Saturday, August 9, 2014

Flow State and Maha

Tan Jui Horng
March 30 · Swiss Cottage Estate, Singapore

Is anyone familiar with flow? Is it just maha experience without right view? They both seem to emphasize total exertion.
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    John Tan, Stian Gudmundsen Høiland, Viorica Doina Neacsu and 3 others like this.
    Piotr Ludwinski Your question could not be more vague lol
    March 30 at 9:46pm · Like · 3
    Tan Jui Horng Really? Hmm... How about, to those who have experienced flow and maha, what is the difference?
    March 30 at 10:11pm · Edited · Like
    Daniel Noreen Could you clarify what you are referring to as "flow" and "maha?"
    March 30 at 11:07pm · Like · 3
    Tan Jui Horng "Flow" is the kind of experience that a top performer in their field would constantly experience when they're operating in their best condition. From wikipedia:

    "Flow is the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity. In essence, flow is characterized by complete absorption in what one does. Proposed by Mihály Csíkszentmihályi, this positive psychology concept has been widely referenced across a variety of fields.[1]"

    As for maha, perhaps reading of Soh's blog would be best:
    Awakening to Reality: On Anatta (No-Self), Emptiness, Maha and Ordinariness, and Spontaneous...
    Simple brilliance~thank you for this insightful sharing that is mirrored innerly... See More
    March 30 at 11:16pm · Like · Remove Preview
    Tan Jui Horng Unfortunately as someone who doesn't really know what realization of maha is like, I cannot comment on it much. But prior to my buddhist practice when I was still playing musical instruments, I do believe I have on rare occasions experienced "flow". It is when every note will be played beautifully and easily, time slows down, and you become extremely focused on what you're doing. The sense is that this current action (e.g string plucking/bending) being the most important thing in this world and in fact being the only thing in this world.

    Nowadays I'll occasionally get an experience like this in doing even mundane everyday things like looking at stuff, eating, walking etc. It feels like everything coming together and collaborating on this very action, so it also becomes the most important thing in this world and in fact it's the only thing in this world. But I dunno... maybe it's just accidental flow. Hence the reason why I want to ask this question.
    March 30 at 11:26pm · Like · 2
    Robert Healion Maha means great, as I understand it. In the posting it is used as a adjective or adverb and then as a noun / verb. Depending on what it is related to... words are misleading especially if used in alternative context....
    March 30 at 11:51pm · Like · 1
    Mr. J.C. Flow is the 4th jhana, equanimity.
    March 31 at 1:16am · Like · 1
    Mr. J.C. The reason athletes experience it is due to heightened concentration on experience.
    March 31 at 1:17am · Like · 1
    David Vardy Flow is dependent on the activity to turn off the 'selfing' mechanism. Maha isn't.
    March 31 at 2:20am · Like · 3
    David Vardy Perhaps a reason there aren't many athletes posing as Buddhas.
    March 31 at 2:22am · Like · 1
    Albert Hong Its very much like body and mind syncing.

    Your whole will is aligned and there is power and clarity.

    Living as the expressing of all that has come and is going to come in the instant that it occurs.

    So expressive that it doesn't have a chance
    To self express or self reflect on itself.

    Maha is the deepest penetration of interdependence as whatever appears.

    Like your mind makes the connection that yeah everything is in everything and every movement is the 10 thousand things.
    March 31 at 3:05am · Like · 3
    Albert Hong In art i teach flow. Its a bit different than say maha because its more about stayun directly with whats in front of oneself and responding authentically.

    Thats just being mindful. So its a bit more a technique to get down to the barebones of the instant we are alive. Flowing the the energy and the instant it arises so that no momentum is lost.

    Whereas maha has the view of interdependence.

    Both can be peak experiences. Flow is much easier to access depending on ones orientation. If one is used to bare attention and bringing that to action then flow can be accessed easier.
    March 31 at 3:13am · Like · 2
    Albert Hong This is my theory but maybe flow has to do with continuity and absence.

