I have discovered this fact about Chiang Mai, with a bunch of other dilettantes and I had to share. Why not keep the secret to myself? Because the people who are going to feel flow in Chiang Mai are the kind of people I want to meet. In reality, most people will not feel the flow quality of Chiang Mai and they will leave. This post is going to be all about what is flow state, and why I think Chiang Mai brings out that flow in me.
#FlowMo Not #FOMO
Remember when you were a little child, and you used to go on the swings. You would go higher and higher. And much higher than you could ever imagine going. Then, you would let go and FLY. For that brief moment when you were in the air, you were higher than a kite. You were experiencing the flow state that comes from weightlessness, and defying gravity.
It was easy as a child to experience flow, wasn’t it? I would get lost in almost everything I did for hours on end, experiencing the four qualities of flow state. Timelessness, Selflessness, Effortlessness, and Richness. You can read more about all of this in the book, Stealing Fire, by Steve Kotler, and Jamie Wheal. I highly recommend their book for a glimpse into how people are experiencing flow nowadays.
I am not going to speak in this post about how other people experience flow. You can read about that in hundreds of books. This post is about my experience of flow state, and how I deliberately put myself in that state through all of the systems I have set up for myself.
How I Experience Flow
I wake up every morning ecstatic to be here, in a way that cannot be disturbed by anything outside of me. Nothing can taint this joy I have, and I carry it with me wherever I go.
Flow also shows up as an intense aliveness where I am so present with everything that happens around me, that I can see everything in slow motion all the time. Music plays in my mind all the time, even when there is silence all around me. I connect with people instantaneously as there is no need to go through formalities of small talk.
Death And Flow
I have this gnarly knowing that I am going to be dead soon. Even if it is 50 years later, it’s still too short, because I love to live, and I am so happy to be breathing and alive. I have to die and that’s fine with me. Because I am never going to die completely. Something so alive as my soul couldn’t just extinguish itself if my body gives out. That knowledge gives me solace in my death. But I still want to experience each moment that I am alive as much as possible.
I walk around in nature or on a city street, and I have this smile on my face that lights up the world wherever I go. It’s a smile that comes from deep within me, and I couldn’t shut it off even if you forced me to. I have this deep knowing of what I want to spend my time doing, and I am so connected with the deep source of the universe. We have daily conversations about what I am doing and where I am going and how can I serve the world coming from this flow state.
There’s so much more, but it would take an entire book to write about everything, and perhaps one day I shall write that book. I will speak more to how the four qualities of flow state show up in my life next.
Selflessness, Effortlessness, Timelessness, and Richness – How It Shows Up For Me
I meditate every day, and in that state of meditation, the self disappears completely and you are one with everything around you. Now, your self usually melds with whatever you are focusing on at the moment, as The Rise of Superman, by Steven Kotler, reminds us. As I mostly focus on my breath and body while meditating, I meld with my deeper self, and with my breath, being one with it. Sometimes I focus on love and forgiveness, and then I meld with loving the world. Whatever we focus on while we are in flow state, we blend with. I see selflessness as this knowing that we are all one. No matter who it is, it is I looking at myself through their eyes and my eyes. Confusing? Yes, but also awesome.
In the past, writing a blog post like this would be horrendously tedious. I would spend hours and hours writing it, and then it wouldn’t come out the way I wanted it to. Nowadays, because of flow state, I can drop into that effortlessness state whenever I want. That means, that I am able to write thousands of words every single day, without any effort at all. They just flow out of me. I can pump out a blog post like this one in a matter of 30 to 45 minutes. Without breaking a sweat. It is because I’m accessing that deeper flow self of mine, perhaps, you know her as Muse, who can just work and write for hours, no problem.
This one shows up for me when I am deep into my work. Or deep in a conversation with a friend. When I am in flow state, I’ll look up and time has stood still. I can literally watch the tick tock of the movement of time. It is as if it in slow motion and I am watching it move. It is such a surreal experience and something I am still getting used to. I want to experience more of this timelessness feeling, and so I am always experimenting to see what works for me.
Rich States –
This one for me is about being hyperaware of everything that is going on around me. Everything is highlighted and perfection. Every bird’s song around me is beautiful and heart-wrenching. Each drop of water falling from the sky causes me to feel emotion. Every person that walks past me is my brother or sister or myself. I feel connected to everything. Everything! Such an interesting place to be in.
Why I Want To Experience Flow
Flow matters highly to me, especially now that I have experienced it. Once you experience something so brilliantly lit, it is hard to go back to the darkness. Being without flow to me is like being blind. I am addicted to being in flow state as much as possible.
