Finding Flow + Self-Sustaining Happiness
I’m currently 23, and spend half of my time being productive and determined to achieve a set of goals, while the rest of my time is spent wondering what exactly I’m doing, where else I should be living, the other lives I could be leading, etc. etc.
It get’s damn tiring, to say the least.
I recently came across the concept of living in self-concordance, which means that you actually follow through with activities, goals, and habits that support your true Self. In my previous post, I discussed how to find the difference between your true, or Higher Self, and your Ego that often prioritizes society’s goals over our own. Understanding the difference is vital in knowing and achieving what we truly want out of life.
I currently work a professional, full-time job at an institution of higher education. Damn straight, it looks great on paper. But I often spend most of my time feeling on the outside.
I am a clear 20 years younger than most of my colleagues, and just a couple of years older than the college students who I employ. I find it easier to relate to my employees than my co-workers, but can’t be truly friends with the people who I relate to.
I’ve discovered that in this beautiful philosophy of living self-concordantly, it’s not about age, or status, or how easily you can explain your life on the internet. Instead, it’s about living in ways that benefit your Higher Self, the part of you that just wants to stretch its legs and explore and create and relate.
When you live self-concordantly, the idea isn’t that you will never face hardship again, or that life will halt completely for you to follow your dreams. However, chances are, when you make decisions that honor your Higher Self, you will feel a much stronger level of integrity with that decision and will often also have less regrets when it comes to following through with that path.
When we make things about a quantified number, such as test scores, likes/followers on social media, or the numbers on our paycheck, we can often fixate directly on these outside sources to develop and maintain our self-worth.
Living in self-concordance does not mean that you have to have a Walden-esque experience in a cabin alone. Rather, we can start small by practicing activities that help us achieve flow.
Achieving flow is important because it connects us to a greater perspective. Some believe that the essence of being human is to relate to the outside world through your own unique perspective.
Therefore, being human isn’t about following an exact path, or recreating what has already been done, but rather finding ways in which you feel most alive and connected to the world.
When you are completely in flow, standing in front of a canvas or sitting down at a potter’s wheel, do you think about what happiness is, or what the purpose is of you creating that painting or bringing the clay utensil to life?
In the moment of flow, it doesn’t make sense to question why you are doing what you’re doing. Instead, you are fully engaged with the all the sensations, the sights, smells, and sounds in your world. You are connecting with your experiences. You are practicing self-concordance.
In moments of flow, I sometimes get flashbacks to different memories or even solutions to questions I have been pondering. I am not purposely trying to make these things come up, but when you give your conscious mind a bit of a rest, the tranquility can often spur you onto bigger and better things. How many of us have had some of our best ideas when we are relaxed in the shower?
It is so important to practice this quiet meditation and peacefulness of achieving flow in our daily lives. Giving yourself this gift of zoning out and entering a distant world away from questioning your purpose, your next steps, and your five-year plan can help you be more mindful and connected to your true Self.
When we choose to practice meditation in flow, we have access to a deep sensation of mindfulness. This allows us to find ways to stay connected to what we find important so that we can deal with all the rest.
- When you allow your Self to just be is when you begin to understand your Self.
- Understanding our Selves is the first step to living self-concordantly.
- Living Self-concordantly is the best way to make decisions that we are proud of and satisfied with.
If you can’t remember the last time you were lost in flow, don’t worry! Here are a few simple activities that you can do to help you find and regain flow:
Flow with Art:
- Using any kind of art medium (paint, crayon, colored pencil) color an entire page one solid color.
- Using a pen or pencil, draw a repetitive pattern on a page without lifting the tip of your pen or pencil. You could draw circles, the infinity sign, hearts, etc. Just continue without lifting the utensil until you have covered a page in the design.
Flow with Food:
- Cook a meal, recipe, or dish that you know from heart. And take your time with it. Even if it’s just a grilled cheese, make one so damn good you could sell it as an appetizer at a gentrified restaurant for $30.
Flow through your Space:
- For some, (like me) doing dishes or cleaning can also help you zone out and get into a flow. Find something that isn’t too stressful, like vacuuming or wiping down all the countertops to help you regain that connection.
Flow with Nature:
- Go on a walk outside. I love listening to podcasts while I walk, but in this case, try to find a playlist, album, or podcast that is about 5 – 10 minutes shorter than the walk you are going to take. Ease into it, and when the podcast or music ends, continue the remainder of your walk in silence. This can help ease you into a meditative state without even realizing it!
If you have other ways of achieving flow, I’d love to hear about them in the comments below!