    Whereas maha is an extention of that through ur syncing of view and realization.
    March 31 at 3:15am · Like
    Stian Gudmundsen Høiland Great question. Just the fact that you can ask it demonstrates insight to me
    March 31 at 4:10am · Like
    David Vardy
    ECOBUDDHISM :: Mihali Csikszentmihalyi
    “The best moments in our lives are not the passive, receptive, relaxing times… T... See More
    March 31 at 4:35am · Like · 1 · Remove Preview
    Anzelle Pieretti For me the "flow" is when your connected to the Monadic plane and the faucet is turned on naturally and brings amirta down through your central channels. It happens naturally when you reach that level in your practice. It's living energy that comes into your body and wakes you up to the higher planes.
    March 31 at 4:41am · Edited · Like · 2
    John 'Genryu' Flow is not the fourth jhana by the way and one doesn't experience Anatta. That would be a contradiction in terms.
    Jahanas - Gunaratna
    This book is an abridged version of the author's "The Path of Serenity and Insig... See More
    March 31 at 8:22am · Like · 2 · Remove Preview
    John Ahn Right, one doesn't experience anatta. Experience is anatta.
    March 31 at 4:52pm · Like · 4
    Mr. J.C. John: In my experience, flow is very strongly correlated with the 4th jhana. I experience flow regularly training brazilian jiu jitsu and the 4th jhana regularly through noting. They feel the same - spontaneous obvious prominence of breath, all senses firing equally simultaneously, and feeling of effortless experiencing and activity.
    April 1 at 6:02am · Like
    Anthony Goh In my experience, super-flow states are the same as the non-doership of anatta. It is noticed that the mind-body is TOTALLY doing it's thing totally without any effort, or any one doing it.

    But as you say it is without right view, so it is thought of as a temporary experience. I had been in super-super flow 2-3 times in my life before having the "non-doer" insight and in my experience they were the same.
    April 1 at 9:09am · Like · 2
    David Vardy Recognition of no self is quite different from the selfing mechanism turned off by the brain in flow although the former doesn't happen without the latter.
    April 1 at 9:15am · Like · 3
    John 'Genryu' 'John: In my experience, flow is very strongly correlated with the 4th jhana. I experience flow regularly training brazilian jiu jitsu and the 4th jhana regularly through noting.'

    What you are experiencing isn't the fourth Jhana. Really Justin I suggest that you practice with a good teacher, someone authorised in a lineage, and ask them in person, rather than designating various states as being this or that without appropriate experience and training.
    April 1 at 9:18am · Like · 1
    Anzelle Pieretti Tan Jui Horng, I believe you have to have the right view at that specific time you experience it but it has to happen naturally without exertion. It's a total letting go. I practice dream yoga but if I exert myself doing practice for it, it doesn't happen, when it happens it happens when I least expect it without exerting myself. These things have to happen naturally over time. When we try too hard or cling to a concept about how we should practice the magic doesn't happen.
    April 1 at 11:52am · Edited · Like · 4
    David Vardy Yes, but the exertion Tan Jui Horng mentions here isn't one that's necessarily volitional. That particular total concentration often happens when you least expect it and only when you are entirely relaxed.
    April 1 at 11:56am · Like · 3
    Beverly Bunker The more one attempts to put words to it, to say it is 'like' this or that, the further away one is from it. It cannot be explained, it isn't 'like' a 4th jhana (nor is it a 4th jhana), it is inexpressible. If one has had an actual experience realizing it, you will know what I just said is true.
    April 2 at 10:13am · Like · 2
    Mardava Christian Palocz One uses words not to point, but to hint.
    April 2 at 11:23am · Like
    John 'Genryu' Or to ask for the salt at mealtimes. Even on Zen retreats that's permissible.
    April 2 at 11:24am · Like · 1
    Mardava Christian Palocz hhahha
    April 2 at 11:25am · Like
    Mr. J.C. John - Even though I find your response rudely presumptive, in the spirit of learning from different perspectives, which mind state do you associate with these phenomena: spontaneous obvious prominence of breath, all senses firing equally simultaneously, and feeling of effortless experiencing and activity.
    April 2 at 12:01pm · Edited · Like
    Mardava Christian Palocz I don't like to make it an extraordinary experience separate from everything else.
    April 2 at 12:03pm · Like · 1
    Soh The flow is a peak experience due to intense concentration, it is in some ways similar to total exertion, except total exertion is an actualization of the wisdom of anatta and D.O.

