What do Tai Chi, Japanese Sword Fighting, Archery and performing a Japanese Tea Ceremony have in common?
They are all activities which are encouraged in Japan because they develop a person’s ability to focus and be in the flow.
The skill of concentrating and being fully focused is highly valued. You might know it as being ‘in the flow’ or the ‘zone’.
As I discussed mindfulness the other week with my class, one of the group explained about her experience of being ‘in the flow’.
This is when she is sailing. In this moment she feels completely absorbed, alert, happy and satisfied. There is simply no time to be distracted as she concentrates on navigating the sea.
Do you recognise this feeling of being in the flow? When do you experience it?
‘Being in the flow’ could happen in those moments when you are working. Or conversely when you are doing something you are passionate about outside of your work.
Either way, you are bringing a state of mindfulness to the task. And you may not know it as that – it’s you being present and completely in the flow!
When you go about tasks and you are on auto-pilot this is completely different.
Auto-pilot is when you are doing something you are so used to, that your body is going through the motions. Your mind can be elsewhere.
A familiar example is when you feel so comfortable as you drive, that your attention diverts you and you daydream or embark on a conversation. This is when accidents happen.
You may also have experienced auto-pilot when you are doing work that is simply not challenging enough.
You can either decide that this work is no longer for you and make a career change. Or you can change the thinking of your mind!
Be fully present, be aware of what your body and mind are experiencing. You may even notice that there is more that you can bring to the task than you initially thought.
By delving deeper into your tasks you may yet find you become absorbed and experience satisfaction.
Being in the Flow Can Make it a Better Experience!
I experienced this flow and satisfaction when I was on a meditation retreat.
My allotted job was to clean the bathrooms each morning. As you can imagine, I didn’t relish this very much! But on bringing a mindful, concentrated approach, can you believe it, but I was almost ‘in the flow’ by the end of the week!
I’m returning there soon, and know that whichever of the chores I am given to do, mindfulness is going to be the way forward!
What do you love doing that allows you to be in the flow’?
Yvette Jane – Mindfulness and Meditation Guide