Taoism and the Philosphy of Flow
Welcome to the pick the brain podcasts where we pick the brains of the brightest minds in the areas of health self-improvement productivity and kicking ass at life. Hi Jeremy Fisher always alongside. My Co host Erin Falcon Right. Right Aaron. Today we're going to talk a little bit about the philosophy of flow. We're going to philosophical big buzz word flow. Yeah we're GONNA talk about Taoism which You know I'm going to say Taoism because Tau is I know how spell with a t but You know I think the most common pronunciation of this Taoism so we will go with that but if talk a little bit about the philosophy of flow and this is from Ganger which is a Youtube. So let's go ahead and listen to this clip Which offers no resistance overcomes the hardest substances that which offers no resistance can enter where there is no space. Few in the world can comprehend the teaching without words or understand the value of non action. Outsor-. There's no proof that they truly ever lived but if did it should have been somewhere around a fifth and sixth century BC which makes him a contemporary of Confucius nevertheless the Chinese philosopher. Loud Sir wrote a masterpiece called the Dow de Ching which is the main work of Taoism a well known concept that has emerged from Taoist. Philosophy is way that GONNA be translated as non action effortless action or the paradox action of non action. In a practical sense. We can describe w-way as the state of flow often referred to as the zone by athletes when athletes are in the zone. They engage in action without striving and move through time and space. Almost effortlessly there are no extremes. No worries no ruminations. Everything seems to flow in a natural course as an introduction to the beautiful tradition of Dow Wisdom. I would like to present you. The philosophy of flow doubt `aging as a mysterious species of art. Not only there's no consensus when exactly it was written but the existence of its author remains dispute it. Nevertheless one thing is certain. The profundity of this work has left. Its mark on humanity to does day not to mention that the dowding is the most translated work in world literature after the Bible the essence of Taoist philosophy is living in harmony with the Dow also called the way. So what is the Dow neces- question weekend re answer? And it's futile to try. Our understanding of the Dow only goes as far as the limitations over a perception. What the Dow really is and what it looks feels smells or sounds like remains a mystery. Moreover the doubted we speak Gulf isn't the real dow according to louder hence the famous opening of the doubt. `aging goes like this. The Dow that's can be described is not the eternal Tao the name can be spoken is not the eternal name and quote so what knowledge is available about the Dow. Well the Dow I emphasize over and over again that the true Dow is an all encompassing force that is beyond our comprehension and cannot be perceived by the senses and even though we can never grasp the true doubt the goal is to live in agreement with it which is strikingly similar to the STOIC approach to nature. So how do we live in harmony with the way? Taoist literature doesn't really give one practical method to achieve this. However we can find many clues that point to achieving stillness over mind curbing census being humble and the cessation of striving in order to open ourselves up to the workings of the universe. This stillness of mind doesn't necessarily mean that we sit down somewhere with our eyes closed the Taoists that stillness of mind can be combined with action and we are completely in the present moment. Our actions will go effortlessly without friction and accompanied by a razor sharp focus so much so that it's almost ecstatic in his biography. Retired professional basketball player. Bill Russell writes it was almost as if we were playing in. Slow motion during those spells. I would almost sense out necks. Play would develop and where the next shot would be taken and quote. The work zone contains a story about a cook named Ting who engages in his work while in a state of flow. This grasped the attention of Lord when we who was amazed about how elegantly the cook cut up oxygen when he commented him on his skill Gook Ting lay down knife and replied what care about is the way which goes beyond skill when a first began cutting oxen. All I could see was the ox itself after three years. I no longer Saudi whole ox. And now now I go edit by spirit and don't look with my eyes. Perception and understanding have come to stop and spirit moves where at once. I go along with a natural makeup. Strike the big hollows guide the knife through the big openings and following things as they are so never touch the smallest ligament or tendon. Much less a main joint and quote an essential. Part of the story is the condition of the knife that could uses. He stated. That good cooks changed our knifes every year because they cut and mediocre kooks changed their knives every month because they heck Cupertino however was using the same knife for nineteen years because he used it with skill and subtlety. This story connects to another essential teaching of Taoism which is the power of gentleness by forcing and striving we might get the job done but at the same time we spent much more energy than necessary and possibly suffer from collateral damage on the other. Hand someone in a state of flow approaches a task intelligently knowing when to act and what not to find a balance between action and non action. It's a matter of not too hot not too cold. It's the golden path between anxiety and boredom. The idea behind non-action goes against the western ideal of forcing and working harder and harder to get results. We are encouraged to be ambitious to take control. And to strive meanwhile many people suffer from depression anxiety disorders and sleep disorders. Are we burning ourselves out? We look