    Shared this with Thusness today: "Today zen teacher says nothing is pre existing. People think that things pre exist and light of consciousness shines on things. But everything is just awareness manifestation and awareness is not separate. The way does not exist apart from actualization"

    Thusness: "Well said. Total exertion and D.O."
    April 2 at 10:41pm · Edited · Like · 8
    Mr. J.C. I'll amend my response - I actually experience two kinds of flow. The flow of concentrating on sense experience is the one I get from snowboarding and jiu jitsu and feels the same as 4th jhana to me.

    The other flow is when I am concentrating on abstract mental objects such as writing code. In this state the attention creates energy that is the abstract mental objects and the body and sense experience disappears.

    As Soh says, the commonality is intense concentration.
    April 3 at 1:11am · Like
    Anzelle Pieretti It never happens for me that way when I concentrate intensly so I guess we all are wired differently
    April 3 at 1:14am · Edited · Like
    Mr. J.C. Anzelle Pieretti - What happens for you?
    April 3 at 1:31am · Like
    Stian Gudmundsen Høiland Oooh, cool, Soh. Would you tell a bit more about "everything is just awareness manifestation"?

    I'll join in later on.
    April 3 at 2:43am · Edited · Like
    Albert Hong Everything is just different expressions as consciousness.

    Not of consciousness.

    Not as a unity relating to multiplicity.

    Not as a singular nature of all things.

    Sound is exactly consciousness.

    Smell is exactly consciousness.
    April 3 at 4:00am · Unlike · 5
    Albert Hong But that can skew towards foreground phenomena becoming something. Even though there is no more background or container.

    Hence pce obsessive, present moment obsessive.

    Still not being able to see how consciousness is merely a label that doesn't actually point to anything.

    Sound is exactly emptiness.
    April 3 at 4:05am · Unlike · 6
    Anzelle Pieretti I notice it happening when I'm not concentrating on practice. Sometimes it happens when I'm in the shower or washing dishes not doing any practice at all. I'm finding out it has something to do with the water element. It's like dream yoga for me. When I do the practice nothing happens during sleep. But I have nights when I don't do the practice and it happens naturally without any effort. It's something I can't put into words. I hope I'm not confusing anyone here.
    April 3 at 4:10am · Edited · Like · 2
    David Vardy Water is like white noise to all the senses.
    April 3 at 4:13am · Like
    David Vardy Calming
    April 3 at 4:13am · Like · 2
    Jacob Solace Practice prevents Flow/Attention/Awareness/ExperiencING.
    April 3 at 5:20am · Like
    Albert Hong Practice doesn't have to.

