The flow

the flow

THEOPHILE THE ELDER and THEO THE YOUNGER have a lively discussion about Intellectual Quotient (IQ), Emotional Quotient (EQ) and Spiritual Quotient (SQ), and how all three can flourish through heart-based meditation, in the condition described as ‘the Flow’, of heightened awareness and interest in life.

Theo the Younger: Today I’d like to talk about human nature, its qualities and potentialities.

Theophile the Elder: When I am connected to the divine essence, I get enthusiastic and I feel like transmitting all that has been so liberally offered to me for decades. I wish I can transmit the best, but I must also temper my restlessness.

Y: [Feeling mischievous] Youth will have its way!

E: Taoism is the ideal tool for it. It places man between Heaven and Earth. The Taoist Masters naturally integrate all levels of existence in their teachings.

I’ve always been interested in Taoism and its spiritual guides, their eclecticism, their freedom of thought and their benevolence. They will respect everything and everyone. They let the breath of life go through them. They are cheerful, neutral to the point of an apparent carelessness, though they fully partake in this world. They are a good illustration of the bird and its two wings that Heartfulness gives as an example. They are naturally poised between the material and the spiritual.

Y: That is the sort of wisdom I’d like to gain, but I’m only at the beginning of my life. I feel like living it intensively. I want to contribute to the progress of humankind at all levels, and at the same time be happy, enjoy living, creating and sharing.

Theophile the Elder exults in his young friend’s fireworks display. Only a glitter in his eyes betrays his delight. Isn’t his role to channel, guide and balance Theo’s energies?

Theo can see the Elder is touched and is listening to him with tender amusement. He continues, mockingly.

Y: Maybe I’m being too fast for you. Let’s quietly come back to it and be kind to our elders.

Both friends, in good fellowship, burst out laughing. Then the Elder continues, more seriously.

E: When I told you about Taoism, I immediately thought of the ‘Flow’, which is the state of excellence psychologists describe in ‘positive psychology’.

Y: Why is it called ‘positive’?

E: Because it cares for the persons’ well-being, for their happiness, and because it does not consider human beings according to their pathologies, as traditional psychologists and psychiatrists do. Neurosciences are gathering momentum. After further research on human beings, scientists have reached interesting conclusions.

Y: Emotional intelligence, for instance?

E: They have realized that the Intelligence Quotient (IQ) depends on the neocortex, where the information received is integrated in order to ease decision-making. However, occupying a managerial position and being efficient requires more than this sort of intelligence. Emotional intelligence plays its part. Feelings are just as important as the intellect and, among other things, they help empathy develop. Therefore scientists have developed an Emotional Quotient (EQ). A business leader needs Emotional Intelligence if he wants to take the right directions, understand and detect market trends, enter into contracts with as yet unknown business partners or colleagues who are rarely benevolent; and there I remain moderate.

[Bemused] I can help you discover some of them.

E: So first there was IQ, followed by EQ for emotional intelligence. And now there is Heartfulness, and the awareness of a spiritual quotient or SQ, involving an obvious connection between the heart and the brain via neural pathways. SQ shows the heart’s leverage and its intelligence. It is the beginning of a new era.

Y: Didn’t you tell me that the heart had been highly valued in traditional Chinese medicine for more than five thousand years, for example, in the Ling Shu, to start with, and then in The Secret of the Golden Flower?

E: It is true that modern science is hardly one hundred and fifty years old. Youth may be arrogant; they think they know everything. Just think, in the seventies science decreed that acupuncture was no longer an esoteric topic since it was now possible to operate without resorting to anesthesia, and using four or five needles was enough to stimulate some particular areas. A researcher had injected a tiny amount of radioactive substance in an acupuncture point, thus demonstrating that meridians existed. Meanwhile, the science of acupuncture had been practiced for more than 3,000 years!

Y: I saw a program featuring a surgical operation called craniotomy, using acupuncture analgesia. It was impressive: the patient was even fed during surgery.

So first there was IQ,
followed by EQ for emotional intelligence.
And now there is Heartfulness,
and the awareness of a spiritual quotient or SQ,
involving an obvious connection
between the heart and the brain via neural pathways.
SQ shows the heart’s leverage and its intelligence.
It is the beginning of a new era.

E: And to cap it all off, he recovered faster.

Y: Do you really believe that scientists care for spirituality and meditation?

E: They started doing so about sixty years ago. Nowadays, Mindfulness and Heartfulness meditations are being introduced in all quarters, businesses, schools, universities and education circles, and they also appeal to those who are in search of themselves and of a better balanced life.

Y: There was a time when meditation was restricted to ‘visionaries’ like yourself, who were considered to be rather weird.

E: Now many people admit that meditation helps us to be more effective in life. The objective for them is to make us better persons and achieve excellence. Meditation is a precious tool for personal development.

Y: I’m not really keen on that notion of excellence. It makes me think of the entrance exams for accessing the most prestigious schools, or of formatting intellectual elites and of training ‘killers’ who would do anything to rise atop of industry or government and take power. Just look at the way graduates from the École Nationale d’Administration and politicians behave. If they still have a heart, where do they hide it?

E: Keep calm, Theo. We all have a heart, but sometimes we ignore how it works.

Y: [Feeling fiery] There are people whose intellects are coarse and primitive. They want money and power, and they get it because they are the best, the strongest. It’s ‘I’ first and foremost – ‘my’ personal interests, ‘my’ club – except that they hold the banner of education, culture and civilization. But it doesn’t fool anyone, does it?

