I have been a long time fan of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. I read his work, way back when, in undergrad… interestingly enough it was my Taoism professor that assigned his books. Looking back with my understanding of Taoism and Csikszentmihalyi’s work, Flow, it all makes more sense now. I am still grateful for my prof bring this man’s ideas to my consciousness. Added to this my affection for natural trance/hypnotic states that we experience everyday, I am drawn to Csikszentmihalyi’s ideas on life fulfillment.
So what is this guy with the really long name talking about with Flow? Well, if you consider what it is like to be totally focused in a way that there is no room for anything other than being engrossed in the process… that is flow. Sometimes it is called “being in the zone” where you feel engaged, alive, and ready to move in your thought/action of choice. To be really fulfilled Csikszentmihalyi believes that we must find these areas of our being/life and create as many more as possible. You can read the wiki on the 9 elements of Flow.
The key for me about Csikszentmihalyi’s work is that with other approaches it requires a person to have stimulation outside of themselves. But with Flow a person is using who they are to find satisfaction. It all sounds like a rather basic concept at this point but when Csikszentmihalyi was bringing it forth, it was controversial.
Take a few minutes and push through Csikszentmihalyi’s accent and listen/watch to his intro talk on the idea of Flow when he was at TED.
Psyche Today had a great intro article to Flow, from years back, that I would also suggest you read if you are interested … but truthfully reading the book is well worth the effort.