down on Pacific and often mistaken for laziness but these are different things when we look at nature. Doing nothing makes way more sense than we tend to think. Results do not equal the amount of energy we spent results are a consequence of a series of actions. The funny thing about this. Is that many of these actions? Come naturally and a task doesn't need more human intervention than necessary to steer it into the right direction. Isn't it so that many problems solve themselves? Taoism comparison live to a river. The river already has a course or several courses and the ones we find ourselves in death river. We can swim against the current we can hold onto a branch or weaken. Let go and go along with the Stream. Most of our lives. We swim against the current. And we don't even realize it. Our mind believes that it can shoot control the environment in order to survive which is kind of egocentric because the vast majority of processes within as well as outside ourselves are not in control. I mean let's face it. We don't control our bodily processes like digestion blood flow or the healing of wounds. We don't control other people. We don't control the future. We don't even control who we fall in love with and what people we find attractive everything outside our own faculties just goes into some direction sometimes forced by intelligence but mostly in a natural course when we flow along with the current. We align ourselves with this natural course. This is the bath. Of least it gives nature a chance to unfold without US resisting it. So the Dow was the way is rather navigating through the river instead of trying to control it. Something that will never work another aspect of the river. That characterizes Taoism is the water itself d correct heuristic of water are softness and humidity that basically symbolized Taoist virtue. Here's a quote from the Dow Teaching. The supreme good is like water which benefits all of creation without trying to compete with it. It gathers in unpopular places. Does it is like the Dow and quote. What are maybe soft. But it's overcomes hardness which we can see in the erosion of Iraq and what are not only seeks to lower places. It's also has no burgers. No goal no specific desire yet. It nourishes everything that passes. It's an incredible life force. That literally does God's work but without any ambition water is the softest and most yielding substance. Yet nothing is better than water for overcoming the heart and rigid because nothing can compete with it and quote if you've ever experienced a state of flow that's one thing that disappears and only comes back when to thinking mind. Take back control. This is focused on results. Rather than the task at hand this reminds me of the story concept of Amore Fatty which recommends want to embrace the outcome. Whatever it may be and instead of worrying about the future focusing on what's in the present no matter if you're completely immersed in sports writing a video game or dancing when you're in a state of flow you forget. The results the pressure the anxieties about the future. The failings of the best. It's just you and a task at hand. You're completely in the present and the only way to do this is by letting go letting go means stops swimming against the current stop holding onto some branches. It means letting go of the past letting go of the future focus on this moment entirely and just live it without hesitation before I get your thoughts. Let's take a second and think today sponsor we are promoting another podcast today. A really good one is called start from zero and it just came out. It's climbing the ranks really fast. It is reaching the top fifteen podcasts. It's a unique show that I've actually never seen before. It's an experienced entrepreneur. Who takes people from all walks of life in mentors them teaching them how to make money starting from zero without compromising who they are. The podcast has fifty percent female participants on the episodes and has fifteen millionaire students. And let me tell you it shows. The episodes are highly edited for maximum impact. And it's just about as good as it comes if you'd like to try out episode to see if you like it visit start from zero dot com slash brain. People have been listening to this. Podcast have been binge listening to that is start from zero dot com slash brain hour. Right Erin the action of non-action. That's what we talked a little bit about here. What did you think for stuff into it? Yeah Yeah I'm always kind of in line with my lessons. More quiet mind. Is You know the minds. It speaks the busy mind. Does the mind that shuts down that kind of thing. And so I think all these things are kind of saying the same thing and probably all been born in some way. Or another. From the root of Taoism. I think as we move into a more and more chaotic place mentally an energetically socially these principles. It's not a surprise to me that we are hearing state of flow flow state trying to get into your flow over and over and over again and it's just a reaction a response to a level of chaos and clammy that is simply not sustainable for that much longer. Yeah and I think everyone has experienced it at some point and didn't really know what it was like man that just seemed to work out like you may be locked in here. Maybe you're playing basketball or your writing or even if you're in a conversation with someone in the words. Cd's sounded like the most articulate person in the world where you look back and you're like who was that. Yeah I mean that that sort of state of flow. What so many people are trying to achieve. And it's one of those things where the harder you try to reach it the further it is from you. Sometimes it's like I often comes in the most unexpected unanticipated ways in times and I think that the Dow was kind of realized that forcing it is often the worst way to achieve it. And so it's kind of like have you ever. I'm sure everybody's