According to Western psychology, “flow” is a mental state that occurs when you are totally immersed in an activity that consumes your full attention and skill. It’s described by athletes as being “in the zone,” and by musicians as being “in the groove.” It’s highly enjoyable; often the best thing in life.
Psychological flow is closely related to Buddhist Tantra, which is also about free-flowing energy. But there are important differences. Here I want to use those similarities and differences to begin to explain the “path” aspect, or methods, of tantra.
Let me jump ahead to my punchline. Flow depends on highly-controlled conditions, so it is frustratingly elusive. Tantra has no conditions, and so can be practiced under any circumstances, including complete chaos. Flow lacks both spaciousness and passion, which are the keys to tantra.
On my previous page, I tried to make tantra sound disappointingly ordinary. Here, understanding how tantra relates to flow might get you excited about it again—on a more realistic basis.