observation, flow, meditation, gordon ramsay


fragments of perspectives

fragments of perspectives – like mind the ice inhibits clarity


The meditation has been a continuously ongoing process in the past 5-6 years. Whenever there is a free gap in time, mind starts the task manager or log viewer, looking at itself in present and past. I’ve been doing this observation for a long time but I had no idea this is a kind of meditation. This meditation reveals the nature of mind. To get to know the nature of mind first handed, is a necessary stop on a path to freedom.

All the time I spend doing ‘nothing’ I can be in observation mode. Nothing = being passive. I can look at what happens in self and mind. This is an enormous amount of time each day: time spent in traffic jam, time spent on long and lonely stretches, in public transport, walking from A to B or just for fun. While watching TV together with focussed family members, during lunch when spending lunch alone, and even while spending lunch with friends. Doing dishes and other house chores is a time that equally lends itself to observation.


Cooking does not lend itself to observation, except perhaps afterwards, when things did go wrong, and then one can try to find the origin of irritation or anger. Observation mode does not work when we have to concentrate on a task.[1]  The focus needed when cooking can transform into ‘the flow’. That happens when being undisturbed, focused and without emotions.

Being taken out of ‘this flow’ by someone, is reacted upon in Gordon Ramsay style.

Perhaps because ‘the flow’ really connects us to a state of active and agreeable usefulness. Or perhaps because mind is just doing what it is supposed to do. In ‘the flow’, the mind is used as a tool. It does not interfere as a noise maker. In ‘the flow’, we are not out of mind, but out of chatter. There is no silence, but there is no gossip either. And I defend against gossip from inside and from outside. Perhaps this defence of ‘the flow’ against chatter from within or without is causing me to behave like Gordon Ramsay.

When the cooking goes wrong, mind starts creating disaster scenarios. This creation of disaster scenarios is not necessary, and really disturbing the focus, hence ‘the flow’. So my cursing is not against the things going wrong, but against the chatter in my head: the disaster scenario maker.

Combine inside and outside disturbance: disturb me in the kitchen when things go wrong. OMG — Inside chatter and outside disturbance breaking ‘the flow’ together get greeted upon by the Gordon Ramsay Unlimited Experience.

observation and flow

I wonder whether observation mode is some kind of flow. I don’t think so. When the observation process is focussed, ‘the flow’ is probably there. But then, that kind of focus, would lead to a death of the other mind processes, and not to itself, which leads to forced silence. But this kind of silence is not very welcome. It is forced, it needs energy. It feels like not going to the toilet when there is a need to go. So I don’t think this kind of observation is very beneficial to anyone.

identification and consciousness

A shift in consciousness comes suddenly. I’m in a grey zone now, with glimmers of different awareness, but no permanent shift. There is nothing I can do to help. Doing something might interfere negatively and give credit to the doer. One moment, mind is weak, then strong again, then gone for a moment, and then back. Most of the time it is the aspect ‘sceptic’ in my mind that wants to be identified with.

When I’m in ‘the flow’ there is no identification. There is action.
When in observation mode, there is a doer, investigating the nature of mind, actively looking into being passive.
But sometimes I become aware of silence when doing nothing. Without the effort by the observer. When that happens, I feel free.

[1][Awareness does. There is a difference. Observation mode is meta-cognition, just another process that monitors the other processes so to speak. Awareness is like an interrupt correcting whatever needs to be corrected. At least that’s how I see it now, but I might find better wording or change the explanation altogether.]


17 thoughts on “observation, flow, meditation, gordon ramsay

  1. As time passes the term meditation seems to take on more and more meanings thus diluting its true meaning and purpose. This is a great loss to all. There is a difference between contemplation and meditation and, in the latter, various degrees apply.

    • I have been asking this question for clarification between contemplation and meditation for the past 10 years or so. I never got a correct and complete answer. So i finally decided to make my own definitions and systems. But any help is always appreciated. These days the quo vadis files and TMIW is regularly screened and searched. I would like to write in such a way as to be understood in the best possible way. Red should be Red and not scarlet or anything else. The term ‘ego’ is quite unusable. The term meditation is used for anything starting from relaxation over mindfulness and awareness to non-duality etc. This makes it impossible for interested beginners to understand anything.
      When I’m replaying the past, that should be called contemplation, when I’m watching the present, that should be called meditation … I think.

      • Sorry for jumping in here, but since reading this particular comment and reply, I too have had this nagging to try and decipher the difference between contemplation and meditation. I just thought I would add my conclusion. It may not be of any help but in my opinion, contemplation seems to imply pondering that results in some form of tangible action, or an implication of a past action. A focus on an event past or present.
        Meditation would be focusing in some action that is not tangible but something spiritual, something inward or abstract.

  2. Really loved this post. Had to read it a few times. And really loved the photograph– it is beautiful. I wondered if the observation mode might be a form of processing or digesting of thoughts and experiences and conversations. Asperger’s makes this a necessity or else one get overloaded.

    • The brain normally does not go into observation mode by itself. An act of will is necessary to go into observation. It is quite possible that if you are aware (interrupt) that there is an overload, that you go into observation mode to see what is happening.

  3. I heard a story once about this process once where a seeker came to a door and knocked. A voice asked, “Who’s there?” The seeker responded, “I am here.” The door remained locked and there was no reply from within. The seeker returned another day and tried once more. Again when asked “Who’s there?” he replied “I am here.” And again he failed to enter.

    Finally one day he knocked at the door and when the voice asked, “Who’s there?” he replied, “Thou” and the door opened for him.

  4. I understand exactly what you mean by flow and observation. I could have never been able to explain it as well as you have though. In order to flow, our minds have got to let go of the awareness of what might happen and allow the process to run its course. I think the flow is better after observation. Yet observing and too much awareness can interrupt the flow as it is happening.

    • I think awareness is our active volition, the interrupt that brings us back to the task we were doing. I feel that awareness itself does not interrupt the flow, it just says ‘good’ and let process do what it wants to do, but the metacognition of observing really interferes with the process, since it is a process itself.

      • I was thinking about me personally. I can’t achieve the flow if I am too aware of what might happen in the process. It is better for me to be on “auto pilot” say if I was going to prepare a meal as an example.

        • I would give the name auto pilot when cooking simple every day dishes. I can set my mind on anything else when the auto pilot is cooking. I am in the flow, when concentration, timing and correct temperatures are needed. At that moment the focus makes it impossible to do any other task with mind. Sports people talk about ‘the zone’ but I don’t know whether zone and flow are the same, related, or completely different.

          • right, I am talking about everyday things. You are right, when it comes to something new, awareness is necessary. Another thing! I can’t stay in a flow if another person is observing while I flow lol

            • It does seem that being in the flow is a solitary experience although thinking of musicians playing together and being in the flow– it is okay if the “other” is in his or her own flow as well. Likewise for sports and the zone.

            • It is not a solitary experience. Just like when you talk about musicians, equally often when I’m teaching, I and many students can be in ‘the flow’. But you have to do a synchronistic thing together!
              I had many lab partners when in college, but with only one of them 1+1 =4 – I didn’t know it then, but when looking back, we did ‘flow’ things together.
              (with most of them 1+1=1.5 and sometimes 1+1=0.5)

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