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My recent obsession is Flow. And by Flow, I don’t mean the shitty book I wrote a few years ago with that Title. I mean, that powerful sense of aligning my life around what makes me feel most awake, aware and appreciative of the experience of being alive. (I’ve also been devouring a lot of the books, talks and research done on Flow states, and high performance athletes, by Steven Kottler, featured above – which I highly recommend)
One of the best ways to get into Flow….especially for those of us who tend to get stuck in our heads a lot, is by asking questions.
Years ago, when I first started meditating more seriously, I read a short book on the late Indian sadhu, Ramana Maharshi on the power of asking one simple question, as the basis of self enquiry.
“Who Am I?”
In Maharshi’s tradition, this single, solitary question was not only the only one worth asking, it is the 1 true path to awakening, and understanding our fundamental transcendent nature.
Sit for 10 minutes and just keep repeating that question in your head and see what happens. It sounds really silly simple, but the fact is, some pretty profound insights arise when you recognize how fundamentally confused we all are, about what we all are.
(and I don’t mean that in some super cosmic sense, just the ease in which the obvious intuitions we tend to attach to own identities are easily broken by asking this question with genuine curiosity – you aren’t the identity you create based on language or cultural condidtioning or habit or ritual – these are all merely images that have nothing to do with who, or what you are)
Strangely, this sort of nihlistic process can reveal powerful and profound and ultimately exhilirating experiences of freedom, as many who do this practice every day will no doubt agree.
But because I look really bad in a Saffron robe, I decided I would stop asking that question, and return to the world of internet marketing with some better ones.
I decided 2017 would be the year I questioned everything. And because Flow is my focus, and that my ability to serve, inspire, educate and entertain folks would be best served by more flow, rather than less, here is a short list of the questions I’m asking myself. (i’m trying to use one of these everyday, as a mantra of sorts…..first, in the form of a meditative practice in the morning, and then as an anchor of attention throughout the day. I started doing this in December, and really have found it incredibly helpful for staying true to what it is that I’m trying to be/do/appear in the world, for myself and others)
Some of these are for a business project, where I’m trying to establish a way of thinking as a collective ethos – so they may feel a bit out of place on this list.
What am i risking?
What scares me the most? (Use that as a compass to grow and flow to discover what sits on the other side)
Who can I serve?
What is our common language?What do I do best?
What are my core things? (i write – i inspire – i make people better in the few things I do well)
How did I get better today?
What did I improve?
Where are my edges?
Where is my comfort zone?
What will i regret?
How do i show up in the world at my best
How about the worst?
How can i do good?
What big ideas do we care about?
How committed are we to putting that out into the world?
What would make this easy?
What would make this fun?
What would make this SIMPLE?
Who am i
What do i do?
Who do i serve?
What do they need?
How do they change?
I really think that coming BACK to these sorts of questions, one at a time, is a great meditative practice that can lead you to discover amazing and inspiring insights into what makes YOU uniquely come alive, and who you want to be in the world. (which for me, if I don’t have an anchor, be it a word, phrase, practice or process….I’m very vulnerable to being the exact person I DON’T want to be in the world.
And if you are really interested in Flow, and how to optimize the experience of being your best self in the world – feeling your best, doing your best and immersing yourself in the magical and mysterious adventure of aliveness itself, I highly recommend Steven Kottler’s books and talks on this and other related subjects.