The Flow State

“Now when Jesus heard about John, He withdrew from there in a boat to a secluded place by Himself.”
~ Matthew 14:10-13

We discussed the concept of solitude and how it relates to mastery last week. How uncommon it is to hold a high value for solitude in our traditional activity driven/social driven society; and how difficult it actually is for most people to practice and experience solitude.

I even went so far as to suggest that unless you’re willing to invest a large amount of time in solitude you’ll most likely never achieve a level of mastery. (reference MGG4)

Is it possible to achieve mastery without solitude?

Anything is possible.

But history proves that it’s not very probable; and even a cursory study of history will prove this to be true.

“He left the city; he hid himself in pastures. The solitary river was not solitary enough: the sun and moon put him out. The most agreeable compliment you could pay him was to imply that you had not observed him.”
 ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Why is solitude so important to accessing the muse and releasing your genius?

Why have the masters all sought it out and held solitude in such high regard?

It appears that true masters have intuitively known what science now proves to be true.

First a little discussion on the brain. Stick with me.

There are four basic brain wave patterns that we operate through and within on a regular basis. Of course there are more than four, but these are the most common, basic, and frequent.

  • Beta
  • Alpha
  • Theta
  • Delta

The brief explanation is that Beta is most probably what you’re operating in right now. The waking state. It’s a high frequency low amplitude rate of vibration.

Alpha is a lower frequency higher amplitude brain state than Beta; and it’s where the much talked about and documented “Flow State” resides. A state of centered readiness and awareness.

Theta is lower still in frequency and higher still in amplitude; and this is the subtle realm of dreams.

Finally Delta is the God State. The state of deep dreamless sleep where we completely merge into the collective and universal consciousness. The frequency in Delta is much lower and the amplitude is much higher.

The Delta state is now known to be the “Witness State” typically only achieved outside of sleep by long term meditators.

“I live in that solitude which is painful in youth,
but delicious in the years of maturity.”
~ Albert Einstein

If Einstein’s quote above is considered to be even close to the truth… then we must immediately realize that most in today’s world are not very mature.

There’s a vast difference between growing up and waking up.
Growing up is automatic to a degree.
Waking up is completely and totally voluntary.

So what does all this brain wave information have to do with mastery, genius and greatness?

And why is solitude so critically important to those on the path of mastery?

We may just find the answers in the latest research in neurosciences and the concept of Transient Hypofrontality.

Big term I know… an even bigger concept.

It’s been long known that one of the most creative states we can be in is the Alpha brain wave state. Beta is too active and non-receptive; Theta and Delta are too lacking in conscious awareness and ability for most.

Unless of course you develop the ability to lucid dream… but that’s a whole other topic.

Therefore if you’re committed to mastery, genius and greatness, you must be committed to complete creativity; and the highest within you. What I call Fundamental Creativity in the series on Innate Ability Development™ (reference IAD).

PhD Neuropsychologist Rex Jung, first made his mark in the field of deciphering the brain networks involved in intelligence. But he’s acutely aware that there’s something more than intelligence involved in lives of beauty, integrity and vigor. Much more.

Genius is not genetics or intelligence. It’s a total commitment to mastery.

And this “something” is directly related to, and the response of, the quest for mastery.

Currently Jung is working on the emerging frontier of the studying creativity — and how it differs from just pure intelligence. He and his colleagues have notably helped identify a phenomenon they’ve called “Transient Hypofrontality.”

Jung states that intelligence works like a “superhighway,” with a massive number of neurological connections being made between the different parts of the brain with speed and directness.

When we become more creative, our powerful, organizing frontal lobes downregulate a bit. In simpler terms, they disengage.

The creative brain according to experts is the “meandering” brain. Jung states that in times of hyper-creativity, the superhighways give way to “side roads and dirt roads,” making possible the new and unexpected connections we associate with artistry, discovery, and humor.

WOW! Please read that again.

If you’ve ever practiced meditation, rest assured you’ve experienced this meandering of the mind.

Some of the ways this down regulation of the neocortex occurs are different to the individual. But they all happen primarily in solitude and often in complete silence.

Things like exercise, taking a bath, walking in nature, yoga, stretching, bicycling, meditation, the “runners high,” and many other solitary activities are a catalyst for Transient Hypofrontality.

All things that we’ve lost in our socially drunken, hyper doing, and largely sedentary world.

Are you thinking?

Most people only think they think.
Some people would rather die than think.

As I’ve stated previously, most people think they think… but they rarely ever do. Not really. (reference MGG4)

Interestingly enough, the concept of Transient Hypofrontality is not only absolutely critical for genius and mastery… but also for productivity.

By the way just a reminder, hyper productivity is a definite quality of mastery. I discuss this in great detail in my new book Life Unleashed. How to Live Life on Your Own Terms, Harness Your Genius, and Have Maximum Impact. 

Studies in productivity show that we absolutely cannot be hyper productive for more than 90 to 120 minutes maximum!

When I work with my personal mentoring clients I strongly suggest and encourage that they take a 5-10 minute break every 90 minutes. (reference Mentoring with James)

If they must stretch their focused work to 120 minutes, because they are in the Flow State (also known as Alpha), then that must be an absolute maximum, after which a 5-10 minute break is mandatory.

By the way, this break is not wasted time to watch cat or kid videos on Facebook. Nor to watch the news. Certainly not to play the latest video game.


It’s getting up out of your chair and stretching, getting some water, reading something inspiring for 10 minutes, going for a walk, etc.

But then again… this is not a series on productivity now is it? We’ll save those techniques and principles for another time. But let me just say that true masters are hyper productive and that’s how they become great. Furthermore that’s how they bring their greatness and contribute massively to the world.

Genius is not genetics. It’s a total commitment to greatness.

What is Genius? Learn the definition of Genius in this article.

The Alpha State and its corresponding Transient Hypofrontality lead to both genius and greatness. Also the aforementioned and much talked and written about state of flow.

Let me just finish this week by reminding you. If you want to be hyper social and hyper active (vastly different than hyper productive) that’s okay.

It’s your life. Live it! Live it fully!

But let’s just be honest with ourselves… you’ll most likely rarely if ever experience Transient Hypofrontality, Fundamental Creativity, True Genius, and certainly not Mastery.

There is no value in attempting to convince yourself otherwise.

And the journey continues….

Stay Awake, Love Life, and Be Epic!

james arthur ray


Permission to re-post my personal articles is granted with acknowledgment of the author, James Arthur Ray and a link back to this website. Thanks and Enjoy!