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July 24, 2023

Flow State: Relaxing The Lizard Brain

Zack Chandler

Flow State: Relaxing The Lizard Brain

To truly reach a flow state means to shift your relationship with everything around you.

First, you have to drop the ego.

Submit fully to the moment. See if you can step outside of your relationship with it, whatever task you have at hand, and simply become part of it. Drop into the river, ride wherever it may take you.

With this release, a part of the infinite Self beyond the cloak of your perception (ego,) begins to activate.

By releasing the grip on your narrative — who you think you are, what you think you know — you can dip into a whole world of subtle, intuitive knowledge.

Here, with so much more beneath the veil, you’ll find your perception of yourself and your skill level inaccurate — maybe even to your surprise!

The more you learn to push past the ego, the easier it becomes to access this treasure trove and use it to exceed your own personal limits.

The ‘lizard brain’

Even when you do find this flow state, momentum might feel hard to keep — thanks to the lizard brain.

The lizard brain wants to be in control. When it meets resistance, it reciprocates.

Both body and mind tend to tense up in opposition to anything that may affect it. While no doubt designed to keep us safe, this natural instinct does not make for a successful flow state.

Let’s take balancing on one foot as an example.

The more you struggle and tense up, the harder the balancing becomes. However, when you relax, focus on your breath, and accept things as they are, balance becomes attainable.

Sometimes the lizard brain shows up as the opposing voice inside your head — the one that says quit, go home, preserve (the ego.) It tells us we’re alone, we’re somehow separate or unique from the world, and its inhabitants, around us. 

It seeks to control its surroundings, thus closing us off to much of what the world has to offer. Stuck in its ways, it keeps us stuck too. While sometimes it protects, the lizard brain more often blocks the good stuff too. 

[Resistance: Embrace the Suck + Invoke the Muse]

Dealing with gravity

We’re constantly forced to answer to the gravity of our own decisions. This chore alone can often feel difficult for many, but for most it’s manageable. Even still, at times we stumble — we just fuck up. We all have had a lapse in judgment or a misstep.

Add in the world around us (chaos, noise) and everyone’s needs outside of our own boisterous internal dialogue, and we can see why navigating through life and its conflicts can feel so hard. – link letting it go article 

Most of us can deal with the gravity of our own weight pretty well. We can stay out of danger and navigate some pretty rough terrain. However, when we’re on our backs, dealing with someone else’s weight on top of our own, life becomes much more difficult.

Feeling the weight of someone else — literally — and how they choose to utilize that weight, we have to deal with it. We have to base our decisions off of it and negotiate around it. Needless to say, it’s not an easy task.

In Jiu Jitsu and Muay Thai, the importance of linking technique with timing in live training forces you into the present. If you execute a technically sound move at the wrong time, it won’t serve. In fact, it might even hinder you. Because of this, Martial Arts practitioners are constantly thinking critically under stress. 

Learning how to think in these moments and adapt to someone else’s flow, is precisely what makes Jiu Jitsu and Muay Thai such valuable life tools. They teach us to deal with conflict down to its most primal root. 

Effort in ease

The secret to a successful flow state rests in detaching yourself from any outcomes. The sweet spot lies in the balance between confidence and having no expectations.

Relax what’s needlessly strained, engage with what’s working for you. Breathe.

Your ability to access your technique under stress and tap into flow state will depend on how much you integrate a system (such as BJJ or Muay Thai) into your subconscious through constant exposure.

If you set yourself up for success with a dedicated practice of classes and work time, you’ll later thank yourself when you surrender to the flow state instead of having to battle your way through.

Like stretching where you lean into what your body wants to do and follow its lead, a flow state can often show you what you need. It guides us on its natural path — much like when we get into the flow at work, or in the studio, or working on home projects.

In the end, as much as dropping our ego helps with accessing knowledge and intuition, it also gets us closer to the infinite Self — the part of us that’s connected beyond the borders of our bodies. When we find that flow state, we’re also flowing with everything around us.


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