If you’re searching for the elusive “flow state,” you won’t find it if you’re constantly hustling and running around.
To help explain this, I want to briefly introduce you to the chakra system, a metaphysical system that governs our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health.
The Charkra System and Why It’s Relevant
Metaphysical means beyond the physical. Chakras are a series of energetic centers (chakra means “wheel”) that are located along the spinal column. You won’t find these on an x-ray, but they’ve been studied for years. Understanding how the energetic systems in the body work with the physical systems helps explain a lot about why we get sick or injured, what impedes our mobility, and what blocks our creativity and productivity.
I’ve been studying the energetic body (also known as the subtle body) for the past several years. I have been fascinated by how this system corresponds to many other energetic and physical systems and by how it helps explain our human experience on a holistic level.
First, it overlaps with other energetic systems, such as the Chinese Medicine system and the Kabbalah Tree of Life model. My personal belief is that if the three ancient wisdom traditions are saying the same thing, there must be something there.
It also corresponds to Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.
If you must have some science, you might want to know that the chakra system correlates with the Periodic Table of Elements, and it conforms to the biophsychosocial approach to how the human body and nervous system work.
The more I learn about the various aspects of our experience, the more I see how impossible it is to segregate areas. Life is holistic, and we must look at all challenges holistically.
First and Second Chakras
There are 7 main charkras, but today I want to focus on the first two, which are most relevant to flow state.
The first chakra, also known as the root chakra, is located at the base of the spine. It corresponds to our material and physical needs. In the body, it maps to the feet and legs as well as the bones. The first charkra is our foundational structure: shelter, food, clothing health, financial security, relationship security. It’s our place of grounding, our source of stability and safety.
The second chakra is located just below the navel. It is our center of sensation, sexuality, and reproduction. In the body, it maps to the hips, pelvis, bladder, and reproductive organs, as well as the fluids. This chakra represents our creativity: the incubation and birthing of our ideas and our sacred work. This is the place from which “flow” emanates — obviously on a physical level for women, and also in the sense of being in a “flow state,” the state of effortless creation.
These energy centers build on each other, which means that if you don’t have solid rooting you will be closed off in your second chakra functions.
Using Chakras to Understand Flow State
Our constant hustling, running, and doing is the opposite of grounding and rooting. It is difficult to be “productive” and create your best work if you are unsettled in your foundational areas of health, wealth, shelter, and relationships.
This isn’t just happening on an energetic level; it also happens in the physical body itself. The nervous system organizes the physical body to protect itself first, shutting down non-essential functions when it perceives it is in danger.
You might think, I’m not in danger. I’m just hustling and running errands and getting stuff done.
And, maybe you are.
But here’s the thing: your nervous system isn’t that sophisticated.
When you’re racing around, trying to accomplish more in a day than is reasonable, not eating meals on time, not stopping to rest during the day or take moments to breathe fully and deeply, you are sending a signal to your nervous system that you are in danger.
Our technology may have adapted to facilitate a 24/7 life, but our internal wiring hasn’t caught up with that yet.
In the same way you wouldn’t build a house on sand, you can’t expect to find your creative flow if your foundation isn’t solid. You must find a way to ground yourself to harness your creativity and access flow states.
Flow Happens in Stillness
Although “flow state” sounds like you’re moving, it is movement that only happens in stillness.
This is important at all times of year, but especially at this time of year, which is often frenetic with activity, at a time when nature it turning inward. Even if you regularly create space for stillness, times of chaos and commotion call for doubling down on your practices and incorporating new grounding rituals.
With so much pressure to “get everything done” before the end of the year, it feels counterintuitive to sit in one place for an afternoon, to incubate our thoughts and ideas, to nourish and nurture what wants to be birthed.
But that’s why it’s so necessary.
If you want to find flow state, you must stop moving.