Theophile the Elder sends out a wave of calm and serenity.

E: Here, achievement and excellence are closely related to the self. You can be happy only if you live in agreement, in harmony with yourself. Then you are naturally ethical and moral. It’s bound to be so. By meditating on the heart, we become what we have always been: universal beings who are in agreement with our environment and ourselves. We become aware of our smallness as well as our grandeur whenever we behold the starry nights in our inner cosmos and firmament. Heart-based meditation allows us to make both our left and right brains work better, as they are ruled by our hearts. The heart is a wonderful integrator, and a potent and faithful friend.

Y: Is spiritual science recognized by mainstream science?

E: It’s beginning. For example, channels for neurotransmitters have been identified between the heart and several parts of the brain.

Y: How will scientists take to meditation?

E: They will use meditation to manage constant stress and disturbing emotions, and also to improve their performance or their capacity to decide quickly and efficiently.

Y: Isn’t that going to be our new management model?

E: It’s already happening. For example, I was lucky enough to be trained by Professor Ichak Adizes. He is renowned worldwide in the area of management education for business and government; his motto for ensuring success is ‘mutual trust and respect’.

Y: To improve business performance?

E: Yes indeed! And it gives excellent results, which can be recorded and quantified. It makes people happier in their daily lives as well as in their jobs.

Y: How can you make people change in the role of managers?

E: We don’t want to force change. When people have the inner experience of who they really are, then everything else will naturally follow. They will want to do what is right. They will also be more effective and, above all, happier with themselves and with their social, professional and family environment.

Emotional intelligence will determine the level of performance the person will attain.

Y: What factors will help develop that emotional intelligence?

E: Interest and curiosity, which show the level of involvement and motivation and give us the patience to make all the adequate efforts.

And attentiveness, the benefits of which you already know through meditation, as well as all the joy that comes from it. It is the sign of optimum operation.

We don’t want to force change.
When people have the inner experience of who they really are,
then everything else will naturally follow.
They will want to do what is right.
They will also be more effective and, above all, happier with themselves
and with their social, professional and family environment.

Y: So, conditions are the same as for meditation.

E : As in meditation, the neurological system is non-verbal. They have the same operating mode.

Y: What does emotion a l intelligence result in?

E: Intrapersonal intelligence, which is able to listen to the Self, and interpersonal intelligence, which is able to listen to others and develop empathy.

Y: Those are the heart’s qualities, aren’t they?

E: The words differ according to culture and times. It’s the same as with religions. But here it is a scientific issue: how to access the second level of the heart, which I have called cosmic or universal consciousness, whereas science speaks of meta-knowledge?

Y: It sounds revolutionary.

E: It is evolutionary! I don’t mean to give a lecture on emotional intelligence, though the topic is exciting. I was mostly interested in the condition Professor Mihaly Csikzentmihaly describes, concerning learning and fluency, that is, ‘the flow’.

Y: Could you sketch it out for me, please?

E: Fluency, or flow, is the ultimate in emotional intelligence. It is described as being ‘the optimum experience’, which means that the person will give their level best and go beyond their own limits. That will raise a burst of joy and a deep sense of well-being, and it is a very gratifying state to experience, no matter how others see us.

Y: How will consciousness fare during that optimum experience?

E: It is unlimited. A person will lose track of time and the self, and yet at the same time be fully aware of himself. In such a moment, action and consciousness blend into one another.

Y: It’s another way to forget the ego.

E: Yes indeed, because the person is totally absorbed in the work to be done and the goal to reach. Efficiency is in the offing, since the mind is flexible, adaptable, creative and receptive.

Y: It makes me think of the Taoist Masters.

E: Quite right, as they are in a state of constant fluency. Spiritual knowledge has allowed me to make out the importance and validity of the discoveries made by researchers in the field of emotional psychology.

Y: Is there any reason why?

E: As with Heartfulness Yoga or Taoism, one can access one’s interiority and consciousness of the heart without having to resort to a spiritual or religious context. Here, the experience is firsthand and objective.

Y: So it is a scientific approach: don’t believe anything, instead experiment without any prejudice. The experience is repeatable.

E: There is another similarity with meditation. The optimum experience, due to its fluency and the fact that it results in concentration, feels very much like the Heartfulness Meditation we practice. Attention is both fluent and relaxed. Perception is circular. The fluency brings about a mild euphoria, though the brain remains impartial and calm. That is why we are able to achieve exceptional performance.

Y: Scientifically speaking, it means that the links between the thalamustonsils and cortex are under control.

E: And that the neuronal circuits are more efficient: abilities and skills are pushed to the extreme at minimum energy consumption.

Y: With no risk of burnout, in contrast to what is increasingly happening in companies nowadays.

E: Concerning burnout, Chinese Medicine speaks of a yin vacuum. Being devoid of energy resources – the root-energy – and due to an obvious yang, the person is restless to the extent of collapsing, having no access to his or her knowhow or skills and losing all self-control. The warnings sent by the body, brain and heart having been ignored, the brain has to provoke a salutary short-circuit.

Y: I have pondered over this. In such moments we experience sleep disorders and are unable to recover any energy. Psychological, cognitive and emotional functions don’t work properly. It is the first step towards depression.

E: The effect is the opposite of the optimum experience, which is regenerating. One enthuses you, the other … you see?



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

For security, use of Google's reCAPTCHA service is required which is subject to the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

I agree to these terms.