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'Only dead fish swim with the stream' stone
Salmon going upstream
Salmon going upstream
caught by bear
Rip Current sign
(PublicDomain Pictures, Pixabay)
Mystical Cruise Ship
Life Plan graphs
(Unknown author, seen on internet)
Rhino flowing with
So many beautiful sunflowers!
Woman with sunflower dress in sunflower field
| To Flow or not to Flow?
This article suggests that flow is a beautiful and desirable state.
However, flow can be very individual.
Not going with the flow may actually be the flow you need.
Or going against the flow may actually be the flow you need.
Ultimately it is suggested to listen quietly to your deep being - to your inner guidance system - for what is flow for you, now and here.
Then you will indeed be a flower.
Maybe a sunflower?
Often we are urged to go with the flow.
But what if that flow does not feel right for you?
Maybe it's time to find your flow?
And what if you feel that the flow you are being offered is actually bad for everyone?
Maybe it's time to say "No thank you"?
And even perhaps time to rebel, to resist and fight for the flow you feel is right?
Anyway, we are going to look at flow from the map of consciousness I call 'Animal, Human and Angel'. First at animal flow, then human flow, then angel flow.
Fish analogy - Flow is about rhythm
Fish do not usually go with the flow of the river.
They will move around according to their needs.
'Only dead fish swim with the stream' is a quote I saw at Alnwick Castle:
The lesson here is surely that to always flow with what is around you is very unnatural, very anti-life!
Life is more likely to be about ebb and flow, attuning to rhythms within and in the environment. This suits the animal in us.
Flowing with the seasons is usually a good idea.
Flowing with the body's needs is also usually a good idea. But humans have really messed with the ancient instinctive flows of the animal within us. Modern technology disrupts ancient patterns of birth, sleep, food, exercise, etc. Learn more here.
These instinctual or animal rhythms are not linear flow but more about rhythmic flow.
Lemmings & Upstream Fish analogies
Sometimes there are strong evolutionary urges to go with the flow or against the flow, despite associated dangers.
Going with the flow
Lemmings may throw themselves off cliffs into water as a way to find new habitats, as they can swim.
Going against the flow
Salmon will swim upstream to where they were born in order to spawn.
Both these non-flow strategies ensure species survival, but not necessarily individual survival.
Lemmings may sometimes die if the water to be crossed is too wide.
Salmon may be caught by bears.
In humans, a useful anti-flow strategy may be fear. Fear can help us break out of habitual routines and alert us to danger nearby. Learn more at The Gift of Fear. In these instances you may be going against the flow of your normal daily life, going against social flow rules like politeness - and honouring or flowing with your intuition, which tells you to do otherwise.
Next, a general look at flow in human life.
When feeling stuck in our life, we probably need to move, act, do something.
Sometimes we need to explore emotions, to dive deep to find where we are stuck.
We can attune to water, like walk along a river or a beach.
'Thank you to the water for keeping me flowing' sings Susie Ro.
Your heart especially needs to keep on flowing, like a spring of water.
Choose to love.
My Flow vs. Your Flow
Be understanding of the paths of others.
Sometimes we must speak out or question their decisions.
But also remember the words of Henry David Thoreau:
'If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.'
Positive Human Flow
Humans may have flow experiences, where they feel they are 'in the zone' in whatever activity they are doing. These are highly sought after, highly regarded - and usually arise from hard work in the specific field engaged in.
Humans may also 'get into the groove', a good thing where people enter into the spirit of an enjoyable situation. A win-win.
Negative Human Flow
Humans can get stuck in a rut, a bad thing where we can't seem to stop a flow into unwanted habitual patterns, into bad habits or addictions.
Sudden forced flow can be worse, such as when we symbolically feel caught in quicksands or rip currents. You are forcefully moved into a life flow and it is against your will.
In these situations in nature, a basic survival technique is to remain calm.
Quicksands require you to reverse - not to sink/flow into it. You need to withdraw slowly and surely, to get horizontal - and you will float rather than sink.
Rip currents require you to not fight the current - rather flow with it. In this way, you will be able to swim to safety out of the current.
In your life too, symbolic quicksands and rip currents may require you to either calmly act against the flow to extract yourself, or move with the flow to escape.
I must add that in asocial violence, you need to act decisively and use the tool of violence.
So, there are different strategies regarding flow in these types of situation.
There is also virtue, prayer and meditation, which can be a great help.
You need to work out what is best for you in your life...
