Play and Flow

Flow

When we play we engage the subconscious and react instinctively, our minds and body become seemingly hard wired. We often do things without thinking about them or say things things without thinking about what we are saying, only to find ourselves questioning it afterwards. Our minds are not full of this conscious thought that occurs during post questioning, or when we think about our actions, we simply play.

Playing when we are young is natural, and almost essential, yet when we get older it becomes refreshing and sometimes scary. Our conscious minds become serious and full of control, belittling the act of play as something without purpose or value. How does it help us pay the rent? We should be training instead! How does it help us with our career? and so on. The older we get the more we activate the conscious mind through education, demands of society and the desire to act with the ego to keep us socially safe and of values to others. We become more and more attached to the self image of ourselves, that we project to others, which is generally made up of what we believe others want us to be. We start changing the clothes we wear to meet the projected self image we have made up, and even change our friends, our jobs and our hobbies to keep this self image intact and climbing the social ladder.

During all this time we loose the value of play and connection with our true self. We become obsessed with our self image and become to see this image of ourselves and actually who we are. Meanwhile every minute we spend on this self image we live in the conscious mind and loose connection with the subconscious. We build the ego, a sense of control, and a fear of loosing control as the conscious mind takes controls of our thoughts, our being, and our identity. Before long we are attached to our thoughts as if each thought represents who we are. We spend most of our day on our own heads entertaining the thoughts that fleet in and out. When we train and practise for our performances we order and expect the body to react and perform. We approach our training and performances with this egoic self image we have created, which is full of fear and self doubt, yet we expect our body to perform without nerves or self doubt. When we play well we congratulate the self image for being so good, when we perform badly, we tell ourselves we are rubbish or start blaming external factors.
We all share this pattern to some extent or another, it is part of being human and having an egoic conscious mind. The question that needs asking is, does it help our performances? Although the rational and logic of the conscious brain can help with structurally changes in our training regimes, debating different strategies, or analysing what we could do better, when it comes to the actual performance and we want to be in flow. Learning to use the mind as a tool rather the who we are is critical in obtaining flow more readily. When we learn to value play and prioritise it over our conscious thoughts during training and performances we become very close to being in flow. When we are playing we become attached to being in the moment, we start experiencing life in the here and now, and open up the opportunity for flow. When we play we do not think of the pressures around us, we simply play. When we play we do not focus on our weaknesses and doubts, we just play. When we play we do not demand or expect the body to do anything, the body simply plays willingly. When we play we do not question our motivation or worry about our energy levels, we simply are engulfed in play.

 

For more info please get in touch or purchase our book on flow.

 

 

 

Getting into Trance for Flow

Getting into Trance for Flow

Tips and Training

 

Simply follow the following directions:

Make yourself comfortable either sitting or standing and focus on one small area out in front of you. Pick a spot that is above eye level. Maybe this is a small section on a wall or a tree outside, whatever you choose make sure it doesn’t move. Focus in on this one area, finding new detailed information the longer look. Keep your eyes on this one spot, staying fox all the time gaining as much information as used on the small detail you can see. Over a couple of minutes allow you vision to become very tunnelled as you go smaller and smaller, slowly becoming more and more aware of the detail in this small single point. When you have been transfixed on this one area for a couple of minutes, whilst keeping your eyes transfixed on this one spot, allow your periphery vision to widen. Start to see what is to the left and right of the spot you are staring on and keep widening you periphery vision until you can see the floor in front of you.

This is essentially what happens during our performances when we are focused on the task at hand whether that is looking at a tennis ball or our partners arm as we perform a complex dance move. We maintains fixed focus point, yet our periphery pick sup all the detail the body needs to know to do what it is doing. In examples see on the ball of playing tennis, whilst the focal point is focused on the ball, the periphery is taking in vital information such as how far away the net is, where the opponent is moving, where the line we are aiming for is positioned, and so on. The subconscious is busy digesting and adapting to this new information, so we can make the best shot available to us.

As take in the new visual information in your periphery, start to become aware of your other senses. Maybe, you can feel the wind against your face, the clothes against your skin, or the ground beneath your feet or bottom. Maybe you can hear noises around you both close and far aware. Allow all your senses to become heightened as you become fully connected to the moment. Turn up the senses like you turn up the volume button on a remote control. Become fully engaged as you experience the now, just as it is. Stay in this space for as long as you can, raining your mind to stay connected to the moment experiencing it without the grip of the conscious mind.

You may start to notice thoughts come in and out of your otherwise clear mind. When they do simply acknowledge them and let the flow out, as you would a leaf that floats past you in the wind. Simply be aware of them, and let the leave as quick as it came. Simply focus on connecting your senses to the moment. See if you can feel what is happening behind you, to the sides of you, below you and above you. Allow you presence to be all around you, almost as if I it exists outside of your body.

The above practice normally elicits a slight state of trance, a light state of hypnosis, our gateway to flow. The more we practice getting in and out of these states, the more we become aware of trance states already existing in our day to day lives. These trance states are very similar to the light trance states we experience when driving a car on auto pilot, or loosing time when we are engulfed in surfing the internet. We are doing what may seem a simple task without the conscious interference of stress, fear or other conscious thoughts. We do these task without ego and self image, we simply do them just as we breath, or pump blood round our body.  Trance, like flow, has no identification with the ego, it does not dwell in the realm of the conscious mind, it simply exists and functions effortlessly and incredible efficiently, just as we want all our performances to be.

 

For more info please get in touch or purchase our book on flow.

