In 1975, a man by the name of Mihály Csíkszentmihályi coined the term “flow” for observation in the field of psychology. It began for him as a curiosity years before. He noticed that artists had a tendency to become completely engrossed in their work. Painting or creating for hours, even days, on end. Sometimes not sleeping, rarely eating, or bathing. Not just disregarding, but ignorant of the mundane entirely. They somehow had an ability to achieve a near-trancelike state while performing a task which they felt called to do.
Many of us, probably all of us, at one time or another have experienced a bit of flow. A feeling of being so engrossed, so attuned with your task that even time has no real meaning. That’s flow. That’s being “in the zone.”
This sweet spot occurs when a particular balance is achieved. We are more engrossed by tasks that are just challenging enough to keep things interesting. An engrossing challenge doesn’t exceed our skills, it matures them.
It’s like surfing a wave. Too far forward or back on the board and the wave exceeds our skill at riding it. We are thrown off and forced to take the time to swim back toward our confidence. Get back on the surfboard again.
But when in the perfect position on the board, all things understand what to do, how to act, how to expand. We forget ourselves entirely. We are beyond the reach of any negative idea about ourselves. We are utterly in the present moment. We are at optimum. Tapping into a deeper portion of ourselves past the drama, past the mundane, and into who we truly are. ‘Who-we-truly-are’ is the one at the wheel. Just what the masters ask of us to accomplish through the practices they have been teaching us for thousands of years. It’s time to listen to them.
The truth is, historically, while spiritual masters have designed practices meant to attune us to the sweet spot, religion has nudged us away from this experience except when as an extension of our service or devotion to God. Only one type of ecstasy is allowed.
But it’s easy to see why they fear your ecstasy. Being in the flow—whether in the moment during a particular task or throughout the entire landscape of your life—facilitates an understanding of yourself as an independent connection to Source. No middleman required. There is no gatekeeper in the flow. If you figure that out, they’ve lost all their power.
It’s the reason why a message of unworthiness found so much value in medieval church doctrine. If you knew your worth, if you found the sweet spot on your own, you wouldn’t need them. They positioned themselves to be worthy on your behalf. That is a false teaching.
That is not what the teachings spoke. And that is why they burned and crucified those who spoke inconvenient truths. A dangerous thing to be a prophet.
But they are not the authority of our reality anymore. They never were. The flow is available to us in direct proportion to the throwing off of old ideas about our so-called unworthiness. It is a lie that was destined to self-expose. A light under a bushel is still a light.
Choose to place yourself firmly in the path of self-awareness. Know what it is you want from life. Recognize your talents and deliberately expand upon them. Cultivate opportunities and spaces in which to achieve flow. You are not only serving your own personal interests. You are ringing a bell into the heart of the Universe Itself.