Over the course of my journey in writing, I thought I had outgrown the urge to write about my feelings, to openly comment on the things that affected me personally and I was always led to believe that experimenting with the more serious happenings in life endeared growth. What I failed to realise was that, I was forcing myself to write things which didn’t come naturally to me. It was a good thing because I was pushing my boundaries, trying to see what I was capable of and where the power of the written word lay in me, but it made me restless and constantly tetchy. Being a change-nazi, I have always detested the thought of something undergoing a transformation, sublime or not. When I was confronted with changes, failures and a barrage of slimy negativity, I had to gather every ounce of myself just to stay afloat, just to breathe. I sometimes thought that I was actually comfortable being in a mess all the time, and that my head cognitively relished that air of constant melancholy that it was plunging me in. Despite all this volatility and suffocation, I thankfully didn’t overlook a lesson that was the keystone to every little phenomenon that flowed into my life, ever so freely.
I started becoming extremely ad-hoc about my everyday and this gave me another reason to worry. I got to thinking about how I worked, what my everyday constituted, if I ever had a routine besides the regular brush-coffee-shower, and if my mind was an independent mechanism by itself, operating on a different, radical zone from my body. The problem most of us face is that we worry about worrying a lot or not at all. I was someone who enjoyed spending time with her thoughts, often pulling a stray thought from a grey cell and incubating it until little “thoughtens” (my failed attempt at a coinage that distinctly struck me as “thought offspring”) hatched their way to disrupt what I was thinking of in the first place. I understood that the more I kept playing around with the thoughtens and their parents (the thoughts that got there first and later led on to the thoughtens), the more secluded I was, spinning a web in my head, drowning in my misery. I loved to think; it was my sanctum sanctorum of what I thought held me together, but when there is muck floating about, it is almost always easy to get cobwebbed in it. When someone thinks this much, it is natural for them to even wonder why they think this much. As a subset to this activity, a course of agony seeps through, tainting every thought with apathy, and sugar-coating it with constant distress. It is this pre-programmed torment and anguish-filled thought that becomes second nature to us, as a result of which a string of thoughts which are so realistic and powerful lay dormant, leading us to convince ourselves that we can overpower them.
Thinkers are dreamers. I always loved to dream. When I grew tired of just dreaming and started working, I wanted those dreams to be the “now”. When I had the “now”, I didn’t want it to be just another fleeting moment; I wanted it to be “ecstatic”and regain the euphoric tendency which fuels my pride. It was not until I discovered the truth about the “state of flow” and the origin of the feeling of “ecstasy” that the pieces unraveled itself to me as one mighty mind map. Positive psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi in his powerful Ted Talk in 2004 explains this phenomenon along with how the “flow” manifests and represents itself to us in various forms. For years together, we people have been striving to “keep it simple” when “simple” was not what the world needed. It needed fixes, improvements, advancement and most importantly, compelling progression. Now the world has them all in abundance, moving rapidly towards the “slack”. With this slack, we have an even larger vortex of needs, often coinciding and fighting for presence with the elements that are said to make us happy and successful. We already have an idea of how we want our things to pan out and forcefully guide our “flow” to reach that destination. Doesn’t that contradict the idea of the movement of flow by itself? A babbling brook should be able to answer that well enough for us.
Our succinct presence in this world has impacted how we perceive things and how we let others take on from us. Why do we always want what we don’t have? Why is it that hard to chase dreams? Most importantly, why do most people know for a fact that their dreams are nothing but expanded versions of their thought bubbles, probably framed into coherence? I come from a country that makes up for at least 20% of the world’s population, yet we are always at a crunch for time, resources and patience. Amidst chaos and everyday pandemonium, we have failed to understand what makes us happy, what resonates within us, and as Mr. Csikszentmihalyi puts it- what makes our life worth living.
All of us like to think that we are useful to this world simply by taking up space and making up the base of our genesis, the “matter”. We all wish to be that someone whose advice and suggestions are important, necessary to the situation, and whose demeanour is meant to be taken seriously. In a state of flow, when we are forgetting our own identities and engaging in something so productive that it seems effortless, this non-linear sense towards life is usually considered to be the mark of bigger, better things. This new reality that we force ourselves into is the aura that our “flow” puts us in, and not the contrary, as inviting as that assumption seems.
In essence, what I gathered from this whole episode is that we create our flow, generate our peace & happiness and most importantly, define the life we live in by giving it a constructive, realistic meaning.
If this isn’t a lesson worth sharing, then what is?