I was listening to an interview with Steven Kotler and he was talking about flow states. He talked about how writers could go into flow states, about how we could become one with our book. It was such an AHA moment for me. Throughout my life I have been known to get lost in my writing, forgetting to eat, sleep, drink or even visit the bathroom. Many times when I used to be at my computer furiously punching away at the keyboard my mother would have to come in, switch on the light and literally pull me away from my desk.
In fact, one of the reasons I had not been writing as much has been because as a single mother of three small children, it was hard to pull myself out of my flow state. Today with my youngest turning seven I can retreat into my alcove of creativity and haven’t been happier in years. Often girlfriends ask me how will you manage without a man in your life, surely you must feel lonely. My response has been, “Are you kidding! Without a man in my life, I can devote ALL my free time to writing, meditating and learning! It’s awesome!”
Kotler’s talk has explained so much. Flow state apparently releases neurochemicals like dopamine, norepinephrine, anandamide, serotonin, they’re all immune system boosters. Dopamine is what is commonly known as the happiness drug of the body but its pharmacological action is slightly different.
Steven Kotler attributes his recovery from Lyme disease to being in the flow state. I had an ovarian cyst in my body at the age of 27 and the surgeon who conducted a laparoscopy told me that although he tried to reconstruct my left ovary, it was severely damaged, I would not conceive if I waited two years.
I wrote furiously, in journals, on pieces of paper, on my computer, and I never stopped. Not only do I have healthy ovaries, I am the mother of three gorgeous children, and all natural pregnancies after the age of 30. Of course, I attribute my miracle to God, my mother is a Catholic prayer warrior and I would not have been so blessed had she not prayed for me. Perhaps the prayers induced me into a state of Flow?
His talk got me thinking that we should have a curriculum in school where we are taught to get into the states of flow along with reading, writing, and arithmetic. Inducing the state of flow might just be what leads humans into the next stage of evolution which is a race of disease-free, happy, creative, peace-loving humans.
Utopia might not be a dream but a reality if all of mankind could access at will such a state. Steven Kotler talks about the seven core conditions of a flow state, one of which is ‘vanishing of the self’. Today all our problems are because of this feeling of separateness, this ‘us and them’ epidemic that has gripped the world. Imagine a world where everyone lives in a state of love and connectedness.
He talked about Andrew Newberg’s work at the University of Pennsylvania using SPECT scans. Newberg worked on Franciscan nuns, who experience Unio Mystica, oneness with Jesus’ love, as well as Buddham Buddhists who experience absolute unitary being, oneness with the universe. Being in Flow is the same as experiencing Unio Mystica or oneness with everything. Imagine a world that is taught oneness as a school curriculum! Mindblowing. If ever there was a panacea for all the troubles of the world it is this, the state of flow.