I had this idea for a blog a few months ago. FlowtoYourDream.com. I liked it. No one’s using it, it’s 15 characters so it would make a nice Twitter name and it perfectly described an evolution of an old idea I had been working on for a long time (PwningLife). That idea (FtYD) came back to me two days ago.
Two days ago I pulled out a notebook and thought about what I could do with that blog. Let me get the notes…
- I could create “Massively Actionable Content”
- Write eBooks
- Create a forum
- Sell products
I had all kinds of great ideas. This idea came to mind because I was thinking to myself “What would I like to do for money?” (Money is one of those things people talk about a lot.) I’m actually not that interested in money so I quickly snapped back to how I came up with the name “Flow to Your Dream” in the first place.
Epiphanies can be beautiful things. Sometimes you get a sneak peak at insight and the door is slammed in your face before you absorb what you felt. Other times its effect is more permanent. This one was one of the latter.
Allow me to set the stage. I had recently come out of a 10 month funk that was brought upon from a manic episode that was serious enough to land me in a mental hospital for some weeks. While reflecting on the 10 month funk and my life pre-mania, I caught a glimpse of a slice of time when I was experiencing boundless joy while at the same time experiencing a pretty crappy external existence.
My laptop was broken, I had a sore tooth and I was financially broke, but that didn’t stop me from grinding away on my big dreams for the future and loving life. In that one moment I was SUPREMELY happy. And it hit me. THAT kind of happiness is what I was working for. There were goals I was reaching for at the same time (financial stability, “changing the world”, you know, the usual), but there was something about that moment I saw that woke something up in me. Something you’ve probably heard before (and will here again), but I’ll share it now.
“Life is a journey, not a destination.”
So simple. So profound. Yet EXTREMELY difficult to truly embody and live. What was so striking about this “little” epiphany for me is that as a “practicing daoist/Zen head” I’ve been intimately studying ideas revolving around being in the present for a long time. But this culmination of experiences and reflection hit me like an uppercut from Jesus.
Flow to Your Dream Explained
It may not seem necessary, but this needs a little explanation. The flow I’m referring to here is a combination of the obvious “go with the flow” feeling coupled with the psychological term coined by Mihály Csíkszentmihályi. From Wikipedia:
Nakamura and Csíkszentmihályi identify the following six factors as encompassing an experience of flow.
- intense and focused concentration on the present moment
- merging of action and awareness
- a loss of reflective self-consciousness
- a sense of personal control or agency over the situation or activity
- a distortion of temporal experience, one’s subjective experience of time is altered
- experience of the activity as intrinsically rewarding, also referred to as autotelic experience
Those aspects can appear independently of each other, but only in combination they constitute a so-called flow experience.
This kind of flow isn’t an excuse to be lazy, indeed completely the opposite. It is the cultivation of mind and body such that the tasks necessary to take you to your vision of the future (dream) give you the feeling of “going with the flow” while taking you in and out of the psychological flow described above. It’s working hard on yourself to allow your visions to manifest in an experientially fun and “effortless” manner.
I was also going to discuss the illusion of “your dream” and getting you more and more focused on experiencing and enjoying the present. Using the dream as a motivational carrot to trick you into focusing on the present and forgetting the dream.
Might sound a little trippy, but it appears to be working… on me at least.
Before graduating high school I can distinctly remember two “big dreams.” Being a surf bum in Hawaii and Enlightenment. I never made many power moves towards being a surf bum, but I’ve made several towards being “enlightened.” At some point I decided to ditch enlightenment and try my hand at… regular living?
I eventually either ran across the idea that desiring enlightenment will keep you from it, had an enlightening experience or just said fuck it for now. I can’t remember which of the three it was. I kept “enlightenment” nearby the whole time, but spent a lot of time “thinking big.” So I read books on doing “big” things and eventually crafted “big” dreams.
Those big dreams have tagged along for a long time. When I had my little epiphany I was reflecting back on a time when I was working on big dreams. When I snapped out of my depression last year I went back to business as usual and pulled those big dreams out of storage. After I had my epiphany I started crafting my big dreams around it.
Then something started to happen. The logic from my epiphany when applied to my old dream of enlightenment created a strange loop…
Life is a Destination
And the journey is that destination. Or I could rewrite it as:
“Life is a journey to the journey.” – miltownkid
The journey is incrementally bringing you closer to more fully experiencing the journey without the illusions of the past or the future (or present).
If the dream is enlightenment (awakening, liberation) and I’m “flowing” to it that means, using the words I just used above, I should:
use enlightenment as a motivational carrot to trick myself into focusing on the present and forgetting enlightenment.
I feel like some may experience instant enlightenment from reading that play on words. Perhaps I am not so lucky, or perhaps I’m past that and it’s time for me to put in the work. Again, using the words I just used above, I should be:
working hard on myself to allow enlightenment to manifest in an experientially fun and “effortless” manner.
Man… I’m blowing my own mind… lol
The New miltownkid (dot com)
I wanted to start “Flow to Your Dream” so I could share what I’ve been reading and any insights I’ve gained that might help anyone else interested in “flowing to their dreams” (instead of suffering to them). Then I thought about the work involved. Then I wondered how that applied to my own dream. Then “I” decided I could do that right here (on this blog), right now.
I’ve long wanted to start the process of removing “myself” from reality. I’m not sure if “I”, at my current understanding of things, have a better way to state it. I think it used to scare me. The idea of me being me without being me. I think some of my thinking and experiments on myself have led to what some have categorized as being bipolar. What “I” hope to do now is begin this process of slowly removing myself from “reality” (the one I’ve been conditioned to) and, at the same time, slowly immersing myself reality (the one).
Actually, I suppose I’ve been using the wrong language all this time. Enlightenment is really a step towards the ultimate goal. Nirvana (if I’m using the Buddhist definitions of these things).
While I’m quite fearless in some regards, what has held me back from really making a commitment to “the path” was fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of triggering a psychotic/manic episode and losing touch with “reality” and fear of perhaps losing “myself.”
It has taken the combination of events and experiences I’ve lived so far to lead to posting this today. Looking at the past from today makes me wonder “What was there to be afraid of?” The obvious answer is nothing. No longer do I question what will become of relationships, missed opportunities or experiences. With my old big dreams being transplanted with Nirvana and removing myself from the equation it seems like “Flowing to Nirvana” is what “I” have been doing all along. Perhaps it’s what we all ARE.