dumbness. You're having a dream that you're really loving really interested in you. Wait in for some reason you wake up and you're like oh I got to to get to that dream. I gotTa get to the gym. It's literally never happened in. The history of mankind can never get back to that dream. The second you try to get back to exactly yeah. It is and it's it's very interesting because it's such a of visceral like it's you can't. It's nothing you can put your finger on like it is just this like it's almost like woo woo like you can't get a hold of it you but everyone has experienced it. And so I think that there's some tips and techniques that people have to try to set yourself up to achieve the state of flow. You and I've actually done a couple podcast on that in the past but I think that is also very difficult to do because you have to try to do it in a way to where you just create the space for it to happen or not happen. It can't be something that you force right and I think that's kind of what they were talking about when they were talking about sort of You know the power of gentleness and like approaching things with soft or loose hands where you're not the you know you're not coming at something with the intention of getting something out of it. Soft and loose hands. Yeah so well you know what you know what I thought about when I said that one split second I came back and I was like. What are we talking about? It doesn't surprise zoned out. I think you do it more often for longer but often loose. I'll tell you I'll tell you what made me think of that? Was trying to hold water. Okay like try to grab a handful of water the tighter. You try to grit or sand like the tighter. Try to rip it insight audience into Jeremy's what he does at home. Yes I try to do is grab water Jonah. Grab water sitting in the bathtub. And I'm like I'm GonNa get you know. Think about it in that term like in a metaphor state like people who I feel like people have the same problem the that relates to bunny that relates to health that relates to relationships like the tighter. You try to grab onto something the more slip out of your hand and it is like trying to grab onto water and so. I think that's kind of the way like that. What was in my head when I said soft and loose hands was basically. Don't want it so much that you will repel it from your life. Because I think that's what happens right when you try to find that flow well and it's I'll take it one step further. It's it's about trying to control the second year trying to control this. You've lost control. Yes and I think that's what's so scary for people especially when you talk about things like meditation which are Kinda go hand in hand with flow states is the fear of totally letting go what's going to happen what's GonNa come up for me. What's maybe nothing will happen. Then what I've got nothing. I'm empty I need to control something. I need to own something about myself and only you can only do that by letting it all go. Yep It's such a love that life has some paradoxes. Like just obvious. Weird doesn't make any sense paradoxes. And this is one of them right. The more you let go the more you'll find what you're looking for the harder you try to hold onto something the more likely you are to lose it and I just think it's I just think it's fascinating you can talk about the parallels throughout life all your entire life like kids if you try to hold onto control manipulating smother your kids. Guess what they as soon as they get out of the house. They're gone you won't talk to him for years. They will have to get away from you because you use tried to hold them so close that they ripped they rejected you the same thing with like a romantic partner. The show up on a first date with someone and try to propose to them. They're out last date. You had the first and last date. You'll have you can't you? Can't force things to happen too fast or outside of their own natural time. Line and so yeah. I think that's the this is one of those things that it's a very very core. Deep philosophy that comes from Taoism that if you can institute it in a little piece here and there in every area of your life basically rewires how you approach that subject and we talk about every month. Go ahead and it starts doing the work for you. Yes you stop. Us stopped doing trying to do the work. Let the work get done for you. And that's what happens in a flow state right. It becomes effortless. You don't you don't have to think about it or feel it. Just something locks in like you're saying like you make an may mazing move on the basketball court or you string together an amazing thought in a presentation and it's like you didn't say. I'M GONNA NOW. They can amazing thought and say it out loud. You just did right. So that's your energy just working for you instead of you trying to create that energy and manipulate that energy and control that energy to do something for that's a lot more heavy lifting and I think is so much more relaxing because it's instead of me getting all geared up anxious about what do I do next Knicks. Sometimes it's best just to sit down and let things come to you. And and that's the danger of expectation right so that's also part of flow state that he didn't really talk about it in here but it is those the expectation of this is what I have to do. This is what I have to do right now. That takes so much energy from you instead of just being in a position to let be what will be you know. Yep Absolutely manures countless examples we could. We could talk about but I think that our audience is smart enough to get the point. They get it and I think that's a good place for us to go ahead and wrap up I will put the link to this video in the show. Notes that the episode as we always do big things to anes ill Ganger if I pronounced that correctly putting that out there for us until next time. I'm Jeremy Fisher reminding you to keep moving keep thinking and keep growing.