FLOW, GLOW

,
AND ZERO
Introducing
a Vision of
Peak Performance
for the
New Millennium

Stephen Randall, PhD

Copyright © March, 2011 by Stephen Randall.
All rights reserved.

Email comments, questions, and requests to steve@manage-time.com

Blog: http://stevrandal.wordpress.com

2 March, 2011

Preface
The need for a new vision
In this millennium people around the world could benefit from a vision of peak performance
and self-actualization that can serve as a secular, cross-cultural meeting ground for personal
achievement, spiritual and religious progress, ethics and morality, psychological growth, and
organizational results--all at the same time. Such a vision is already available, and holds the
potential for a level of change far deeper and broader than anything possible with science,
technology, government, law, business, or economics. This book endeavors to introduce some
facets of such a vision.

Why do we need a new vision? What’s the problem?

A widespread breakdown of structure

Time seems to be relentlessly breaking down all types of structures, theories, customs, and
beliefs that we have relied on. While the world is becoming effectively 'closer knit', more
accessible and interdependent in various ways, we are shedding our former reliance on
structures of authority, status, and law and regulation based on precedent, sovereignty of
governments, separate states, and the global presence of huge corporations. International
disagreement abounds; competition is rampant in political, economic, social, and military fields.

With globalization and modern communication breaking down long-standing temporal and
spatial barriers, we’re now quickly affected even by ‘distant’ cultural and religious conflict,
conflict between religion and atheism, differences between public-benefit and private
business, business and religion, science and religion, religion and spiritual disciplines, religion
and education and psychology, economic and environmental problems, and political and
governmental ideologies.

A deeper, natural set of values?

How can we handle these problems? Faith in the ability of the previous 'sacred cow' of science
and technology to solve our problems has waned. Some problems just can't be solved by
technological knowledge, and applied technology often has unintended side effects such as
pollution and global warming.

Decades ago, Mahatma Gandhi suggested what was then, and still is, a revolutionary
approach: “As human beings our greatness lies not so much in remaking the world – which is
the myth of atomic age – as in being able to remake ourselves.” (p. 10, Rao, 2010)

It’s likely that the breakup of our prior dependence on national, racial, religious, scientific,

3 March, 2011

business, and even family institutions goes hand in hand with time’s call for new ways of
viewing our circumstances. "Peter Berger, an American sociologist . . . argues that the key
feature of the 20th Century has been growing acceptance that self realization of the individual is
a greater goal than loyalty to any group like the family, religion, race, ruling dynasty or nation."
(p. 174, Rao, 2010) I’m not sure exactly what Berger meant by “self realization.” But in any
case, now, in the apparently increasing momentum of the 21st Century, we might propose
something radical: rather than leaving the self-structure at the center of consciousness (a la
Descartes, who helped start the scientific revolution hundreds of years ago) as the cause of all,
what if we challenge this so-called ‘normal’ consciousness structure too?

What if, in the spirit of scientific inquiry, we make a grand hypothesis, look for an all-
encompassing view that takes not just personal, psychological perspectives, but all appearance
into account? And what if we aim for something that has got not just predictive, technological
usefulness for solving our prior problems, but also relevance for the quality of our future lives?

In earlier decades, systems of psychology presumed that all of us had certain desires and
needs for food, sex, approval, and esteem. Motivation techniques pivoted around 'satisfying'
these lower 'needs', a never-ending project; lower level needs are never satisfied for long.
With wider vision, we may now find that most of these 'needs' do not persist at higher levels of
development.

Psychologist Abraham Maslow said that of our needs, only the need for self-actualization
persistently and consistently motivates us (pp. 163-4, Grove, 1983). Maslow's work on peak
experience studied highly functioning people, shook up the support for the theories and
practices of traditional psychologies, and helped introduce new disciplines of humanistic and
transpersonal psychology.

About the same time, spiritual disciplines 'imported' from the East helped shift Western attention
from external preoccupation toward an inner internal. Apparently the Buddha said, "It is wrong
to think that misfortunes come from the East or from the West. They originate within from one's
own mind. Therefore, it is foolish to guard against misfortunes from the external world and leave
the inner mind uncontrolled." (p. 18, Rao, 2010)

In this 21st century, there is growing acceptance that by developing ourselves we will not
only avoid misfortunes from the external world, but also facilitate our inner growth and realize
material and bottom-line goals. According to SF Hotel CEO Chip Conley: "I came to realize
that creating peak experiences for our employees, customers, and investors fostered peak
performance for our company." (p. 13, Conley, 2007) We might call this movement and
approach managing by values, as is now done in segments of the business world. Time seems
to be strongly challenging us as individuals to recognize our limitations, to ‘see through’ them,
and to discover new levels of inner involvement, moving toward a zone of peak performance.

Not only is there growing acceptance that realization is our greatest goal--some say that the
optimal way to develop ourselves, our organizations, and societies, and to progress toward

4 March, 2011

not attributed to some ‘external’ or ‘other’ source or cause. 104. 2011 . injunctions. principles. . Dalai Lama. as well as two other main levels of experience. But what values can serve as the ‘basis’ for a new stage in human development? As stated earlier. 9. that are not supernatural or other- worldly. .other. religions have lost their dominance. and practices? Bill Clinton once said. . .” (p. a secular morality. and an effective method for progress? Chapter One begins with a search for peak performance qualities or 'values' that can be empirically derived from the literature of most cultures and times. these valued facets of enlightened experience are described with detail and precision that is far more granular and operationally useful than typical one-word descriptions such as honesty and integrity. . . 5 March. . the cross- cultural core ‘zone’ of peak performance and realization. or any other ‘place’. 2010) Can we find sufficiently deep values that will naturally unite us? Is there an overall picture and approach? A comprehensive vision of our potential. . This research presents a detailed description of such a natural meeting ground. theories. on unanimity of belief to give us our values. principles. . A forum for interdisciplinary studies Different fields of knowledge and transformative disciplines further the health. and not just a system that is believed. whether any practice could go beyond traditional beliefs and values: “Is it possible to introduce a system of values based on knowledge of the nature of the human person — one that each individual can understand to be natural and effective. . Building on Maslow’s and others’ work. . Maslow. a lay spirituality. we must work harder to unite our common values and our common humanity. . time seems to be relentlessly breaking down all types of structures. phenomenology-based morality that can serve as a meeting ground for tolerance of others and their values. 16. We need a new concept. 147. . Rao. It could lead us to set up what we are all looking for. This new concept ought to be elaborated alongside the religions . and perhaps go even further. providing a broad spectrum of human consciousness and functioning within which different value systems. and beliefs that we have relied on. or seems to be true?” The Dalai Lama saw the value in developing a secular morality: “In the West. 1970) Australian yoga teacher Maiida Palmer asked whether something different might be introduced to our cultures.” (p. material and bottom-line goals is to focus on facilitating values development and realization rather than the bottom line. best practices. . well-being. 1994) Can we now go beyond the traditional and sectarian? Beyond attachments to different groups' beliefs. a new spirituality. I believe deeply that we must find . . “We can no longer rely on tradition. customs. "As we become ever more diverse. p. . . traditions. Maslow wrote. and be seen as a genuine shared set of values that arise directly and naturally from human being. This proposition is presented in Chapters Three and Four. on consensus. This furthers the development of a secular. on cultural habit. and methods can be compared." (p.

assumptions. trying to follow varied moral or ethical systems. and took. 2011 . and experiential structures in force with different ways or systems of knowing and being? I propose that we create a forum to enable interdisciplinary research and cooperation of representatives from different fields. using common ground to explore and appreciate differing moral systems. aggression. and worldviews are unclear. Much more could be done. and methods through which these fields and disciplines can clarify issues across all levels of consciousness and fields of application and to further each others’ pursuits. Other conflicts are due to differences in the disciplines’ range of investigation or application—they are simply not addressing the same dimensions of reality or consciousness. and see that different ways of knowing simply make different assumptions and use different methods to accommodate different learning styles. Hopefully this book will help develop this common ground. We might come to appreciate and understand relationships between such systems rather than simply rejecting some as ‘wrong’ or ‘misguided’. Take one example. personalities. we might find complementary approaches. What if we had. People all over the world lead their lives in different ways. and whether ‘something’. a larger view? Could a more comprehensive view of human consciousness help to resolve some of these conflicts? What if we clarify the assumptions. some dynamic. how such systems arise. underlying principles. Instead of insoluble conflict among many different fields.and productivity of humanity in countless ways. Establishing common ground should help resolve many of these confusing issues. help investigators focus on what’s important. might explain how they all arise. 6 March. or even unknown. A forum could explore what different types of systems there are. which levels of consciousness they apply to. principles. and even war. Researchers and practitioners should be able to determine the presumptions and limitations of their disciplines and make use of what is valuable in other approaches. it would be useful to provide a common ground of language. and add precision rather than heat to their explorations. cultural customs. but their ideas and approaches often seem to conflict. and even very different levels of consciousness or human development. Ironically. history has witnessed how differences between these systems have lead to conflict. Many differences among disciplines are due only to a lack of understanding of others’ jargon or meanings. Frequently this happens because their domains of application. beliefs. To coordinate and facilitate the work of these disciplines.

