The self help skill of entering flow stands in a category all its own when it comes to inspired life change. Of all the self help skills you could develop and master, flow is one of the most accessible and powerful among them.
Entering flow or the 'flow state' is an utterly natural state where you are, quite simply, at your best. While in flow you're in the optimal state of mind (and body) to tackle obstacles, absorb new information and adapt to changing circumstances. It also puts you in the best position to change circumstances in your favor. In the absence of flow resistance to change readily sets in.
In his book "Flow: The Psychology Of Optimal Experience", Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi identifies one of the most fulfilling and valuable states of 'mind' a human being can generate - the experience of being in flow. Being completely absorbed in an activity ... focused singularity ... time grinding to a halt. These are some of the hallmarks of the state of flow and your optimal functioning.
Mozart writing his music. Picasso painting his masterpiece. A martial arts master wielding his or her sword. All are deeply immersed in a state of flow while engaged in their crafts. Being creative and in flow, with very little to distract or steal attention away from the now - it's hard to imagine a more joyous and intrinsically fulfilling state of body and mind.
Tapping into flow means accessing that place inside where intuition resides and no hindrance exists. It's when you're in this zone, the flow zone, that you're able to bring your fullest and best to life. The state of flow is your very own zone of 'brilliance' - where you're living truly as you feel you were intended.
There's nothing complicated or contrived about this personal flow zone. It's your simple brilliance or your brilliant simplicity - however you may choose to define it. It's truly the ultimate self help skill you can aim to master.
Is the 'flow zone' reserved only for creative geniuses? Do you need to be particularly gifted in order to tap into flow and optimal functioning? Of course not. Everyone has their own personal flow zone to access. Heck, I'm probably in my flow zone right now, sitting at a coffee shop with noise and people all around me: yet utterly focused ... relaxed ... alert and absorbed by the task at hand.
When it comes to flow - you and I and everyone you know - we're all geniuses. You have full access to your personal brilliance - your own creative genius and optimal functioning - right here, right now. The creative instinct is readily available within. Whether or not you're making use of it ... tapping into it ... familiarizing yourself with it and making it your own - is another matter.
How familiar are you with this flowing creative potential within? Are you connected with the creative flow, available to you right now as we speak? What's blocking you from bringing more creative flow into your life? Let's explore some answers ...
What does it take to enter your 'flow zone'? What goes into mastering this ultimate self help skill of flow? The heart and essence of the state of flow - its bone and marrow - rests on two exceedingly simple principles:
Relaxation and Alertness.
The more relaxed-alert you become the easier it is to enter your flow zone, tapping into the full creative capacities of your subconscious mind. The key here is that relaxation and alertness happen simultaneously.
That's the heart of it - the hidden key. Being relaxed, in itself won't do it. You'll tend towards fogginess, drowsiness and sleep. Being alert, in itself won't do it either. You'll tend towards excitability and anxiousness.
To encounter your flow zone you want to be relaxed-alert at one and the same time.
It's exactly the state of mind and body encouraged and practiced in self-hypnosis. The more skilled you become at generating alert-relaxation or relaxed-alretness the more available your flow zone becomes to you. Through alert-relaxation the ultimate self help skill of flow springs to life.
You're inhabiting your flow zone.
It's no coincidence that activities requiring high levels of both challenge and skill is another likely point of access to your flow zone. It's a place where relaxed alertness is in high demand.
The state of flow, in and of itself, is an exceedingly joyful and fulfilling experience. Yet, it's also much more than that. The ultimate self help skill of entering flow is an invaluable asset in pursuit of inspired changes you may want to realize in your life.
The flow zone is an intensely creative state of mind and being. When you're tapped into flow, things that seemed previously 'impossible' become doable; and things that may have seemed highly 'unlikely', now become probable.
Beyond the self help skills of being 'alert, alert' and 'relaxed, relaxed', you can ask yourself the following two questions to help get the creative juices flowing towards the inspired life changes you want. Asking yourself deep thought provoking questions is a powerful self help skill to enlist to your aid.
Jump start your creativity and bring more flow into your life with these two thought provoking questions ...
What do I want?
Creativity is awakened by that which you desire. Picasso desired to paint and all of his creative energy naturally went flowing towards that end. The consuming love and desire of Mozart's life was music and his creative energies poured quite naturally into that.
What are some of your burning desires in life? To bring your creative energies into flow, consider heeding those desires and following your heart. Creativity and flow need to be channeled; and guess who's the conduit? You.
If you decide to follow in the footsteps of your love, your passion, your purpose in life - you'll have uncovered a whole new world of possibilities for creative flow to enter your life.
What happens if you fail to follow these authentic desires? That's where the second question comes in ...
What's stopping me?
What would have happened if Mozart or Picasso didn't follow in the footsteps of their passions? You and I would have probably missed out on some of the most sublime pieces of music and art the world has ever known. But what of Mozart and Picasso themselves? What would have happened to them?
They would have missed out on the personal ecstasy and bliss that undoubtedly flowed from following their passions. Who knows ... they may have even missed out on their flow zones entirely ... never discovering that treasure inside. After all, it's only a rare minority of people who know about accessing the subconscious mind directly to experience flow under normal, everyday circumstances.
What are the obstacles to experiencing your flow zone? Do you feel blocked from following a heart's desire or from living your passion? Don't be discouraged. Your identified obstacles are exactly the stepping stones towards experiencing more creative flow in your life, if you choose to use them as such.
Like ice melting into water - when a barrier is melted away - it becomes a stepping stone towards flow in your life. These mind tools can help you uncover and work with your greatest barriers at the moment. Melting those will bring an amazing flow rushing back into your life.
This flow, then, become the impetus - a stepping stone in itself - for more and more flow to enter your life. A door has been opened; a floodgate if you will.
Being creative depends on movement. It depends on flow. The moment you stop, the moment you allow yourself to indulge the thought, "There's just no way past this. That's it, it's all over" - your creativity grinds to a halt. Your held-back energy starts to stagnate. You find yourself stuck 'in a rut'.
Where there used to be opportunities, now all you see are walls.
It's up to you to keep your creative mind alive. How do you jump-start the creative process when you seem to be stuck with no apparent way out? One powerful solution is to entrust things back into the hands of your subconscious mind. Day-in, day-out silently submit this question to your infinitely creative subconscious mind: "How?" Not "Why?" Not "If?" Not "When?" Just ask of it ...
Don't expect an answer right away; but know that the answer will come. Keep on submitting this question to your subconscious mind - releasing the question secure in the knowledge that the answer's on its way. The timing of its arrival isn't for you to decide.
As you continue going about your daily life, the subconscious mind will be hard at work searching for the solution to the question posed. It won't rest until .... one day ... your answer will be there! That's when you're bound to say, "The answer was right under my nose this whole time!"
There's always a way so long as the question, "how?" remains alive within you. Keep your creative energies flowing with this question and a path will present itself. Just make sure you're open to the possibility - nay, the probability - that the path may very well be different than what you might have expected.
Indeed, it must. So keep your eye's peeled, your mind flexible and your heart open.
The ultimate self help skill of entering flow is readily available to anyone with the knowledge and inclination to pursue it. Such a potent, creative and potentially life changing skill should be taught to all of us in school, but it isn't.
A mystery to be sure!
The creative mindset brought on by flow allows you to adapt and create life change in highly innovative ways. Trust in the power of your subconscious mind to come up with creative solutions to any problem. Securing this trust is easier when we're reminded that creativity and resourcefulness are at the very core of who we are.
The gifts of the subconscious mind are deep, broad and innate. It's up to each and every one of us to open these gifts to reveal the inspired life changes therein.