Mental Flow: Living in the present moment is like riding a canoe. You have control with your paddle, but you ride effortlessly in the river’s current.
In a previous article, Becoming Aware: The Power of Living in the Present Moment, I wrote,
“Doing one thing at a time and clearing my mind of everything else: these steps empower my mind to a higher level of thinking.”
To some people the phrase “the present moment” implies an instance in time. And that understanding is correct. However, the concept that I am discussing is to experience a mental awareness flowing freely and without distraction. For example, if you are engrossed in a movie, your mind is not thinking about the theater, the people around you, or things from your past or your future. Instead, you mind flows with the movie.
Flow is critical in athletic sports or chess or poker or any competition for that matter. The greats don’t analyze. They just see solutions and flow through them. A baseball fielder doesn’t mentally stop and analyze how to make a catch. Through training and mental awareness, the player’s mind carries the player through the catch and into the next motion to throw the ball to the pitcher or to another player to complete a play.
When they sense a change in the circumstances around themselves, their instincts can kick in to enable them to adjust to the new situation.
During the game, in all sports the greatest coaches, don’t want their players thinking about the score, the crowd, or the players on the other team. They want their players in a mental flow of executing a play exactly the way that the coach has trained them.
Benefits of Living in a Mental Flow
When in a mental flow, you experience a higher level of thought. You become intuitive, mentally receptive. You release the pain of ruminating over the past or worrying about the future. From my point of view, I can’t change the past, and most of the things that I worry about never happen.