12. Senge. . .Views and Perspectives What’s the view where we’re going? "It is characteristic of a first-level understanding to ignore the significance of perspective .“ 7 March. 107." (p. 1990) We seem to be relatively unaware of what Peter Senge calls "the subtlest aspect of the learning organization—the new way individuals perceive themselves and their world." (p. Tarthang Tulku. 2011 . 1990) From two fortune cookies: ” The philosophy of one century is the common sense of the next. .Part One -.

8 March, 2011

Introduction to Chapter One

A commercial for the American military says, “Be all you can be.” But what can we humans
be, what is our potential? This was an important question for American psychologist Abraham
Maslow, who conducted extensive research on what he called “peak experience,” “self-
actualization,” and the “farther reaches of human nature.” (Maslow, 1962, 1970, 1971) He
wanted to learn what truly ‘healthy people’ were like, and what the characteristics of peak
experience might be.

Most of my life I have also been very interested in, even driven, to find out what I could be and
do. Around 1970, when in the US Air Force and stationed in Washington, D.C., I attended some
Gestalt therapy workshops, and was fascinated to discover an enormous, vital psychological
world that had been almost invisible to me. Though my education and conditioning helped me
get good grades and develop analytic and problem-solving intelligence, at the same time my
conditioning also led to a lack of what is now called emotional intelligence. After the Air Force
transferred me to Alabama in 1971, I enrolled in evening courses in psychology and counseling.
Then I read Maslow’s writings on peak experience, and supplemented those with This Is It by
Alan Watts, as well as Be Here Now, by Richard Alpert (Ram Das). All these helped open my
eyes to what was possible for us to realize and accomplish.

In The Farther Reaches of Human Nature, Maslow wrote about his research findings: “When
I asked my subjects, after they had described their peak experiences, how the world looked
different to them during these times, I received answers which also could be schematized
and generalized. . . . My own boiling-down and condensation of this multitude of words, and
these many descriptions of the way the way the world looks to them, . . . during and after peak
experiences would be: truth, beauty, wholeness, dichotomy-transcendence, aliveness-process,
uniqueness, perfection, necessity, completion, justice, order, simplicity, richness, effortlessness,
playfulness, and self-sufficiency.” (pp. 101-102, Maslow, 1971) I found this fascinating,
indicative of what was possible, yet hard to understand and relate to my own experience.

Maslow suggested that for those who were drawn to conducting similar research, “Anyone can
use the same procedure that I have used . . . It is stable and reliable in the sense that when I
repeat the operation I get approximately the same results.” (p. 104, Maslow, 1971)

I had no desire to do such research then, in the early 1970’s. But I was sufficiently interested in
learning more about psychology, counseling and spirituality to leave the Air Force in 1972 and
move to California, where most of the ‘action’ in these fields seemed to be. I met and in 1973
married Sylvia Wittkower, a psychologist in Menlo Park. I didn’t know it then, but we lived just
blocks from the Saga Corporation, where Maslow had worked before his death in 1970.

Sylvia and I co-led psychotherapy groups, and as my interest in psychology grew, my work

9 March, 2011

programming computers and teaching gymnastics grew less satisfying. At the suggestion of
Dr. Tony Sutich, a psychologist colleague of Maslow who was instrumental in developing the
fields of humanistic and transpersonal psychology, I enrolled in a novel program in Integral
Counseling Psychology at the California Institute of Asian Studies in San Francisco (CIAS). In
1975 I completed the Master’s degree.

Then, at Nyingma Institute in Berkeley, I participated in a full-time six-week program, a Human
Development Training Program, conducted by Tarthang Tulku, a meditation master in the
Tibetan Buddhist tradition. Fifty of us Western therapists, counselors, ministers, and educators
were introduced to an amazing variety of meditation practices by this highly accomplished and
compassionate teacher. Then, for years while working on a doctorate in East-West psychology
at CIAS, I took more meditation courses at Nyingma Institute.

In 1977, after three years of preparation, Tarthang Tulku published a book named Time, Space,
and Knowledge: A New Vision of Reality (TSK). I was lucky to get to read the manuscript
before publication, and was astonished at this illuminating, and apparently comprehensive
vision for complete human development. I cannot say I really ‘understood’ it, yet it did seem
comprehensive and deeply transformative. Unlike Buddhism and many other spiritual paths
that for decades now have been strongly influencing the West, it was documented originally
in English and in terms of Western cultural views. For many people TSK has been particularly
valuable and accessible because it is a secular vision of peak performance and spiritual
realization, not expressed in scientific, or traditional religious or philosophical terms.

In 1978-9 I attended a new Nyingma Institute nine-month program in Time, Space, and
Knowledge, for which we practiced the TSK exercises—there are 35 in this first TSK book--two
hours per day. Going far beyond my psychological training, this concentrated practice shifted
habitual ways of thinking and perceiving, allowing for more flexibility, creativity, and fulfillment
in everything I did. Now, in 2011, after 34 years of TSK study, I still find exploring this text and
doing the exercises amazingly stimulating and transformative.

Unlike psychology, which is based on a sense of self presumed to be at the center of all actions
and mental processes, this vision suggested that “We can develop a mode of 'seeing' which is
not limited to a particular position or 'point of view' at all. (p. 27, Tarthang Tulku, 1977) There
is no longer a 'looker', but instead, only a 'knowingness' which can see more broadly, from all
sides and points of view at once. More precisely, the 'knowing' clarity does not radiate from
a center, but is rather in everything, and everything is in it. There is neither an 'outside' nor
an 'inside' in the ordinary sense, but rather a pervasive and intimate 'in' or 'within' as an open-
ended knowingness.” (p. 282, Tarthang Tulku, 1977)

If we assume this is an accurate depiction of what is possible, psychology, as well as many
other fields and disciplines, limit—sometimes implicitly--their investigations to ‘normal’ and
abnormal levels of consciousness and functioning. As a result of this limited scope, most
people have lost sight of opportunities for optimizing the human condition. But in certain books--
including Maslow’s works, In the Zone by Murphy and White, and Flow by Csikszentmihalyi--this

10 March, 2011

way of seeing without a ‘looker’—as one example of a significant difference between ‘normal’
and peak performance—is shown to be common in anecdotes about peak experiences.

I was getting interested in replicating some of Maslow's research on peak experience. I
thought that, in the interest of determining ‘all that we can be’, making the full spectrum of
human possibilities more widely known, and of developing common ground among different
disciplines and fields, it would be helpful to try to further characterize peak performance based
on common peak experiential qualities reported by people from numerous cultures, times,
and environments. Precisely what is the ‘zone’ that modern peak performers talk about?
Considerable efforts to identify optimal personality traits, skills, environments, organizational
structures, or ‘best practices’ have been made, but this has sometimes just distracted us from
what’s essential. Csikszentmihalyi's work defined peak experience very loosely, characterizing
it as flow, even though many peak experiences do not have a strong character of energy flow or
movement. Maslow’s work was and still is very helpful, yet it was incomplete and quite general
rather than phenomenologically specific.

Thus in order to further explore the ‘character’ of the ‘zone’ of peak performance, in Chapter
One a number of anecdotes of peak experiences are included along with quotes from TSK.
Induction based on these anecdotes then finds that, besides our 'normal' frame of reference-
-involving the subject-object, knower-known, or observer-observed stricture--numerous other
strictures, or somewhat stable structural features of experience, are found to be ‘missing’ from
these zone experiences. Zone experiences are also characterized by a remarkable absence
of these strictures: felt size, world, felt distance, here-there, substance, constant time flow,
linear time, before-after, now-then, duration, effort/self-control, self or identity, inside-outside,
felt distance, and here-there. This is remarkable because few people—save developmental
psychologists, philosophers, and meditators—are even aware of, let alone pay much attention
to these foundational complexes—they seem ‘built in’, a kind of background or basis essential to
all experience, but they aren’t typically felt during peak performance.

Concluding that strictures are 'absent' from the zone is not to say that peak experience
somehow excludes or alters conventional concepts and measurements such as physical size,
physical distance, clock time, clock time duration, appearance-order sequence, and social
identity and personality. It's not that such ordinary things and events that we experience are
not—in an ordinary sense--included in peak experiences. The point is that it's the way that we
experience these same ordinary things, or the way that our experience is not structured, that is
different.

