My wife suggested we watch the movie Forrest Gump last weekend and I confess it was the first time I had seen it. There is a scene in the movie where, after running back and forth across the nation, Forrest decides he's tired and ready to go home. "Roberta, I think I feel the same way about the seminars. I think I'm ready to stop and paint now." And so it is. For my last birthday, my children gave me an artist's table that we set up in my studio, along with many other tools needed to replenish my supplies. I purchased my usual browns, ochres and red paint and laughed when I came out to the studio to find large bottles of both green and blue added to my shelves. Those are Roberta’s favorite colors.
"For no particular reason I just kept on going. I ran clear to the ocean. And when I got there, I figured, since I’d gone this far, I might as well turn around, just keep on going. When I got to another ocean, I figured, since I’d gone this far, I might as well just turn back, keep right on going." – Forrest Gump
I’m reminded of a short article I wrote many years ago:
Artist and Paint Brush
Think of your Higher Self as an artist and your lower self as the picture you will paint. Your Higher Self is your karmically created character, and your lower self is your physical body—your traits, habits, and emotions. In each incarnation karma presents you, the artist, with an opportunity to paint your life picture. Do not confuse yourself with your picture. You are already a fully self-actualized, enlightened soul, who has only to project this awareness into your work.
We forget that we are the artists and not the painting, when we allow the painting to become our reality when we could be calling upon our buried talent to change the areas of the picture that are not working. We can erase portions of the picture and start again, painting a new image in bright, joyous colors.
I look forward to this new chapter in my life. It’s a slower, yet more peaceful time. I hope to show my paintings both online and at a local gallery soon. Thanks to everyone who been with me at one or more of my past seminars. I have appreciated the journey we’ve been on together.
Peace and Light,
Last month I talked about the value of regularly obtaining a FLOW state. This month I will explain how to do it.
The majority of people diffuse their attention in hundreds of random ways. Those who flow, focus their attention intentionally upon the task at hand. It really amounts to knowing your goal, concentrating on it, remaining determined, and having the self-discipline to complete what you are doing.
You create yourself by how you invest your energy. When it is under control your attention is focused. Attention is your most important tool in the task of improving the quality of your experience.
1. Choose a task that you have a good chance of completing.
2. You need the ability to focus your concentration upon the task at hand (a list of CDs that will help is listed at the end).
3. Clear goals are necessary, allowing you to focus your concentration.
4. The task provides feedback, which allows you to focus your concentration.
5. You get so involved in the task that you forget about everything else.
6. The task allows you to exercise a sense of control over your actions.
7. You become so focused on the task that self-concern disappears. (Your sense of self returns, stronger than ever after the flow experience is completed.)
8. You lose your sense of time; hours seems to pass in minutes, minutes can stretch out and seem like hours.
The combination of these factors causes a sense of deep enjoyment that is intensely gratifying. With this knowledge, it’s possible to achieve control of consciousness and turn even routine tasks into an experience of flow.
Remember, flow is when all your relevant skills are needed to cope with the challenges of a task, and you become completely absorbed by the activity. No attention is left to process any information but what the activity offers.
Those who naturally experience flow appear to have an “autotelic” self. The word is made up of two Greek words meaning “self goal.” Most people have goals that are shaped by biological needs and social conventions. In other words, their goals are generated externally. Those with an autotelic self have self-contained goals, and they accept few if any goals from outside themselves. They aren’t bored, seldom experience anxiety, and easily translate threats into challenges, thus maintaining inner harmony.
An important aspect of an autotelic self is the development of the self-discipline necessary to sustain your involvement until you accomplish your goal. Finally, you must learn to enjoy the immediate experience -- live in the now while working for the accomplishment of the goal in the future.
Once you are flowing, the experience drives you on to more creativity and achievement. The development of increasingly refined skills to sustain enjoyment is the actual power behind the evolution of culture.
If this short synopsis of the flow experience is intriguing to you, I suggest you read Csikszentmihalyi’s book, “FLOW” (Harper Perennial Books)
Peace and Light,
Programs to help generate the "Flow" while doing other things: