© 2019 by Ernest Kinnie



Flow Strong and Free

(From Psychology Zen Freedom)









Why do you stay in prison

when the door is so wide open?

Freeing the flow has been so valuable.  I grew up in a very constricting family where "Children should be seen and not heard" was the rigid rule.  I made pretty slow progress breaking out for far too long.


I gradually realized that I most needed to free the flow.  I also noticed that often my students and patients needed to do the same.  Together we developed these effective ways to flow Strong and Free.


People from less constrictive environments also gain much from freeing the flow.  Like Meta-Jumping it greatly increases adventure, creativity, freedom, and fun.


Many find that freeing the flow early each morning is a great way to warm-up for the day.  Give it a try.

A.  Control the flow---Energize and Relax

B.  Free the Flow

COpen and Receptive

D.  A friend flowing Strong and Free

E The risk and glory---do you dare be free?





Energize and Relax

















You'll soon be flowing Strong and Free.  Best make sure you can control the flow when needed.




Lie down or sit in a comfortable chair.  Breathe in and feel the energy of your mind and body.  Feel the alertness and energy grow as you breathe in deeply---perhaps tighten muscles to feel the power---then say ENERGIZE out loud or in your mind.


Close your eyes as you breathe out, and feel peace and relaxation flow through your mind and body---say RELAX.

Repeat breathing in and out until there is a strong association between the sound of the word ENERGIZE and being alert and energized, and the sound of the word RELAX and being peaceful and relaxed.  During the next week continue to reinforce the associations, and thereafter as needed to keep them strong.


You want the associations to be effective in major areas of your life, so generalize.  Reinforce them in different places, like home, library, bar, etc.  Try not to attract too much attention.


Now when you want to give your energy level a boost say ENERGIZE a few times out loud or in your mind.


If stressed say RELAX.  The shift begins immediately.  Works great, and so much cheaper, quicker, and safer than pharmaceuticals, and you control the effect.


Now RELAX also has the power to control your thoughts, emotions and impulses.  The next time you sense the beginning of an unwanted and unneeded thought, emotion or impulse, say RELAX to yourself a few times.


Catch the thought, emotion or impulse early, while still weak.






If your favorite modality is visual rather than auditory, see the words ENERGIZE and RELAX in your mind as you create the associations, rather than saying the Power Words.  Or, print ENERGIZE and RELAX on cards and flash them to create the associations.







If your favorite modality is kinesthetic, use your body to anchor ENERGIZE and RELAX.  Like, clench your fists to anchor ENERGIZE and open them to anchor RELAX.







It is very useful to have a wide range of responses to any situation.  If you have only one or two available, it's just luck if your reaction is appropriate.


If you associated ENERGIZE and RELAX in only one modality, go do the other two as well.  Having the Power Words associated with all three modalities greatly increases your ability to react to best meet the needs of the moment.  And you can fire them all off at the same time, greatly increasing their power.


The Power Words work great because they were created using a combination of the placebo effect and the intrinsic power of Pavlov’s classical conditioning.




Strong and Free

Ride upon the wind

And dance like a flame across the mountainside

Now instead of controlling your body, thoughts, emotions, and impulses, let them flow Strong and Free.


Your mind rapidly shakes off long assumed constraints and flows with more and more spontaneity and freedom.  That results in a wonderful increase in energy and creativity in your life.  Also, increasing your flow increases the flow of others.  You give them emotional oxygen.


…the reduction in cognitive inhibition allows more material into conscious awareness that can then be reprocessed and recombined in novel and original ways, resulting in creative ideas.

Jordan Peterson, Shelley Carson

Free your thoughts, emotions, and impulses.

Free your imagination and creativity.

Loosen up your mind, body, vitality and spirit.


You can begin the flow in many ways.  Here are three for you to consider:

  1.  Hold a book in your hand.  Close your eyes, open the book and stick your finger down on a page.  Open your eyes and use the word or sentence underneath your finger to start the flow.

