How to Stay in the Flow

Separation of Mind and Feelings (Exiting Flow)

Sometimes when feelings change direction, our mind can remain fixed on where we thought we were going to go. This seems to be one of the main ways we exit flow. That said, returning our attention to our feelings can help us return to flow.

Ok, first of all, what is flow? I’d say that when I talk about flow, I’m talking about a kind of experience, one where it feels as though we’re fluidly moving along, rather than in starts and stops. But¬†what is moving fluidly? Well, perhaps it is one’s¬†mind, since the mind can also become fixated or get stuck on one topic or another. It seems to me, though, that one thing that is¬†always flowing fluidly, even as we fight it mentally, is our feelings. Why is this? It seems as though feelings seem to flow from one moment to the next because they change in response to what’s going on¬†in the moment. One moment to another…

Well speaking of which, my feelings just changed on this topic, because it feels to me like I’m trying to describe things I don’t fully understand. The thing is, I had a strategy in that last paragraph, in terms of what I was going to talk about. I was going to define flow, and how feelings flow and how¬†the mind can get stuck… but truth is, I’m not positive on those details. But what I do know is that feelings can inspire unexpected changes in direction, and that when I talk about “flow”, what I’m really talking about is the ability to flow with those unexpected directions. Maybe you don’t always¬†take¬†those directions, but perhaps there is something to consider in the way one’s feelings change. One can observe feelings, be aware of them, and strive to better understand them through techniques like expression of those feelings.

Staying in the flow, for me, amounts to staying close to one’s feelings. That experience is like a flow, and we, present to our feelings, can flow along with them.

Many times, though, we can get stuck. We stop flowing. Why?

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Mind Chatter

So today I had allergies, and, funny as this might sound I thought there might be something in me, that I wasn’t aware of, that was causing it. And while there is strong evidence for the connection between the emotional and physical (See this Google search on “emotional connection physical ailments”), I unfortunately was left to have a dribbling nose the rest of the day. That doesn’t mean that I didn’t find something interesting, however.

To find it, I did a meditation to go to my shadow. The “shadow” is just a metaphorical construct that you can go visit in your imagination that houses all the feelings you deny as being a part of yourself. That’s why I went there (in my mind) today – I can find the root causes of various feelings, things I never even thought were the cause. You can buy the meditation I used to first visit my shadow by clicking here. It is one of the best ways I’ve found to have an instant, enriching, informative inner adventure. The meditation itself is by Mark Ivar Myhre. He’s got lots of great tools for healing yourself emotionally. Check his website out at:¬†http://www.emotional-times.com/

Today, I found what I interpret to be a metaphor for mind chatter:

The Mind Chatterers and their attacking snakes (and my Explorer going “oh no go away snakes!”)

My Shadow showed me to a room where I had a vague sense of what was there. The only thing I could clearly distinguish to visualize was a purple ball of energy in the middle of the room. So I was like, “well, I’ll just take this and see what happens.” Immediately after I did, I started visualizing what you see above. A number of stoic, thinking parts of myself were standing in a large circle around me, talking¬†incessantly¬†about if it was right of me to have taken the ball of energy. As they were lost in this talk, a hoard of snakes kept advancing on me from all sides. I noticed also that the talk of the thinkers and the snakes were connected.

This led me to the conclusion that when you start thinking incessantly, and get lost in thoughts, it can be like a hoard of snakes is also advancing on the acting part of you – the one who actually gets things done and moves around and explores the shadow. And I’m not talking about daydream thoughts – but rather the kind of torrent of thoughts you get when worried. “Well what if this, what if that, or maybe this, no this…” and on and on without end.

So if you’re wondering about practical application, I’d say this: Thinking about things is great and all, but just be careful about the effect it’s having on you. What’s it doing to you? Is it shutting down your ability to act, attacking you? If so, it might be helpful to stand up to those thoughts, find some way to get them to stand down. Or just act regardless of what they have to say.

P.S. I concluded in my Shadow by leading the mind chatterers out of their room. At first I was going to keep the snakes sealed away, but they complained saying that the snakes were their friends. So I let them keep them on the condition that if they tried to attack me or anyone else inside me, I would burn them up with fire. They agreed and so we all left the shadow, and then I exited the meditation. Fun times!