"Losing myself in actions", is it consciousness or unconscio

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"Losing myself in actions", is it consciousness or unconscio

Postby zhddz » Thu Nov 08, 2012 6:24 am

Sometimes, when I play a addicting computer game, or watch a good movie, or when I try very hard to meet a tight deadline. I concentrate so hard, and totally forget about myself. Time flies quickly during these states, I lose myself in actions. Are these states deeply conscious or deeply unconscious?

I remember Tolle said when people racing cars, they are forcing themselves to be present. So I think "losing oneself in actions" is a deeply conscious state. But if that is the case, when I am angry and fighting with people, am I also in a conscious present state?
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Re: "Losing myself in actions", is it consciousness or uncon

Postby Heisenberg » Thu Nov 08, 2012 3:26 pm

I think not because fighting and arguing with people is an egoic activity.

When working on something with deep concentration you're mostly free of ego and fully focussed on the task, present in the moment, and not on mind and ego.
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Re: "Losing myself in actions", is it consciousness or uncon

Postby rachMiel » Thu Nov 08, 2012 3:27 pm

zhddz (pronunciation please?) what you're talking about sounds very much like Mihály Csíkszentmihályi's flow. It's fascinating stuff, you should check it out. The TED Talk also.

Csíkszentmihályi says that, since our brains only have so much processing power, if you use all that power in an activity (playing an engaging first person shooter, for example), there's nothing left to process your own identity/self. The result: Your "I" disappears during the flow.

Here's what I'd say is happening in terms of consciousness/unconsciousness when you're in flow. You are deeply conscious of whatever you need to be conscious of to remain in flow, to do well in the game, avoid falling down on a narrow ski trail, captivating your audience at a public presentation. But you are unconscious of almost everything else. And -- this is key to your question, I think -- you are, for the most part, NOT conscious of being conscious when you're in flow. To translate it into Tolle terms, you are present when flowing -- VERY present, or how would you be able to accomplish the kind of challenging task that engenders flow -- but you are not present to your presence. And, though awareness of awareness (being present to presence) might sound trivial or overly theoretical or just plain silly, it's HUGE.
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Re: "Losing myself in actions", is it consciousness or uncon

Postby zhddz » Fri Nov 09, 2012 3:18 am

Thank you rachMiel! You answered my question beautifully. And I have some further questions.

I think the state of Flow has two sides. On one hand, if I concentrate on the right thing, and it starts to flow. I will be very productive and truly enjoy the process. But on the other hand, in the state of Flow, I am not conscious on my consciousness. The "Watcher" is absent. The brain is on its "auto mode". I have no control on the direction of the Flow. For example, sometimes I play a computer game for hours without noticing how much time I spend on it.

Is the state of Flow welcome or not? Should I practice to be a constant "watcher" for my thoughts, or should I just unleash my mind and let it follow the Flow?
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Re: "Losing myself in actions", is it consciousness or uncon

Postby rideforever » Fri Nov 09, 2012 10:40 am

People engage in such activities in order to lose themselves, not to find.

In the total engagement your inner awareness might feel something deeper going on as noisy parts of your mind are fully occupied, but it is temporary ... and by engaging in such addictive activity you create huge obstructions for any future work on yourself, when you will need to battle through the addictive activities you have driven deep.

The more present you are, the slower time flows.
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Re: "Losing myself in actions", is it consciousness or uncon

Postby rachMiel » Fri Nov 09, 2012 4:21 pm

zhddz wrote:I think the state of Flow has two sides. On one hand, if I concentrate on the right thing, and it starts to flow. I will be very productive and truly enjoy the process. But on the other hand, in the state of Flow, I am not conscious on my consciousness. The "Watcher" is absent. The brain is on its "auto mode". I have no control on the direction of the Flow. For example, sometimes I play a computer game for hours without noticing how much time I spend on it.

Sounds right to me. The way I think of this is that while in flow, you are very aware of the the activity that gives rise to the flow: video game, movie, conversation with a friend. But you are not very aware (if at all) of this awareness. Csíkszentmihályi would probably say that the brain doesn't have enough processing power to both flow and be aware of the flow.

Is the state of Flow welcome or not?

VERY welcome! (My opinion.) :-)

Should I practice to be a constant "watcher" for my thoughts, or should I just unleash my mind and let it follow the Flow?

That's a really good question. It's one I've explored a bunch, am still exploring. Different schools of psycho-spiritual thought will have different answers for you. Here's my (current) take, the best of both worlds approach:

Flow, flow, flow! AND be aware (watch).

Don't struggle to be aware of the flow experience while it's happening. For example, if you're playing a video game, don't try to watch yourself playing it; you'll ruin the game! Let awareness kick back in after the flow experience has ended, or while it's winding down, etc. Become aware of the entire process of going in and out of flow throughout the day. Awareness is also a kind of flow. When you're really aware, especially if you're aware of the big picture (instead of little details), it's as engrossing as any video game. (Well, okay, maybe not Bioshock or Half Life 2.)
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