Kissing the Joy - The Power of Flow
Updated: Jun 19
"Whatever comes to you flows through you and on”
Whatever situations we find ourselves in, there is truth in the Buddhist and Japanese Wabi Sabi teachings of Impermanence.
As Richard Powel translates “Nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is “perfect.”
To know this can bring great comfort to us when we are suffering.
It also helps us to let go of the things that are not meant for us and to fully accept those that are, with gratitude.
It teaches us that, no matter how complete we feel our learning is and how evolved we think we are; this is a journey, and there is always more to come.
All that we have will eventually be given away and give way to something new.
Possessions, status, relationships, knowledge are all things that are subject to change.
To hold tight to something which brings us joy, can lead to stagnancy.
If we hold on to all that we have in the now, we cannot make way for the new things that are heading towards us.
This does not imply that we should let go of everything that is dear to us. It means that everything is subject to change and evolution, and we must allow that evolution to unfold.
This is flow.
Flow is needed for growth and progress and with flow comes change.
Again, when we are suffering, change is welcome, but when we are happy, we may move into resistance.
Holding on to those things that we most treasure comes from a place of fear and attachment. It distorts our relationships and leaves us bitter.
William Blake writes in his poem ‘Eternity:’
He who binds himself to a joy
Does the winged life destroy
He who kisses the joy as it flies
Lives in eternity’s sunrise
For us, this conjures up images of a beautiful butterfly seen out walking on a summer’s day. We want to preserve the image in our mind so that we can enjoy recalling it and sharing the experience with others, but we would never catch hold of the butterfly and keep it close, because it would be crushed and its beauty would be gone.
Throughout life we must appreciate the impermanence of both our pain and our joy and what each of them have to offer us in terms of the journey.
Viewing life as a journey implies that we are heading towards a destination.
The fact is that, even when we feel we have reached the evolutionary goals that we have set for ourselves and become ‘whole’ we will continue to grow and learn.
There is always more for us.
This is why we must pace ourselves and learn to reside in the now rather than race towards the illusion of completion.
This is the opposite to remaining stagnant.
This is entering the rapids where we are so focussed on the end goal that we cannot appreciate the lessons that the present has to offer us.
Rather than craving either stagnancy in happy times or rapid progress in times of growth, we must learn the art of going with the flow.
‘How to Rise – A Complete Resilience Manual’ from Sheldon Press has a specific meditation to encourage going with the flow. It has over 60 additional tools and techniques to help improve your mental wellbeing, reduce burnout and allow you to take control of your life.