Prosocial flow

By: Jack Sellwood
Posted: June 22, 2023

A common refrain in spiritual or creative practices is something like, “I’ve invested all this time and dedication. Why does the rest of the world still suck?” We wish the rest of the world would improve at the rate we’re improving. Wouldn’t it be easier to meditate if your neighbors stopped yelling?

The remedy from sages, gurus, priests, and Princes is to love your neighbors and treat them with compassion. You’re able to do this because of your newfound patience, openness, and love.

“I’ll continue working on myself and give you just enough space to be an asshole but not too much of an asshole,” isn’t really a fair trade.

When vexed with this quandary, I don’t think compassion is good enough framing to pacify our frustrations.

One of the hallmarks of inner work is flow state. Mindfulness brings us an awareness that helps us enter flow in meditation, art, craft, cooking, caring, etc. Rather than frame compassion as the resultant capability from mindfulness, I think it’s actually flow.

Flow improves the world around us. It helps us build something to share and actively brings more bliss into the world. Maybe—your neighbors stop yelling when they see the beauty you’ve cultivated in your garden.