The Italian countryside whizzes past as I journey from Venice to Florence aboard a high speed train. I love train journeys. Free from anything to do, my mind wanders freely.
I feel a sense of clarity and purpose sharper than ever before.
I reflect on the week that has passed. I have had a joyful and profound experience in Berlin, with some very amazing people.
As I gaze at vineyards and a mountain with a castle on top of it, memories, images, faces, feelings flash through my consciousness.
My mind is updating itself and I am integrating new experiences into my spectrum of self-awareness.
Control is rooted in the fear of not getting a desired outcome. In control mode, when we struggle to exert influence over other people, ourselves, the seating system of airlines, the traffic, the weather- we become fidgety, snappy and narrow-minded.
Physiological responses kick in.
Surfing is one of our favourite gateways to flow. The complexity of riding the raw energy of an ever-changing wave focuses the mind like few other activities do. When we achieve flow we feel what is possible by unleashing our full human potential. Training the mind through meditation and other mind-body practices can help bring this flow out of the ocean and into every day life.
In flow, all aspects of performance are remarkably heightened, and this includes creative performance. Taking on a creative project is a great way to experiment with flow as you can set the conditions in a very controlled way. Plus its fun, and you may end up with something pretty!
The Alpha-Theta border area of around 8 Hz is recognised as being the signature wave state for flow states. This is unsurprising given that one of the standout hallmarks of flow is the absence of conscious thought. Many people have defined their "flow state" experience as a zone where things happen automatically, so it stands to reason that it occurs at the Alpha-Theta brain wave, the border between the conscious and the subconscious.
Flow research struck a chord in me because I had experienced many episodes of heightened awareness and focus when I was surfing and snowboarding. I didn't know I was in flow at the time but many of these instances stick in my memory as peak moments in my life. On certain occasions, when my focus was sharp and the challenge was high, my levels of involvement in my activity would go to another realm, my immersion in the act would go from physical to mental to something else..
Meditation is the only intentional, systematic human activity which at bottom is about not trying to improve yourself or get anywhere else, but simply to realize where you already are.” Simple.
Mindfulness involves practicing to solve the problem of thinking when we don't know we are thinking. The problem is not thoughts. It's being unaware and without control of our thoughts. The most common practice is to pay attention to our breathing, noticing when our thoughts stray from this, and bringing our attention back to the breath.
Each and every one of us has experienced flow in our lives. You may not recognise it as flow, or you may already be a flow connoisseur. Flow, also known as "the zone" or a Peak experience, is a state of heightened immersion in an activity which leads to vastly improved performance and enjoyment. In flow the activity you are engaged in captures your attention so much that the rest of the world seems to disappear. Time flies by, or slows down, you lose your sense of self and you do things better. Read on for more about flow and Flowstate Adventure.