What is Flow?

Sometimes accomplishing great things requires little effort and other times accomplishing nothing at all takes everything you have got. I am caught between two cliches here: go with the flow, and against the grain. I could be talking bikes here, or I could not be, but let’s pretend that I am talking about the bikes.

Riding when it is 100 degrees outside seems like more of an against the grain kind of decision don’t you think? What can I hope to gain from it? I am going to do it tonight no matter what so don’t get all caught up in Yaying or naying that decision. What I am getting it is more fundamental. What does it mean to flow? Does it mean go along to get along? Because that doesn’t sound appealing. When you are flowing are you pushing the pace or holding a certain rhythm? If finding a flow is the ultimate, and it is easy to argue that it is, then why all of the romantic appeal of going against the grain? Is it more noble to do things the hard way, or do we justify that when we do it because it is how we spend our time? Can you flow against the grain too?

One thing that will for sure be flowing tonight is sweat.


6 Responses to What is Flow?

  1. …could flow be a state of awareness that adapts seamlessly and effortlessly to *the* dynamic instant? If so then perhaps dimension and vector become meaningless?

    Flow with,against,up,down sideways…no matter.Thoughts create feelings… Feelings affect and create decision.

    Just go. “One mind” as the young samurai said.

  2. I can turn
    And walk away
    Or I can ride the bike
    Staring at the sky
    Staring at the sun
    Whichever I chose
    It amounts to the same
    Absolutely nothing

  3. I love the question — right up my alley.

    Tao te Ching tells us that non-effort (flow) does not mean lack of effort — it means “right action,” the place where energy, in that moment and no other, wants and needs to go. This means we can no longer rely on “rules,” training schedules, what faster riders do. We have to learn to listen to things most people don’t even hear. I’m slowly learning this skill.

    If you’re pscyhed for riding, 100 deg. doesn’t matter. If you feel crappy, or are going out of a sense of duty or macho-ness — that’s wrong action. Even on a beautiful day.

  4. Exactly, Velosopher. Though I lack any oriental references, my thoughts were more a gut feeling. Flow and against the grain are not mutually exclusive. It’s the right amount of against the grain, to load the spring, and create further kinetic energy. A lack of energy output is not flow, but float; just adrift.

  5. You are both drafted onto my board of directors. It was only 95 degrees, and we had fun until the dizzy spells started.