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Creative Flow 2:

Live Forwards, Not Backwards

Creative Flow 2: Live forwards, not backwards

This article continues the correspondence with Ananda begun in part 1: Creative Flow: Is it possible to enjoy consistent flow states? Here we discuss the importance of 'living forwards', the sense of being fresh and new as you let go and enter the flow of life. (Please refer to part 1, before reading this page.)

Ananda writes:

From: Ananda
To:  wily[at]wilywalnut.com
Subject: RE: question: creative flow
Date: Thu, 9 Oct 2008 16:00:47 +0000

Dear Wily,
Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my question, and thank you for such clarity and insight in your beautifully written email!! Your answer really brings together a lot of things I've been reading and thinking about these last two years. I will be re-reading your email many more times. I am thinking a lot about the distinction you made between the two aspects of flow which is very interesting.

I want to share with you a poem written more than 1500 years ago by a Chinese poet, titled 'The Peach Blossom Spring', the story goes like this-' A fisherman was drifting down a river. He was lost after many forks and turns. He found himself in a beautiful village with peach blossoms everywhere. The people there are beautiful and life is like paradise. They are unaware of the world outside. They showered him with such hospitality. He left at the end of the day and found his way home. After a while he missed that village and journeyed down the river trying to find it, but he never found it again.' I feel it's such a wonderful metaphor of the state of being that we are pondering, which, in your words, 'is about trust' and 'happens when we let go of trying'...

Your words remind me so much of the teachings of Abraham-Hicks, whom I feel are some of the greatest teachers on the planet. I really appreciate your profound wisdom and your joyful, loving energy!!!

With my best wishes,

Here is my reply:

Dear Ananda,
Creative Flow: Live forwards, not backwardsThank you so much for your kind words and for 'The Peach Blossom Spring' poetic story.
It brings to mind something that I was thinking about after replying to your initial email. And that is the ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus's ideas on flow, change and impermanence...

'No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it's not the same river and he's not the same man.' 
~ Heraclitus 

As children we live forward, moving out into the moment, experiencing life anew. As adults we begin to live backwards, trying to recreate our pleasurable experiences and avoid the potential for unpleasant ones.

This is like the man in the story who misses the village and goes looking for it again. But the village has gone, he cannot find it anymore, just as we cannot effectively repeat an experience and get the same richness from the experience as we had when we were in the flow.
In a newspaper article recently, the writer described a person as having reached the age where they were facing consequences rather than possibilities. This phrase had quite an impact on me. Part of growing up is to learn about consequences and the responsibility you have for your choices and actions. This insight is there to help you make better choices. However, we also abuse this facility by allowing it to be run by fear.
Our anticipation of painful situations and circumstances locks us into comfort zones and ruts of behavior. Our memory of pleasures locks us into limiting our actions to those few choices that have worked for us in the past. Gradually we become closed off from the flow of life. And we wonder why we don't feel alive anymore!
Wisdom allows us to be circumspect and appropriately cautious. However, in our consciousness at least, we need to be willing to 'let go of the side' and swim in deeper waters.

The rocks in midstream can give us temporary relief from the surging current of the river of life. But they are not meant to be island habitations. That's where the trust comes in. Use your knowledge, yes. Make the best possible choices, yes. But abandon yourself to the flow, and trust.
Live forwards into life. Don't live backwards, because 'live' turned backwards is 'evil'!

A warning if ever there was one! :-)
This aspect of being in the flow is about creative living. Experiencing the richness of life as though for the first time, every moment.

It's the Baby Mind of the Zen Masters.

It's Krishnamurti's insistence on clearing out the old, and looking at things completely afresh to learn, observe and experience without judgements or preconditions.

And it's Abraham-Hicks' joyous reaching out expectantly for the good, for the well-being, for the abundant new life that is out there waiting to be relished and enjoyed.

Pre-paving the future with positive expectancy and then trustfully abandoning the sides to experience and be in the flow of the wonderful life pouring into each present moment.

Onwards and upwards, better and better,
Wily :)

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