Flow State: A Gateway to Spiritual Enlightenment

How entering the flow state quiets the mind and awakens the spirit.

by Author through Midjourney

The flow state is the natural state of a Self-Realized being, a term used to describe an individual who fully ‘realizes’ who and what they are as a multidimensional being. Let’s explore the flow state from a spiritual perspective and understand its profound impact on both the spiritual journey and daily life.

Flow state, also known as being ‘in the zone,’ is a mental state that brings a host of benefits. It’s a state of complete immersion and energized focus in an activity, often described as euphoric. Time seems to disappear in this state, and one becomes more self-motivated, productive, and empowered. It’s a state that can significantly enhance your daily life and personal development.

When you hear ‘flow,’ you might think of musicians, athletes, yoga practitioners, or scientists in the lab. But it’s not just for them. It is a natural state for anyone tapped into higher aspects of Self, or I AM. How so?

Before answering this question, it helps to understand the flow state in relation to benefiting activities like sports, creativity, playing music, and productivity in the workplace.

When In the Flow State, The Neo-Cortex Becomes Quiet

Specifically, during the flow state, the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) becomes deactivated or shows reduced activity. Typically, the DLPFC constantly manipulates information from memory and develops mental strategies.

This function is a valuable and necessary higher cognitive function. Still, its activity often overrides more subtle aspects, such as automatic, intuitive performance that cannot happen when the DLPFC is overthinking.

Overthinking gets in the way of activities such as sports and playing music. Interestingly, overthinking can also negatively impact productivity. Highly productive people can make decisions quickly without overthinking them.

We can see how the flow state can improve creative, sports, and work-related performance. But what’s fascinating is its connection to spiritual practice. How does this relate to a spiritual practice?

When the Mental Body Becomes Quiet, Higher Aspects of Self Come Forward

Zero mind, also known as ‘no-mind’ or ‘mushin no shin’ in Zen Buddhism, refers to a state of pure awareness or consciousness without any thoughts, emotions, or mental chatter. It is considered a profound meditative state where the mind is completely still and free from all distractions and attachments. This state shares similarities with the flow state, both of which involve a quieting of the mind and a heightened state of awareness.

Zero Mind shares similarities with the Mesoamerican Toltec practice of “stopping the world” or “stopping the internal dialogue.” Both refer to a state of stillness and presence where the constant chatter of the thinking mind is quieted.

The practices represent a shift from being trapped in the ego mind and its constant internal dialogue to a state of pure awareness and witnessing of the present moment.

“Mind has to cease for even a single moment of enlightenment. When the mind is not, you are for the first time.” Osho

Achieving this state allows one to perceive reality directly, without the filters and distortions created by the conceptual mind and its attachments.

In the zero mind or “stopped world” state, there is a dissolution of the sense of separate self or ego, leading to a feeling of unity and interconnectedness with all existence.

Both practices are considered gateways to higher states of consciousness, intuition, and spiritual realization, as the mind becomes an open vessel for insight and guidance from higher aspects of Self, or I AM. These higher aspects can manifest as increased intuition, a deeper connection to one’s spiritual path, or a heightened sense of purpose and clarity.

When the Prefrontal Cortex Becomes Less Active, the Mind Naturally Quiets

When we enter the flow state and the mind quiets, we become closer to zero mind. When our thoughts are too active, it is like noise. The ancient Toltecs called an overactive mind a mitote. A mitote is like a busy marketplace. There is so much noise and hustle and bustle that it isn’t easy to hear others speak.

The same is true for the mind. Intuition and guidance from higher aspects of Self, or the I AM, communicate quietly and subtly. This subtle guidance cannot come through when the mind is too full of thoughts.

When In the Flow, the Ego Mind Gets Out of the Way

Psychologists say that when in a flow state, you tend to lose your self-awareness and consciousness of yourself as a separate individual. You become fully immersed in the present moment experience.

This ‘separate individual’ is your ego mind. In the flow state, the hold the ego mind has on the mind diminishes. You naturally are more in the now.

Fertile Ground for Higher Aspects of Self, I AM

When you lose the ego and the mind becomes quiet, I AM’s higher, subtle frequencies can come through. You tap into your Inner Teacher.

Does this happen anytime one enters the flow state? What distinguishes entering the flow to enhance life activities from using the flow state to raise one’s frequency and connect with I AM?

Focus, Self-Presence, and Becoming Multidimensional

Traditionally, a prerequisite for entering the flow state is intense concentration on the present moment and the task at hand, with a merging of action and awareness. All attention is focused solely on the activity itself.

The focus is on being immersed in an action, such as playing sports or music, or a creative endeavor, such as painting or completing a work project.

Intense focus is also essential for flow as a spiritual practice, except that instead of focusing on something outward, we focus inward, on I AM. We bring Self-Presence into the mix. Self-Presence refers to a state of being fully present and aware of one’s Authentic Self or I AM. For more on Self-Presence and I AM, see my article below:

Instead of being immersed in an activity outside ourselves, we become immersed in the sense of Self, or I AM.

In the flow, we set our intent to be the totality of Who and What we are as multidimensional beings. There is no ‘trying’ in the flow. We are open and allowing. We ‘go with the flow’ of what life brings us without losing Self-Presence.

The Flow State As an Active Meditation

The beauty of the flow state is that we can be in the flow even during times of intense activity. Athletes call this ‘being in the zone.’ You can flow in Self-Presence when sitting in a quiet place or doing something actively. It can be a form of active meditation as you go about your day.

Traditionally, the flow state enhances productivity, problem-solving, and creativity. It accelerates learning and skill development. It improves emotional regulation. It gives positive neurochemical benefits through the brain’s release of dopamine and endorphins that produce positive feelings, such as a sense of joy, satisfaction, or contentment.

By turning the focus from without to within through Self-Presence, we can amplify the benefits of the flow state even further by using it to connect with our intuition, Inner Teacher, and the I AM. We can use flow as an active meditation that accelerates our journey to authentically becoming who and what we are.

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Carl Gerber (aka Kristopher Raphael)

Welcome to a Handbook for Planet Earth — You will find actionable hacks to integrate personal growth & spirituality into daily https://flowingzone.substack.com