Recently, I hit on an idea. Instead of stressing about the pile of chores facing me each day, or the tasks over-spilling my desk, I would give up ‘admin’ altogether. So I put away my To Do list, and banned any reference to work-related items. To be more precise, I re-named them. I did Really Useful Things all day instead. This made a real difference. I no longer groaned over my loss of adventure or fun. Instead I basked in a vision of usefulness, where purpose and meaning meet in perfect union, and sighed with satisfaction at the really useful way I spent my hours. Believe it or not, as my attitude changed I felt the burden lighten. Seeing time so usefully employed, I began to appreciate my individual efforts, and how each creates the whole.

Did this work? Well, yes. Up to a point. But …

I had to wonder: is a simple change of attitude enough? Can it sustain us through horribly busy patches? Would it cope with undue stress? And then, what about those ‘really useless things’ which are just as important? Some activities serve no obvious purpose but still lend a dash of colour: ones without rhyme or reason that bring added zest to life; or, being unexpected, open up space for unplanned joy. A change of attitude may help in part, certainly, but more is needed. We need a change of state.

What state is that? It is the state of FLOW. When we flow with the stream of life, we are never stumped or stuck, stopped or stymied, bored or burdened The endlessness of our jobs dissolves, because it too is part of the flow. This is not an idea or attitude. Flow is something we experience deeply from within. It is our essential agreement with Life as it is. Flowing with whatever comes, we have the energy to engage fully and creatively, with focus and care. How different we become – and how different Life looks – from a state of flow.

Into the Flow is the second of my Gentle Guides to Meditation. It is also a guide to flow. For meditation, in essence, is the practise of flow. Meditating, we see flow close-up, from within. We explore what it means, how it feels. We taste for ourselves its infinite ease and freedom.

Flow is a blessing, in meditation and in life. Finding flow is the first step to making peace with ourselves, with the world – and (as it happens) with our ever-flowing To Do list.