I Finally Figured Out Why Getting Into The Flow Of Prayer Can Be So Hard

Last week I had the pleasure of learning from an expert in the world of brainwaves and what that has to do with our ability to get into that ever elusive state of “Flow” – where you are so involved with the thing you are doing, time seems to fly by and you make massive amounts of progress.

It was so interesting learning about the phases you have to go through in order to get to that phase – Struggle,  Release, Flow and Recovery.

Struggle is where beta waves start to flow through your brain and we have to consciously focus because there is some resistance – the task is just a little hard so it conjures a bit of stress.

Once you overcome the “hard” part, your mind quiets and you get to the Release phase (with alpha waves), and then you can slip into Flow. Flow is where we become open-hearted and the task becomes effortless, timeless and selfless.

I think Flow is where I’d LOVE to be whenever I pray my rosary, but seem to get stuck over and over and it becomes a chore. And I think I now understand why thanks to this scientist.

There is a final phase that I’ve been neglecting. And without proper time in this phase, the Flow state becomes harder to get to.

Recovery. Recovery is were we are actively restoring our brain. Think of going to the gym; you don’t build muscles at the gym; you tear them down. When you rest and eat a healthy diet, that’s when those muscles grow back.

The Restore phase cannot take place while you are watching TV or scrolling through social media. Recovery requires intention.

I spent a huge chunk of this email just explaining the phases, but I couldn’t help but consider my own prayer life as he was explaining the bits and pieces. 

What really caught my ear was the term “Open Hearted”. That’s what I want to be to God’s voice. Completely open hearted to His will.

About a year ago I expressed to my spiritual director that I wanted to hear God’s voice – like literally hear it because I felt like I was always guessing.  I was stuck in Phase 1: Struggle.

Now I’m armed with breathing techniques and paying attention to how I allow myself to recover. 

God told us to rest. He certainly wasn’t wrong.


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