Athletes refer to flow states as the ‘zone’.
What it represents is a heightened state of awareness both physically and mentally.
Athletes say things like: “I let the game come to me”, or “everything was just very clear”, or “the game just slowed down”.
Musicians say things like, “the song just wrote itself”.
Artists say things like, “I saw the picture before I started painting it”.
Meditators say things like, “I quieted my mind and just allowed it to unfold”.
In their ground-breaking book, Stealing Fire, How Silicon Valley, the Navy SEAL’s, and Maverick Scientists Are Revolutionizing the Way We Live and Work, authors and behavioral scientists Steven Kotler & Jamie Wheal describe sustaining flow states this way.
“In nonordinary states (flow states), the information we receive can be so novel and intense that it feels like it’s coming from a source outside ourselves. But by breaking down what’s going on in the brain, we start to see that what feels like supernatural might just be super-natural: beyond our normal experience, for sure, but not beyond our actual capabilities.
Often, an ecstatic (non-ordinary or altered state of consciousness) experience begins when the brain releases norepinephrine and dopamine into our system. These neurochemicals raise heart rates, tighten focus, and help us sit up and pay attention. We notice more of what’s going on around us, so information normally tuned out or ignored becomes more readily available. And besides simply increasing focus, these chemicals amp up the brain’s pattern recognition abilities, helping us find new links between all this incoming information.
As these changes are taking place our, brainwaves slow from agitated beta to calmer alpha, shifting us into daydreaming mode: relaxed, alert, and able to flit from idea to idea without as much internal resistance. Then parts of the prefrontal cortex begin shutting down. We experience the selflessness, timelessness, and effortlessness of transient hypofrontality. This quiets that “already know that, move along” voice of our inner critic and dampens the distractions of past and future. All these changes knock out filters we normally apply to incoming data, giving us access to fresh perspectives and more potential combinations of ideas.
As we move even deeper, the brain can release endorphins and anandamide. They both decrease pain, removing the diversion of physical distress from the equation, letting us pay even more attention to what’s going on. Anandamide also plays an important role here, boosting our “lateral thinking”, which is our ability to make far-flung connections between disparate ideas. Post-it’s, Slinky’s, Silly Putty, Super Glue, and a host of other breakthrough’s all came when an inventor made a sideways leap, applying an over-looked tool in a novel way. In part, that’s anandamide at work.
And, if we go really deep, our brainwaves shift once again, pushing us toward quasi-hypnotic theta, a wave we normally produce only during REM sleep that enhances both relaxation and intuition. To wrap it all up, we can experience an afterglow of serotonin and oxytocin, prompting feelings of peace, well-being, trust, and sociability, as we start to integrate the information that has just been revealed
And revealed is the right word. Conscious processing can only handle about 120 bits of information at one time. That isn’t much. Listening to another person talk can take almost 60 bits. If two people are talking that’s it. We’ve maxed out our bandwidth.
But if we remember that our unconscious processing can handle billions of bits at once, we don’t need to search outside of ourselves to find a credible source to all the miraculous insight. We have terabytes of information available to us; we just can’t tap into it in our normal state." (beta state)
And seven decades of research conducted by hundreds of scientists with thousands of participants showed these types of gains while being in the ‘states of flow’:
Just to name a few!
How Accessing These ‘Altered States of Consciousness’ or Flow States Have Influenced Our History
Examples of people throughout history who credit their ability to access these ‘altered states’ for their incredible contributions to society.
From ancient philosophers such as: Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle.
Up through influencers such as: Leonardo da Vinci, George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Mark Twain, Nicholas Tesla, Albert Einstein, Srinivasa Ramanujan, Napoleon Hill, Carl Jung, Ester Hicks, Dr. Wayne Dyer, and Steve Jobs to name just a few.
All these people credit their ability to access ‘information’ which are considered ‘extraordinary breakthroughs’, to their ability to access these 'altered states of consciousness’ or flow states.
You can access the same transformational type of information they accessed.
The only difference is its information based on your personally desired outcomes!
Additional Benefits of Sustaining Flow States
Accessing & sustaining these 'altered states' also can influence your physiology!
In addition to accessing information most don't know how to access; scientists tell us when we are in these 'altered states' we produce more of the pleasurable neurotransmitters like:
And less of the stress neurotransmitters like; cortisol and norepinephrine!
So, you are not only more productive in these 'altered states of consciousness'.
You feel better and your body functions at a more optimal level!
Having more conscious access to these pleasurable neurotransmitters will have a powerful influence on sustaining optimal states of performance as we move into 2022 and beyond!
To be clear, everyone who achieves a meditation state gets into the Flow States.
The trick is learning how to retain and sustain those flow states throughout your day.
And that's what my online course of 'active meditation techniques' can help you manifest!
Learn more by clicking below