Practice

FlowBane

Step right up, one and all, yes, I’m talking to you, good sir, I can see by that distracted expression that you have a problem!

Oh, yes, you do! If you don’t mind, sir, I’d like to take a moment to allow you to help out your fellow man! Just step right up here, that’s it, thank you very much, ladies and gentleman (and any other genders who might care to listen) let’s have a round of applause for this fine beacon of selfless sacrifice, this fearless dreamer who has put himself right up here next to me as a cautionary tale for you all!

That’s right, I said cautionary tale. Sir, would I be right to suggest that as you were walking by, you were deep in thought? No need to answer, I wouldn’t want to humiliate you by insisting that you answer out loud. Of course you were! You were pondering some issue, some compelling problem, perhaps lost in memory or some far-flung hypothetical future you’d imagineered for yourself, and frankly, sir, it is a fortunate thing for you that I noticed.

You, sir, were caught in that diabolical trance-state of flow, and I must tell you that no more dangerous state of mind exists! It is quite possible that I have rescued you from the very end of life as you know it simply by calling for your attention and bringing you up here. Look at the crowd, they are a-feared for you, and I swear if we take a moment to listen –

– yes, you can hear their very hearts beating just a bit faster in relief that you, sir, have had this burden and danger of flow removed from the false sense of secure mundanity that it set you in.

What danger? Sir, do you not realize? Can you not see? Ladies and gents, shall we illuminate this danger for this man? I’m sure you all agree with me – yes, I knew you would, thank you for that amen, sister, keep ’em comin’! Sir, let me elucidate, elaborate, and educate – nay, let’s say it like it is, I am going to school you on the dangers of the flow-state you found yourself in as you so fortunately walked by my humble stand here in this fair city.

First of all, my good man, there is that very fact: you almost walked by my stand! With it’s shiny colored banners and shimmery glittersome chrome sparkling shinier than a teenage vampire in Hawaii! You didn’t even look up, when all these other folks here were rapt in the acquiring of the new and wondrous discoveries that I was prepared to share with them.

That’s right, sir, I do not exaggerate, not one iota: you almost missed out.

Now, I am a humble man, I do not wish to presume that what I have to say is something that is of vital importance to you, sir, but how can you know if you don’t actually notice it in the first place? With your faculties all occupied elsewhere in the far reaches of intellect and imagination, how are you going to know whether that booth, that window, that jingle or perhaps even this very booth holds the key to the very problem upon which you were pondering? What good is studying the deeper aspects of whatever – no, sir, don’t interrupt, I don’t need to know the what, I wouldn’t expect to delve that personally into your psyche, I merely wish to draw your attention to the adjacent possibilities to which that flow was blinding you.

More than that, sir, I have to tell you that the flow has a dangerous tendency to turn into less of a current and more of a tsunami, destructively changing your attitude, your behavior, your relationship with the very people and places and things around you! I have seen it happen, I have seen people leave perfectly good occupations, abandon totally respectable living conditions, even give up their hard-won possessions after a time spent in that flow state. They prettify it up with words like “minimalism” and “slowness” and even “meditation” but let’s call it what it is: laziness.

They are simply giving up on the effort it takes to really enjoy all that there is enjoy in life! This world is chock-full of hard-working, status-posting meme-sharing like-clicking folks just like these around you, kind sir, and when you are in flow you are ignoring them! You are selfishly taking the attitude that whatever it is you are working on is somehow more worthy of your attention than all the wonderment that they are so eager to share with you. I ask you, sir, do you want to be selfish? Do you really want to subject these people around you, that you barely know but who all consider themselves, by now, to be your friends, to the metaphorical held-up palm of “self-examination”?

Look! I do declare even the thought has brought a tear to the eye of that sweet old woman over there. You’ll see that tear on instagram later, I am sure, and I don’t doubt that you’ll heave a sigh of relief that it was only for the fear of what might have been, rather than the actual danger that misapplied introspection can bring!

However, sir, you are not only fortunate in having the attention and good will of so many of your fellows. You can practically see the blue thumbs shining in their eyes as they look at you up here, because they know that I have not only saved you from that train of consciousness a-chug-chugging well on the way towards some paradigm-shift of your lifetracks, but I have the means by which you can remain safe from such peril in the future!

It’s called FlowBane, my friend, and it’s the miracle of our modern age, the triumphant pinnacle of millennia of human sweat and toil and the same technology that took us to the moon and back (if you believe such things) and made most of us believe it (if you don’t). Best of all, my friend, it’s free, and everywhere around you. Oh, sure, you can pay a small fee and have it in your pocket, on your tv, in your kitchen, even projected on the ceiling of your bedroom to keep you safe from that dangerous state of mind even in the treacherous sonority of slumber. But really, you just have to ask your friends and they’ll keep you informed, keep you well meme-ified and updated and LOLed into a sense of security the likes of which our ancestors never knew.

The only price you have to pay, sir, is the small bit of attention that you gave me on your way. Yes, I know there was some problem on your mind, some intense feeling you were deep in the middle of figuring, but really, does it seem so important now, with all these people around you? Surely if it was that important, it would just come back – and if it doesn’t, there’s certainly a lifehack or two or some app that will help you out.

Just stay tuned to the beautiful inexhaustible supply of FlowBane around you, and you’ll never have to deal with that scary deep dark inside again. Ooh, shiny! will be the mantra of your days and nights, and really, sir, with the bright and silvery-digiwonderful world around you, why would you want or need anything else? Unlike Othello, FlowBane will not only leave you wanting more but will also always deliver. That’s right, unlike the Watchmen movie, the more you want, the more you get.

Will you allow this flow to keep you from experiencing the vast wonders of the world around you? Will you let it carry you on or will you give a dam and stop it, here, now, always right here and right now because that’s what’s important? Remember, flow is what puts the rue in ruminate, the con in continuity, the sigh in sigh-chology. It promises optimum experience, sure, but at what cost? At the cost of all those other experiences that are happening even as I speak these words now.

I can see by the blank looks in the crowd that some of the geekier aspects of my sermon today are being less than caught by the silken strands of the web of understanding, so I will simply leave it with the warning words of an ancient band who warned against this very thing:

Once I rose above the noise and confusion
Just to get a glimpse beyond this illusion
I was soaring ever higher
But I flew too high

Carry on, my wayward son. There’ll be tweets when you are done.

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