In Chapter One we go a step farther and conjecture that zone experiences are not characterized
in the least by the presence or absence of particular ordinary objects, qualities, processes,
or events. This point is important, yet I don’t recall seeing it elsewhere in peak performance
research. In fact, these ordinary ‘things’ and processes are often mistaken for core-level
characteristics of peak performance.

TSK acknowledges the usefulness of ordinary, practical, conventional designation and

11 March, 2011

knowledge. to focus on dissolving habits. as they are used in the TSK books (in these books the common meanings are extended to cover other levels of consciousness). For this reason. or realization? I believe so. TSK clarifies the difference between conventional and transformative language and communication. and undivided openness. in Chapter One we induce that zone experiences are characterized by a remarkable absence of certain strictures. For example.” (p. and space. we can extrapolate that the zone is characterized by the absence of all persistent experiential structures. The world that the witness claims to authenticate [including the existence of the witness itself] may not be 'true' or 'real'. and (3) pervasive. We also find that zone experiences can be characterized affirmatively. They conform to the world as we experience it and make it possible for us to act in that world. our usual frame of reference. respectively. the other two of the three facets above. As Maslow said. 110. it is not closely related in common understanding to simple peak experiences of openness (zero) or presence (glow). complexes. However. as a shorthand expression.communication within all levels of human development. Is it sufficient. “The claims of the witness are [nevertheless] by no means false on a conventional or 'local' level. that essential zone experiences can be characterized by the words flow. nonextended. and strictures? Is clearing away these obstructions enough to ‘attain’ illumination. (2) luminous presence and positionless knowing. These terms could be equated to time. glow. We might say. Note that the commonsense meaning of the word flow is closely related to the momentum and energy. and zero. Since the investigation here includes all peak experience. yet very clear compass is available for conducting our path to transformation." (p. Tarthang Tulku says. we can conclude that all activities are best done in flow. including peak performance during all kinds of activities. In peak experience we find (1) qualities of unobstructed flow. 2011 . If this is true. this freedom from normally presumed and persistent restrictions is likely what makes peak experiences "so valuable that they make life worth while by their occasional occurrence. on the basis of statements analyzed in Chapter One. plus additional statements from highly enlightened masters. glow. 1994) As already stated. 80. yet is primarily devoted to facilitating personal transformation from one level to another. speaking of the witness. As part of this facilitation. I want to propose this hypothesis for further research: the absence of complexes and strictures during peak performance suggests that the most direct path to the zone may be the use of methods that focus on opening or breaking up these strictures. or even the most direct approach. Maslow. flow is only one of the three major facets of the zone. use of the word flow to characterize peak experiences in general--as in Csikszentmihalyi's book Flow--can be misleading. which as we will see is ‘absent’ from peak experience. Tarthang Tulku. but it is also not false or illusory and does not have to be rejected. a little-known. self-actualization. all of which seem to obstruct recurrent or even persistent realization of the zone. But also. 1962) Going a bit farther. and zero. In other words. with varying proportions of these three attributes in different experiences. 12 March.

Keeping one's goals in mind while taking every opportunity to move one's experience toward the zone is probably the best way to drive all kinds of progress. is accomplished entirely by individuals. This would foster development of a learning organization.Thus being in the zone optimizes personal as well as organizational progress. which. 2011 . 13 March. it can alleviate the distrust that employees often have of management. carrot- and-stick motivational approaches. as well as relieve the need to constantly use lower-level. If management supports this means of driving progress. an ‘environment’ in which employee and employer alike could thrive. natural meeting ground of the individual employee's concern with fulfillment and optimal well-being with the organization's concern with optimizing productivity and quality of product and service. after all. both inner and outer (see Chapter Four). which is the same as supporting the employees' self-actualization drive. Thus we have in the zone an important.

14 March. 2011 .

thinking. including size. linear time. ● Zone experiences can often be characterized by the word flow: a dynamic . ● The zone is an important. constant time flow. nonextended. and knower-known. and pervasive. and relationship issues that are built 'on top of' the self stricture. or resistance. nonextended surfaces and forms pervaded by an undivided openness that reflects deep relaxation. felt distance. processes. or identity stricture is usually accompanied by a remarkable sense of freedom from the habits. ● The ultimate or deepest zone experiences--perhaps of those who are called self- actualized or enlightened--would be devoid of all traces of all strictures. luminous presence and positionless knowing (identity/knowing dimension).Chapter One What is the 'Zone' of Peak Experience and Performance? Main points: ● In peak experience the frequent absence of our 'typical' self. pressure. 2011 . observer. here-there. ● Zone experiences are characterized by a remarkable absence of strictures (recurring structural features of experience). and substance. lower-level sense of time flowing in ways that seem to require effort. felt distance. here-there. awareness is felt to be nonlocated. most often timeless. inside-outside. Instead of apprehending particular content from a single 'point of view'. natural meeting ground of the individual worker's concern with fulfillment and optimal well-being with the organization's concern with optimizing productivity and quality of product and service. or events. before-after. and knowing. and zero: qualities of unobstructed flow (time dimension). and undivided openness (space dimension). ● Zone experiences can often be characterized by the word zero: dimensionless or multidimensional. Things feel as though they do not require effort against some friction. or struggle on our part. This is in contrast to the 'normal'. or owner. sense of frictionless energy or unobstructed movement. ● Any activity is optimized during absorption in the zone of Flow. glow. 15 March. self or identity. effort/self- control. with varying proportions of these attributes in different experiences. personality complexes. Glow. ● Zone experiences can often be characterized by the word glow: a multidimensional luminosity that accompanies perceiving. duration. world. ● Zone experiences can be characterized by the words flow. not bound to a center. and Zero. strain. now-then. ● Zone experiences are not characterized in the least by the presence or absence of particular ordinary objects.

He is at his best . an exceptionally rewarding or successful way of doing something. Maslow. is largely a mystery." Maslow used the term peak experience as a kind of generalized concept because he "discovered that all of these ecstatic experiences had some characteristics in common. and insight? 16 March. Because of this lack of understanding. and how we might foster its more regular appearance. spiritual pursuits. 105-6. such as sports or work.The zone defined When people talk about ‘being in the zone’ they're talking about peak performance. which Maslow defined as "a generalization for the best moments of the human being. at best." (p. or more graceful than at other times. education." (pp. ." From these generalizations it's not clear what these people's states are. He feels more intelligent. This is not only felt subjectively but can be seen by the observer. 1962) But we still don't know what the zone is Although these statements provide useful descriptions of peak experience. . realization. stronger. but also as so valuable that they make life worth while by their occasional occurrence. ." (p. What might we discover? What is the nature of the zone? How can we characterize it? Is there anything in common to all zone experiences? What if there are several very different kinds of zone experiences? Anything we can learn will probably be helpful in finding the zone ourselves. 80. 2011 . Wouldn't it be great if we can get a better sense of direction in improving fulfillment. "There is no more precious moment in life than this . for most of us." (p. . nor how they differ from ordinary experience. . the zone is a nearly magical state of supernormal performance that. religion. or at least in avoiding any dead-ends 'on the way' to the zone. creativeness and love uniformly describe these experiences not only as valuable intrinsically. Being in the zone is an example of peak experience. and try to compare them to our 'normal' Western experience. Precisely what this state is. . happiness. Murphy and White. using all his capacities at the best and fullest. since the term zone represents the most fulfilling and productive human experiences. wittier. and you will work very hard for years just to taste it again. to get more clarity.--when we know so little about the zone? Difficulties in examining anecdotes about the zone Despite some possible or even likely confusion. How can we hope for more 'super' moments--during work. suppose we pick some of the statements people have made about the zone. . sports. we might 'fall into'. almost accidentally. . Maslow. they are basically just a restatement of the definition of peak experience as "the best moments of the human being. 1995) "Numerous writers on aesthetics. This is an unfortunate and sad state of affairs. Maslow. 1962) About such experiences weightlifter Yuri Vlasov said. 1971) "The person in the peak-experiences usually feels himself to be at the peak of his powers. more perceptive. 101. etc. 119.