But more than being in that state of bliss which is great, what is more important to me, is the accelerated learning and growth. I learn everything faster, and I am able to self-actualize faster.
I believe being in flow state helps us reduce the amount of time it takes to become an expert at something. Not only that, but the journey there isn’t as tumultuous or grating. It is effortless and feels good to do the work that you want to do for your projects.
How do I get so much work, people ask? Is it a system I have? Perhaps the scrum method? Or a Virtual Assistant from the Phillippines? Nada! It’s because of flow state.
I can do so much more work when I am in flow state. I sit down to write one blog post in the morning and I end up writing thousands of words in the process. I sit down to record one video and I end up recording a whole course. I don’t feel any hunger or thirst during the process either. My focus is the ultimate focus – nothing can touch it.
Why Is Chiang Mai The Flow Capital?
If you had told me a year ago that I would move to this little mountain city in Thailand, because it helps me get into flow state, I would have laughed in your face. I am still in absolute disbelief, but there it is. I experience the best flow states when I am in Chiang Mai.
I have analyzed this situation up and down and all around. Why Chiang Mai? Here’s what I think about it, but I’m sure I haven’t scratched the surface of it.
Stay with me here. I think the fact that it is cheaper matters. Instead of spending way too much time worrying about how to make ends meet, we are able to focus on other more important matters. Like, what do I want to spend my time on this planet doing, and how can I best serve the world. To me, that freedom to focus on the big questions and on serving the world, enhances my entire life experience. I feel great about being alive. I’m not stressed about the mundane. I can take care of myself, and I have enough time to do it all – meet with friends, go dancing, work, eat good food, and gaze at my navel.
The fact that Chiang Mai is tiny but still a metropolitan city really helps me. I like it because I am not spending thousands of hours every month commuting from place to place. Everything is close enough that I can go to every event in the city and still get all of my work done. It is also a walkable city which is great for me, because I love to walk. I find as soon as I start walking, I drop into flow mode.
There are so many awesome people in Chiang Mai. I’m consistently impressed by the quality of connections I make there. But also, no one is busy on their cellphone. Everyone is present and with you when you are having a conversation. The conversations are ethereal, like taking a step into another dimension together. I am in flow mode instantly.
There are hundreds of events happening every week, most of them for free. Everyone is really inviting as well. Which means, I end up learning a lot about a lot of random topics, without even trying to. Flow mode helps me connect all of the random dots, as all the lateral thinking neurons in my brain fire up and I use all of this joyous connecting to my advantage in my life. It is bliss in action.
In Chiang Mai, as I am in flow mode, I get a lot of work done. I mean, astonishingly high amounts of work. Also, the proliferation of gorgeous coffee shops with delicious lattes, and intensely fast internet connections, means, that I can work anywhere, anytime, and with lots of cool people at hand. The flow state just keeps on burning on and on.
Some other random reasons are, the food scene in Chiang Mai is awesome, as is the massage scene. So self-care becomes extremely easy, and to be in flow state, taking care of our bodies is quite essential. The fundamentals are easy to take care of in Chiang Mai – eating, sleeping, and movement. It is easy to get a space on your own as apartments are cheap. For an introvert like me, having my own space is ultra important for flow. People are open to meeting up even if you have never seen them before, and random people will sit down next to you in coffee shops starting up a conversation and you are best friends in minutes.
Why Does All Of This Matter?
When I travelled back to Toronto, I noticed the stark difference between how people in Chiang Mai behave vs. Toronto. Chiang Mai-ers are in flow state, so they are in bliss mode all the time. They are working on stuff they care about with people they like. They are highly autonomous, free, and engaged. Torontonians spend a lot of their time being unhappy and complaining about their work.
So people in Toronto and most people in this world are never able to get into flow state. It’s highly irregular for them to be able to beat the system.
In Chiang Mai, everyone is in flow state, so it’s really easy to drop into it, as the group’s vibrations affect yours.
People in Chiang Mai are highly productive. Sitting in coffee shops in Toronto I noticed that people worked for a minute or so, and then picked up their phone to diddle around. They just don’t have any focus here. They also don’t care about the work they are doing as much. They are not serving the world using their ultimate gifts. That matters.
It matters to me. I want to be around highly conscious self-actualized people. I don’t care about the status quo. I want to feel truly alive in every moment. That is crucial if I am going to be the highly creative being that I aspire to be.
If you are interested at all in accessing a course of Achieving Flow State that I am in the process of creating, sign up with your email address below, and I’ll get you the deets once the course is up and ready. Cheers! Here’s to FlowMo rather than FOMO.