The Flow State of Being
You’re skiboarding down a black diamond mountain slope, with the awe-inspiring snow-capped Rocky Mountains in your sight. You fall into your stride while everything else melts away. You’re skiboarding every twist and turn perfectly, effortlessly. Your movements seem timeless and every little sound becomes more vivid and intense — the sliding of your skiboards against the powder, the bending movements of your knees, and your rhythmic smooth breathing. Focused to the moment, yet encompassing the entire mountain experience at the same time, you are in the “flow”. Just flowing in the moment, all cares drop away and becoming one with the mountain. You are having, quite literally, a peak experience.
Peak experiences are moments in which your mind becomes entirely absorbed in the activity so much so that you “forget yourself” along with everything else in your life. You act effortlessly, with a heightened sense of awareness of the here and now (the only place we really inhabit), otherwise defined as “being in the Zone.”
This experience has become the focus of much research in recent years by neural-psychologists. According to Mihaly Csikszentmihaly, “What you are experiencing in that moment is known as flow, a state of complete immersion in an activity.” He describes the mental state of flow as “being completely involved in an activity for its own sake. The ego falls away.”
In order for a flow state to occur, the activity must be enjoyable. It also requires skill and has an element of challenge. Interestingly, a flow state is characterized by a complete loss of self-consciousness, a total letting go. The exciting news is that entering this flow state is highly correlated with happiness, joy, and bliss! And, this carries over into your daily life! Those who experience this flow state in their daily lives exhibit other positive traits, such as higher concentration, increased self-esteem, and even greater health.
Those who ride skiboards know this experience, even from the first day. As the fear factor drops away, what emerges is a true experience of expansion, joy, liberation and even ecstasy! This is why people love skiboarding – its the freeing experience that skiboards offer right out of the gate. Skiboards set us up for experiencing peak moments on a regular basis.
But it is so much more than this, for it helps to create new neural pathways in the brain – coined the science of neuroplasticity. Habit patterns form in the brain that then condition us to respond in patterned ways. This is considered a normal part of aging, sometimes called – “getting set in our ways”.
However, the brain, it has been discovered, is capable of creating new pathways, thus giving us the option to break with old habits, reverse aging and expand to our true potential. Stepping from skiing, or not even skiing ever, into a new sport – skiboarding – exemplifies this process of neuroplasticity, rewriting our personal experience of life and what is possible.