(p. some aspect of nature? Or did they feel independent. We talk and think about what is happening. e.. business. but typically aren't concerned much about how we do these things. writing." (p. Western communication largely ignores any deeper frame of mind. Murphy and White. 1990) In Western cultures. the use of language. "It is characteristic . I feel like an independent individual who is separate from other people. and education attend primarily to events and physical things. Perhaps even more remarkable. or unknown--as if his own. 1990) Discovering absence of the identity. who said. Yuri Vlasov. . 119. "Everything seems clearer and whiter than ever before. When in the zone. A judo teaching manual has a similar statement about changes in our normal identity: “When judo is practiced properly. to ignore the significance of perspective . united. . Very few languages (except Sanskrit. 130. their work. . and every movement he makes as well as every thought he conceives are felt as if they were all my own . few of us are familiar with the different states people try to describe. or focal settings 'in play' while we do these things. . a religious or spiritual object. ‘there will be no curtain to separate you from your opponent. You and your opponent will no longer be two bodies separated physically 17 March. worldview. 1995) This swordsman in the zone feels identified with his opponent. . And even if we had an adequate vocabulary. 2011 . Tarthang Tulku. 1995) What does this mean? Is he talking about visible light. hitting a ball. 107. is exactly what we find in the zone. . separate. I as swordsman see no opponent confronting me . 12. . You will become one with him. which apparently has dozens of words denoting types of consciousness) have a vocabulary sufficiently rich to describe subtle states of mind. talking. and distance strictures Let's put these issues aside and examine some anecdotes about changes in the sense of identity during zone experiences. the swordsman seems aware of “the other’s experience. I seem to transform myself into the opponent. more ‘different’ from 'me'. public. states. to what's 'real'. and what particular activity we’re doing: planting. about the different mental perspectives. No wonder the zone is so difficult to recognize! Peter Senge says that the way individuals perceive themselves and their world is the “subtlest aspect of the learning organization” (p. or even merged with another. here-there.We can start with a statement from the same weightlifter quoted above. awareness. Murphy and White. science. individual. what was people's experience of identity like? How was it compared to that during 'normal' experiences? Did people feel identified. Most of us are usually preoccupied with conventional communication.g. . . . or larger-than-personal perspective--which as we'll soon discover. and verifiable.”--which usually is private. Meditation teacher Tarthang Tulku says. focusing on thoughts and labels about concrete things. events. driving." (p. or what? Right away we run into another issue. losing his ordinary identity. rather than identified in some way. and an opponent usually seems even more separate. . Senge. internal. as if great spotlights had been turned on. or even isolated? How did they relate to their usual personality? Was consciousness or awareness different? Here's a report from a Japanese swordsman: “When the identity is realized. With my ‘normal’ sense of myself.

32. as if great spotlights had been turned on. . he felt "free from the gravitation that binds men to heavy human problems of the world." (p. Less a possession to be obtained than a luminous. 1962) In the zone there is a kind of merging or fusion or unity. . we’re not talking about physical distance or separation. 18 March. The creator becomes one with his work being created. transparent 'attribute' of experience and mental activity. Tarthang Tulku. we might say. 65. . Murphy and White. This luminosity or unpositioned knowing could be what weightlifter Vlasov said was "clearer and whiter than ever before. personality complexes. 1995) Now we can return to the statement by weightlifter Yuri Vlasov: "Everything seems clearer and whiter than ever before. Since in 'normal' experience our problems feel 'everpresent'. that zone experiences can often be characterized by the word glow: a multidimensional luminosity that accompanies perceiving." (p. As an example. the feeling of having a private inside realm of experience contrasted with a public area where we coexist (inside- outside). nondimensional luminosity. or identity stricture is usually accompanied by a remarkable sense of freedom from the habits.from each other but a single entity . . but the feeling of separation. 2011 . as a shorthand expression. In the latter stricture. with a more open way of knowing or being aware involving a multidimensional or equivalently. . centerless luminosity Having considered various aspects of experience related to identity and knowledge. or somewhat stable structural features of experience are not part of these zone experiences: the feeling of being a continuously existing individual separate and distinct from other individuals (this stricture is often called self. . . From these statements we see that several strictures. a person "is more able to fuse with the world. . and knowing. or identity). . This knowledge was . The appreciator becomes the music . . leading us to say we feel closer or more distant from another. . it's worth highlighting that in peak experience the frequent absence of our 'typical' self. and the feeling of distance or separation between physically separate bodies (felt distance). Murphy and White. . e.g. Charles Lindbergh said that for a while during his flight.’” (p. like a light that had previously been obscured by now was radiating from all directions." (p.. Maslow. 1987) The latter statement contrasts our usual way of knowing and observing things from a single point- of-view (the 'knower' pole of the knower-known stricture). with what was formerly not-self. . thinking. the lovers come closer to forming a unit rather than two people.” Glow: multidimensional. which can change considerably. Knowledge itself seemed to be opening." (p. xlv. pervasive. and relationship issues that are 'normally' dependent on. . the sense of being here rather than there (the here-there duality). or built 'on top of' the self stricture. 105. It's almost as if the foundational self 'rug' is pulled out from under more superficial psychological problems. 1995) Let's compare this to Tarthang Tulku's description of what happened with his 'knowledge' as he discovered a new vision of reality: "The conventional limitation that confines observation to a single 'point of view' situated in space and time had less hold. 1995) Maslow reported that during peak experience. Murphy and White. 119.

47. . and yet I know the defensive line is coming at me just as fast as ever. weave and glide upon effortless legs. Murphy and White. 86. 1995) Normally." (p." (p. It seems as if I had all the time in the world . . did the flow of events seem 'greased'. as Maslow reported: "[An] aspect of fully-functioning is effortlessness and ease of functioning when one is at one's best. Baseball player Tom Seaver reported: "As Rod Gaspar’s front foot stretched out and touched home plate. Murphy and White. in these statements we see alternative experiences. or owner. felt distance. 1980) Now. Murphy and White. As with distance and separation discussed above. . There is only the effortless. here-there. awareness is felt to be nonlocated. observer. nor is the 'larger' one really larger. and so any amount of experience constituting five minutes could also be had in one second. . . and knower-known. in the fraction of a second before I leaped out of the dugout . my whole baseball life flashed in front of me . 1995) Normally. 47. slow. "The boundaries distinguishing five minutes from one second are unreal in a certain sense. 41- 2. ." (p. straining and struggling at other times is now done without any 19 March. and future. we find a report about football player Red Grange: "[he] runs . by football player John Brodie: "Time seems to slow way down . adults experience a very constant. Murphy and White. 1995) From golfer Bobby Jones: "I was conscious of swinging the club easily . Dissolving common time strictures Next let's examine a few anecdotes discussing time. . wherein one or more events are felt to occur in a series rather than simultaneously. The 'small' interval is not really smaller. . or even stopping. with almost no effort. not bound to a center. . .. 2011 . movement. Another stricture in our normal experience of time is what we might call before-after. there are other possibilities. eds. However.Instead of apprehending particular content from a single 'point of view'. time slowing way down. . 1995) Apparently we can experience many 'normally' sequential events or memories all at once." (pp. . present. inside-outside. This stricture seems almost constantly present in experience. Peak experience lacks the 'normal' strictures of self or identity. . 42. but the feeling of time flowing. . Awareness of the passage of time completely stops. . in Western cultures at least. ghostlike. what we might call the stricture of effort/self-control. This stricture can be absent during peak experience. even relentless flow of time among past. . we're not talking here about physical time. We might call this stricture constant time flow." (p. This might seem farfetched if these strictures are thoroughly ingrained in your experience. whatever we do takes a degree of effort and involves a feeling of control during the activity. . . without friction or effort? Or was it friction-filled. Murphy and White. Nevertheless. Meditation master Tarthang Tulku confirms this. . which may be independent of physical time. or rushed? Here's one report: "There is a common experience in Tai Chi ." (p. 86. 1995) Here's another. considering movement and energy flow during peak experience. I had to make no special effort to do anything. what was people's experience of time like? How did time feel to them? Did it move fast. . What takes effort. or did it change speed? How did their zone experience compare to 'normal' experience? Was it timeless. In the zone. and energy flow. Moon and Randall. .

