Hint: It’s easier than you think
You sit down to write. Your desk is clean and clear. It’s Monday morning, you are looking out the huge window at a beautiful tree. You feel sharp, focused, energised.
What feels like a glossy waterfall flows through your fingertips, and as you’re typing, you glance up to look at the clock after finishing your coffee.
Two hours have passed, and it was a breeze. In fact, you didn’t think you’d been writing that long. You’ve pretty much finished what you needed to do.
You were in the ‘flow state’ — which means you were seriously in ‘the zone.’
Flow States have been gaining so much attention in the media as of late, even well-known DJs Above and Beyond have joined the movement, producing tracks to induce the flow state.
Named by Mihály Csíkszentmihályi, the flow state is defined as:
“the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity. In essence, flow is characterized by complete absorption in what one does, and a resulting loss in one’s sense of space and time”.
Specifically, the principles of the flow state are a merging of self and experience- whereby we become so merged with the present moment, we are simultaneously action and awareness.
In short, then, our being and doing become one. We become writing, or, we become the dance, we become the golf swing, we become the climb — or whatever it is that gets us into this optimal ‘flow state’ of mind.
How to get in the flow state more often
Low grade physical exercise
Steven Kotler says your prefrontal cortex turns off in flow — this basically means your ‘monkey mind’ is at rest, your brain is switched off.
To help stimulate creativity and induce a flow state, it can literally be as simple as pulling on our sneakers and going for a walk — something that research has termed ‘exercise induced transient hypofrontality’.
‘You can walk yourself into a low-grade flow state…it’s a great reset. If you’re doing something creative and you didn’t get into flow and it was frustrating, this is a way to reset and start over”
Meditation as a gateway to the flow state
“Flow is truly a state of consciousness, and I would say it’s a state of consciousness that feels like you — like your true self. You don’t feel like you have to hide, or be someone else, or say the right things — it’s being your truest most vulnerable self, engaging in those things that you love. It’s a state of consciousness where you’re completely engaged, immersed, absorbed- you’re connected fully as your whole self… you tap into a state of oneness and unity” — Sura Kim, taken from my interview with her on synchronicity and the flow state
Sura believes that the flow state is a place of immense power — because there is no separation between us and the experience — we become one in that moment.
There is no thought; only presence.
Love takes us into the present moment
So in order to get into resonance with the flow state, it makes sense then, that we should at least somewhat enjoy what we are doing, or who we are being.
That’s going to get us attuned into the now.
If we’re feeling good, we’re feeling in a state of love about the task at hand.
So what about when it comes to work? It’s quite simple, really.
Enjoy what you are doing to induce flow states
Anything that brings us into loving awareness with the moment can induce a greater receptivity for a flow state experience.
In fact, Leo Babuta ranks ‘doing what you love’ as number #1 on his list of 9 steps to achieving flow and happiness.
Find your individual flow state
I think one of the best ways to encourage flow is to keep a flow diary — when did you last feel really ‘in the zone’? When did time ‘slip away’? When did you last feel fully immersed in what you were doing, and didn’t feel bored or like your mind was elsewhere?
These are all keys to your own personal experience of the flow state. By charting them and making lifestyle changes, you’ll have a much better understanding of what flow means to you.
Learn more about getting into the flow state with Sura: https://suraflow.org/liberate-meditation-coach-training-course