We see other people’s social media highlights, compare it to our lows, then proceed to concoct ways to get control of our lives in order to steer it in our desired direction.
This only serves to steer us upstream, against the flow of life. Needless to say, this is counter productive and leads us to renditions of anxiety and depression.
In this article, allow me to share with you 4 ways to integrate the philosophy of flow.
1. Non-Doing Is The Flow Of Life
“Tao is apparently inactive (wu wei) and yet nothing remains undone. If princes and kings desire to keep) everything in order, they must first reform themselves. (If princes and kings would follow the example of Tao, then all things will reform themselves.) If they still desire to change, I would pacify them by the simplicity of the ineffable Tao.” — Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching
Being hurried is characteristic of neuroticism. We beat up against the flow of life only to make mistakes, upset ourselves and cause more receding than progress.
The concept of Wu Wei assures us that going with the flow of life is for the best.
Wu Wei is the way that life naturally flows and more is accomplished when we simply allow for moments of “inaction.”
When we allow for moments of inaction, we naturally engage the flow of life.
This is not to say that we become lazy.
Inaction in this context can be used to describe a flow state where we may be outwardly “doing” but inwardly we are restful, calm and at peace.
The flow of life is akin to the flow of the river. The river flows downhill naturally without trying. Yet, the river is able to carve its path through vast terrains.
Here we are accessing creative energy that is always available to us only when we go with the flow of life.
“Nature does not hurry, yet all is accomplished.”Lao Tzu
Nature unfolds in a way that is consistent with the flow of life. Allow yourself to align with the inner workings of nature because you are nature. You ARE the flow of life. This is why stagnation depresses us.
The sooner you see this, the more productive you will be. This all happens when you simply let go.
2. Detachment From Outcome
“When we learn to work with our own Inner Nature, and with the natural laws operating around us, we reach the level of Wu Wei. Then we work with the natural order of things and operate on the principle of minimal effort. Since the natural world follows that principle, it does not make mistakes. Mistakes are made — or imagined — by man, the creature with the overloaded Brain who separates himself from the supporting network of natural laws by interfering and trying too hard. ”— Benjamin Hoff, The Tao of Pooh
The control freak in us causes things to go haywire when we are attached to a certain outcome. Attachment agitates the flow of life.
When we’re working on a project, we have a specific outcome that we would like to achieve. This is understandable. But if we don’t let go during the process of creation we hinder the quality of the outcome.
This is something I experience a lot when I am doing my podcast. In the initial episodes, I was just going with the flow of life and the outcome was that of fun, witty and entertaining.
When I am attached to a certain image of how I want a specific podcast to turn out, I go against the flow of life. It hinders my ability to perform, therefore lacking the product I want to see come to fruition.
Detachment allows for creativity to spontaneously come about to produce the appropriate outcome.
3. The Flow Of Life Is Embracing Change
We are creatures of routine. Anything that upsets that routine causes panic. We get anxious about the outcome of the future when we can’t grasp at an objective routine.
Change is one of the most prominent of constants that exist within the flow of life. When we are able to embrace change, we activate our ability to align with the flow of life. There is much creative energy to be accessed once we simply let go and embrace change.
We become much more productive because we are no longer worried about what’s to happen in the future. Our attention is placed squarely in the present moment as we expand with nature.
Holding onto how things were only serves to antagonize the universe. We throw ourselves out of alignment with the flow of life when we let our ego get in the way.
“If you are depressed, you live in the past. If you are anxious, you live in the future. But if you are at peace you live in the present.”Lao Tzu
“The art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook.” — William James
Life abhors a vacuum. The art of simplification allows for all that you want to flow into your life without obstruction.
The simple act of de-cluttering your space can increase the energy of flow in your immediate environment.
I hate to see clutter and junk(useless things) everywhere so I’ve adopted a minimalist lifestyle.
My condo is practically empty because I cannot work if there are too many things in my immediate area.
Simplifying is a great way to access the power of letting go. There may be a ton of things that you are hoarding in your closets and under your bed that you should get rid off.
Not only does practicing this method of junk removal allow for your space to be cleaner, it gets you into the habit of mentally letting things go.
For instance, when you’ve built up enough practice with letting things go, someone might insult you and you’re readily able to let it go because it has become an ingrained habit.
Simplifying your space is but one way to access the power of letting go.
Coming up with a morning routine that you can use to set the tone of your life can be beneficial. You can even expand your morning routine into a whole schedule.
A planner with your day organized serves to keep you locked into the present moment by segmenting your day into discreet pieces.
“Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.” — Steve Jobs