of working or laboring. we might say. 105. considered 'normal'--is not there. 1962) The size and typical frame of reference strictures are not there. Peak experience lacks the 'normal' strictures. Another aspect of our typical experience of space is the size stricture." (p. 38. and areas--again. whereby we feel magnitude of linear dimensions. 88. From Maslow's research on peak experience: "One small part of the world is perceived as if it were for the moment all of the world. At the level of the zone. that zone experiences can often be characterized by the word flow: a dynamic . The 'normally' limiting stricture was absent. Maslow. when everything 'clicks. 1962) Thus again. linear time. and effort/self-control. as in the swordsman's statement above. Maslow. This is in contrast to the 'normal'. but as I looked at the putt. or repetitively recurring structural features of experience. or resistance. or did space itself have some particular qualities? Did people feel more distant from or closer to other people and things? Did they feel more connected or separated than usual? Was the usual feeling of size of things and regions altered somehow? From his extensive research. lower-level sense of time flowing in ways that seem to require effort. our experience or feeling of size is not constant.'" (p. but as this statement indicates. According to auto racer Jochen Rindt.' or is 'in over-drive. now let’s consider the zone experience of space. energy flow. before-after. easy." (p. 1962) Flow: frictionless or unobstructed energy and movement Having considered various aspects of experience related to energy flow and time. now-then. Maslow. Golfer Jack Fleck said: "I can’t exactly describe it. sense of frictionless energy or unobstructed movement.sense of striving. But this might seem farfetched if these strictures are thoroughly ingrained in your experience. Maslow wrote that in peak experience "The astronomer is “out there” with the stars (rather than a separateness peering across an abyss at another separateness through a telescopic-keyhole). objects. most often timeless. or struggle on our part. as a shorthand expression. as well as the here-there stricture. but 'comes of itself. of constant time flow. identity. Murphy and White. 106. 2011 . Our 'normal' frame of reference is absent." (p.' Allied to this often is the feeling of grace and the look of grace that comes with smooth. "You forget about the 20 March. 1995) Size--both as physical measurement. Also. Dissolving common space strictures Having explored the zone experience of time. the hole looked as big as a wash tub. involving the subject-object stricture. the world stricture. and knowledge a bit. we see an absence of felt distance. duration. whereby we have a very subtle feeling of being within a large world or universe--another feeling that is taken for granted. and as subtle feeling--is usually presumed to be constant. effortless fully-functioning. things feel as though they do not require effort against some friction. pressure. What was people's sense of space compared to that of 'normal' experiences? Did space seem like just an empty container that separated things. strain. this is in contrast to actual physical measurement. a sense of an observer or subject or perceiver separate and distinct from what's observed or perceived or experienced.' or 'is in the groove.

Murphy and White. 1977) Zero: nonextended and undivided openness Having considered various aspects of experience related to space. 2011 . Murphy and White. 23." (p. The feeling of flesh is gone." (p. yet do not isolate or focus on conventionally designated things or events--which of course are precisely what we ordinarily do focus on in 'normal' experience. invisible. forms. here-there. Ian Jackson said. 116. "My body seemed insubstantial like some ethereal vehicle of awareness. Murphy and White. 1995) And another runner. or even to adequately describe! Put differently. Murphy and White. 1995) Also related to space. illusions. 1995) Albert Einstein claimed that "Everything is made of emptiness and form is condensed emptiness. Indeed. nonextended surfaces and forms pervaded by an undivided openness that reflects deep relaxation. we might say. There’s no longer weight to my body. fantasies. 17. "I felt as though I was going through space. that zone experiences can often be characterized by the word zero: dimensionless or multidimensional. "All sense of substance leaves. because—in a sense—they 'reflect' the degree of our own relaxation. and substance. 16. or hallucinations. long-distance runner Bill Emmerton said. Peak experience typically lacks the 'normal' strictures. Tarthang Tulku suggests that the sense of emptiness or transparency depends on our level of relaxation: "Surfaces can appear as such and still be more transparent." (p. as a shorthand expression. world. processes." (p. of size. situation." They're intangibles. This might seem farfetched if these strictures are thoroughly ingrained in your experience. or repetitively recurring structural features of experience. pattern. In contrast to the 'normal' sense of living in a substantial world. No wonder the zone is so difficult to recognize. it seems that in one sense." (p. this fact is congruent with the saying that "the best things in life aren’t things. . . treading on clouds." (Einstein) Though normal. we can consider the typical feeling (a substance stricture) that things seem to have a kind of substance or reality rather than being something akin to images in a dream. 135. are part of the car and the track. or event First. and appearances 'don't in themselves 21 March. it's important to note that essential zone experiences are not characterized in the least by the presence or absence of particular ordinary objects. What can we conclude? What's the zone like? Now let's return to questions we brought up earlier: How can we describe the zone? Is there anything in common to all zone experiences? Anything that is missing from all of them? Are there several different kinds of zone experiences? The zone is not characterized by any ordinary or tangible thing. or events. felt distance. Tarthang Tulku. The anecdotes mention. events. no longer hardness to the stick.whole world and you just . 1995) Pilot Charles Lindbergh wrote. the perception of substance may be an unnecessary limitation.

Instead of our 'normal' frame of reference stricture--the sense of an observer or subject or perceiver separate and distinct from what's observed or perceived or experienced--zone experience shows a kind of merging or fusion or unity of what 'normally' feels separate or independent. instead there's a sense of freedom from the 'usual' constraints of self. linear time. we see that peak experiences usually lack at least these strictures: size. now-then. as we will now discuss. rather than requiring the effort. given that there is a great deal of additional evidence. and restrictive strictures 'normally' inculcated by Western cultures. along with a lack of the sense of here contrasted with there. effort/self-control. including the absence of complexes and personality and relationship issues 'normally' built 'on top of' the self stricture. Very often absent is our 'typical' self. 'Normal' feelings related to size and the world may not be present." (p. felt distance. before-after. The zone lacks persistent structural features of experience Second. or of time slowing down or stopping instead of the typical sense of time flowing at a constant and unchangeable rate. Maslow. and knower-known. strain. clearing away structures may be sufficient to ‘expose’ the zone We can extrapolate from the absence of the above list of strictures reported in peak experiences. here-there. 2011 . or the way that our experience is not structured. stable.look different' as one becomes enlightened. based on the anecdotes above. inside-outside. not just those discussed here. that is different. This freedom from 'normally presumed and persistent' restrictions is likely what makes zone experiences "so valuable that they make life worth while by their occasional occurrence. we might reasonably speculate that the ultimate or deepest zone experiences--perhaps of those who are called self-actualized or enlightened-- would be devoid of all traces of all strictures. by which we feel we are continuously existing individuals separate and distinct from each other. There can be an absence of felt distance. 1962) The zone is probably devoid of all strictures. or identity stricture. but to shape our lives in accord with that 22 March. There can be a sense of timelessness. So. here-there. duration. We might experience many memories simultaneously instead of one at a time. it's the way that we experience these same things. and substance. these experiences are characterized by a remarkable absence of strictures (recurring structural features of experience). constant time flow. 80. These are common fundamental. Things may seem effortless in the zone. It's not that the ordinary things and events that we experience are different. This hypothesis is confirmed by these statements: "We may have had glimpses of a higher destiny. self or identity. or struggle of other times. and possibly other cultures as well. Although only the anecdotes above do not justify drawing this conclusion. felt distance. There can be a multidimensional luminosity that accompanies knowing instead of the 'usual' preoccupation with particular content from a single 'point of view'. world.

1977) “Knowledge unfolds without heading in a specific direction. 1990) "A different kind of 'space' . as a shorthand expression." (p." (KTS. and zero: qualities of unobstructed flow (time dimension). and zero--features of peak performance Zone experiences can also be characterized affirmatively. 23 March. seeing through the ‘realness’. 1976) "In itself. instead. 14-15. 242." (Longchenpa) So the essential human experiences apparently lack all structures of experience. energy flow. pp. and pervasive. it challenges the reference points that establish directionality. . And conversely. before-after. there is no identifiable frame of reference. Flow. all concepts of what is or what should be.” (italics mine. . of constant time flow. we must learn quite specifically how to activate an inquiry that can cut through the structures of our present knowing. p. Having considered various aspects of experience related to time. . 71. luminous presence and positionless knowing (identity/knowing dimension). the exhibition is simple . 63. 2011 . glow. accommodates the presenting of all 'things' and undermines all sense of locatedness and directedness.vision. only the structures of consciousness insist on covering over the mystery with the familiarity of the previously recorded. Tarthang Tulku. flow: a dynamic . . . knowledge. Tarthang Tulku. 1993) "The whole idea is that we must drop all reference points. Tarthang Tulku. glow. sense of frictionless energy or unobstructed movement. . 158-9. . . and effort/self-control. 1993) "Since everything reverts to a state of evenness . 271. with varying proportions of these attributes in different experiences. . all persistent and apparently substantial frameworks upon which ordinary experience is built. 1994) If this is true. There are no fixed points and no fixed identity." (pp.” (p. Peak experience lacks the 'normal' strictures. identity. the substantiality of these structures may be sufficient to remove all the obstructions to realizing the depth of magic and mystery available: “Once we let go of the substantial. or repetitively recurring structural features of experience. . we are left with the magic of manifestation. . ." (p. that essential zone experiences can be characterized by the words flow. . Movement happens within vast space. and undivided openness (space dimension). things feel as though they do not require effort against some friction. pressure. and space we might say. or resistance. There is no reference point . . most often timeless. . duration. We can invite a knowledge that condenses and enriches the mystery that is living reality. . but quality and character remain. . now-then. linear time. In the zone. . Tarthang Tulku. . . Tarthang Tulku. . we have a very direct path to the zone of peak performance and realization. nonextended. Trungpa. .

