I talk about the flow state.
I talk about the state the artist finds himself in when he has held the brush for four hours straight, and now, he has forgotten the smells of the room he is in, he has forgotten how the sunlight falls in, how it will be dusk soon, and he has forgotten about the fragile vases in the room.
But, he remembers his hands, and he remembers his brush. And he remembers both of these in every single second. The effort of the stroke, he remembers this; the pressure and the texture of the paint, he remembers it.
I talk about the state of the football player when he has made five tackles in a row. He watches every single movement of the ball. He tracks every single opponent. He knows the movement of his own body, and he knows how he moves it with the utmost efficiency, every moment, to get that edge over the other players.
That is why the crowd chants his name.
This mesmerizing state of mind, this free flow in the movement in the body, what is this?
Can you tap into this?
I am sure you have been in this state before, numerous times. Was it during the maths exam and you needed it to finish within the next half an hour? Was it during a meeting, and you had found that your voice left your body a little differently than usual, a little more powerful?
In this article, I intend to let you get into being able to tap into the flow state, at will.
Be Like Water
I will start with a quote from Bruce Lee, “Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless – like water.”
Relaxation means free flow, movement, and creativity.
When you relax the body, you gain the ability to move freely. Without tension in your body, your muscles do not do extra work. They move with bulls-eye precision and with as much efficiency as the human body is fully capable of. Bruce Lee used this on the physical level. His body was so relaxed that, as is said, the cameras had problems recording his speedy punches.
It seemed as if he had magic powers.
How does this knowledge of Bruce Lee help you? You probably do not even need to punch people in your daily life. You, probably, need to punch down problems which are related to the mental aspects of life. Or, maybe you need magic powers which help you connect with people more instantly and clearly.
Making Bruce Lee relevant to you is this law: Your mind mirrors the state that your body is in. A relaxed body harbors a relaxed mind.
A tense body harbors a tense mind. Kylie Jenner suffers from anxiety issues, and if she did not meditate, she would allow the stress to get to her.
A completely relaxed mind holds the magic powers of Lee’s physicality, mentally.
Having said the above statement, here is a counter statement: There is no magic. There is quantifiable science behind Lee’s magic.
What do I mean? Actually, I stand behind both of my statements. I stand for a paradox.
The Science Behind:
According to Wikipedia, “brainwaves are rhythmic or repetitive patterns of neural activity in the central nervous system. Neural tissue can generate oscillatory activity in many ways, driven either by mechanisms within individual neurons or by interactions between neurons.”
Until this moment, there is a probability that meditation has been a concept you have passed off as being groundless. The reason might be that meditation cannot be measured physically.
But its effects can be.
Brainwaves are the traceable quantities that define the state of mind of a person. When the thing to be studied is quantifiable, it can be studied scientifically.
Getting knowledge of brain waves will help you get a deep, rooted knowledge of the flow state.
Hence, science can study and back up the flow state.
There are five classifications of brain waves
Associated with a highly awake state and breakthrough insights.
Associated with the normal waking state of the average human
Associated with heightened intuition and creativity.
Associated with sleep and the subconscious mind.
Associated with deep sleep and a state of no consciousness.
Understanding The Flow State
The flow state is a state of being when you are:
- Completely relaxed within your being, both physically and mentally.
- Completely engrossed in the task at hand, so much so that you feel as if you have “become” the task itself.
The above two are the qualities of the flow state. All aims and objectives you might have had related to the task begin to disappear, once in the flow state. The very act of doing the task will become so enjoyable and engrossing that you would forget everything else.
The results of such an immense amount of focus are extreme creativity and intuition.
Coming back to the science of it, the flow state has been recorded to be sitting between the frequencies of Alpha and Theta. Having large quantities of Alpha waves results in you thinking in terms of high productivity and creativity. Having a large number of theta waves, associated with the subconscious and the sleeping mind, results in you being in a relaxed state.
Look at it in respect to the qualities of the flow state. The flow state results in extreme productivity, creativity, and absorption in the task at hand while being in a state of surreal relaxation, almost as if you were sleeping or meditating.
The meditation technique I am about to tell you specifically aims to get you into this state of being.
But first, if you are interested, you must look into a visual example of the flow state in action.
Flow State Example:
The video linked in this page is the video through which I first got to know the concept of brain waves. I recommend that you listen to this.
In the video, two athletes have been compared against each other. One of them operates from a place of Beta, related with stress, and one a place from Theta, related with relaxation.
Famous People using The Flow State:
1. Bruce Lee
Widely regarded as the greatest martial artist to have ever lived and the man I choose to start my article with, Bruce Lee was the living embodiment of relaxation and flow.
His hard journey had been a catalyst in his growth. He was not of pure Chinese blood, and he had difficulty in finding partners to spar within the traditional Chinese Martial Arts discipline.
So, he studied other forms. It paid off. In the end, he achieved complete mastery of his art.
