“What does make us happy?”

This simple question has very complicated answers. We work on jobs; buy luxurious items; go to occasional adventures etc. only to find happiness.

But ironically material well-being is not always equal to the money we have or places we travel. Yes, money matters but after a point it becomes irrelevant. The average level of happiness in middle-income household changed little from 1950’s though the income has increased threefold.

The Missing Link of Happiness: The “Flow”

When psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi  continued his search for the root cause of happiness he found some artists (and scientists) get so involved with their work they even ignore their physical and social needs. This fascinated Csikszentmihalyi. Often those artists and scientist do their work not for money or fame, but for a sense of purpose. In this state, both of their focus on work and creativity increase multifold and they feel euphoric.

Csikszentmihalyi called this the “flow”.  This is a state of consciousness in which working on his preferred project makes a person “high” on happiness.

Scientist and artists are not only ones who feel this flow.  Successful athletes and established entrepreneurs also experience it. And they all report amplified creativity and permanent boost in life satisfaction.

It may sound like a psychic mumbo jumbo but it is not. Thomas Pynchon once wrote: “Sure this (flow) is magic, but not necessarily fantasy.”

Unlock the God Mode: Psychedelics

The flow state defers from our natural state. When someone enters in the flow, his sense of self-consciousness decreases. For example, when the rappers improvise, brain scans revealed, brain activities responsible for self-consciousness drops. In other words, they switch to the flow.

Psychedelic experience is one of the best ways to achieve this super creative state. Take a tiny amount of psychedelic drugs and go to the trip. (The trip refers to psychedelics experience).

During the trip, you might experience abstract patterns and images. But beneath the surface psychedelics disrupt your restrictive thought pattern and help you to think from a new perspective. A recent study led by Dr. David Nutt revealed, under the influence of LSD, otherwise segregated sections of the brain start communicating with each other.

Source: (David Nutt et al/PNAS)

And this synchronization between different parts of the brain like visual, attention, movement and hearing lead to powerful visualizations.

This new neural network affects your brain in two ways:

  1. Your sense of individual identity diminishes.
  2. Your thinking and social conditioning become weaken which inspire childlike curiosity and creativity.

And these two conditions are the cornerstones of the flow state.

In a nutshell, psychedelic experiences with proper guidance switch your creative god-mode on. No wonder, legendary inventors like Steve Jobs used LSD to keep their mind turbocharged.

But what if you are not ready for the trip?

A small dose (1/10 of normal) of LSD boosts creativity and productivity without altering your conscious state. Micro-dosing of LSD is gaining popularity among the young professionals of Silicon Valley. “The dose is sub-perceptual – enough”, says Rick Doblin, founder and executive director of the MAPS, “to feel a little bit of energy lift, a little bit of insight, but not so much that you are tripping.”

The Psychedelics for Mind Expansion and Healing

Psychedelic drugs are popular for spiritual and creativity boosting effect. But there is more to the story. In 1950’s LSD were made available in the labs and researchers started working on it. But US govt. made LSD illegal and halted all the research in 1966, denying its medicinal values.

But before the ban, studies hinted LSD is a possible solution to several mental disorders including anxiety, depression etc. And according to some sources, psychedelics drug, unlike cocaine etc. are not addictive even.

Such evidence is piquing public interests now, after 30 long years. In some cases, researches are being crowd funded. But the future of psychedelic drug research looks promising. For instance, scientists found psilocybin could combat depression. Some researchers (including prof. Nutt) are leading the way despite having odds against them (read stigma and expensive license).

A Tool in the Tool Box

Psychedelic is awesome. Being in flow is awesome. But remember, as Jason Silva puts it, these are tools to expand your mind. You have the key but which door you would open is up to you.