. are totally absorbed by the activity at hand. (Conley. nonextended surfaces and forms pervaded by an undivided openness that reflects deep relaxation. and investors fostered peak performance for my company. . 1962)” "What's wonderful about . values. . Maslow. . . (p. 2011 . thinking. here-there. . and knower-known. . Engrossed in the now. . companies seem to watch only their scoreboard—the bottom line. observer. 66. . . free from the gravitation that binds men to heavy human problems [positionless knowing or awareness without personality complexes] of the world. Blanchard. etc. ." (pp. values. zero: dimensionless or multidimensional. inside-outside. He is at his best . glow. As hotelier Chris Conley said. 1990) “When we keep our eyes on consistently operating our business by aligning with our core values. . or owner. . 1990) 24 March. we can conclude that all activities are best done in flow. Hunt and Hait. using all his capacities at the best and fullest. 82. . and knowing. and substance. . When people are in the zone. . p. 13) "The person in the peak-experiences usually feels himself to be at the peak of his powers. [complete openness]. and zero Since our investigation here includes all peak experience. including peak performance during all kinds of activities. being in the timeless now is that the action becomes the reward. we slip effortlessly into a no-boundary place in time and space. 105-6. Hunt and Hait. That gets them out of the zone and invites long-term disaster. felt distance. or repetitively recurring structural features of experience.” (p. results just seem to flow from this focus of energy . awareness is felt to be nonlocated. Peak experience lacks the 'normal' strictures. 49. customers. ." (p. . It’s all about where you put your attention. aspirations. This is what employee and employer alike are looking for. .” (p. Instead of apprehending particular content from a single 'point of view'. we become our most positive and productive selves. . not bound to a center. Being in the zone simply optimizes personal as well as organizational progress. Thus we have discovered in the zone a natural meeting ground of the individual employee's concern with optimal well-being and the organization's concern with optimizing productivity and quality of product and service. Clearly all of these can be present in a given zone experience. . . . . glow. as exemplified by Charles Lindbergh's statement: [For a while during my flight across the Atlantic it was] " as though I were an awareness [positionless knowing] spreading out through space . 1997) “When we . Murphy and White. a timeless dimension where energy abounds and time is irrelevant. Peak. . . of size. . all of their attention is on what they’re doing . and zero. unhampered by time [unobstructed flow] or substance. “I came to realize that creating peak experiences for our employees. This is not only felt subjectively but can be seen by the observer. world. purpose. or goals with organizational mission. 65. . glow: a multidimensional luminosity that accompanies perceiving. the scoreboard does in fact take care of itself! . 1995) Any activity is optimized during absorption in the zone of flow. here-there. Peak experience lacks the 'normal' strictures of self or identity." says futurist Barbara Marx Hubbard. felt distance. . It is natural and unimposed because it doesn't require any 'alignment' of personal desires. motivational effort.

with the deepest. Three broad views or levels of functioning are described in the TSK writings (see Figure 2-1). we can use a circle to illustrate moves in the game of life. as is suggested in Chapter Two. and the central parts represent a self-actualized or enlightened state. with level 1 corresponding to the outer part of the circle. So the outer parts of the circle represent our ‘normal’ Western views or focal settings.Introduction to Chapter Two Besides examining the literature on peak performance. The gameboard has rows and columns of squares that the players must traverse from bottom to top. and level 3 corresponding to the ‘zone’ at the center of the circle. 1977). As with the chutes and ladders gameboard. to experience and act. Each different state of consciousness or worldview possible for a human is supposedly depicted as one of these squares. 4-6. and intrinsic fulfillment. In life also. But what was the essence of your peak experiences? Not the things. Tarthang Tulku. Thus the circle is meant to be comprehensive. highest. we can also investigate our own peak experiences. particular circumstances or events. focal settings (see pp. Or we might have the good fortune to quickly rise to a higher level by means of something like a ladder. 2011 . or worldviews possible. our most essential human qualities. merging. but what were the essential characteristics or qualities? I started leading TSK study and practice groups in 1980. a complete depiction of the states possible for a human. In some ways. along with the transitions from one perspective to another. Instead of a square gameboard. the responses to questions about peak performance were remarkably similar: there was a sense of timelessness. life seems similar to the game of “chutes and ladders” that children around the world have played. best ways. or most nearly enlightened focal settings nearest the center. The distance of any one of these points from the center of the circle is a measure of the depth of the experience or breadth of the view or focal setting. To be helpful to myself and other participants in these groups. level 2--a second level. Central values or focal settings of the circle describe how. For quick movements across the gameboard people can use ladders and chutes. At the center are deeply shared values. As we become 25 March. Ladders take a player from a lower square to a higher one. I thought it best to become thoroughly familiar with all the focal settings. activities. In Chapter Two I use a circular diagram called the experiential field. as we did in Chapter One. and chutes do the reverse. In past workshops I conducted with thousands of people. or worldviews possible for a person are depicted as different points on the circle. perspectives. not what to do. an intermediate state that occurs during our development from the first to the third level--appearing between levels 1 and level 3. all the different states of consciousness. occasionally we can take a wrong turn and quickly end up in a worse condition.

In Chapter Two we have two ways of doing this.masters in life. and knowledge from the books. Tarthang Tulku had asked for a collection of descriptions of time. and knowledge from the TSK writings. the feeling of time. our experience changes from the states or perspectives on the periphery to those at the center of circle. we can depict what happens as one makes a transition from one level to another. then (and now. identity. I gathered hundreds of quotations describing time. accomplishment. and the feeling of reality. with three different perspectives corresponding to the three levels of TSK. As I recall now. In the first we consider the example of experiencing a feeling in three different ways. desire. I employed just this kind of radial depiction to summarize research I did to gather descriptions of time. these 26 March. space. Jack was apparently very busy with other projects at that time and asked whether I might be able to help. Around 1992 I received a phone call from Jack Petranker. space. and found the process very rewarding. 2011 . fulfillment. I agreed to do what I could. creativity. Figure 2-1: Three levels of the experiential field Besides these three rings representing three main levels of functioning. the sense of space. drawn from the six books of the TSK series. In the second depiction of making transitions from one level to another we can use radii on the circle of views to represent various important aspects or dimensions of experience such as control. twenty years later. Chapter Two includes a summary description of these three levels. Besides falling into three levels. in 2011) the primary editor of the TSK books. space. and knowledge at three different levels of understanding.

and control as one develops? 2. as varying ways to respond to twelve questions: 1. Where does knowing happen? 8. What happens to our typical fragmentation of being? How do health and wholeness arise? 10. and quotes from various sources about the third-level. my own meditation experience. All of this—the experiential field. The guiding principles attempt to summarize changes that occur as we move from the periphery of the circle toward the qualities at the center. What happens to desire. comparison of various ideas. objects. and the world change as we grow? 5. boundaries. paradoxical statements. How does reality seem to change as one matures? Although other dimensions could certainly be used to represent other questions. the only candidate I’ve seen for a clear description of the full range of experience. and methods by which researchers in various fields can collaborate. By means of this common ground. based on the three levels of TSK and supplemented by the twelve dimensions. How does the experience of accomplishing things change as we excel? 4. need. these twelve dimensions stood out for me at that time. and Knowledge vision. the rings representing three main levels of functioning. What happens to the content of knowing? 9. 2011 . and hundreds of classes and workshops led over thirty years. How does the experience of time change? 12. How does the experience of space. findings from a pilot study on involvement and performance done with others where I worked. and fulfillment as we come to live life to the fullest? 11. What’s the source or cause of things? How does experience arise? How do answers to these questions change as one changes? 3. guiding questions. Chapter Two includes twelve sets of guiding principles. The guiding questions may be helpful during actual work situations to identify situations that can be optimized. Space. Besides these twelve dimension-questions. What happens to personal will. So far. Twelve sets of paradoxical statements contrast conventional features with experiential features. as well as the dynamics of human development is Tarthang Tulku’s books on the Time. and the twelve dimensions--summarizes forty years of exploration of the spectrum of human development—including graduate studies. can serve as part of a 'common ground' of terms. experience with my counseling clients and meditation students. The experiential field. or zone qualities. effort. How does identity change? 7. How do personal space and mind change? 6. Such an interdisciplinary forum has great potential to resolve differences and further the work of primary fields of knowledge and transformative disciplines. principles. 27 March. three ways of experiencing a feeling.descriptions also fell quite naturally into twelve other categories or dimensions of common human experience.

