Flow

The word "flow " describes a fundamental principle of being. It is difficult to talk about; the experience of flow cannot adequately be expressed in words. In the ancient spiritual tradition of Taoism, it was called simply "Tao," "the Way." What does it mean to be in the flow?

It means to be attuned to what is, to listen to oneself, to listen to the inner voice, the inner rhythm, within oneself and within everything, and to act according to that inner voice. The flow of life is not something that can be understood directly with the rational mind. The flow of energy, the flow of life, that inner voice, that underlying rhythm, is something that is felt, heard, intuited, known, with the heart, the belly, the skin, the dream, the inner vision, the inner ear, the deep inner Awareness that is beyond the rational mind. That flow is felt in the movement of wind, the sound of water, in the waxing and waning of the moon, in sunrise and sunset, in one's own breath, in the depths of one's very consciousness when one is silent in meditation.

To be in the flow means that one's actions arise from that state of inner listening, that state of inner attunement and Awareness, rather than from ideas about what one is supposed to do, or expectations that one has of oneself or that others have. This, of course, is easier said than done. There are demands that people experience. There are circumstances that have to be met, schedules that have to be followed. Few people these days are free to simply follow the dictates of their inner being. If your schedule demands that you go to work while your inner being says stay home and go for a walk in the forest, there can be a conflict. How does one resolve this? Continue to pay attention to the inner voice. Be aware. As you do this, your inner voice, that flow of Awareness and energy within you, will begin to make changes in your life. It will carry you in new directions. As you pay attention to it, it will be harder to ignore it.

If you don't want to change, don't start paying attention to that inner voice, that inner rhythm, that sense of flow. Paying attention to that will in itself , over time, change your life. And that's the whole point. If you start paying attention to that flow, and you start feeling immediately that you're supposed to do something as a result of feeling it, then in a way that's not really trusting the flow; it's falling into the old habit pattern of feeling pressured to do something. But then if you stop listening, stop paying attention, because you're judging yourself for not doing something about what you hear, then that flow can't begin to work. You block it.

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As you feel your inner rhythm, listen to your inner voice, as you sense where your inner flow of energy is going, as you come back to yourself over and over and over, that flow will take on greater strength, it will carry you, and you will begin to make choices differently than you have in the past, because it will be that flow of energy and Awareness within you making the choices.

Movement is one very good way of experiencing this flow. Whether it's simple movement to music, or yoga or tai chi or dance, the meditative movement of the body brings one into a rhythmic attunement with that flow. Dance, music, nature , paying attention to the breath, are all doorways to the flow. There are many. You will find yours.

Flow is closely related to abundance. As one allows oneself to feel the flow of energy within oneself, as one trusts that the flow of energy sustains one , then one begins to experience a greater abundance of energy, and as that greater abundance of energy flows, then often that abundant flow of energy literally materializes, and one experiences greater abundance at the material level.

To live with this flow is a different way of being in the world. The flow is not linear; it doesn't always go from a to b in a nice straight line. If you have a vision, something you want to create or accomplish, you may get there most directly by the indirect route. You may have to dance or meditate or sing or pray before you can get there. Even from day to day, if there's a task you have to do that you don't want to do, maybe it will come easier if you approach it indirectly, if you dance your way to it.

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Meditate and contemplate the idea of flow - reflect on the fact that things are not rigid and fixed. The chair you sit on, the table in front of you, the tree outside the window, your very own self, are all, according to the modern physicists, a flow of energy, light, waves, in constant motion. That flow is constantly moving; it cannot be made fixed and rigid. Sometimes you want to make things stop, make them rigid, keep them a certain way forever. The disturbing side of experiencing flow is realizing you can't do that. You can't fix things; you can't control things. You can affect them; you can interact with circumstances. You are a part of the flow. As you interact, the flow responds, but you can't control it. The beauty of this is that there is nothing that cannot change. As you open to that flow of energy, as you becomes less fixed and rigid, any obstructive pattern can in time transform and become freely flowing energy that supports you to move forward in your life..

This word flow has become a bit of a cliché in New Age spirituality but it has a deep and profound truth. Remember that being attuned to the flow doesn't always mean you get what you want. It doesn't mean you won't have problems to deal with, circumstances that don't seem to change immediately or that life will always be blissful. It means you will be able to flow with what is. The flow of energy in this universe does not always have the human agenda or your personal agenda as its primary focus. As you listen to your inner voice, attend to your inner rhythm, you will realize that you are intimately connected to a larger rhythm, a greater voice, a universal flow. As you attune yourself to that you will see that your own personal hopes and desires are not always going to manifest - and yet, the flow goes on, beyond your ultimate control but with your constant participation. "I enter into the flow of all that is, knowing I cannot control the outcome." This is an affirmation for these times.

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May you and all beings be happy, peaceful and free of suffering.

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