Mastodon Michael Perry

The Flow Zone walking

I really enjoy the calm meditation app and use daily for about 10 minutes of practice. The guided practices are best for me and the daily selections of topics has been particularly relevant. The last one was reaching a state where the guide discussed being in a particular state where one finds themselves in a zone where things come together and you and the activity become one flow. You don’t need to overthink or rationalize or under think it. It just is.

In practice times the breath and its cyclic repetition can be used. I particularly like simple methods like saying in when inhaling and out when exhaling. Thoughts and emotions and feelings come and I greet them with gentle acceptance. Some are funny and far apart and others are feelings of worry or concern or some expression of doubt about a few people I know. They come in and often linger but getting mad or upset or disappointed is not the result. The real thing with the in and out is acceptance. And letting it go. I don’t believe I am meant to be enslaved by thoughts, feelings and emotions but the goal is not to get upset during my 10 minutes practices or at any time.

We are conditioned though to be like vacuum cleaners of experience. We suck all of it in and only rarely empty the bag. Instead it’s more peaceful and I accomplish much more by:

  1. Taking the emotions and feelings and thoughts with gratitude and acceptance.
  2. Being gentle with myself as they occur
  3. Letting them go to create space

Much like the vacuum cleaner if the bag is full of crap no more can be let in.

So this gets us being in the flow state. Where the thing we do like walking or driving a race car or surfing or whatever let’s us arrive and be one with the thing. I have felt this walking before. When all things subside and it’s me and it. No false walls or bridges. The walking really is the mechanics of it. The repetition of steps. Left and right. Like breathing. In and out. But it’s damned hard when motorbikes disregard traffic laws, ride on sidewalks, go the wrong way on streets in Hanoi. So I search for walks sometimes that are protected. And I find them. Places where bikes not allowed. Then I can find the flow. The zone. Where steps recede. Where it’s me.

The walking ceased being exercise years ago. Way back when I decided to go on vacation to cities like Portland , San Diego, Santa Barbara, Seattle and Vancouver. I would spend 3 or 4 days walking the city taking photographs. Here’s a sample of Vancouver for you. All of the cities are in google photos so sharing is easy.

When I left the US I stopped walking for time and distance completely. I mention this because flow walking I think is more difficult when I was concerned with time and distance. I discovered losing myself however was much easier when just going. Walking the 5 to 10 miles became cruising sometimes. Autopilot engaged. Perhaps I had submerged to some other thing.

I mention all this here to bring the discussion back around to walking itself and finding the activity you can lose yourself in if you want to. The flow of steps, breathing, seeing, hearing, feeling is the recipe to the flow. The repetition like breathing.

What do you gain? Nothing. What do you lose? Look at the loss as priceless moments of being in the zone. Your zone. Your most basic thing. You may find little but as has been my experience vagabonding all around Asia, the little is often much more than you ever found with special itineraries and Instagram moments.

August 4, 2020