It’s called Flow. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, leading researcher on positive psychology explains it thus: flow is “being completely involved in an activity for its own sake. The ego falls away. Time flies. Every action, movement, and thought follows inevitably from the previous one. Your whole being is involved, and you’re using your skills to the utmost.” Here’s what you need:
- An activity that is worth doing for it’s own sake
- A set of skills
- A challenge that fits these skills
- Time to do it
It can happen in many activities; sports, writing, video gaming, and of course, music. While practicing guitar, or any instrument, it’s particularly easy to fall into this meditative state of no time. The higher the skill level, the deeper the flow experience possible. All skill sets have beginnings, so don’t let that put you off. You work your axe, it gives immediate positive feedback. You make adjustments that move you closer to your goal of mastery. The longer you work, the better it sounds and the deeper your focus.
This is one of many reasons that I recommend daily goal oriented practice rather than a set practice time. If you schedule an hour of what ever’s next in the method book then you keep looking at the clock to see if you’re done.
Sit down right now to work on your new favorite song for just a few minutes. Focus completely, eliminate as many distractions as you can. You may well look up a little while later and find you feel buzzed and tired and the afternoon has slipped away while you played!