Most people are unfamiliar with large segments of this range. 28 March. and A New Way of Being (2004). As individuals in our culture we learn. the range of human functioning and development is enormous. and principles used in different fields and disciplines can be made. cognition. positive thinking and inquiry. and to add precision rather than heat to their explorations. Visions of Knowledge (1993). Mastery of Mind (1993). then are somewhat locked into. Light of Knowledge (1997). academic. and action. for example. Of course.techniques. and principles of a ground forum should help resolve many of these confusing issues. The potential of such a forum is clear from the numerous articles already published in a number of volumes of the Perspectives on TSK series: Dimensions of Thought (1980). When is each technique useful and effective? When does each lose its effectiveness? (See pp. Often a discipline's assumptions and domain of research or application are implicit. 159-160. not specified. yet habitual way of functioning. and spiritual disciplines usually limit their investigations to a small subset of the range of human experience. this has to do with society’s role of inculcating 'normal' standards for perception. or even unknown by its practitioners. Clearly. A New Kind of Knowledge (2004). terms.) The domain of focal settings or stages of development for which each commonly used principle and method is effective can be mapped onto the Circle. Many apparent disagreements among disciplines will likely be seen to result from a misunderstanding of others’ meanings and jargon. business. Establishing and employing language. help investigators to focus on what’s important. Consider. For similar reasons. 2011 . Light of Knowledge. a 'normal'.

or spiritual experiences. 1990) But if a general vision doesn’t tell us specifically what to do. or styles. and task. In fact. it seems it would be helpful to have a comprehensive vision of how we do things moment-by-moment during peak performance.” Defining such a general vision seems elusive and difficult. structures. perhaps it would tell us how to work best. these qualities are what stand out in descriptions of peak experiences by geniuses. it cannot be defined in terms of specific things. processes. environment. This will probably be a very pleasurable half hour. traits. something almost never done—look closely at our own peak experiences to see what was essential? Let’s explore all our past peak experiences a bit and see what we can learn from them. but the essence of the experiences. Is there really a balanced. views. and qualities of experience can define the zone. . and peak performers of all kinds. probably because rather than the usual emphasis on things and processes. Not just the specific events. Can you draw any conclusions? Do any of your peak experiences have some of the same qualities? Do they have the same qualities but different proportions of the same qualities? Do some experiences have different qualities? An experiential field representing the full range of human experience In some ways. What were some peak experiences you had? Perhaps the best athletic experiences. it focuses on what Peter Senge calls “the subtlest aspect of the learning organization—the new way individuals perceive themselves and their world. The gameboard has rows and columns of squares that the players must 29 March. Perhaps perspectives. general vision of peak performance? Can it be described in terms of some micro-level of “essential facets of experience?” If it’s general.Chapter Two The Zone Within the Full Spectrum of Experience To do our best. Senge. or work or relationship experiences. what you were doing.” (p. and make some notes about them. Note the essential qualities of peak experiences that you recall. This would align with the proposition that “The best things in life aren’t things. 12. applicable to any person. . life seems similar to the game of “chutes and ladders” that children around the world have played. What made them your ‘best?’ . mystics. Further personal exploration What if we do something almost unheard of. 2011 . Take half an hour to recall a number of them.

with the deepest. occasionally we can take a wrong turn and quickly end up in worse condition. represent a self-actualized or enlightened state with deeply shared values. Figure 2-1: Three levels of the experiential field The distance of any one of these view points from the center of the circle is a measure of the depth of the experience or breadth of the view or focal setting. we can use a circle to illustrate moves in the game of life. 2011 . So the outer parts of the circle. Ladders take a player from a lower square to a higher one. here called level 1. to experience and act. As we become masters in life. It’s important to note that views. perspectives. here called level 3. Thus the circle is meant to be comprehensive. As with the chutes and ladders gameboard. In life also. For quick movements across the gameboard people can use ladders and chutes. I use a circular diagram that I call the experiential field (see Figure 2-1). and not what specific actions to do. or most enlightened focal settings nearest the center. our most essential human qualities. 30 March. or worldviews possible for a person are depicted as different points— rather than squares--on the circle. 1977). 4-6. a complete depiction of the states possible for a human. Or we might have the good fortune to quickly rise to a higher level by means of something like a ladder. Tarthang Tulku.traverse from bottom to top. best ways. or focal settings of the circle describe how. highest. Instead of a square gameboard. focal settings (see pp. our experience changes from the states or perspectives on the periphery to those at the center of the circle. Each different state of consciousness or worldview possible for a human is supposedly depicted as one of these squares. and the central parts. all the different states of consciousness. represent our ‘normal’ Western views or focal settings. and chutes do the reverse.

drawn from the six books of the TSK series. Blanchard says. . space. 1997) Most often continuous improvement is defined in terms of results. These books are expressed in terms of dimensions of time. . Visions of Knowledge (1993). SDTS) The third level. or enlightened state that we might call the ‘zone’.” (p. and Knowledge (TSK) vision. A second level. and Sacred Dimensions of Time and Space (1997). and knowledge. it can help to think in terms of three different levels. we would have a great resource for interdisciplinary studies. all of their attention is on what they’re doing . By fostering this type of continuous improvement. which drives productivity. Following is a summary of these three levels. . The first level (shown in Figure 2-1 on the periphery of the experiential field) starts from our common. xxix. . 1997) What are the views? Now that we have this circle.” (p. quality. everyday views of how these facets of our being operate. It can be defined as increasing inner involvement. Dynamics of Time and Space (1994). 49. the scoreboard does in fact take care of itself! . an intermediate state that occurs during our development from the first to the third level. Knowledge of Time and Space (1990). . . Summary of level one 31 March.” (p. external processes. results just seem to flow from this focus of energy . So far. the optimal driver is to focus on improving inner involvement. The books characterize three levels of human functioning: “As an organizing principle for an inquiry into time. or external behavior.” whereby the values are the boss. what are the views represented by the points in the circle? How can these be described? If there is a common-language depiction of the spectrum of possible views. . and knowledge—but the books thoroughly challenge common ways of viewing time. “When we keep our eyes on consistently operating our business by aligning with our core values. Space. . We have a means for “continuous improvement through a commitment to act on our expressed values. But as I argue in Chapter Three. Blanchard. we have an effective implementation of “managing by values. That gets them out of the zone and invites long-term disaster. Love of Knowledge (1987). Blanchard. is also described in the books. . is a self-actualized. space. the only candidate I’ve seen for a clear English description of the full range of human development—with its incredibly varied views and focal settings--is Tarthang Tulku’s series of books on the Time. When people are in the zone. and in the process. our principal guideline. 2011 . Space. . These books are: Time. and Knowledge (1977).Continuous improvement is a concept that is sometimes used in a business context. companies seem to watch only their scoreboard—the bottom line. the common meanings for these terms are extended to include additional but deeper levels of understanding. space. at the center of the experiential field in Figure 2-1. and well-being all at once. moving from experience at the periphery toward experience at the center whenever possible. and knowledge. . 68.

disconnected or even isolated. 2011 . yet sometimes feel like we’re running out of time. We cannot see how experience arises nor stop the indensification process (by which experience becomes heavy. Within this flow we are limited to occupying a kind of ‘moving spot’ that we call ‘the present’. They can seem fixed. and build up models. tight. separately located. We seem to ‘have’ time. Space is seen as an indefinitely extended 'nothing'. This personal space seems independent of others and other things. and yet seems to change somewhat. volume. Things ‘occupy’ space. There’s an increase in personal freedom. A knowing act takes some time. Summary of level two ‘Timing' occurs as a succession of experiences in the same 'spot' or ‘field’. The 'quantity' of second-level 'space' is indeterminate. and feel substantial and persistent. not occupying the same space at once. but this is less ‘real’ than physical space. impenetrable. and involves a felt separation or 'distance' between knower and known. and involves a persistently felt central and local (‘here’) position or point of view which directs knowing toward distant objects and events and accumulates knowledge. pressured. they are also known as interdependent and co-referring. rather than open and free. We have a kind of apparently permanent private mental. blocked. and processes become appreciated as being very fluid. friction. Subject and object alike are seen as projections of the underlying energy of second-level time. and closed in or even claustrophobic. Things and events can feel distant from or even inaccessible by our knowing. or personal space. but a luminous. depending on our feelings and connections with others. transparent `attribute' of experience and mental activity through which 'existence' and 'non-existence' jointly emerge together with 32 March. and current desires and fears. overwhelm. fearful. places. Very often our knowing and perceiving is inaccurate and biased. unresolved emotional difficulties. actually occurs as a succession of 'timed out' experiences in the same 'spot'. rather than establishing an extended `world out there'. rather than ephemeral or weightless. Yet our experience of space can feel restrictive. and greater physical relaxation. Knowing and knowledge are located primarily (perhaps excluding certain sensations) inside our heads and minds. seemingly pointing to substantial realities) that leads to increasing stress. systems.Time is divided into moments and seems to flow linearly and out of our control. an ‘inside’ and ‘outside’. We collect experience and information by acts of knowing. All going from place to place which validates the picture of a spread out world. and pressure. and can’t stop the relentless flow that causes us anxiety. and theories. edges. depending on our accumulated experience. from past to future. While objects and the observer are distinct and independent. Knowing is not so much a possession. Different objects are felt to be distant. and opaque and can limit or block. Things. less psychological pressure. Our knowing or 'seeing' is limited to a particular observer or ‘thinker’ position or 'point of view'. have size. rather than being transparent to awareness. at a constant rate.

