27 November 2011


From The Creative 'Flow': How to Enter that Mysterious State of Oneness ~ "Flow, the mental state of being completely present and fully immersed in a task, is a strong contributor to creativity. When in flow, the creator and the universe become one, outside distractions recede from consciousness and one's mind is fully open and attuned to the act of creating. There is very little self-awareness or critical self-judgment; just intrinsic joy for the task.

"But who enters flow? .... those who are more likely to have high levels of self-esteem, a sense of fulfillment, life satisfaction, better coping skills, and lower anxiety .... Researchers also found an association between flow and conscientiousness .... flow seems most likely to occur when a person engages in a task with a moderate level of challenge that is well matched in difficulty to a person's current skill level. Flow also shares some commonalities with the mental state of high concentration seen during meditation.

" .... Flow may thus be a state of subjectively effortless attention that occurs during skilled performance and has different underlying mechanisms from [the mechanisms of] attention during mental effort."

It's likely that everyone has experienced flow, perhaps without noticing. It can occur during any creative process ~ writing, music, art, acting. Flow can also occur during daily activities which are sufficiently complex that practice is required for mastery ~ navigating a transit bus through traffic, flying an airplane, writing computer software code, cooking a fine meal. Scott Barry Kaufman points out that "flow is essential to creativity and well-being across many slices of life ~ from sports to music to physics to religion to spirituality to sex." I'll drink to that.

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