Flow


Photo: hypergurrl

I have a confession to make. Buddhism has been my philosophy of choice for the past 5 years. The smiling face and rounded belly of the Buddha never fails to put me at ease, along with thoughts of non-attachment, meditation, and peace.

But there’s a new kid in town. Well, technically, this kid is older, wiser, and confuses people when they try to pronounce its name.

This kid is Taosim.

I’d read the classic text Tao te Ching in my early Buddhist explorations, but it must have been too poetic, and too simple, for me to truly grasp the wisdom before me.

It wasn’t until this summer, after discovering a passage from Adyashanti’s The End of Your World, that I rediscovered the concept of flow:

“Enlightenment is when everything within us in cooperation with the flow of life itself, with the inevitable.

When we’re not so conflicted and divided inside, we get a feel for the inevitable-where life is moving, what direction it is going in. We no longer ask “Is this the right way? How do I know it’s the right way?” This kind of question actually distorts our perception. There’s something much more subtle occurring; it’s the flow of life itself.

When we say a simple and sincere yes to life, yes to death, yes to the ego’s own dissolving, we don’t have to struggle anymore. It becomes a new way of navigating through life.

Flow is what navigates us through life – not concepts, not ideas, not what we should or shouldn’t do, not what’s right or wrong. Over time, what we come to see is that flow is always amazing.

It is the expression of unity, it directs our existence in ways that are healing and loving, and it brings things together in ways we couldn’t imagine.”

Naturally, I was intrigued. My biggest criticism of Buddhism (and other Western spiritual books) is the concept of surrender: surrender all your attachment to ideas, goals, and expectations, and you will find enlightenment.

Great, I thought. Does that mean I stop trying to do “something” with my life? Do I give up my desire to make thought-provoking films? Do I stop caring about anything? Do I wander the streets like a monk?

Of course, I knew it was more complex than that, but it was frustrating to continuously hear and read without any teacher going deeper.

Adyashanti was the first to eloquently offer the answer: that surrendering control over how your life “should be” actually opens you up to the life you want.

You start going with the flow.

This concept is a core philosophy of Taoism – which is why I decided to follow this particular flow and see where it would take me.

As for Buddha, he’s taking the news fairly well. In fact, he seems downright happy about it.

4 Comments

  1. I love the Tao Te Ching, but the Book of Chuang Tzu and the Hua Hu Ching are both good inspirational sources too. Each of them addresses the concept of flow in their own unique ways.

  2. One of the key reasons I was attracted to Taoism from the start was also its non-renunciation aspects.

    And about the concept of “flow” that you address here, the most comprehensive and illuminating book I’ve read on the subject is Effortless Action by Edward Slingerland. I think you’ll enjoy it!

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