  2.  Begin the flow with a question.  "Is my life heading in the right direction?"  "Why do I sometimes get so angry?" Who has the best New York bagels in town?" "Anything."

  3.  Or, just start the flow with no starting words or question.  Really flow Strong and Free.

When ready, tap the table or say "Start" to begin the flow.


Sit in front of a blank piece of paper with pen or pencil in hand, or in front of your computer monitor, fingers on the keyboard.  Write or type as quickly as you can.


Pay no attention to grammar, spelling, logic or style.


START! Strong and Free.  For 5 minutes.





Make sounds that flow into the world.  Might be words, songs, gibberish, animal whistles and grunts, taps on the table.  Anything. Quickly.


START!  Strong and Free.  For 5 minutes.  





Start with a blank piece of paper, and pen, pencil, charcoal stick, or whatever at the ready.  Maybe a picture.  Maybe just marks on the paper. Quickly.

START! Strong and Free.  For 5 minutes.  



and impulses, feelings, emotions

Freedom flow your body.  Freedom flow your impulses.  Freedom flow your feelings and emotions.  Wear lose clothing.  


START! Strong and Free.  For 5 minutes.  

What the hell, go naked and really flow Strong and Free.  I dare you.





START! Strong and Free.  For 5 minutes.  



Pay special attention to the flow you found most difficult.  You may have much to gain increasing that kind of flow.


Humans can only hold about 7 words, numbers, whatever, in conscious awareness at any moment in time.  Our biocomputer has such a tiny



That is why Meta-Jumping and Freeing the Flow are so important.  They increase the quantity and quality of what flows into your conscious awareness.  So critical in building and maintaining the quality of your life.



Now increase the quality of the flow even more.  Rather then flowing out into the world, be Open and Receptive to words, sounds, images and impulses flowing into your consciousness from the rest of your mind.


Wait for the flow. Open and Receptive.  Don't be bothered if the flow doesn't start right away.  Increase openness and receptivity, and wait for the flow.  Eyes open or closed.

When you dig a well, there’s no sign of water until you reach it,

only rocks and dirt to move out of the way.

When your have removed enough;

pure water will begin to flow.

The Buddha

As before, tap the table or say "Start" to begin the flow.




Let words flow into your awareness for 5 minutes.


START!   Open and Receptive.






Let sounds flow into your awareness.  Music, sounds from nature, city street, anything, for 5 minutes.


START!   Open and Receptive.






Let pictures, images, colors, movies flow into your awareness for 5 minutes.


START!   Open and Receptive.





Let your body move in any way it wants for 5 minutes.  If you are adventurous notice the difference when clothed or naked

START!   Open and Receptive.






START!   Open and Receptive.



Make sure when finished that you are solidly back in the here and now.  Solidly back here on planet earth.  If you feel a little dizzy or fuzzy, go for an energetic walk and pay energetic attention to the sights and sounds and smells all around you.


Pay special attention to the flow you found most difficult.  You may have much to gain increasing that kind of flow.


Return now and again over the next weeks and months to increase the ease, vitality and quality of the flow.  Fundamental to your life.



Dan Dana kindly shares his way of flowing strong and free.


My friend Ernie recently read my small collection of poems.  He posed a deceptively simple question, “How do you generate poetry?”


At first, no answer appeared beyond “It just comes to me.”  Upon reflection, a more instructive response emerges.


Ernie’s question recalled the title of a book discovered in my hippie youth, “Don’t Push the River: It Flows by Itself.”  That title firmly planted itself in my young mind as an enduring theme in my way of being in the world:  I find greater success by allowing things to happen, rather than attempting to force them to happen (think elusive sleep, constipation, and reluctant orgasms).  My career in mediation, my practice-theory of how mediation achieves consensus between warring disputants, is, I now recognize, a manifestation of that principle.


So, how does the principle of not pushing the river play out in how I, as an amateur poet, generate poetry?


