Discussion on flow states and change of seasons

On May 18th we discussed several topics at the sangha. Here is a recap for those who missed it.

sandart* Being in the flow and how it relates to physical activity like running, walking, yoga, exercise, working in general. Flow is the one pointedness of mind and body in the present moment doing one thing and one thing only. If we take work, being in the flow or in the zone is that space when you are completely focused on what you are doing and being very productive doing it. Runners experience the flow as a runner’s high – when the mind shuts off and the focus is on the body running. There are many such examples of flow and it seems that it would make sense to structure your life in such a way as to increase the frequency and the duration of this state of mind and body.  The best tool I know of to develop one-pointed concentration is a meditation on one point – the breath, the body, the sounds, etc…

*For more on flow states, the psychologist who originated the term following years of research is Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. You can find a summary of his work through this TED talk: Flow, the Secret to Happiness: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fXIeFJCqsPs

change ahead* When the seasons change so do our patterns. The change in seasons is almost like a wake up call for us to notice the impermanent nature of nature itself such as flowers, trees, water. It’s spring and flowers are beginning to bloom and the trees are forming new leaves, the water is getting warmer and the colors are different now as we walk along the canal path from only a few months ago. We all agreed that taking the time to notice this throughout the day is important and keeps one grounded in what is actually happening in the here and now.  For some it’s especially important to get outside and be in nature but more importantly to just relax into what’s happening, while paying attention to the impermanent nature of nature. For many of us a change from winter to spring means being outside more so we appreciate nature more.

* Since we go outside more, there are more opportunities now to see our neighbors.  We discussed the importance of knowing our neighbors and taking an interest by chatting them up to learn more about them. One suggestion is to ask them what they are planning for their next vacation and watch their face lite up as they tell you all about it.

* Since the sangha community gathers and contributes to road cleanup twice a year one member noted that cleaning up is a spiritual experience not to mention a useful community service. When one is picking up the trash you model respect for the street to the community. You are in a very true sense decluttering the road – which is a very true service to yourself and others. Similarly in your car or home if you take the time to clear out the trash and de-clutter you invite something new into the previously occupied space or just enjoy the space free of stuff that was previously there. Just like when you sit and meditate you declutter your mind to make room for what’s really important in your life to be visible.

About Phil Brown

Philip Brown, PhD, is currently the president of the Buddhist Sangha of Bucks County. Learn more about Phil and other members
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