Freedom via flowing

In every moment, there is something to say "Yes!" to and take the next step. Right now things can go from good to better or from bad to worse. All we have to do is find the good and go from there to experiences of freedom. It's that easy and also extremely difficult for most of us.

Our left brain cognitive strategies dwell on negatives. They identify the rocks in the way, not the way to flow between or around the obstacles. These left brain strategies find what's wrong in order to fix it. They identify problems to solve regardless of how that keeps them around. They define what's unacceptable to complain about it as if resisting it has nothing to do with persisting it. They focus on what's inferior, less adequate or revolting to feel better in a weird way.

When we rely on this kind of thinking, we cannot find the flow or go with it. We create our own captivity in a nightmarish world. We have no idea how there could be something to right now to say "Yes, bring it on, more please" and really mean it. We become increasingly convinced that flow is for the lucky ones in very different situations than this one. Meanwhile things are going from bad to worse and it seems necessary to dwell on the negatives.

When these same left brain cognitive strategies try to find something positive, the results are usually laughable:
  • the sky is not falling (yet)
  • it not really reoccurred since last week
  • it could be worse or much worse than this
  • I'm not complaining, just observing the facts
  • it only sucks some of the time
When we are in the flow, our right brain serves up wonderful inspirations while things are going great on the outside. We're feeling fluid enough to drop one thing and get something else done in the meantime. We get ideas for better sequences for the tasks we're working on. We work around anything were we've gotten stuck, lost motivation or ended up frustrated. We then happen to come back to that when the time is right, a new approach has been hatched or inspirations are coming in a stream.

When I'm in the flow, I experience many more synchronicities (chance occurrences that are too perfect to be merely coincidental). I'll just happen to turn on the TV and catch something that I was wondering about. Something will catch my eye while driving or shopping that makes easy work of something I thought was going to be difficult. I had an inspiration out of the blue today to use a different tool to do a better job of pulling weeds out of lawn by the roots. There's nothing to trivial, insignificant or temporary to miss out on going from good to better with ease.

The flow gives us freedom from struggles, worries and frustrations. We feel guided, looked after and helped along on our journey. We are given what we need in each moment in the form of ideas to consider, motivations to take action, hesitations to do it later, and happenstance that fits in perfectly.


  1. Tēnā koe Tom!

    What a wonderfully right-brained opinion of how useful right-brain thinking is. You're right of course :-) but there's also some left-brain thinking there.

    I'd say that your thinking expressed on the usefulness of left-brain thinking is extremely left-brainish. It left me trying desperately to do some right-brain thinking about left-brain thinking.

    We can't have it both ways.

    I say that left-brain thinking has merit beyond measure. For having identified the obstacles and weaknesses, and worked out what to do about them, there is left a clear pathway for some dinkum right-brain thinking to follow through.

    It's all according to how you look on it - a bit like tollerance. Y'know, I just can't stand intollerance :-)

    Ka kite
    from Middle-earth

  2. Greetings Ken!
    Thanks for all these great insights. As I've reflected on what you wrote, I'm realizing that left-brainish looks at anything are inescapable when we're writing. The use of language is a left brain function. The perception of edges is also. Our right brain is immersed in the flow of oceanic awareness, totally tolerant, compassionate, and non-judgmental. Yet it is also non-discerning, inarticulate and caution-less. To speak with words invokes the left brain. I really like your formulation of left brain deciding what to do and right brain follow through, as if both have lots of merit.

    Discerning the difference between rocks and flowing takes the left brain. The trap I attempted to point out is the next step after perception of an edge between flow and not-flow. We can notice the flow to go there, get back into it and return to basking in the moment. We can otherwise get captivated in the not-flow and begin to analyze the obstacle's size, interference, potential danger, etc. We lose sight of the flow and overwhelm our attention with thinking about what to do as if there is no flowing freedom in this.

    To express right brain looks right-brainishly may take music, picture shows, choreography, pantomime, nature walks, etc. The finger pointing at the moon is not the moon. The Tao that can be named is not the Tao. Speechless awareness conveyed with speech is misleading.

    Happy reflecting!

  3. Tēnā koe Tom!

    Don't we just love to put things into categories?

    I attended the DEANZ Conference recently and was flattered to learn from Michael Barbour information that was not exactly in support of the debatable digital native - digital immigrant theory.

    Now I've no intention of spiking this post with another red-herring-topic, but the issue I bring to this forum is that by establishing categories we disallow ourselves to appreciate the continuum that lies between them.

    Your most recent post, on freedom as a possible work of art, says it all. For me it is a relative thing. That the right-brain screams about the constraints brought on by left-brain means that we are constantly striving to break out - to be creative if you like. I believe that creativity is stimulated by constraint.

    John Keats, a young, vibrant and creative brain if ever there was one, put this beautifully in a sonnet about words and the constraints brought about by them. He was, of course, talking about the constraints of poetry at that time, but nevertheless he hit the nerve on why creativity bubbles to the surface - excuse the form:

    If by dull rhymes our English must be chained,
    And, like Andromeda, the Sonnet sweet
    Fettered, in spite of painéd loveliness;
    Let us find out, if we must be constrained,
    Sandals more interwoven and complete
    To fit the naked foot of poesy;
    Let us inspect the lyre, and weigh the stress
    Of every chord, and see what may be gained
    By ear industrious, and attention meet;
    Misers of sound and syllable, no less
    Than Midas of his coinage, let us be
    Jealous of dead leaves in the bay-wreath crown;
    So, if we may not let the Muse be free,
    She will be bound with garlands of her own.

    Ka kite

  4. Salutations Ken!
    Thanks for the poem and further issues to ponder. John Keats understood life to be a "vale of soul-making" - very much in-keeping with creativity evoked by constraints that he explores in this poem. Without the soulless context of mundane life, we would get no sense of the soulful. Likewise as you suggest, by making soul into a category of experience, we would miss out on the continuum between soulful and soulless extremes.

    I suspect the extreme categories of "digital native and immigrants" defines changes in how we access information, connect with others, share our creations and become more resourceful. Those categories do not capture our physical eating, sleeping, working, health and pleasures. I'm thinking that both emailing and ecommerce are in the middle of those extremes and do not require digital citizenship to benefit from them. I know lots of senior citizens who have adopted both of those digital spaces with only minor culture shock. However, they would find blogging, editing a wiki or uploading their own creations -- to be beyond their grasp and remotest inclinations.

    Poets, playwrights and screenwriters understand language to function as a barrier to communication. They attempt to "speak the unspeakable" and convey the transcendent through their use of language. Their use of word pictures, metaphors, dialogue and questions -- opens us up from literal, confining categories that language tempts us to adopt. As you suggest, their successes at frustrating our predisposition to categorize what they explore with words, invites us into the middle ground where it's iffy, a little of each and up for grabs because it depends on so many other complications.