Updated: Nov 15, 2021
My first experience of flow was in the world of rap and hip hop. To say someone has a "nice flow", is to comment on how good they are at expressing the rhythm of their words with the music, or even just their unique style of rhyming. From a young age, I have loved rappers more for their ability to flow than the content of their lyrics. I would next hear the word in one of my first ever yoga classes in London, UK, somewhere near Shoreditch House. "Today's class will be a Vinyasa Flow class focusing on arm balance". Surely enough, I found that out of all the styles of Yoga , the ones with "Flow" became my favorite.
As I flowed deeper into the path of health and fitness, creativity and spirituality, one word has always kept coming up, and naturally became an easy prediction of whether I would enjoy a particular discipline or not, and that word was "flow". From letting emotions flow in dance, to bringing awareness to the body or the flow of energy through meditation, the word ‘flow’ quickly became resonant. If it had flow, I liked it.
On an especially flowful day when I was flying from Busan , South Korea to Osaka Japan, I found a book in the Gimhae international Airport called ‘Flow: The Psychology Of Optimal Experience’ by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, and it changed everything.
Finally, I had an anchor, a catalyst to express and deepen my understanding of this unknown but so familiar state, this feeling that I couldn't put into words. This sensation of flow.
In the book, Mihaly speaks of the "flow state" and breaks it down into a simple diagram.
As expressed above, "FLOW", is a state whereby the two opposing forces of our inner nature meet. This is where we create a disciplined structure of expression and surrender to it. In more practical terms, when we take on a challenge that matches our abilities and skills enough to allow us to feel comfortable in the process of taking on the challenge, but not too much to overwhelm us or too little to bore us.
This very simple idea beyond its practicality gave me one powerful insight. EVERYONE IN EVERYTHING IS CAPABLE OF FLOW!
It gave me the understanding of the feeling I feel when I dance, rap, guide meditations, teach yoga, write, meditate, socialize, cook, all with a sense of light creativity and a rush of calm yet excitable energy is the same feeling. It is FLOW. It can be/and is, felt by everyone. You have experienced flow in your life. In fact we are born into a state of flow, as a child we are in flow most of the time until we reach the point of maturity where we start caring what other people think, and start listening to society rather than to our own natural instincts. (But this is for another article)
Now, after over 5 years of commitment to following flow, learning more about that feeling, touching it, not only through movement and art but in life, relationships and finance, I have come to a greater knowing, of what "it" is.
To fully answer the question first figured at the beginning of this blog,
"What is FLOW?"
Flow is... something that can't just simply be described or prescribed or defined, it is something to be felt.
So to answer the question fully, I invite you to go do that thing that makes you feel alive, present, lost in the moment, the thing you do for no outcome but for its own sake, that makes you forget about the murmurs of the mind and burdens of the body, that thing that transports you to a new world, where everything is connected, where there is no separation between you and the task being tasked, where you lose all idea of a single self and instead feel a momentous feeling of "ahhh, I am this and this is me, and that's it, for now". That my friends and fam, is flow...and so much more.