    Even contrived effort can be playful flow.
    April 3 at 5:30am · Like · 3
    Jacob Solace Practice is always the past. Flow/Attention/Awareness/ExperiencING is Now.
    April 3 at 6:18am · Like
    Jacob Solace The end of effort is the beginning of Flow/Attention/Awareness/ExperiencING.
    April 3 at 6:19am · Like
    Mr. J.C. Jacob - I see what you're trying to emphasize, but I don't agree that there is any need to make an enemy of practice (or anything for that matter).
    April 3 at 6:19am · Like · 2
    Mr. J.C. Feelings of effort are also just experience and can be seen as empty.
    April 3 at 6:20am · Like
    Mr. J.C. I agree that effort does not always feel pleasant and effortlessness often feels better, but that doesn't make effort wrong.
    April 3 at 6:20am · Like
    Jacob Solace I am not emphasizing anything.
    April 3 at 6:22am · Like
    Mr. J.C. cool
    April 3 at 6:22am · Like
    Mr. J.C. this is wonderful
    April 3 at 6:23am · Like
    Jacob Solace No one is making an enemy of practice except your own mind.
    April 3 at 6:23am · Like
    Mr. J.C. Hi there projection of my mind, its very nice to meet you. You seem like a decent chap
    April 3 at 6:24am · Like · 1
    Jacob Solace Stay only with the facts.
    April 3 at 6:24am · Like
    Jacob Solace The end of effort is the beginning of Flow/Attention/Awareness/ExperiencING. Do you see this fact?
    April 3 at 6:25am · Like
    Jacob Solace Effort is the movement of the I.
    April 3 at 6:26am · Like
    Jacob Solace It is the activity of the I that prevents Flow/Attention/Awareness/ExperiencING.
    April 3 at 6:27am · Like
    Mr. J.C. Sorry, disagree. Experience always already is effortless. I have no problem with the movement of the I, its empty.
    April 3 at 6:28am · Like
    Jacob Solace Mr. J.C. is always projecting. Therefore, there is no Lucidity. Do you see this fact?
    April 3 at 6:28am · Like
    Jacob Solace Experience is always the past. Do you see this fact?
    April 3 at 6:28am · Like
    Mr. J.C. You and I must use the word experience differently. I mean experience as This, immediate, effortless, luminous experience that includes everything including a sense of self (or not) and effort (or not).
    April 3 at 6:30am · Like · 5
    John Ahn LOL, DO YOU SEE THIS FACT?? Come on. Less preaching and more sharing please...
    April 3 at 10:27am · Unlike · 5
    Barry Ryder The flow has an occasional white water rapids. It is fun to ride the waves. Just beyond the shore presents a place and a quiet where memories of what just occurred abound yet in time the quiet takes precedence.
    April 4 at 11:48am · Like
    David Vardy Flow is just what's being experienced when you're no longer featured thinking you're separate from what's happening.
    April 4 at 12:05pm · Like · 3
    John 'Genryu' "John - Even though I find your response rudely presumptive." Oh you mean your original claims, dressed up in meaningless verbiage? You're right of course, they are rudely presumptuous. Much as I'd love to play the game and pretend that you know what you're talking about, you don't and it's a very very boring game. It's the game of, 'I've read a few books and done something that vaguely looks like meditation for a while, so now I'm going to pretend that I have great insight.' Groups like this on FB are littered with those who make such claims. Often because they know full well that in an actual Buddhist center, with a real teacher, they'd not be indulged.