In the preface to my collection of poems and soliloquies, I describe my typical process, abridged here:


Most evenings at dusk, I sit at our west window watching the daily "sunset movie," headphones in place, listening to music chosen to suit my mood, a glass of decent cabernet near at hand.


Immersed in this multi-dimensional beauty, I watch my mind, curious to see where it goes and what it does, undirected by purposeful intent, often revealing what has been lurking in the background of my awareness.


While lingering in this altered mental state, my muse sometimes drops in for a visit.  She suggests artful words to convey an emerging idea or sentiment.  I focus her attention on that idea for a while, hoping to nurture those artful words and capture them before they drift off into the sunset, out of my memory, lost forever.


As an instruction manual for this process, I offer:

  1. Prepare conditions conducive to creativity (wine optional, but a helpful lubricant, I find).

  2. Set aside distractions.  Have no particular goal or purpose.  Get physically comfortable.  Solitude helps.

  3. Immerse your senses (sight, sound) in natural beauty.

  4. Patiently allow time to pass unhurried in this relaxed yet attentive mental state.

  5. Observe your wandering mind with curiosity.  Follow it where it leads.

  6. Await your muse.  She may appear; maybe not.  Accept her choice without resistance or struggle.

  7. If she appears, join in shaping her inventive offerings into artful words.

  8. Arise to record and cultivate those seedlings while your muse remains nearby to nourish your creative energy.

  9. Read, reread, and tweak your text for minutes, hours, days, and weeks.  A thesaurus helps find that perfect word.

  10. Share with willing friends, as desired.


Those familiar with certain types of meditation will recognize similarities:

  1. Mindful relaxation

  2. Use of a mantra to refocus the restless mind (here, returning to the sensory beauty around you serves as a mantra)

  3. Resting patiently in a purposeless state


Don’t push the river; it flows by itself.


My poems: http://dandana.us/poems/

My website: http://dandana.us/





Do you dare be free?


As soon as you know you are in prison,

you have a possibility to escape.

William S. Burroughs


All your life you have worked hard filling your mind with an enormous quantity of memories, associations, words, facts, belief systems, etc.  From all that material, your mind has miraculously created huge and complex logical and associative matrices.


Your conscious awareness is the part of your mind that provides the rest with focused real time data about the world, and the location and condition of your body.  Using its matrices your mind then flows thoughts, emotions, and actions into your awareness appropriate to the situation.  And does so unbelievably fast.


The freedom flows you've just finished greatly increase the quality and quantity of the flow back and forth between your conscious awareness and the rest of your mind.  The result is many more moments of joy, freedom, and adventure.  You become one of the creators of your generation.


Explore when to control and when not to control the flow.  Sometimes you'll over control when you should have let your mind flow strong and free.  Sometimes you'll flow strong and free when you should have used more control.


Are you willing to take the risk?


Your goal is to find a good balance between spontaneity and discipline.


Watch how others balance freedom and control.  The more alive and creative express themselves much more freely.  You can feel and see the difference when they walk into a room or onto the stage.  They flash vitality and spirit.  Their voices and music are alive.


You saw and heard many people freely flow at Strong and Free.  Watch and listen to them again.  Notice the changes in your ability to flow right along with them.


The free soul is rare, but you know it when you see it---basically because you feel good, very good, when you are near or with them.

Charles Bukowski


In everyone's life, at some time, our inner fire goes out.  It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being.  We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.

Albert Schweitzer


Long, long ago the I Ching described the effect of the flow:

Whenever a feeling is voiced with truth and frankness, whenever a deed is the clear expression of sentiment, a mysterious and far-reaching influence is exerted.  The root of all influence lies in one’s own inner being: given true and vigorous expression in word and deed, its effect is great.


The effect is but the reflection of something that emanates from one’s own heart.  Any deliberate intention of an effect would only destroy the possibility of producing it.





If I create from the heart, nearly everything works;

if from the head, almost nothing.

Marc Chagall


I have never started a poem yet whose end I knew.

Writing a poem is discovering.

Robert Frost


Go on to Tiger 3.