So my word for February was FLOW.
How can we best be in the FLOW at all times in life, whether things are difficult and challenging, or everything naturally falls into place. What does it feel like to be in the energy of FLOW?
I am currently doing a course with the lovely Mark Silver (from Heart of Business) called Heart of Money.
In week three he introduced the concept of flow states. The flow states represent the way that we are showing up in that moment for life. They are: Giving, Taking, Receiving and Offering. Behind the flow states are the divine qualities of Mercy and Compassion.
Mercy is a quality that we can receive at any moment, and Compassion is also always available to us, according to our needs.
Throughout the day, he said, we are in one or another of these four flow states.
Though this course is about money, these states relate to a whole lot more than money in our lives. Money is just one way that is quite measurable, so we can really see: what am I receiving, what am I offering, what am I taking, what am I giving? So the exercise in the course was for us to monitor our flow states throughout the day each day, noting which of the four we were in at different times and how we felt.
I found this very interesting. The idea is to recognise which of the states you feel more comfortable in, and which are slightly stretching you out onto your edge. With most people, giving will feel more comfortable than receiving. Somehow it seems that you have to be more open at the heart to really receive. It is a more vulnerable state.
If you are running your own business rather than have a job with a salary, this flow state exercise can be very revealing, because if you notice you are challenged or blocked in one or more of the states, you may then be able to see this reflected in your business. And when you can see with clarity what the issue is you can then work on being more comfortable with that state in your everyday life.
Examples of the flow states
You may be at a party or an event where there is a buffet lunch spread out before you, with luscious morsels of every kind of delight tempting your taste buds. Here is an opportunity for you to take what is offered. How does it feel?
You may have a friend who is sick and unable to get to the hospital, so you offer her a lift there in your car. You are in the mode of Offering. She can either accept or turn down your offer. How does this state feel?
You may have a cause that you believe in strongly and so you regularly donate some money to it. This is the state of Giving. Like with Offering, the gift needs a receiver. How does this state feel?
You may be feeling low and need some loving attention from a friend. So they come over to your place and you receive their attention, you receive a hug from them, you receive a gift they may have brought you. This is Receiving. How does this state feel?
It is interesting also for me to note: these blog posts are my Offering. I offer them freely to all who come to visit The Global Yogi. Whether they are received though, is the concern of others. Some may receive the offer, and benefit from my writing, and others may not. And this is fine. It is all a part of the flow.
Bringing the energy of compassion to whatever the challenging states are for you helps to soften any judgement around any issues you may have.
In finances, having debts can prompt feelings of failure and bring up self-judgement: ‘how is it you have go yourself in this situation (again!), what is wrong with you that you cannot live in the black like everyone else’.
Such self-talk is damaging and will only serve to crystalize whatever situation you are judging yourself for. If you want to change something in your life, particularly a re-curring pattern (this means that is coming from a deep seated belief) then what you need is spaciousness and acceptance. You need to really embrace the situation, to see it clearly, and to really own it. I created this situation, therefore, I fully accept and love my creation, while at the same time allowing it space to move and transform into a more healthy one.
When you really accept and love everything that you have created – even the painful situations or relationships – then you are in the space of compassion. You can ask for mercy, and the transformation of the stuck energy that is keeping that pattern in place can begin.
Spending the past week in the beautiful forest surrounds of Wat Buddha Dhamma was also a great lesson in flow. With trees all around humming with birds and animals, with the wind whispering its secrets through the leaves, with the sun shining brightly and then retreating behind a cloud, you recognise the flow in every moment. There is no resistance. Leaves fall to the ground, sometimes you hear branches falling in the forest. It rains a lot. The creeks fill up and then after a few days of sun they are drained again. Everything is flowing in a state of harmony and interconnectedness. Every being is dependent on every other being and they are all supported by mother Earth.
On some evenings I stayed in a cave at the monastery, a beautiful sandstone shelf that looks over the treetops. Sleeping here reminded me that being immersed in nature by sleeping out in the open also opens you up more to the flow state. I felt very much a part of the whole mystery of the forest. I felt protected by the majestic, strong trees, and befriended by the animals whispering and scratching around me. And all was well. Here is is easy to see that all of our problems – as the Buddha taught, arise in the mind. In nature in its natural state, there are no problems.