Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi is famous for his theory on flow and as one of the pioneers of the scientific study of happiness. In his book Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience (1990), he concluded that happiness is not a fixed state but can be developed as we learn to achieve flow in our lives. According to Csikszentmihalyi, “The best moments usually occur when a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile.”
When we focus our attention on a consciously chosen goal, our psychic energy literally “flows” in the direction of that goal, resulting in a reordering and harmonizing within consciousness. This higher state of consciousness makes what would seem too difficult effortless and allows us to advance into new achievements in sports performance and all the arts.
The flow state is like a moving meditation. Action and awareness merge when the athlete, artist or performer becomes totally absorbed in what they are doing. They have all the skills necessary and are able to stretch their abilities to meet the challenge, while focusing attention on the task at hand. Time seems to fly. It can also feel like there is no time.