April 9, 2013

An Uncanny Eye For Eros

submitted by Amara Charles Back
Listening to Mihaly Csikszentmihaly say ‘ecstasy‘ derives from a Greek word meaning to ‘stand to the side of something’ I had to pause his Ted talk, lean back with a tingle and say, Brilliant.


It’s quite an elegant way of describing what happens in the creative flow when your identity disappears, your body dissolves and what seems to be ‘You’ floats by, suspended in the sensation that something else is moving you.


I’d like to hop on this train to propose the same is true of erotic flow states. When we are tuned in, turned on and flooded with a heightened sexual sensations, we can be replenished by states where our pleasure is not only the result of our erotic flow, pleasure becomes the fuel, the promise and the gift.



I’m sure you’ve been here before; in the stream state of awareness where you simultaneously feel absolutely calm yet utterly alert. You move through suspended time within a bubble of aliveness where you can zoom in and out of focus whenever you want to. You can sense, see, hear, vibrate and even taste pleasure keenly. And you know things without knowing how you know them. Did I mention all this happens with a  feeling of boundless love streaming through your body that may feel like chocolate syrup oozing over everything?

With his charming sci-poetic élan, Csikszentmihaly observes some interesting things about how, rather than arriving at peaks of heightened awareness and performance by chance, there are certain things we can do to get into this flow more often.

He Interviewed 8000 artists, scientists, musicians and monks to find out how some people regularly induce a kind of cocoon of meaningful existence where they tap into the ability to ‘create something new where nothing once existed’. Distilling the two common things all creative people do, he proposes anyone can generate flow states for heightened performance.

First he says, you need to have skill; at least ten years of practice. (Good news for those of us who’ve been making love for at least that long.) If you’re unskilled he says, you’ll have too much attention and anxiety to access the creative flow state. How true of ecstatic bliss too.

The second thing you’ll need is a challenge, for cozy comfort seems to keep you as much out of the zone as too much stress.

Consider the last time you trusted yourself to risk surrendering into an ecstatic state of pleasure. Chances are, afterwards, you glowed with a creative shine for hours, if not days. I’ve been wondering what combination of skill and challenge is required to visit those streaming erotic flow states more often, and most importantly, how we can put those  creative surges to good use.

So stay tuned in and turned on; this is just a peek of what’s coming soon. If I have enough people interested I’ll launch our new Erotic Challenge plus a totally experiential workshop integrating everything I’ve gathered for the last 25 years about how to realize your highest performance through and beyond the pleasure zone.

Meantime, practice your love skills and summon boldness in your bedroom. And remember to consider what it means to ‘stand aside‘ during moments of intense pleasure. I challenge you to become an unusual self – voyeur. Perhaps you’ll discover an uncanny eye for Eros that sees Beauty in the most unusual places, especially inside.

In case you missed it: Flow, the Secret to Happiness on Ted


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For those interested in applying this to educational/serious games, I suggest reading the following paper: “CREATING FLOW, MOTIVATION, & FUN IN LEARNING GAMES,” which you can find at http://www.goodgamesbydesign.com/?p=61 Also, don’t forget about reading the Masters thesis by Jenovah Chen (of flOw, Flower, and Journey fame), where he talks about how player defined control of advancement through a game can be used to achieve optimal flow. There’s lots of stuff out there already on flow states and virtual environments. There are hundreds of papers on this topic for those interested in learning more.