And so we come to the individual Human and free will. What will you do with your life?
And to the collective Human with its cultural practices. What culture do we want?
Personal Flow & Free Will
Personal flow is working with free will.
I like the analogy of our life as a cruise ship (originally read in The Magus of Strovolos by Kyriacos Markides). We have a specific itinerary, certain ports that we will visit in our life journey (this is our fate). But what we do aboard the ship in-between ports can be so varied (this is our free will).
This interplay between Soul/Spirit/God's will and free will explains why there are two basic paths to flowing with your life: goal setting and a goalless path.
Goal setting is one.
You set a goal and you work hard towards it.
This is like choosing an activity on the cruise ship and ensuring it happens.
Will you challenge yourself and so develop your will?
Or take it easy and so practise self-love?
But goal setting does not always lead to the desired goal - as there is this other higher will at play, so this can happen:
Or this can happen:
'Goals create obstacles. Expect to experience everything in-between you and the goal.' (Integral Centre talk of Jeff Salzman & Robert MacNaughton, accessed 27 November 2013)
So the other basic path is like a goalless path - not apathy but more a beingness.
We feel we need to relinquish control of the flow. Rather align with the higher will, like Susie Ro (22 January 2019 newsletter):
'I try to fight the river of what is, and eventually have to let go of the river bank and just let the flow carry me, letting go of all illusions of control, all pretending to know, and open to the magic of what life has in store... yes it is hard to really meet the sensations of disappointment, and having to let go of dreams and expectations, but what comes in its place is priceless - the meeting of myself, and the meeting of the intelligence of life itself, and the intricate design behind its teachings.'
So, we choose to be on automatic pilot, on a route which has been set by our Higher Self.
The route is the cruise ports that we know little of until we arrive and explore.
Collective Flow & Cultural Practices
Women shave their body hair.
Most women go with the flow here.
But sometimes in Januhairy, women do not shave.
Some women call the hairy women "unnatural" - which to me is crazy as it is very natural. It may be non-cultural but not unnatural!
Anyway, the hairy women learn things like choice, confidence, self-acceptance, self-love.
There are so many cultural practices that you need to look at and decide whether you will flow with them or not... What is right for another group may not be right for your group.
Rhino flowing with the lemmings?
Here is another collective flow example, where modern 'civilised' life clashes with tribal ways.
"It’s crazy when these outsiders come and teach us development. Is development possible by destroying the environment that provides us food, water and dignity? You have to pay to take a bath, for food, and even to drink water. In our land, we don’t have to buy water like you, and we can eat anywhere for free."
(Lodu Sikaka, Dongria Kondh tribe, cited at Survival, undated, accessed 18 December 2013)
Which flow is better here?
Modern or Indigenous flow?
For me - and future generations, surely - the tribal way is far more developed, intelligent and compassionate!
Whilst on planet Earth, I just don't think it is possible for someone to totally flow with deep Spirit (the Angel in us) all the time. This is only possible for certain etheric beings, just beyond the physical dimension - as they don't need to maintain a physical body. They don't need chakras for food and sex and don't need to handle powerful forces like gravity, cold, heat.
Instead, we can do our best to manifest the angelic way of life whilst on Earth.
We may feel we are doing what we are meant to be doing.
You may feel that you are doing the work you were born to do.
You feel you are of help to yourself and other people, causes, creatures, things.
It is highly recommended to work with Light and Love, like the role model of the Sun.
We do this whilst navigating all the other flows out there.
Inner Guidance System
Our emotions and inner listening can be excellent guides as to what is the Way.
Maybe it is like being a sunflower.
As it grows it always turns to the Sun.
As you grow spiritually, keep turning to the Light. Connect daily to the Sun.
When it is night the young sunflower reorients itself to the east to await the sunrise.
Likewise, when all is dark in your life, move towards where the Light will emerge.
As a sunflower, you flow with Nature and the Sun and your personal will. All is aligned. Then you impart your beauty to the world!
Maybe this article helped you realise there are many flows out there.
Avoid being bullied into unsuitable flows for you.
Find the Path that is both yours and good.
Your flow is likely to involve a dance between various currents.
The path of least resistance may not always be the Way.
Follow your inner guidance system.
Enjoy the times when you get to sledge down the slope.
Work hard when you need to pull the sledge back up the hill.
Navigate a dance between evolutionary needs, human desires, cultural practices and spiritual fate.
Work with the role model of the Sun.
Be a Sun-flower!
Animal, Human and Angel