One of the guys at work found out I was a co-author of a book and wanted to know about it.
“It’s the 90 Day Meditation Challenge,” I explained. We want to help people who would like to meditate but don’t know where to start.”
“Wow, that’s great! But I don’t need that. Running is my meditation. I just get in the flow. It’s the same thing,” he proudly told me. He went on to explain that his 30 minute running sessions were pretty much equivalent to sitting on a mat for 30 minutes.
I was surprised at his story and didn’t argue. At the time I didn’t know much about the difference between flow and mindfulness. Other people have claimed the same kind of thing when they found out about my meditation practice. They tell me that drawing is like meditation, or their work, or whatever their passion is that totally absorbs them. Since then, I’ve given it some thought and I don’t really think they’re the same thing at all.
That isn’t to say you won’t get benefits from a flow state. But it just isn’t the same, and you cheat yourself by learning one instead of both. They are complementary states.
I think people are just making excuses. Seriously, if you don’t want to meditate, then don’t. There’s no need to justify yourself to me, unless of course you feel guilty…
What is a Flow State?
Getting in the groove, going with the flow, finding that sweet spot. The flow state is something you can get into while writing, drawing, or performing a dance routine. It’s the hyper aware state that BMX riders use to do amazing tricks without dying. It’s what all sorts of athletes enter while in the moment. It is a zone of high energy, where you become fully immersed and totally focused on the matter at hand.
The biggest feature of the flow state is that you are focused on activity, whether that’s washing dishes, riding a bike or drawing. Physical activity is being done, by you. You are not passive. You are moving, acting on the world, doing. Things are being accomplished, sometimes in a really precise way. For example, each brush stroke is as close to perfectly placed as the artist can mange. Each movement of the BMX rider is smooth and calculated to get that…