    Believe it or not, repeating word salad and claiming that you've experienced this or that Jhana doesn't convince anyone who's actually done any real training under a teacher. As I suggested previously, find a real, live, human teacher and train with them. Then, if you think I'm being presumptuous, wait until you try this stuff in a Dokusan room with a teacher. You're in for a shock.
    April 4 at 12:45pm · Edited · Like · 1
    Nancy Chitta A Hansen TOTALLY in the NOW the Zen of an arrow shooting itself --- it manifests a little differently with everyone --- I agree with John Ahn --- I believe we should OWN our personal experiences and statements not give thunderbolts from God preaching.. Unfortunately, I have found some of this is cultural with people from the India, Bhutan, Tibetan area of the world..... even the Dalai Lama acknowledges people from these areas often are arrogant ---
    April 4 at 12:36pm · Like · 1
    Barry Ryder this thread is a flow of sorts as is the flow in extreme sports when no time to think - just adapt.
    personally I enjoy that flow when working with clients allowing my hands to find the spot and experience that knowingness when it is found and enjoying the feedback from the client while working the congestion that strengthens my fingers with a steady want to stay with motivation to see it through hearing about pain yet not wanting me to stop in that it hurts yet it is an old hurt that is, at that moment, feeling incrementally better with each passing moment. The moment - so profound - that we give pause to our conversation and sometimes forget that which seemed captivating a moment ago.
    April 4 at 12:51pm · Like · 1
    Mr. J.C. John 'Genryu' - Would you like me to stop participating and honestly sharing my experiences?
    April 4 at 12:54pm · Like
    John 'Genryu' Just be honest. It's not really sharing when you make claims that you are not qualified to. What I would like is that you go and train with a real, human teacher and see what they say about your experiences, so that you can find out for yourself.
    April 4 at 12:55pm · Like
    Barry Ryder a teacher that can say more about an experience than what is experienced. that teacher must be unbleached to the max or perhaps uncarved.
    April 4 at 1:00pm · Like · 1
    John 'Genryu' Funny because that's exactly what Buddhist teachers do. It's great and all to think that we can teach ourselves but it really doesn't work that way because guess what? The 'teacher' is as ignorant as the student in that situation. That's one reason why Buddhist practice is based on the teacher student relationship.
    April 4 at 1:01pm · Like · 1
    Barry Ryder when it is
    April 4 at 1:03pm · Like
    Barry Ryder nice when a teacher comes to the students level so the student has a mirror
    April 4 at 1:05pm · Like
    Mr. J.C. I am so unmotivated to participate in an online argument right now. I have a close personal relationship with a highly respected Buddhist teacher. Any presumption about that teacher's capabilities are completely disrespectful. Soh knows who he is and can confirm without naming names. Good night.
    April 4 at 1:06pm · Like · 1
    Barry Ryder good to know what is important
    April 4 at 1:06pm · Like
    John 'Genryu' ' have a close personal relationship with a highly respected Buddhist teacher.' And I know a lot of cops but that doesn't make me a cop. So what? Any teacher will tell you the same thing Justin.
    April 4 at 1:10pm · Like
    Barry Ryder that word flow - so special - amazing that conceptual highlights even survive when the word is unveiled. I have a entire book named flow. Highly interesting yet I started it several times and that is as far as I got. Conversations about it are easier. It reminds the conversant ones what is important.
    April 4 at 1:16pm · Like
    Soh John, the issue here is that you are evaluating fourth jhana through the suttic definition though Im pretty sure that Justin is talking about the fourth vipassana jhana which is based on commentaries, also, definitions like "formation" based on daniel ingram, kenneth folk's map and so on. The thing about jhanas is that different teachers have vastly different interpretation of those states.
    April 4 at 1:25pm · Like
    Barry Ryder Just read about Maha above - what a great word about Great.
    As a title it seems to be inclusive of a much higher degree of knowingness that Mindfullness. As if one were Mindful to the extent that much falls away and an enhanced awareness of everythingness happens. Glad to have the moon to shoot for. No matter how great the flow gets it seems like so much more can be realized in a moment and maintained moment to moment. However some moments are such that a hint of what is attainable. Grateful for that and appreciate a new understanding and respect for the word Maha.
    April 4 at 1:26pm · Like
    John 'Genryu' 'The thing about jhanas is that different teachers have vastly different interpretation of those states.' That's partly my point Soh and thank you for making it. Because of this alone, making claims about experiencing it are meaningless at best and teachers do test for such things.
    April 4 at 1:33pm · Edited · Like · 1
    John Ahn Ha, seems like people love to teach Justin this and that. o_O. Seems like Justin is really messing it up.
    April 4 at 2:19pm · Edited · Like · 1
    John Ahn Damn it Justin, you are so wrong! So so wrong!
    April 4 at 2:19pm · Like · 1
    Barry Ryder Right that Justin started talking about one of the 4 levels of stillness related to focusing on an object. That is a deep subject. there is stillness and deeper stillness and deeper deeper stillness and deepest stillness that a teacher awards one with the real right concentration. Perhaps an exhaustion of sorts.
    It seems that relates to flow yet is not flow all about flowing. You know being part of what is happening in a total experiential way.
    Flow is not about focusing on an object. Focusing on an object is about getting cleared so whatever action is taken it would be in the flow.
    So if you flow 'with it' previous to having the real right concentration then the flow is not total as somehow there is a conditioned preconceived aspect to the flow. It is better to totally get to the 4th level of stillness and be still. then when entering the flow it will be as an uncarved block. That way it will have to do with everyone elses stuff and not ones selfs stuff.
    So the lesson here is to not try to convince another how still you are.
    Or even talk about it or describe what it will be like because it is not being still.
    Even entering the flow would be odd. Perhaps out of compassion.
    You know cultivated loving kindness.
    yet say there was an earth quake. Do you sit there or move away from the shoreline why because of instincts or because everyone else is or your inner guide or because it is obvious or because you are all knowing. Just do not think - Do.
    Justin what would you do?
    April 4 at 2:44pm · Edited · Like
    Beverly Bunker Barry Ryder, good points. I also agree that there needs to be an exhaustion 'of sorts' as you put it. It is only in that exhaustion, that letting go, that the need to know ceases. The 'flow' always is; whether one is aware of something or not. 'Flow' does not need us. Flow 'is.'
    April 4 at 2:53pm · Like
    Barry Ryder I love the word flow - off to bed for me
    April 4 at 2:54pm · Like · 1
    Barry Ryder I'm exhausted
    April 4 at 2:55pm · Like · 1

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