What if you could spend the majority of your working time connected to your heart, in the zone, doing the work you know really matters?
What if this could be the default space that you create from?
I think it can. Over the last several years I’ve been experimenting and testing different techniques for getting into this heart-centered, community-reaching, deep-creativity space.
I’ve been avidly pursuing it mostly because for so long I’ve not been in that state as consistently as I’d like.
At first, you get a taste or a flicker. Little satori, as the zen monks say. A glimpse of what it’s like to simply flow, to create from the heart and to create something that truly matters.
This flicker is a view of what’s possible. A blip that quickly fades.
But over time, this momentary experience can become the reality you wake up to. After lots of hard work and continuous cultivation of course.
The paradox of greatness and ease
Have you ever created or built something that just came to you on the fly and you thought almost nothing of it? It may have seemed insignificant, or it was so effortless that you thought it couldn’t possibly matter very much.
But then, by some stroke of serendipity it received more of a response and ovation than anything you’d previously slaved over.
Why is this? Why does our best work almost seem like happenstance, like some kind of random luck?
I believe it’s because during those moments that seem like “whatever” we’ve gotten out of the way.
We’re not trying desperately to force something. We’re not trying to slave something into perfection. We’re not using brute force to make something happen.
We’re tapping into a source of power and creativity much deeper than ourselves. You can call this Source, divine inspiration, or whatever you like.
Making the Great Work State your stage
But this begs the question: can creating from this place transition from being a state experienced fleetingly and scarcely to an experience that is the stage we work from?
I want that state to become my stage. That’s what I’m interested in.
In this article I’m going to share with you the process I’ve refined over the last six years for getting myself in this place.
And let me just be clear, by no means is this perfect. It’s a living breathing process for me. And for a long time it was in such a state of amorphousness that I didn’t feel it would be useful to share with anyone, or that it could be made sense of.
Without further ado, this is my practice for getting into the Great Work Flow. I’m tentatively calling this the Great Work Commencement Exercise. (Hat tip to Michael for his book Great Work and giving us that frame to work with.)
Step 1: Get Centered
First, get centered in your body. Breathe deeply. Feel your heart.
Say a prayer, make an intention: “Help me get out of the way.” (It’s not important whether you’re secular or otherwise, the important part is that you acknowledge that to do great work something bigger must come through you.)
Step 2: Get Clear
Have you defined the one mission that’s most important to your heart today?
– Is it a clear, doable action?
– Is it something that will have an impact long-term (over the next 1-3 years at least)?
– Does it align with your heart?
If not, figure out what that mission is that meets these criteria now.
Step 3: Remember Why
Still in a state of inner stillness, ask yourself “Why am I doing it?” Really feel why you’re doing it. Allow it to expand like a chord resonating through the amphitheater of your heart.
Now, imagine what you secretly want to have happen as a result of your action. What’s the highest good that could result from you doing this?
Let the chord resonate further, through your body, through the room you’re in now.
Let it resonate through your city and beyond. Let your Why expand and resonate throughout the world, the solar system, the galaxy and Universe.
Step 4: Use your imagination
Imagine the highest good of all coming to pass as the result of your commitment and depth. The highest good of those you’re serving. The highest good of yourself and your family. The highest good of the world.
Step 5: Starting is success
Now, breathe in that why and start. Remember it may be hard, daunting or scary.
For that reason, don’t try to finish. Just take one step and remember that starting is success.
An alive work in progress
I should say right now, I don’t always do this entire process. Sometimes I just get settled in my heart and try to identify the one thing I can do now that will make a long-term difference. Sometime that’s enough.
At other times, maybe in a monthly review, or quarterly planning session, you might want to go through the whole process. It can be particularly helpful when you’re planning a major project that feels exciting and scary as hell.
This should be something you feel into in the moment.
The highest wisdom I’ve found is the ability to feel into the moment and simply do whatever is needed. Don’t be rigid when you feel like you need less or more. Got it?
My humble request to you:
Now, I have two questions for you that I would greatly appreciate you answer in the comments:
1. What processes help you for getting into the right state for doing your best work?
2. Would you be potentially interested in a guided meditation or worksheet for getting into Great Work Flow to listen to before beginning your work for the day? I’m seriously considering producing something like this.
Looking forward to learning from you.