Updated: Mar 10
Many people when hearing the term “flow” for the first time, dismiss it as some new age, airy fairy hippie thing, where it is actually grounded in a quite substantial psychological research. In 1975, Professor of Psychology and Management, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, discovered for the scientific world the experience of total absorption in an activity:
"In a world supposedly ruled by the pursuit of money, power, prestige, and pleasure, it is surprising to find certain people who sacrifice all those goals for no apparent reason: people who risk their lives climbing rocks, who devote their lives to art, who spend their energies playing chess. By finding out why they are willing to give up material rewards for the elusive experience of performing enjoyable acts, we hope to learn something that will allow us to make everyday life more meaningful. At present, most of the institutions that take up our time-schools, offices, factories-are organized around the assumption that serious work is grim and unpleasant. Because of this assumption, most of our time is spent doing unpleasant things. By studying enjoyment, we might learn how to redress this harmful situation. To be sure, one may see the behaviour of people dedicated to the pursuit of enjoyment as useless, the result of deviant socialization toward meaningless goals. Psychologists may account for it as sublimated variants of the pursuit of real needs which cannot be directly satisfied. Our interest in the matter relies on a different assumption: if we can learn more about activities which are enjoyable in themselves, we will find clues to a form of motivation that could become an extremely important human resource. (Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi - BEYOND BOREDOM AND ANXIETY 1975; chapter 1, page 1)"
Is the “flow” instinctively well known to humans for many centuries and only now we have the tools to be able to explain it scientifically and understand it more consciously? Is generating flow the only way to success? Is this a revolutionary idea or just a name for an old and known technique? Is the progress in flow next step in human evolution? Is it possible to generate the flow on demand? What is that state of mind and body? To answer that question, it might be a good idea to ask more accurately: What is “Continuous Flow Technique“ in practising a musical instrument?