Flow is regarded as the highest state the mind can achieve. The coveted state of experiential bliss. However, it is not the highest state of conscious experience.
That, as often referred by self-realized souls, would be the state of Equanimity – the blissful state of constant peace and calm.
In the last post, we discussed how we can go into Flow through mindfulness and how they are related. In this post, we will discuss where Flow falls short, and what lies ahead.
The Limitations of Flow
Flow is that state in which a person performing an activity is completely immersed in it, such that the sense of separation between the work and the worker becomes almost non-existent. Thus, flow could be regarded as a state of complete concentration.
Through the practice of attentive living or mindfulness, one could focus complete concentration in almost every task one is doing, thereby achieving Flow.
But the state of Flow is short-lived. The blissful contentment experienced while in Flow may last for a few more hours at best, but does not make it a constant experience of life. We again fall back to the transient emotions of fear, anxiety, happiness, joy, affection, anger, shame, guilt, etc. as life happens to us.
This transiency gives rise to the confusion which becomes the underlying experience of our life.
The State of Constant Bliss
When the bliss and content experienced during Flow becomes a constant happening in one’s life, the person is said to reach the state of Equanimity, which in Indic traditions is denoted by the term Sthitapragya (literally meaning constancy in experience). They experience the Existence without the transiency of myriad emotions which keep affecting the usual person.
A person in the state of Equanimity starts experiencing Existence from the level of the soul, which is above the body and mind.
It is often told in spiritual traditions that we are not the body nor the mind, but souls ever-present in this Existence. A Sthitapragya person comes firsthand with this Truth, and gradually starts living it.
From the level of the body, the experiences are those of pain and pleasure. From mind, they are joy and suffering.
The soul exists beyond the dual experiences of body and mind. From there, the experience is that of constant bliss.
There are two paths to reach the state of Equanimity. The first is through constant training of the mind to not get carried away by emotions and maintain equanimity in all situations. This is the practice of withdrawal from material attachments, since it is through emotions that we are tied to such material objects and events.
However, this does not bring in the state of bliss, as you cannot train the mind to experience it. The calmness one experiences in this path is an empty one, without the filling of bliss in it. Hence this does not lead to contentment and peace.
Bliss arises from within, only when you get in touch with your soul. This happens in the second path, which is meditation.
Meditation gives you a direct experience of being the soul, above the mind and body. Hence, you automatically rise above the dual experiences of the body and mind and start living in the state of Equanimity, with constant bliss and calm.
There are many versions and derivations of meditation out there, but fundamentally it is the task to maintain a completely thoughtless mind. You may pause on that for a moment and appreciate why it is often regarded as the most difficult task.
A completely thoughtless mind is what meditation tries to achieve, but it is the most difficult thing to do in this world.Tweet
The longer you are able to remain in thoughtlessness, the deeper is the impact on your soul and stronger becomes your experience of blissful Equanimity.
You recognize that you as the soul is the center of all conscious awareness, and the body and mind merely instruments of external perception of this Existence.
You then align with the nature of soul, which is a blissful state of constant peace and calm, and is the same in all living beings. Even while living in a world of ever-changing events, ideas, feelings and emotions, you remain a Sthitapragya, living in the state of Equanimity, from where you as the soul experience Bliss, the fabric of this Existence.
– SACRED UNION –
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