7 Ways to Live in Flow (Part I)
Flow is living intentionality that has been molded into form not by external coercion or obligation, but for the sake of its own joyous and intuitive expression.
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The ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus had a simple but profound viewpoint on the world: “All is flow and nothing is still.”
This aphorism could be seen as describing a merciless world of uncontrollable and chaotic flux—one in which nothing slows down, and in which participants must endeavor through work and toil to keep up.
This is an awfully apt depiction of modern society, after all.
But there’s another possible interpretation: that we inhabit an ever-renewing existence full of rich and exquisite unfolding—a plenum that never grows old and weary, but rather remains perfect through continuous rebirth.
For better or worse, both views are correct.
It’s all a matter of whether or not things are in alignment. Two beautifully intertwining harmonies become intolerable if combined imprecisely.
Claiming that “things just didn’t line up” is a common justification for negative experiences and circumstances. The real alignment that matters, though, is the one between you and the world.
People like to call this kind of harmonious existence living in flow.
But what does this really mean?
Flow is self-structured vitality.
It is living intentionality that has been molded into form not by external coercion or obligation, but for the sake of its own joyous and intuitive expression.
It is a state of perfect poise, an organic and intelligent process by which the self may continually become aware of the other. It’s the song of consciousness interacting with Itself.
And practically speaking, living in accordance with it makes life more peaceful, more balanced, and more beautiful.
So here’s some powerful practices that can help you bring more flow into your life.
Connect to the element of water
Water is an obvious role model to follow when learning to practice flow.
It is simultaneously without definite form, able to mold itself to whatever structure is provided, and able to create its own form (like how rivers shape and modify their paths through erosion).
It teaches us that flow is an interweaving of surrender and discipline. We must surrender to a world of infinite possibility and power, and yet leveraging discipline as a contained structure allows us to act out our own infinite potential in a defined and grounded way.
In like manner, flow artists (like jugglers and fire spinners) talk about the necessity for balancing logic and flow. In order to emerge into an immersive flow state, the artist needs to learn to surrender and accumulate the proper technique through logical, repetitive action.
And they assure us that it’s in this state where all the magic happens.
Live above cause and effect
Let’s look at this balance between surrender and discipline in another way.
The point is not to bounce back and forth between them (this is the kind of oscillation that entraps us in fear and reactivity). Rather, the goal is to perform an act of polarity integration by finding the neutral, unattached point of stillness that lies between the two.
This neutrality that comes from resting in intrinsic awareness is a hallmark of yogic doctrine. Yogi Bhajan calls it “living above cause and effect,” because it represents a way of being that is influenced by neither activity nor passivity, but instead transcends both of them.
Karma vs. dharma
Oscillating between poles is hard work, because your consciousness is constantly focused on physically, emotionally, and mentally reacting to whatever it’s experiencing. We unconsciously build patterns to map our experience—associations that are filed away like software programs, to be run by the mind when we next encounter a similar experience.
Yogis call these patterns karma.
We learn that certain causes yield certain effects, and we associate our own default reactions with them. The more this association is recalled, the stronger it becomes…and the more karma we generate.
Flow, on the other hand, is effortless. To live in flow is to detach oneself from the ups and downs of reactivity. And when our consciousness is free from these fetters, everything becomes a whole lot easier.
From this centered place of neutrality, we are able to connect with our dharma…which is the outward manifestation of our core frequency. There are no karmic snares or emotional roller-coaster rides here; there is only the seamless, unspeakable experience of reality’s wholeness, and the blissful certainty of one’s own place in the world.
This is the whole game of achieving spiritual balance: recognize when things are out of sync, and choose to bring them back into alignment.
Acknowledge the chasm between cause and effect, internal and external, self and other…and know that you can nullify this divide simply by not reacting to it.
Don’t ignore the disharmonies that you experience. Instead, acknowledge them, and then decree unconditionally that they hold no sway over your life.
Choose to embody harmony, alignment, and integrity.
If it’s that easy, why isn’t everyone doing it?
Because we are conditioned to live in a karmic system.
The same evolutionary schemas that have allowed us to learn so much from three-dimensional reality also keep us trapped in the wheel of reactivity.
But it’s time for us to get on with it.
In the next article of this series, we’ll examine how our experience of time holds us back from aligning with our dharma, and how the Gaian Mind can help us remedy it.
 Πάντα ῥεῖ καὶ οὐδὲν μένει.