The Durk Pearson & Sandy Shaw®
Life Extension NewsTM
Volume 19 No. 3 • April 2016


FLOW:
THINKING FAST and THINKING SLOW

FLOW is a state that is often described as a “state of effortless concentration so deep that [people who experience it] lose their sense of time, of themselves, of their problems.” Such an “optimal experience” is probably not reached too often by most people, but when it is it gives you a sense of acting without conscious awareness, of time slowing down, of your senses perceiving you moving through a dreamlike state.

FLOW is a highly desired mental state because it allows one to do something that is pleasurable and that would otherwise require immense amounts of mental effort. It is what happens to people who drive racecars or motorcycles or even write a book (and we ought to know). When you’re in a state of flow, nothing distracts you from your goal, so all of your resources can be focused on it.

THINKING FAST and THINKING SLOW describes flow as what some artists experience in a creative state and that many others achieve “when enthralled by a film, a book or a crossword puzzle...[when] interruptions are not welcome...” Who hasn’t experienced FLOW? The trick is being able to produce it when you want it.

We knew a highly skilled champion racecar driver (Mickey Thompson, who sadly has died) who told us that using a BLAST family formulation of ours that we’d given him to try, he’d driven his automobile in a very long professional off-road auto race and time had slowed down with everything happening exactly right and without any conscious effort on his part. He said that it felt like the FLOW he experienced in his best races.

Time stands still if you go fast enough.

—Stephen F. Kaufman, martial arts professional, Ch. 19 on the subject of flow, in his book The Way of The Modern Warrior

The formulation that Mickey took was one of those we designed for our own use that contains phenylalanine. An interesting thing about phenylalanine is that, unlike tyrosine, another amino acid the brain can use to make DOPAMINE, a major neurotransmitter involved in all sorts of things having to do with reward and pleasure (such as auto racing!), phenylalanine can be converted by the brain into PHENETHYLAMINE (also called phenylethylamine). Phenethylamine has a remarkable property of providing mental energy (like caffeine), but may also be a stimulus barrier, a molecule that allows the brain to filter out undesired background noise in order to focus on what is important.

PHENYLALANINE is found in our BLAST family of dietary supplements, as well as in our ASCEND N’ SEE™ (no longer available).

Another of our formulations, called SMARTZ (which is, sadly, unavailable right now due to the lack of a distributor—you cannot order it from LIFE ENHANCEMENT, sorry) also contains phenylalanine. We like the flavor and the feeling it gives us and Sandy is sorely tempted to drink a can of our remaining supply, but it is a temptation that she resists because we will need samples if we ever want to locate a distributor.

Historical note: RHYTHM is Greek for FLOW. Or, as Hans von Bulow put it, “In the beginning was rhythm.” Rhythm has been called the heartbeat of music and scientists speculate that it is the sound of a mother’s heartbeat by a fetus in her womb that primes the brain to rhythm and to music. “Rhythm releases our motor reflexes, even if we do not respond with actual physical movement.” “In brief, we organize our perception of time by means of rhythm.” (SOURCE: Ch. 5 in The Enjoyment of Music by Joseph Machlis, W. W. Norton & Co., 3d edition, 1970),

The rhythms that the Ancients observed in Nature, such as the ebbing of the tides, the cycles of the Moon, the rising and setting of the Sun—these things had mystical qualities that caused the birth long ago of legends and myths concerning the rhythms of life. Today, we have greatly expanded our knowledge of these rhythms, identifying myriad changes in the physical and chemical aspects of the brain (and body) that cause these fascinating rhythms. In the end, everything is connected to everything else at the deepest level and you can use RHYTHM as a starting point of every phenomenon.

In the following section, quotes come from Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman (winner of the NOBEL PRIZE in ECONOMICS for his work in psychology and decision-making), Farrah, Straus and Giroux, 2011.

The blurb by Steven Pinker, Prof. of Psychology at Harvard University and a well-known author of books on how the mind works notes that Dr. Kahneman’s work “has reshaped social psychology, cognitive science, the study of reason and of happiness, and behavioral economics ...” This is a book that we highly recommend and have been reading and rereading.

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