2. Kylie Jenner
Kylie Jenner is the world’s youngest billionaire. What she has achieved has been in direct relation with her state of mind. She practices transcendental meditation to help her calm down and reduce her anxiety.
This form of meditation involves the meditator to sit down, say, for 20 minutes, and repeat to themselves positive mantras. This practice enables the meditator to create a positive life from the inside out.
With the massively successful reality that Kylie has built for herself, the results of the meditation have some basis to stand on.
“It’s interesting; ever since I said something about being anxious, a lot of people in the spotlight have come to me, being like, ‘Oh my God, me too!’” Jenner said. “There’s this community. I take what they do to help themselves and piece it together to find what helps me.”
The benefit of this mediation is that it keeps distracting thoughts away from the meditator.
For Kylie Jenner, personally, her high levels of business during the day and her high-stress levels had to be dealt with in some way. She chose transcendental meditation (TM).
The practice is extremely relaxing.
3. Connor McGregor
Another martial artist, Connor McGregor, is a man of humble beginnings. He firmly believes in how the state of his mind has been the key to his immense success.
4. Nikola Tesla
He came up with the concept of wireless electricity, and he invented the highly efficient AC current we use today when it seemed unthinkable at his time.
In his writings, Tesla claimed that visions so clear and steady struck him that, for a moment, he couldn’t distinguish them from reality. When such a vision appeared of the polyphase generator, he says he asked the man next to him if he could see it too.
Tesla either solved his problems visually, subconsciously, or during sleep, all qualities related to Theta. He had a deep love for electricity and was absorbed in the sparks he created, qualities of the Alpha brain wave. He worked in the flow state.
Thousands of people tap into flow every day. It could be the giant basketball player dunking in Miami, or it could be the small town florist in Brazil planting a new seed.
The flow state is an innate ability within all human beings. It’s universal.
Finally, I will get into the meditation practice.
Do you remember one of my statements from earlier? Here it is again. “Your mind mirrors the state that your body is in. A relaxed body harbors a relaxed mind.”
Here’s the technique. In the morning, before you head on to work, sit down and close your eyes. Set the alarm to let you know when 10 minutes are up, and you can stop after it does.
The goal of this meditation is deep, physical relaxation.
Let your mind’s inner eye “see” all the places in your physical body that hold tension. You may not see it in the first meditation, or you may. During those 10-minutes, your entire intention must be to relax those spots of tension.
This meditation will get you to practice the ability to relax. When you practice this ability to relax, you can use it in the moments in your day-to-day life to, physically and mentally, relax.
Let me paint out a picture. You woke up, and before you set out to take on the day, you practiced relaxing parts in your body, one by one, for 10 minutes. You have been doing it for the past few days. You have begun to get a hang for it.
You head out of the door with newfound energy running through your body.
Maybe you smile a little more. Maybe you stand a little bit taller. You are more relaxed, and you can feel it.
Three hours later, you need to head on to a presentation.
But, suddenly, you feel your chest and shoulders tense up a little bit, right before the presentation. Are you thinking too much? Are you nervous?
Will you choose to power through the presentation, or, will you stop yourselves just for one minute before heading in, to practice relaxing?
You choose the latter. You relax more, and as you head into the meeting, you are more present to the task at hand.
You are aware of how you speak. Your voice is more open, and so is your posture and your smile.
The people listening follow your lead, and they are open to you more.
This meditation is practical. This practice will actively help you in your daily life, outside of the room that you practice in.
Final note: How do you use this meditation in your daily life? Remember, flow state is a state of the mind when you absorb yourself in the task at hand fully while being in a state of deep relaxation.
So, when you need to be in a state of flow, take a breath, look at the places in your body where you hold tension, and let them relax and open up. From this place of relaxation, let yourself get into the task at hand as deeply as possible. The goal is to enjoy the act of doing the task.
The pay-off is massive.
This practice helps you in the time that you need to tap into a state of relaxation, creativity, enjoyment, and higher efficiency, i.e., a state of flow.
You are more creative because the parts of your brain that activate during the flow state, as studied earlier, relate with high creativity and yield. You will let yourself take the decisions in your life which demand more daring on your part, which demanded you to be creative.
When you have already practiced it in the 10-minute meditation in the morning, you will know how to tap into it in the moment of need. And flow like water.
What is of even more benefit is the fact that when people see you in a state of relaxation, they will follow your lead. Your relaxation will allow other people to relax.
Humans are social animals. We look at each other for cues on how to react, on how to feel. The feeling is contagious. You, being relaxed, will affect other people’s state of being.
This will allow you to show up in life more efficiently.
I stated a contradiction in my article, earlier. I said that the flow state is magic. I also said that there is no magic here.
I stand behind both my sentences. I hope you now understand why I do.
“The key to immortality is first living a life worth remembering,” said Bruce Lee. I encourage you to try to live immortal.
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