Wake, up, Grow up, Clean up, Flow

Dear Integral Meditators,

Sometimes when we think of flow states there is the idea that they should be somehow effortless, stress-free and easy. In the article below I describe a state of flow that I’ve called enlightened flow which needs a certain amount of  effort-fullness before it can become effortless. I hope you enjoy it. If you find it interesting then do check out the Enlightened Flow workshop that I will be doing later this month!

For those of you interested in integral and evolutionary physical fitness, Scott Sonnon has come out with an interesting new offering he calls Six Degree Flow which I am taking a look at right now. I always find it interesting to see ideas of integration, evolution and flow are developing in other fields than my own!


Wake, up, Grow up, Clean up, Flow – The Art of Enlightened Flow

What comes into your mind when you think of the words “enlightened flow?
What might your life look like if it were lived in this state of enlightened flow?
How would it affect the way in which you help and experienced your body? Your work? Your relationships?
Before you go onto the rest of the article, please just pause for a few moments just to sit with these questions and see what type of images, ideas and experiences start to flow into your awareness.

From the point of view of integral growth and the path that I try and teach at Integral Meditation Asia, enlightened flow has three main aspects of facets:

Waking up – Bringing as much conscious awareness to your physical, mental and spiritual life as possible, keeping the light of your awareness turned on at all times.

Growing up – Doing psychological work in order to go through the stages of inner development outlined by developmental psychology. In its simplest terms this means mastering and integrating three essential levels of development:

  • Awareness and mastery of your instincts and biological self
  • Awareness and mastery of your conceptual and rational mind
  • Awareness and harnessing of your intuitive, trans-rational and trans-logical faculties

Want to know what that means in a single sentence? It means to be continually working to become a playful, mature adult who is actively working on the next level of her/his development.

Cleaning up – This means doing consistent ‘clean up’ work on our emotional, spiritual and psychological selves by doing regular shadow work, or put another way; working to integrate the destructive parts of ourselves that we are afraid of and have disowned or rejected back into our conscious mind in a constructive and positive way.

So, to practice enlightened flow in your life means to bring the following qualities to each moment of your existence, organically and to the best of your ability:

  • To be awake and alert – The torchlight of your awareness in switched ON
  • To take responsibility for what is going on and what you are contributing to each moment of your life – to be an adult
  • To be as fully present to the difficult and challenging aspects of what you are experiencing as you are to the easy, the positive and the pleasurable. Put another way; to clean up the mess that is in your mind on a regular basis!

Enlightened flow then in this means in each moment of your life you are:

  • Awake
  • Self-responsible
  • Not afraid to get your hands dirty

I’m calling this a state of enlightened flow because if you bring these three qualities into each moment of your life, then there will be nothing or at least very little that will be able to knock you of your centre and out of your flow.

Want to start practising enlightened flow? Here is the image for you to hold in your mind over the next week:

  • Visualize an image of yourself as a responsible (yet playful) grown-up adult.
  • In one hand you have a torch which you shine onto your life; you are awake
  • In the other hand you have a mop, you are doing the work of cleaning up your own emotional, mental and spiritual self; you are prepared to get your hands dirty whenever necessary.

So there you go, the three tools you need to stay in your own enlightened flow each day; are you ready to give it a try this week?

© Toby Ouvry 2014, you are welcome to use or share this article, but please cite Toby as the source and include reference to his website www.tobyouvry.com 


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