Entering Flow State

Volume 3, Issue 1

An Elegant Bargain

In the prior post we were talking about mindfulness. The Buddha said that a life of true happiness will be led once one has settled into a permanent state of mindfulness and comprehension.

Note that the comprehension part typically requires certain life experiences that expand mindfulness into more corners of life. One might have perfect mindfulness on the basketball court but lack it in the bedroom or boardroom. Life fashions itself to teach us how to be mindful across the spectrum of life. Hinduism and Buddhism indicate that more than one lifetime is normally required to achieve mindfulness and comprehension as a steady state.

Zen masters have, according to Wikipedia, an interesting and apparent contrarian viewpoint on mindfulness:

“Some Zen teachers emphasize the potential dangers of misunderstanding “mindfulness”.

Gudo Wafu Nishijima criticizes the use of the term of mindfulness and idealistic interpretations of the practice from the Zen standpoint:

However recently many so-called Buddhist teachers insist the importance of ‘mindfulness.’ But such a kind of attitudes might be insistence that Buddhism might be a kind of idealistic philosophy. Therefore actually speaking I am much afraid that Buddhism is misunderstood as if it was a kind of idealistic philosophy. However we should never forget that Buddhism is not an idealistic philosophy, and so if someone in Buddhism reveres mindfulness, we should clearly recognize that he or she can never be a Buddhist at all.[25]

Muho Noelke, the abbot of Antaiji, explains the pitfalls of consciously seeking mindfulness.

We should always try to be active coming out of samadhi. For this, we have to forget things like “I should be mindful of this or that”. If you are mindful, you are already creating a separation (“I – am – mindful – of – ….”). Don’t be mindful, please! When you walk, just walk. Let the walk walk. Let the talk talk (Dogen Zenji says: “When we open our mouths, it is filled with Dharma”). Let the eating eat, the sitting sit, the work work. Let sleep sleep.[26]

This apparent contradiction is resolved when one applies the Human Effectiveness Institute’s theory to it. Mindfulness helps one get from EOP into Observer state. Striving to be mindful, however, blocks movement further into Flow state (zazen).

The “tricks” one uses to maximize one’s own performance are not obvious to most of us and need to be rediscovered. That is the mission of the Human Effectiveness Institute. Subtle modulations of the mind that worked for me for decades are what we share in our books, videos, audios, here and elsewhere.

I propose an elegant bargain. I will uninhibitedly share here what I know — what has worked for me — to help you maximize your own performance. The quid pro quo is that if it works and you see happy progress in certain areas that you attribute in part to these “tricks”, then you will imbibe more of them and share them with as many people as possible, in order that all of us are averaging more time in Observer state instead of EOP for the rest of our lives.

To that end, best to all,


P.S. February 17, 2013 was the second anniversary of our blog. Thank you all for another great year!

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