The Cognition Level of Flow State

Volume 4, Issue 9

We’ve devoted each of our most recent posts to describing a different level of higher consciousness, working our way up the scale higher and higher. We skipped over the seven lowest levels of consciousness, the ones in which most of the human race has spent most of its time during this short sliver of time since the onset of written language 6000 years ago. Those all-too-familiar levels are covered adequately in our new book You Are The Universe: Imagine That.

The higher states commence with the three levels of objective consciousness I call the Observer state. These are followed by the five highest levels that I have experienced and hypothesize to be all of the remaining levels for human consciousness, called the Flow state (the term coined by Csikszentmihalyi). In the prior two posts we described the first level of Flow, in which the body experiences perfect action, as if doing itself, and the Bliss level of Flow, in which joyous emotion is added.

In the next higher level the mind is in Flow, not just the body and the emotions. Deep realizations erupt spontaneously from everything the mind touches upon, whether things that are in the field of the senses, or other more distant things that the mind considers. Intellect is flowing so rapidly it outpaces words, and understanding comes in the flavor of images and feelings with only occasional words in the mind. The words that do come are condensed, as if one is thinking in perfectly lucid poetry where all the allusions and multiple meanings are self-evidently present.

For scientists and creatives, this is the level in which the “Aha!” moment occurs, in which inspiration strikes, in which Kekule had the vision of the benzene ring, and in which Einstein realized that E=mc2. Flow state at any level is what Maslow called “peak experience”. In the Flow level of Cognition, the qualities of the lower Flow levels are still present, as this cumulativity applies throughout the upper states. So where in the Flow level of Bliss the tonality is emotional and brings with it a sense of Hume-ian Sympatico for all people and things, in the Cognition level of Flow one’s aesthetic senses are also at peak engagement. Great inventions and innovations are brought into this world through the window of the Cognition level of Flow state.

Although the written and oral histories of the past 6000 years on this planet are largely a tale of conflict and war, suffering and dishonor, it is highly likely that these are mere growing pains in a multimillion year destiny for the human race of Earth. The lemur ape-monkeys from which we descended came down from trees 5 million years ago, and only attained the present human brain about 200,000 years ago, leaping forward only in the last 6000 years into this present miasma we call the Acceleritis Era, in which written/visual language has unlocked the potential of the human mind to express ideas producing an explosion of inventiveness — largely tools, machines, weapons, and media — and an overload of information falling back into the brains collectively responsible for the overload. The resulting distraction has suppressed the higher states of consciousness by distracting our attention. Through techniques that focus the mind — which we call psychotechnology — individuals can overcome Acceleritis and achieve the higher states. As H.G. Wells said, history is a race between our destroying ourselves or collectively reaching a permanent shift into the higher states of consciousness. Call me a cockeyed optimist, but I prefer to think of myself as a self-fulfilling prophet in forecasting that psychotechnology — whether called yoga, meditation, Zen, or any other name — will win the day for humanity and the planet.

Best to all,


Watch for my new book, You Are The Universe: Imagine That, coming next month.

Follow my regular blog contribution at Jack Myers Media Network: In Terms of ROI. It is in the free section of the website at  Bill Harvey at

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