The concept of flow is a central theme in the Awaken Your Inner Golfer book. Cultivating flow is an effective path toward learning, improving and optimizing performance of any motor skill. From helping golfers understand the concept of kinesthetic intelligence (body smarts), to releasing fears and conditioned limitations, to guidelines and exercises for implementing an effective golf grip and effective posture, and a selection of unique instinct-awakening golf exercises, everything in the book is purposed to facilitate flow in your golf practice, your golf swing and your golf game.
In facilitating flow, the book guides you in letting go of your conscious thinking mind’s tendency to instruct, analyze and control. It guides you to a shift in focus in order to utilize the amazing natural and instinctive abilities of your unconscious body/mind. This new focus facilitates trust in your natural abilities rather than relying on rigid golf swing mechanics and golf swing instruction on how to perform a “correct golf swing.” It’s a path of learning to practice and play golf “in the zone,” where there is no directive thought, only subtle intention; there’s no conscious control, but there is instinctive trust; and there’s no trying, only allowing. The path to enter flow is paved by allowing your instinctive kinesthetic intelligence to guide you in learning and improving.
Let’s examine flow a little further. Flow is the state of unobstructed communication between body and mind that occurs spontaneously when we cultivate the circumstances conducive to that connection. Having a curiosity-based and exploration-oriented focus in your golf practice, your golf swing and your entire golf game will facilitate your entry into flow. (See the July 2017 Instinctive Golf Blog What’s your golf “mindset”? on this site).
We often hear the phrase “go with the flow,” but flow is not a passive practice. It involves awareness, attention and subtle discernment. The instinct-awakening golf exercises in the book ask you to become aware of what you feel exploring the variety of exercises; to discern and sense the feelings that produce the best golf swings and the best results; and to discern the difference between conscious attempts at control and a letting go into trusting the unconscious instinctive abilities of your body/mind. Cultivating flow involves paying attention to what you are doing, sensing and feeling in each present moment exploring the golf exercises. It involves discerning the difference between loyalty to conditioned mental and physical patterns or being open to discovering something new. Learning to be in flow involves learning the difference between following instruction to try and repeat a golf swing as we mentally perceive it should be, versus “loosening the noose” and freeing your body/mind to discern effective movement that feels good and fits your physiology and unique kinesthetic intelligence. It may take some fortitude to believe in and learn to trust something different than traditional golf instruction methods. Sometimes you need to question the status quo in order to experiencing something new.
In his book, Living in Flow, Sky Nelson-Isaacs explores the concept of flow as related to living one’s life. He explains that cultivating flow requires us to develop discernment and self-awareness. He explains that it also can require the risk of pushing back on the status quo. He states, “Sometimes flow involves letting go of attachment to a certain path; sometimes it involves pushing through resistance to stay on a certain path. Flow is a middle path between rigidity and spontaneity. In flow, we keep our highest goals in mind, and then our instinct helps us interpret the circumstances in the most productive way….If we are clear about our purpose in what we are doing, we naturally enter into flow in any activity.”
If you can set the goal and purpose of your golf practice to experience the wonderful feeling of pure impact while exploring each of the instinct-awakening golf exercises, you will naturally enter into flow. When you can set an intention to trust the natural intelligence of your body/mind without judgment or attachment to results, you will naturally enter into flow. (See the January 2019 Instinctive Golf Blog Rhythm and Flow on this site.)
It’s simple golf at its best. It’s experiencing the joy and satisfaction of entering into a flow state and experiencing the wonderful results emanating from the effortless nature of genius. Flow involves a letting go of conscious attempts to control your golf swing and a shift into a path of learning to trust your natural instinctive kinesthetic intelligence. It takes attention and awareness to cultivate flow; you can’t force it, but you can cultivate the circumstances conducive to unobstructed communication between your body and your mind.
When you can let go
Of effort and trying
You may find yourself
Soaring and flying!
Your golf swing will flow
When you learn to trust your instinct
And cultivate the connection
Between your mind and body link
It’s not a mystery
It’s about the mind’s intention
And letting go of trying
That produces bodily tension!
When you can relax with alertness
With awareness that your body already knows….
Is when intention meets instinct
And allows your swing to flow!!