THE MEASUREMENT OF FLOW

THE MEASUREMENT OF FLOW

HOW FLOW WORKS

Earlier, I corresponded with Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, the scholar and author of “Flow.” His studies of the concept of flow and the optimal experience are legendarily groundbreaking.

I found the idea of the perfected state, the flow state, to be mesmerizing. Surely, each of us in our own way has known this place. Defined: “people are most happy when they are in a state of flow— a state of concentration or complete absorption with the activity at hand and the situation. It is a state in which people are so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter (Csikszentmihalyi,1990). The idea of flow is identical to the feeling of being in the zone or in the groove. The flow state is an optimal state of intrinsic motivation, where the person is fully immersed in what he or she is doing. This is a feeling everyone has at times, characterized by a feeling of great absorption, engagement, fulfillment, and skill—and during which temporal concerns (time, food, ego-self, etc.) are typically ignored.”

I was looking at some old instruments, measuring water flow and heat — at an old power plant. And thinking — is flow happening. As I study the meters, I contemplate the idea of measurement — the mean, the stroke of time and the metrical rhythm of the rightful condition. The meter is the balance of flow, it’s the rhythm of movement, it is the sound of verse, the spirit of poetry.

Thinking of flow, the song of the soul, the sound of the poetic influence (fluency, being there, being flow) I consider the idea of beauty — flow being the beauty way, the resonance of balance, movement, it is the scribing of the idea. But the scribing is something more — one stroke, one sound, one verse, spilling out: the flow — the drawing of the circling line, the soul line: a script, a prayer, modeling spirit.

As I look at the arc of the meter, the scratching measurement of the scribing sensors, I align the movement of the flow, the wavering of the line — and the emotional condition. Be happy, in that drawing.

Tim
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