Updated: Jun 24, 2020
Hello, my dear life artist, I hope this post finds you well and serene, or simply riding the tide.
As some of you know, I've been making the Flow Art Live Demos on Facebook a weekly habit, and it's a beautiful connection to what's starting to feel like an inspiring tribe of wonderful people. And if this is news to you, tune in next Friday at 6:30 EST for an hour of flowing along with art and color therapy, wine, and laughter therapy. (check out the Events page)
This form of art is not only accessible but thoroughly enjoyable for kids too, don't keep them out. They might teach you a thing or two ... :)
But lately, I've been thinking about what draws mostly to flow art, as I've always said that it's one of the least judgmental form of art.
Aside from its beautiful results and its calming, meditative effects, it's an invitation to let go of our endless expectations and enjoy the entire process, to focus on the moment at hand, with an attitude of equanimity, and with complete contentment in the spontaneity of reality.
Allow yourself to be surprised, and embrace whatever the next moment may bring. But now I know the real attraction for me- it's the intricate connection to Eastern Spirituality- the Taoistic concept of "doing without doing", effortless action, going with the flow, riding the wave...
And the fact that everyone sees something different in the same result is so insightful, a note on the color glasses we wear to see the world with.
Love is a choice, a habit to see the good in life, people, situations, and art.
I see mostly birds, funky creatures and lots of hearts... That's my filter, I guess...
Watch the video version of this here:
Flow art is Wu Wei
Wu Wei is one of Taoism’s most important concepts. It is sometimes translated as “non-doing” or “non-action”, and like many things in the Tao Te Ching, it’s a delicious paradox.
But a better way to think of it is the “Action of non-action.”
Wu Wei is a cultivated state of being effortlessly in alignment with the flow of the cosmos.
It is a kind of “going with the flow” that is characterized by great ease and awareness, in which – without even trying – we’re able to adapt to any situation that might arise.
It means to respond effortlessly to the needs of any situation without struggle and force.
Looking at my beautiful flow art, I know that I did not "do it"
To embody Wu Wei is to live in a state of alignment with the flow of life; the expression “going with the flow” is wu Wei in a nutshell! Although you are taking action, there’s the recognition that you — the ‘doer’ that you take yourself to be — isn’t really the one calling the shots.
You are but an instrument through which the breath of life moves.
As Rumi once asked, “The breath of the flute player; does it belong to the flute?” This flow state is characterized by effortlessness, ease, and allowing the right action to unfold at the right time in the right manner.
Everything in life has its own flow, its own pace, and speed; if we can tune into and align ourselves with it, we can achieve effortless ease in all that we do. We find that we instinctively know what to do and when to do it. This intelligence is the Tao at work within and around us. When we relax into this flow, we allow the Tao to direct our life. When we act from this state of Wu Wei, things tend to flow perfectly. It also feels incredibly good, like the Universe is holding you up -when you find serendipitous coincidence in this total release of control.
The art of Wu Wei is the art of alchemy
Infinity says we’re everything, finitude says we’re nothing. Between these two, we flow.
It’s in this in-between where the power of spontaneity can be utilized, where we are both the seer and the seen, the Universe becoming aware of itself.
The spontaneity of flow art and Wu Wei is a different sort of energy than we may be accustomed to conceiving. It is not an energy that can be forced by the will.
It is the noumenal experience of being in flow with the cosmos.
It is effortless and frictionless, despite needing a little effort and friction. And it is actually letting go of our attachment to our goals so that we are in a better place to achieve our goals. It must be a free-flowing process of intertwining synchronicities. But we mustn't be overly serious with our goals and aspirations; instead, we must be sincere.
Let's wash our insecure seriousness with sincere humor.
This is the wisdom of Wu Wei.
It’s analogous to growing a flower or mixing paint. All we can do, like good gardeners and artists, is prepare the soil and supplies (the mind, the body, and/or the soul) and provide the proper conditions, and then let nature take its course. If you force a flower to open prematurely, you destroy it. Similarly, if you prevent it from opening, you destroy it. It must be allowed to grow with its own intelligence, in its own self-organized direction. This is the essence of Wu Wei.
Beginner's mind and flow art
Our best effort is to become attentive gardener life artists, to become aware of an ineffable, mysterious process and allow understanding to come as a natural progression of open-minded awareness and to give in to the Flow state, as a creative microcosm gives in to a greater creative macrocosm.
Like Shunryu Suzuki said, “We must have beginner’s mind, free from possessing anything, a mind that knows that everything is in flowing change.”
Find your Flow
Our culture is very good at pushing people to work hard or acquire particular technical skills, but in many domains, actual success requires the ability to transcend our training and relax completely into what we are doing, or simply forget ourselves as agents; we must let ourselves play, for in play there is a great discovery; the thrill of the unknown is fantastic!
Be happy, go with the Flow
Here are some tips on living from this state of effortless ease. It might take a leap of faith to be able to step back a bit and be willing to loosen up the reins…but experiment with it. Be brave. You might be amazed at what happens. RELAX
Because when we’re relaxed, peaceful, and at ease, people are more likely going to want to hang around us and work with us rather than against us. Meditation, nature baths, art, yoga , or whatever resonates with you- really help in this respect. In fact, in this stressful society of ours, some form of meditation or relaxation practice is very much essential to our wellbeing.
Why isn't this prescribed by doctors?
And know when and how to respond or not to act.
There's too much information in the world, thrown at us 24/7.
Most of it is trivial BS that doesn't deserve our reaction or even attention.
Remember: Where the attention goes, energy flows.
Let your energy flow in a worthy stream, towards a constructive, not destructive goal.
Dive deep to find out what's most important to YOU, and go and do that.
Cultivate "the ability to let that which does not matter truly slide"
Because if you don't, what's the point of living?
Sweeten the grind, existence is painful...
Keep the enjoyment alive, find some aspect of it that you enjoy (however tiny), and focus on that. When we enjoy life, we're energized and invigorated, whereas the feeling of drudgery and boredom constricts and dampens. If there’s nothing you particularly enjoy about what you’re doing, then at least maintain an attitude of acceptance. That’s also helpful for neutralizing bad feelings and keeping the flow alive.
LET GO OF RESULTS
Can you try to let go of the results?
We are responsible for our actions but not for the results of our actions.
Because every result in life is dependent not on a single cause, but on a multiplicity of causes that are outside of our control.
"You're just a leaf, in the stream of Creation"...Relax and enjoy the ride It doesn’t make sense to worry about what we don’t and can’t control. That’s a recipe for a life of misery. Just accept that there’s a greater whole in life; a field of potentiality that ultimately takes care of everything anyway, even if the immediate results are not what we might have wanted. Whatever happens in life happens because it couldn’t have been any other way.
This single understanding, if fully realized, is almost all you need to live a stress-free life. It’s the essence of Karma yoga.
Do your best, and let life take care of the rest. There’s a natural order to life, and when we come back into balance with that, life becomes simpler, more peaceful, and harmonious. The basic message of Taoism?
Let go, let it happen, keep it simple, be kind, and enjoy life.
Have fun experimenting with the art of actionless action, and let me know how you find it!
Also, check out my ever-expanding shop, for new merch featuring unique patterns of flow, to remind you to trust the Flow, with every step and breath you take.