Flow Is “Just This”

Flow Light

When we dance, the dance is what matters. It is “just this,” just the dance. When we paint a picture it is “just this.” When we make love it is “just this.”

UNTIL THE EGO STEPS IN and asks, “HOW AM I DOING?” We kill it when we start to judge and evaluate and compare. Can you imagine making love and thinking, “how am I doing?” or thinking about what you have to do with the kids or what you have to get at the market?

You know we all do it.

Here’s a hint to stay on track- just say to yourself “just this, just this, just this, just this,” and stay in the moment with what you love, whatever and whoever it may be.

“Just this” is the psychological state of flow that is the capacity to be “one with the music,” to get lost in a thing that is both a challenge and requires some skill, but we love doing it.

I love working on my house, fixing things over, planting things, and changing things around. I love working on a project that I bought for next to nothing from a garage sale and make it beautiful again –until I start to think, I should be doing something productive, I should be doing something more worthwhile than all this “wanna be” artistic playing around.

That just kills it.

As it kills the flow, it also kills the parasympathetic, healing, restorative, homeostatic response going on in the body.

Flow is restorative, getting lost in what we love that heals and creates an inner unity and oneness with everything. The parasympathetic nervous system response in our body is the healing restorative response that is characterized by “calm and connect” instead of “flight-flight”.

Evolutionarily we are as equipped to make this calm and connect response as we are the fight-flight response. Over millions of years our brains have grown and developed that way.

What is your flow? Where is your flow?

When and where do you get lost in what you’re doing so that time just flies by and you do “just this?” Those are very important and significant activities and times.

Do more of them, build more of them into your life.

They are moving meditation and the whole purpose of meditation is wrapped in those times when we are able to do and be “just this.”

“Just this” is “moving meditation.”

© Dr. William K. Larkin 


About the author

Dr. William K. Larkin
  • Alan Cohen

    The moment we start evaluating our flow “moment,” we have taken
    ourselves out of flow. I love the idea of just acknowleding “just this,”
    so as not to interfere in these glorious moments of “calm and connect.” I have noticed my own need to judge the moment, to try to understand why now, why this, when will it end. “Just this” is a wonderful tool to savour those brilliant times where past present and future blur into one perfect moment.

  • Kelsey Abbott

    I find flow in training for and racing in triathlon (and in life coaching). I often repeat numbers (sometimes to keep count, sometimes my target wattage and sometimes meaningless numbers) to help me stay present. I’ve been using this tool for years, probably since I was 12 years old–long before I’d heard of flow. Flow is a state of presence and connection. It comes from a feeling of safety. As soon as we pop out of flow and look at ourselves from the outside, we judge and when we feel judged, we feel threatened. Our natural response to threat is fight, flight or freeze. When I catch myself popping out of flow I remind myself, “right here, right now.” Much like “just this” it brings me back to the present narrow field of view and allows me to fall back into flow, to flourish.

  • Dr. gloria wright

    I love it when I’m in a state of “Flow.” It’s not so much euphoric, but a sense of aliveness and focus. Everything else melts into the background. I experience it when I’m writing my newsletter, when I’m working in the garden, when I’m cooking for company and when I’m truly engaged in a meaningful conversation.
    I agree with Dr. Larkin, that when I start judging or checking on how I’m doing, it takes me away from being in the moment. He adds that when our flow is interrupted, “it also kills the parasympathetic, healing, restorative, homeostatic response going on in the body.” It moves us out of “calm and connect” to “flight-flight.” It takes us out of our holistic
    experience and puts up in our head. Feeling Flow in our entirety is different than getting it from the hair up. It’s like talking your talk and not walking your walk. Flow is a way of Being.
    Savor the moment. Create experiences when you lose track of time and are just enjoying the moment. Spend time doing the little things you love. Don’t should on yourself (should be productive, should be doing something important). Don’t worry. Be happy. Really….
    Dr. Larkin calls these activities “moving meditation.” It reminds me of Thich Nhat Hanh’s knowledge that you know you can successfully meditate when you take it to the grocery with you. It is not just an activity, but a way of life. He says, “For things to reveal themselves to us, we need to be ready to abandon our views about them.” Like the tailor, “Every time he meets me, he takes my measurements anew.” Amen to that!

  • Deborah Logan

    The ‘just this’ of flow is fantastic. I connect to getting so absorbed into an enjoyable craft recipe search or cooking experience – flow is all around us. It’s amazing how we can step into or out of flow.

Copyright © 2015 The Applied Neuroscience Institute