If there were one word to capture the essence of what life is all about, that word would have to be flow.
Flow is everywhere. Both at the level of our thoughts and on the universal scale.
Being in a state of flow means being completely immersed in an activity. According to Professor Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, people are happiest when they are in a state of flow. Such experience is characterized by: intense and focused concentration on the present moment, merging of action and awareness, loss of reflective self-consciousness, a sense of personal control over the situation or activity, a distortion of temporal experience, and experience of the activity as intrinsically rewarding.
Being in a state of flow means having complete freedom of movement. It means moving in tune with others, like in a perfectly synchronized dance. It also means doing the things – and creating the products of human ingenuity – that inspire us and push the limits of our ability.
Everything that moves, whether living or not, is a flow system. According to Duke Professor Adrian Bejan, flow systems evolve to flow more efficiently, and over time will shape themselves to do so. The tree-like structures we see throughout nature, whether in river deltas or in the human lung, are not accidental but the result of flow.
When we unify all these states of flow – from the psychological, to the physiological, to the ecological – this is what we get: