Step 1: I Want to Write In Flow

QUOTE:  In positive psychology, flow, also known as the zone, is 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. [1]

QUOTE: IMAGINE THAT YOU ARE SKIING DOWN A SLOPE and your full attention is focused on the movements of your body and your full attention is focused on the movements of your body, the position of the skis, the air whistling past your face, and the snow-shrouded trees running by. There is no room in your awareness for conflicts or contradictions; you know that a distracting thought or emotion might get you buried face down in the snow. The run is so perfect that you want it to last forever.

If skiing does not mean much to you, this complete immersion in an experience could occur while you are singing in a choir, dancing, playing bridge, or reading a good book. If you love your job, it could happen during a complicated surgical operation or a close business deal. It may occur in a social interaction, when talking with a good friend, or while playing with a baby. Moments such as these provide flashes of intense living against the dull background of everyday life.

These exceptional moments are what I have called “flow” experiences. The metaphor of flow is one that many people have used to describe the sense of effortless action they feel in moments that stand out as the best in their lives. Athletes refer to it as “being in the zone,” religious mystics as being in “ecstasy,” artists and musicians as “aesthetic rapture.” [2]

QUOTE: Flow has been recognized throughout history and across cultures. The teachings of Buddhism and of Taoism speak of a state of mind known as the “action of inaction” or “doing without doing” (wu wei in Taoism) that greatly resembles the idea of flow. Also, Hindu texts on Advaita philosophy such as Ashtavakra Gita and the Yoga of Knowledge such as Bhagavad-Gita refer to a similar state. [3]

QUOTE: Wu wei … is an important concept in Taoism that literally means non-action or non-doing. In the Tao Te ChingLao Tzu explains that beings (or phenomena) that are wholly in harmony with the Tao behave in a completely natural, uncontrived way. The goal of spiritual practice for the human being is, according to Lao Tzu, the attainment of this purely natural way of behaving, as when the planets revolve around the sun. The planets effortlessly do this revolving without any sort of control, force, or attempt to revolve themselves, thus engaging in effortless and spontaneous movement. [4]

NOTES: Both of these descriptions of the psychological state of flow contain a seldom recognized element: flow is downhill. Flow is a matter of keeping balance while being swept along in a flowing current.

I want to sit down to write and find that the words flow onto the page in a way that is organic and natural. I want the creativity to flow through me like the planets orbit the Sun. I want to open myself up like a faucet and let the ideas simply and calmly flow on to the paper. The flow experience can be a spiritual one… it seems to me to be not much different than what Pentecostals refer to as their ‘prayer language.’ It just happens.

I love the image from Taoism:

The Sage is occupied with the unspoken
and acts without effort.
Teaching without verbosity,
producing without possessing,
creating without regard to result,
claiming nothing,
the Sage has nothing to lose. [5]

I want to write in flow, flowing from the heart, similar to what Jesus describes in John 7:37-38:  On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and proclaimed, “If any one thirst, let him come to me and drink. 38 He who believes in me, as the scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart shall flow rivers of living water.'” 39 Now this he said about the Spirit, which those who believed in him were to receive; for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. 

QUESTIONS:

How do you wish to write?

What would a camera see as you write in that manner?

SOURCES:

[1] Flow (psychology), From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flow_(psychology)

[2] Review: ‘Finding Flow,’ by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. By Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, published on July 1, 1997, at http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/199707/finding-flow

[3] Flow (psychology), From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flow_(psychology)

[4] Wu wei, From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wu_wei

[5] translation from the Tao Tê Ching by Priya Hemenway, Chapter II.2, from Wu wei, From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wu_wei

The image is from ChurchArt.com, a subscription service.

Any Scripture quotations are from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

 

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