Two panicky city dwellers found themselves lost in the high timber. After wandering for a day and a night, they came upon an old hermit.

“How do we find our way back to civilization?” they asked the hermit.

“I could tell you but you’d still get lost,” replied the hermit

“What should we do?” they asked.

“Go with the flow.”

“I beg your pardon?”

“Go with the flow. You see that stream over there. Just follow it. Streams go into creeks and creeks go into rivers and rivers go through towns. Also along the way you’ll have water to drink and berries to eat.”

“Is that what Zen people mean when they say ‘go with the flow’?”

“Yes and no,” replied the Hermit proceeding along his way.

Go With The Flow

Travellers were asking hermit the way for civilization. They have lost in the high timber. 

Hermit saw that because of the anxiety they are not able to find their way and enjoy this moment. So he gave them hints. He clearly said – Go with the flow. You see that stream over there. Just follow it. Streams go into creeks and creeks go into rivers and rivers go through towns. Also along the way you’ll have water to drink and berries to eat.

In his answer he clearly indicated how they can reach the town and also he said that how you can enjoy this moment also.

We all are stuck to our problems like travellers so we are not able to see the answer which is already there in front of us. Stream was in front of them still they could not find the town and they could not enjoy this moment where they can drink fresh water, and eat berries. Unless you can penetrate in the present and enjoy the moment you will be stuck where you are.

Start tasting the present. Find a few moments where you are simply delighting. Looking at the trees, just be the look. Listening to the birds, just be a listening ear; let them reach to your deepest core. Let their song spread all over your being. Sitting by the side of the ocean, just listen to the wild roar of the waves, become one with it… because that wild roar of the waves has no past, no future. If you can tune yourself with it, you will also become a wild roar. Hug a tree and relax into it. Feel its green shape rushing into your being. Lie down on the sand, forget the world, commune with the sand, the coolness of it; feel the coolness saturating you. Go to the river, swim, and let the river swim within you. Splash around, and become the splashing. Do whatsoever you feel you enjoy, and enjoy it totally. In those few moments, the past and future will disappear and you will be here now.

In the ultimate analysis of life, name and fame are just irrelevant. All that matters in the final reckoning is how you lived each moment of your life. Was it a joy, was it a celebration? In small things, were you happy? Taking a bath, sipping tea, cleaning the floor, roaming around the garden, planting trees, talking to a friend, or sitting silently with your beloved, or looking at the moon, or just listening to the birds – were you happy in all these moments? Was each moment a transformed moment of luminous happiness, was it radiant with joy? That’s what matters.

Let things be. You just go on moving, enjoying whatsoever becomes available. If success is there, enjoy it. If failure is there, enjoy it – because failure also brings a few enjoyments that no success can ever bring. Success brings a few joys that no failure can ever bring. And a person who has no idea of his own is capable of enjoying everything, whatever happens. If he is healthy, he enjoys health; if he is ill, he rests on the bed and enjoys illness.

Learning from the story Yes And No: Go With The Flow

Experience Learning

Have you ever been completely and utterly immersed in a task? Oblivious to the outside world, focused only on your own progress and what’s going on right here and now? Maybe you’ve been doing something you love, like playing music or a certain sport, before realizing that time has totally passed you by?

If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions, it’s likely that you’ve been experiencing a state of Flow.

Flow is one of life’s highly enjoyable states of being, wrapping us entirely in the present, and helping us be more creative, productive, and happy.

What is the Concept and Meaning of Flow?

Psychological Flow captures the positive mental state of being completely absorbed, focused, and involved in your activities at a certain point in time, as well as deriving enjoyment from being engaged in that activity. Perhaps the Flow state, colloquially termed being ‘in the zone’, is best described by one of the participants interviewed in the earliest stages of ‘Flow research’ (Csikszentmihalyi and Csikszentmihalyi, 1988: 195): “My mind isn’t wandering. I am not thinking of something else. I am totally involved in what I am doing. My body feels good. I don’t seem to hear anything. The world seems to be cut off from me. I am less aware of myself and my problems.”

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, the positive psychologist credited with having popularized the concept of Flow, offers another definition for the mental state of being ‘in Flow’ in his interview with Wired magazine: “…being completely involved in an activity for its own sake. The ego falls away. Time flies. Every action, movement, and thought follows inevitably from the previous one, like playing jazz. Your whole being is involved, and you’re using your skills to the utmost.”

If it’s something that sounds akin to other mental states, like those that meditation or yoga can facilitate, it may be interesting to note that similar ideas feature in Buddhist, Taoist, and Hindu literature. To put it succinctly, Flow can be thought of as (Csikszentmihalyi and Csikszentmihalyi, 1988: 36): “the holistic sensation that people feel when they act with total involvement.”

The Theory and Psychology of Flow

Flow theory became of interest to positive psychology researchers Jacob Getzels and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi when they were studying the creative process during the ‘60s (Getzels & Csikszentmihalyi, 1976).

Watching an artist at work, Csikszentmihalyi became intrigued by their single-minded, unique focus, and persistence to continue with the painting, in spite of any discomfort, tiredness, or hunger. On finishing the painting, however, the artist entirely ceased showing any interest in the completed work.

Throughout it all, people described being ‘in Flow’ as a highly pleasurable experience. They enjoyed being in control of the task-related largely to the ongoing feedback they received. Ultimately, they found whatever they were doing to be highly self-rewarding.


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