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When you're mindful of your thoughts and feelings that are arising, you've created a choice. You don't have to react to your thoughts or do what they tell you to do. This generates a sense of control as you become aware of the choices you have. If, while you're driving, someone cuts in front of you, you've got the choice to either react and feel annoyed, or practise letting it go. Even if you do react, you can notice how you react and what effect the reaction has on your thoughts and feelings. Eventually, mindfulness goes beyond trying to control - you discover the flow experience is accessed through letting go rather than controlling your attention. Intrinsically rewarding. As you carry out a task, you're doing it for the sake of itself. If you're driving your car to get home as fast as possible to have your cup of tea, you're not going to be in a flow experience. If you drive to simply enjoy each moment of the journey, that's different. You can feel the warmth of the sunshine on your arms, appreciate the colour of the sky while sitting in traffic, and marvel at the miracle of the human body's ability to do such a complex task effortlessly. You're in a flow experience. Failure is common in life-change endeavors. Chances are, you have tried and failed to go through a significant altering of behavior at least once. For few, it seems, dramatic behavior change is a linear process. The ones who went through a massive shift had a holy-shit life-changing moment. There is no shortage of personal stories describing such an event. Alas, the plural of "anecdote" is not "data." Fortunately, the available scientific evidence legitimizes such anecdotes of sudden and lasting change. The research mentioned earlier regarding depression showed those who made something akin to a quantum change were more likely to sustain their improvements than those who took a more linear path. There are also the studies about the smokers being much more successful when they'd suddenly quit than those who'd had a plan.

Also interesting is the ten-year follow-up with the subjects interviewed for William Miller's article about quantum change. Janet C'de Baca, who was a clinical psychologist in Albuquerque and Professor Miller's coauthor on the article, tracked down thirty of the fifty-five people interviewed for Quantum Change. Publishing her results in 2004 in the Journal of Clinical Psychology, she found that "These dramatic changes have continued, and none described a return to old ways of being." Standing on the lawn today, I notice a child with a loaf of bread in her hand. She has come to feed the geese. I'm surprised at how quickly the hoard of birds surround her, honking and hissing. The smaller goose stays at a safe distance, curiously observing as the child throws a chunk of bread high in the air. The piece lands, and one goose from the flock picks it up and runs; the remainder of the group chase after it in what looks like a crazy football game. The crowd moves off, leaving the lone goose behind, but I am intrigued to find that he is no longer alone. He has found himself a friend--a female goose. They both stand and look up at the young girl who is now giggling as she watches the flock running in the distance. The goose in possession of the bread is now running in zigzag sprints while the remaining players struggle to keep up. The girl looks down at the duo at her feet, smiles, and reaches into her pants pocket. She draws out a second loaf of bread that she breaks into pieces, a reward for those who are patient, open, and accepting. The two geese have resisted the urge to run off in a frenzy with the rest of the flock and now stand at her feet politely, wings brushing up against one another and looking up expectantly. There is no hissing or commotion. There is no danger or animosity, just comfort being in each other's presence. They stand together preparing to enjoy what fate has extended to them. In the scuffle, the group of geese runs over the old red ball in a whirlwind of webbed feet, and somehow the ball is propelled skyward across the yard. It drops and rolls and comes to a slow stop at the edge of an embankment; below lie jagged rocks and unforgiving waves. The ball is alone, on the edge, positioned to fall to its demise.

I watch as the wind jostles it from left to right, teasing it as it gets closer to the precipice. With Grandma gone, I, too, feel as though I am teetering on the edge, alone, and anticipating my demise. I feel out of control, but I look past the dangerous rocks to the horizon. Beyond the rocks and waves is something oddly exciting and promising. The water goes on for what seems like miles, whispering promises of a rewarding journey. I smile. With regard to relationships in our lives, I can't help but wonder if being on the edge is precisely what we need. "With regard to relationships in our lives, I can't help but wonder if being on the edge is precisely what we need." Suppose you have a huge array of devices, each with a different time delay. Each device is the causal gate through which an object in one's life produces effects. At any time, one accesses--and sees--what went on at a given moment of one's life. Each device singles out a given object at a given time. Each device is like a window on a past moment. The model requires neither stored information nor intermediate images to project on a mental screen. Identity with multiple moments in space-time enables the perception of one's past--i.e., direct perception. The array of devices does not store images. Each device acts like a mirror that allows the propagation of light rays. Imagine a mosaic of billions of mirrors, each with its own time delay, like a humongous wall plastered with windows mostly covered by shutters. The windows that are not shut let the light flow. One can choose which windows open. The open windows single out which set of objects or events are still causally present.

Subjects perceive past moments of their lives, literally. They do not perceive memories, reproductions, replicas, representations, stored images, recollections, or engrams. Remembering is perceiving the past insofar as the past is still . . . present. The past is present because it is still causally active now. Perceiving is being. Such a model of perception is akin to looking at the night sky. The field of vision stretches causally, spatially, and temporally. Each star belongs to a different moment in time, yet such stars fit together into constellations despite their temporal inhomogeneity. Likewise, by switching on and off neural structures, we select what place and time we see by choosing which part of one's past is still present. Normally, mindfulness would make you a safer driver rather than a more dangerous one. However, begin by being mindful of safer tasks like washing dishes or going for a walk before you attempt mindfulness of driving, just so you get used to being mindful. Don't use mindfulness of driving if you find the experience distracting. Everyone's had flow experiences. By knowing when you've been in flow, you can encourage more opportunities to experience it in the future. The following are some typical activities that people often find themselves flowing in. You may even find something here to try yourself: Reading or writing. When you're fully engaged in a good article full of fascinating insights or a challenging storyline, you're in flow.

You forget about everything else and time flies by. When writing in flow, words simply pop into your head and onto your article with effortless ease. You stop criticising what you're creating, and enjoy seeing the report or article pouring out of you. I've discovered how to do this myself by writing whatever words arise into my awareness first, and avoiding all self-judgement. Then I go back and edit the writing later on. In this way, the writing seems to flow naturally. This is an example of mindful writing. Art or hobbies (such as drawing, painting, dancing, singing, or playing music). Most artistic endeavours involve flow. You're directly connected with your senses, and people often describe themselves as being 'at one with the music.' If you're forced to do a particular hobby, it may or may not be a flow experience, because the intrinsic motivation isn't there. Picture a friend being dragged onto the dance floor before he's had a drink and you know what I mean. Exercise (walking, running, cycling, swimming, and so on). Some people love exercise so much that they get addicted to it. The rush of adrenaline, the full focus in the present moment, and the feeling of exhilaration make for a flow experience. Work. Perhaps surprisingly, you can be in flow at work. Research has found that people are happier at work than they are in their leisure time. Work encourages you to do something with a focused attention, and often involves interaction with others. You need to give something of yourself. This can set the stage for flow.