow” state. Continuing my readings in the 2000s I learned through my friend Daniel Goleman of the Visuddhimagga, written in 430 CE, which includes tables showing levels of consciousness based on the path of concentration and on the path of insight. My own stacking of the levels I have experienced is similar but not identical to the path of insight table in the Visuddimagga, as accessibly reported in Dan’s The Varieties of Meditative Experience.

Above the Flow state of Action is a state I call the Flow state of Ecstasy or Bliss. The objectivity of observation that exists in the Observer state carries through into this state along with the self-propelled perfection of action. In this state, however, there is the additional overlay of the most positive imaginable emotions/feelings. Another way of saying this is that there is total appreciation for what one is experiencing. One sees the perfection in all of it and nothing is lacking.

This is the first stage in which a spiritual intuition comes along with Flow state although it may not be cognized that way. One is filled with love that connects to everything. A feeling of benevolence washes over you from the inside. The highest ethics become innate because there is a feeling of understanding and forgiving and therefore no wish to cause hurt to anyone or anything.

Of course, when the Founders of The United States of America (specifically Thomas Jefferson) used the expression “the pursuit of happiness” as one of the components of the unalienable natural rights of human beings, he was in a sense alluding to this end- state as the implied highest good (Latin summum bonum). From the standpoint of my own theory, described in my new book You Are The Universe: Imagine That, the highest end-state three levels above the Flow state of Bliss would be the target state, retaining the joy of the latter state but adding more dimensions to it, as will be discussed in my next three posts.

Best to all,

Bill 

P.S.

  1. Watch for my new book, You Are The Universe: Imagine That, coming next month.
  2. Follow my regular blog contribution at Jack Myers Media Network: In Terms of ROI. It is in the free section of the website at  Bill Harvey at MediaBizBloggers.com.
  3. For those interested in my work in the media business world you might want to check out this collection of videos.

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