Mind is Like Water—How is your flow?5 min read

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Is your mind moving aimlessly in all directions, or is it channeled? Is it dissipated, or is it focused?

If water is left in a flat terrain, without boundaries, it evenly spreads all around and tends to become stale. If that same body of water is channeled to flow in a single direction, between the boundaries of a river bank, then with the push of gravity it will gather tremendous speed (kinetic energy).

In a hydroelectric power plant, a huge quantity of water is accumulated using a dam and then made to flow down a pipe. The speed and pressure with which it flows turns a turbine, which then produces electricity that can power thousands of homes.

Our mind is like water. If it flows in all directions simultaneously, it’s weak, and may completely stagnate. If it flows continuously in one direction, it is powerful. It generates more energy.

This metaphor illustrates two key ideas from the Accelerate step of the Higher Mind system: focus and determination.

Boundaries Create Focus

To channel water, you need boundaries. The tighter the boundaries, the more focused its flow will be.

Likewise with our mind: our goals and our intentions are the boundaries. The clearer they are, the more you will flow. Subjectively speaking, this is experienced as feeling more motivated, more energized, and more empowered. It’s the feeling of “I know where I’m going”, “I’m making progress” and “It’s happening!”.

If you have a meeting with a colleague without any particular intention or agenda, your minds will go everywhere. There will be a lot of chitchat, but nothing much will get done. If, instead, you go to the meeting with a specific intention, and stay true to that intention, the flow of your thoughts will be channeled, and you will end up with a new insight, solution, or decision.

If you read a book about self-discipline to “explore the topic”, you will finish it with new ideas about self-discipline. But if you read the same book with a clear intention to “learn how to become more disciplined in with my health and my career”, you will finish it with specific insights and an action plan.

If you want to try a freelancing career and “see what happens”, that is what you are going to get—you will see what happens. But if you start with a strong intention to “make it happen”, then that will channel all your energies in a clear direction, and make it happen.

If you spend your time reading about a hundred different topics, or consuming a thousand tiny bits of information daily, your mind’s energy will be diffused. If, instead, you focus all your energy on a single topic that day, and ideally from a single source, you will learn deeply.

If you start a journey without a clear destination, you will be walking around. If you have a clear focus or goal, then you will walk purposefully, walk faster, and reach further.

Focus creates movement, speed, and energy. And focus is created by having a clear destination, and strong boundaries.

In terms of the Higher Mind system, the clear destination is the Aspire step, and the strong boundaries are created with the Plan step and protected by the ongoing practice of Reflect and Meditate. When all of this happens together and consistently over time, your growth accelerates.

In a way, then, focus is the common thread of all practices in this system, and also the product of all the steps practiced in unison. It is you moving toward your aspirations with full power.

Yet, focus by itself is not enough. Focus channels all your energies toward a single point, making the best out of what you have. But how do we increase the amount of energy available to us, at its source? That is where the second element, determination, comes in.

Gravity Creates Movement

All things being equal, a taller dam will generate more energy than a shorter one. A river in a land with a high level of inclination will flow more than one in a place with a smaller incline. Gravity is what creates the movement, so the bigger the difference between the starting point and the endpoint, the greater the movement.

Likewise with our minds. The stronger the determination behind your goals and aspirations, the more energy you will have. With greater energy you can overcome obstacles more easily, move more quickly, and go further.

Determination is the “gravity” that pulls us toward our goals. It is the intensity of our desire for the end result. And we desire something intensely when there is a big difference between the state we are in now (the starting point), and the state we want to get to (the end point). That is why, in the Higher Mind system, we always start with articulating powerful aspirations.

The flaw of this metaphor is that, in some ways, our mind is not exactly like water. Our mind has, well, a mind of its own. So even though you may have a strong goal, the mind can get distracted with other things, create self-doubt, and bring up other obstacles to itself. It can resist flowing toward its destiny.

Therefore, the intensity of the desire (I want) is not the only element needed for determination. You also need commitment and self-belief.

  • Commitment creates a boundary that helps your mind flow continuously in the same direction, avoiding distractions and changes of course. It’s the “I will” feeling.
  • Self-belief, or confidence, removes the self-doubt that could otherwise make our mind abandon the path. It’s the “I can” feeling.

Determination, then, is the combination of these three. It’s the strong sense of “I want, I can, I will.” Together, as determination, these three energize your journey, making you a force of nature.

Final Thoughts

Life is movement. Our mind is also in constant movement. You don’t have a choice of moving or not moving—movement is unavoidable. But you can choose if you want your movement to be haphazard or focused, small or big, hesitant or powerful.

Take a moment to think about a goal that is important for you. Ask yourself these questions:

  • How is my flow in this area of my life?
  • How can I make it more focused? Do I need to clarify the goal and the process, or do I just need stronger boundaries?
  • How can I make it stronger? Do I need to increase the desire, the commitment, or my self-belief?

If you have found this article insightful, please share it with people you care about.

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