 

 

If you don’t belief in yourself, don’t expect others to

If you don’t belief in yourself, don’t expect others to

Flow Sports

 

Have you ever listened to a passionate speaker or leader, and wondered how they have become so popular?! Maybe the content of their speech is not coherent or you don’t agree with what they are saying, yet they still manage to persuade hundreds or millions of people to believe in themselves. People follow strong believers even to their graves. Many people simply follow the belief that the great leaders of the world possess, and pay little attention to questioning the substance of what they are saying as they are caught up in their belief, confidence and charisma. All great speakers, leaders, artists, athletes and performers have a few things in common, one of which is that they back themselves. Every time they step up to perform they have to believe in themselves as they know they cannot hide. No one will be there to rescue them, so they either back themselves or don’t do it. The bigger the profile, stage and audience the harder it is to hide and perform well without backing yourself.

Do you ever think great performers go into every performance or competition thinking that they will win/nail it every time, off course not. Humans are humans, and the psyche will always allow a string of doubt no matter how small or big, however the great athletes who may not even believe they will win, still go out and back themselves knowing that the possibility is there. If you look closely at a lot of great performers it is not till some way after the start they hit full confidence and start playing at their best. Sometimes the belief comes as a result of backing yourself and you find your true belief and confidence in the performance after your body surprises yourself or your conscious mind.

Backing yourself doesn’t mean that you need to know that you will accomplish the task 100% of the time, without a shadow of doubt. It simply means that you have the courage to trust yourself and that you will find an outcome along the way. Being your best fan does not need to be a statement of arrogance or show of superiority, it is simply accepting the reality that if you don’t believe in yourself then it is unlikely others will. A great example of this is a high school basketball player who trained hard but got dropped form his high school team for not being good enough. Alot of people would have given up or found a distraction, but this basketball player kept backing himself and became the legend we know as Michael Jordon.

“But although I have confidence, sometimes I don’t think the task ahead of me is achievable and I lack that belief”.

If you find yourself doubting yourself, know that you are either facing a life threatening experience and you should probably listen to your instinct, or you are listening to the doubts of your conscious mind which has rooted itself in a pattern of doubt. When this situation occurs, for me, I often laugh at myself, as I know all I need to look at is how incredible my subconscious is. The complexity of the tasks the subconscious performs, minute by minute, is often far more complex than the task ahead. Imagine if you had to take on a fraction of the tasks the subconscious does in a few seconds. Imagine having to control the blood flow of your body, making sure every organ is performing at its best and servicing parts of the body that need more blood than others. Imagine how precisely each of the thousand of muscle strands has to move in order to lift a drink in to your mouth, or walk across the room to turn on a light, let alone return a serve, hit a golf ball or balance on a wave. Imagine the thousands of messages going through your nervous system, stimulating different parts of the body, and the processing of turning oxygen into energy as you effortless breath and maintain the correct levels of gasses in your body. This is a fraction of what is going on inside the body and the subconscious does this without question and can handle a hundred fold more. The brain is far smarter and faster than the most powerful computer known to man. This incredible innate ability opens up a world of possibilities and potential if we allow ourselves to use it. With such an incredible and intelligent brain already activated, the subconscious tends to put the conscious to shame in comparison. When we think of this magic inside us, that is already happening, suddenly the overbearing task ahead seems a lot simpler, ask long as we allow ourselves to trust our subconscious and ‘back ourselves’.

 

For more info please get in touch or purchase our book on flow.

 

 

A Deeper Connection

A Deeper Connection

Flow Sports Stories

 

Great singers connect deeply with their song, great actors connect deeply with their characters, and great surfers truly connect with the wave. Our connection to what we are doing or performing are often defined as the difference between good and great performances. This connection may seem strange as what we are trying to connect to may not exist. For example, a male musician connected with the music of the song he wrote, is connected to the emotions of the song, the sounds of the song, and the meaning of the song. He lives and breathes the song as if his mind and body are the song. He is in a deep trance, connected to abstract concepts such as notes and rhythm, that don’t exist physically, yet he can feel and experience them as if they are physically right in front of him or alive inside him. This musician is connected to the energy of the song, and is free for the song to flow through his mind and body and into his instrument and voice. As an observer we can feel and connect to this same energy of the performance, maybe not in the same intensity, but during that song we share a common experience and connection that may feel very alive.

Great performances may only occur once or twice in our lifetime for some, some may experience them more frequently, and some may have have never felt it. People who experience talk about them as if someone else was performing it, they felt truly connected to the moment as if time did not exist. During all these great performances, regardless of whether we are singing, dancing, or playing tennis, the performer enjoys a magical connection through a whole hearteded commitment to the performance. The performer becomes one with the performance, we don’t hide or hold back, we are completely engulfed in the moment. We are in flow, without conscious interference simply reacting, creating and performing perfectly in flow. What we are connecting to is a complex and much debated topic. Some say that god flows through us during these times, some say we are connected to a flurry of energy that surrounds the performance.

When we look at what the human mind and body essentially is, which is millions of vibrating atoms, brought together through various levels of energy, it is no wonder why connecting with other energies, or our own energy at this level feels so complete. Regardless of what we are connecting to, or what is happening at an energetic level, what is obvious is that we are without ego, without separation and connected as one to the performance. We reach a state that feels so natural and so true. We often feel part of something much bigger yet completely connected to ourselves if never before. We feel fully connected with our subconscious, flowing effortlessly with ease as the performance flows through us. We see the world with new eyes, we experience the moment like never before, our conscious mind simply observes with awe as if it is watching a movie. When the magical performance stops or we become distracted for a small period, we suddenly become a little disconnected. We feel separate and disconnected from ourself, from others and from the energy, that we were at one with. The consious mind has its chance to retake its grip and change from being an observer to the leader. The more this happens, the more we loose our connection.

 

For more info please get in touch or purchase our book on flow.