Causing Cruising

Day 80 Week 12 Q1  Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Cruising along, seemingly without effort, whether in the sea or on a project, can be a flow state. Time passes, progress is made, no worries. Everyone loves this state. It can come about seemingly by accident. It can occur singly or shared. And most of us agree this is a great state to be in. It is hard for me to imagine anything great coming from any other state because excellence is a diminishing returns proposition. Until one gets into this cruising-along state, the increasing effort to refine and perfect any outcomes can be very hard to muster.  

Alternatively, this flow or cruise state can definitely be deliberately achieved. It can be a happy accident, but more often, it results from directed effort and is not accidental. In other words, we can take responsibility for getting into the flow state and enjoy the feeling of causing along. This does not have to be a theoretical exercise where you go to workshops, spend time with gurus, or read your way there. Nor do you have to mediate your way there. As the saying goes, there are many paths to the top of the mountain. For creative outliers causing along in a state of flow is the top of the mountain, for it is the only way to apply a massive amount of time and effort to achieve nonlinearly wonderful results. 

You can magically make a great deal of effort go away by reducing it to the effort to get started. Once you determine how to get into Flow and habituate the required behavior, then simply going through your morning routine (assuming you have one) automatically gets you into Flow. In other words, you can be Causing Cruising but not forcing it. The trick is determining what activities naturally get you into a Flow state by paying attention to how you got there in the past.  

Once I noticed that playing music got me to the same place as all of the other physical, mental and psychospiritual paths, but a lot faster, I integrated the playing of music into a morning practice, and it got me there sometimes in seconds instead of minutes or hours. And then the experimenting began, for it seemed for me at least that the Flow State did not come about from playing the instruments I played best nor the material I knew most thoroughly. 

It seemed to require exploration, not perfection. The act of searching for sounds and vibrations was far more satisfying than performing or conventional perfecting through teacher exercises. I had to find my own path there, and I am not advocating all of you playing music to get off into a cruising state of flow.  In fact, I doubt this would work for most other musicians as most people are less comfortable exploring than perfecting, which is most musicians have a hard time improvising. As an involuntary innovator, I have difficulty not improvising but different strokes for different folks.

Find what get you to the desired state and then be religious about doing it, and not only will the effort to perfect go way down, but you may even discover what you should be doing with your life. You might even find a MeaningPlace.