February 20, 2014

Is Enlightenment an Accident?


Blow Away Fear

I was in my 20s, recently married, when my father-in-law invited me to join the men for a Sunday morning golf game.

I’d never played a round of real golf, only the miniature kind. But given that I was the hippie-new-son-in-law, how could I say no?

I stepped up to the first tee; I swung. The ball lifted into the sky forming a perfect arc, bounced, and rolled within a few feet of the green. I putted onto the green. With the next putt, the ball was in the hole. Par!! My father-in-law shook his head in awed disbelief, “That meditation stuff must really work.”

“Ha!” I thought. “That was amazing. He’s right. I’m going to meditate my way through the course.”

It took me 16 strokes to complete the next hole.

On the first hole, I’d stumbled into the par zone. But I hadn’t developed the capacity to sustain play at that level. Shooting par, for me, was a happy accident.

We’ve all had those happy accidents; times when our ability to think, act, and interact, leapt to a new level, when we tap into dormant and often unexpected inner resources.

It’s a heady, exhilarating feeling—it’s called being in a “flow state.”

When we stumble into the flow state, as I did on the golf course, it can feel like an act of grace or a happy accident.

But like all accidents, happy or otherwise, it’s not intentional.

By definition, accidents aren’t chosen; they just happen. Not just on the golf course. Not just on vacation. These moments can arise anywhere.

These extraordinary states of flow are often happy accidents.

The question is how to become more accident-prone. What can you do to unlock the door to this extraordinary state of performance and the joyful feelings that accompany it? What would make the flow state become more the norm than the exception?

The answer is 5,000 years old—and it’s the latest thing.

It’s the meditation habit. (Not the occasional meditation—the habit.)

By developing the meditation habit, we intentionally strengthen the neural networks that support the flow state.
We cultivate your capacity for being fully present, mindful, and balanced, so that we can be fully engaged without reactivity in our daily lives.

When you’re in the flow state, you’re not lost in old patterns of reactivity.

Our actions, choices, and thoughts all . . . well . . . flow. They arise from inner clarity and stillness.

We can let go of efforts to control and manipulate experience, allowing deeper and more skillful ways of being shine through.

Our work, relationships, health . . . every domain of experience is enhanced by the meditation habit.

By establishing the meditation habit, we don’t have to wait for happy accidents to land us in the state of flow—we can go there volitionally.

Establishing a meditation habit is the prerequisite for being able to step into the flow state at will.

Happy accidents don’t have to be accidental.

As you build the meditation habit, you see that the opportunity to flow, to be effortlessly engaged, to tap into the reservoir of wisdom and creativity is . . . ever present. The flow state isn’t some far away magical land. It’s right here, right now—available in the exact conditions of your life.

Rather than struggle with conditions, meet them with effortless focus.

Let go of trying to control and manipulate experience to allow deeper and more skillful ways of being shine through. Work, relationships, health . . . every domain of experience is enhanced by the meditation habit.

It can also be useful on the golf course—as long as you’re not trying to impress your father-in-law.


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Editor: Bryonie Wise


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