they are all intimately connected insofar as their Great Space dimension is considered. Although any feeling could be used in this example. There is no 'going' and no separate places. and which is beyond the concern for 'getting'. 'observer' and 'observed'. the heaviness or tiredness is usually labeled. 33 March. that is ‘owned’ by the self at the center of experience. In the following we examine possible ways of experiencing this feeling at three levels. Your experience of time is linear. Of course. is not a meaning but is unlearned or nonlearned learnedness. but one experiences the boundaries of the feeling to be more open or less definite. in a way that irrevocably separates them. which you have. and `distance between' becomes meaningless. 2011 . with three different perspectives or focal settings approximately corresponding to the three levels of TSK. All existence and experience is like an apparition. or the overall view ‘including’ the feeling. we can depict what happens as one makes a transition from one level to another. our usual way of experiencing. often as something negative. the knower or observer of the feeling. That is. the experience is one that you have. Space is not contrasted to objects. in three different ways. The 'series' is a fiction. by their respective positions in an infinitely extended temporal series. or any common emotion. Summary of level three Different times are not linked. there is no labeling of the heaviness or tiredness. flowing relentlessly in one direction.dichotomies such as 'subject' and 'object'. not separated from oneself by a label or thought. It is as though all the friction in the world were removed. We develop a mode of 'seeing' which is not limited to a particular position or 'point of view' at all. Two: At level two. One: At level one. dissolves the 'distance' between knower and known. The feeling is not experienced as so clearly locatable as in the first way of experiencing. which then feels more immediate. There may be a shifting back and forth from sensing the feeling as negative or positive. or defining. that is different. delineated partly by differences in position. In this chapter we present two ways of doing this. Also. the feeling is in the same physical location. your sense of self as the knower seems outside the feeling. Space is experienced as extending in three dimensions. The feeling itself is presumed to be the same in the descriptions of the experience of all three levels--it is the way the feeling is experienced. are not merged with the feeling. While all familiar things are separate and distributed over ordinary space. Three ways of experiencing a feeling Besides these three rings representing three main levels of functioning. and is experienced as located in particular places in the body. In the first we consider the example of experiencing a feeling like tiredness. you. perhaps in this case in the arms or shoulders. suppose you are feeling tiredness or heaviness. approaching.

One also senses the surrounding space differently— more open. space. Similarly. Of course you’re still physically present. How does the experience of accomplishing things change as we excel? 4. but at that time these twelve dimensions stood out in my research. How does the experience of space. with no labeling. there is simply the pure spacious energy of the feeling. What’s the source or cause of things? How does experience arise? How do answers to these questions change as one changes? 3. How do personal space and mind change? 6. and no experience of space as a container for things and events. How does reality seem to change as one matures? Other dimensions could certainly be used to represent other questions. What happens to personal will. What happens to desire. Besides falling into three levels. nonverbal observation or sensing of it. less separated and less container-like. Three: At level three. not so extended. We just considered how a feeling can be experienced differently at three different levels. Rather than an intellectual way of relating to the feeling. Where does knowing happen? 8. boundaries. Around 1992 I gathered hundreds of quotations describing time. Now we examine what happens to twelve important aspects or dimensions of experience as we negotiate the transitions of our lives. There is no feeling of oneself as an observer separate from the feeling. and fulfillment as we come to live life to the fullest? 11. How does identity change? 7. effort. Twelve dimensions of the circle As previously stated. besides three rings representing three main levels of functioning as shown in Figure 2-1. and control as one develops? 2. 2011 . these descriptions also fell fairly naturally into twelve other categories or dimensions of common human experience. need. yet awareness is one with the feeling. corresponding to twelve questions: 1.to relating to it as simply neutral energy. and no identification of location in the body. Space is simply nonextended openness that accompanies and permeates the feeling. One may also experience a slowing down of time passing. but more open here. 34 March. the sense of oneself as the observer of the feeling is more spacious. we can depict what happens as one makes a transition from one level to another. objects. and the world change as we grow? 5. There is no sense of time passing. What happens to the content of knowing? 9. for example. which has no apparent source. there may be a simple. How does the experience of time change? 12. nor anything perceived outside it. and knowledge at three different levels of understanding. What happens to our typical fragmentation of being? How do health and wholeness arise? 10.

plus a shorthand label for TSK levels 1 and 3.The diagram in Figure 2-2 is the experiential field with these twelve dimensions. Each radius or 35 March. Figure 2-2: Twelve dimensions of the experiential field The twelve dimensions Now we turn to a detailed description of the twelve dimensions of the circle. Each dimension has a name and number. 2011 .

As stated previously. level 3 view. or perspectives. and the second part refers to another interpretation that might be called “experiential. Most peak experiences can be characterized by the central qualities.” or “as felt or perceived. guiding principles. whose values or features are presented on the circle. the circle shows different facets of focal settings.” The following paradoxes have two parts: the first part refers to a conventional or practical interpretation. you can see that ‘self-effort’ and ‘controlling’ are aspects of our typical. And all these central. Given any conventional activity. Looking at the part of radius #1 near the periphery. the material on the following pages contains the above twelve questions. and quotes from various sources (see the bibliography) describing the central qualities. although the qualities seem to appear in varying proportions in different experiences. level 3 features taken together could be called a vision for living masterfully. ‘unobstructed flow’ and ‘no controlling’ represent parts of an enlightened. The ‘answers’ at the center are what seem to be central to living all of life to the fullest—what you might call ‘optimal living’. that activity can be done with many different perspectives or in different ‘ways’. while racing against time is part of linear time. the central quality ‘unobstructed flow’ is something like an ‘answer’ to question #1. This circle depicts how we do things. 2011 .dimension of the Circle of Views has a number from 1 to 12. Paradoxes The word paradox is often taken to mean “a seemingly contradictory statement that may nonetheless be true. The guiding principles attempt to summarize changes that occur as we move from the periphery (level 1) of the circle toward the qualities at the center (level 3). paradoxical statements. and not what we do. The timeless facet is at the core of dimension #11. guiding questions. On dimension #1. on dimension #1. For example. level 1 cultural view.” Dimension 1: Flow 36 March. The following pages Corresponding to the twelve dimensions of the circle. a feature near the periphery. And near the center. you can walk in a way that’s timeless. or you can race against time while walking. Anything can be done with lots of different focal settings. The guiding questions may be helpful during actual work situations to clarify directions for optimizing situations.

1995. There can be dancing without a sense of a dancer. 2011 . with almost no effort. 1995. 19) ● You do not let go the bow string. There can be attribution of causation without experiencing a causative entity or event separate from an effect. . (Murphy. the flow of events becomes more and more powerful and effortless. (Murphy. Guiding Question: Are you applying effort or control to something that feels separate from you. There is only the 37 March. eventually action and movement do not exhibit any friction. calmness within fear. 25) ● [football player Red Grange] runs . or doer of the dancing. Quotes for Dimension 1: Flow ● I discovered the middle path of stillness within speed. There can be a particular person doing something while there is complete spontaneity. 1995. 11) ● It’s a giddying rush that’s free of any effort on my part. it just happens. . There can be coordination and order with complete spontaneity. . .Question: What happens to personal will. More simply: The less willful imposition and resistance. p. effort. (Murphy. and control as one develops? Guiding Principles: As time and energy are fragmented less and less into the volition of a self set in contrast to the energy of nature and physical process. and without control by a self. with no doer. p. p. or into a potent doer dominating a passive experiential surrounding. the more powerful and effortless the flow of energy. or is your activity flowing effortlessly by itself? Paradoxes There can be tension and resistance without effort by a self. .

(Tulku. . easy. 1998. p. but ultimately such measures do not go to the essential 'point'. Great Time is seen to be a kind of perfectly liquid. 254) ● Discipline and a willingness to relax the usual temporal structures can be gateways to this pointless time. pp. 1977. 86) ● He is no longer wasting effort fighting and restraining himself. straining and struggling at other times is now done without any sense of striving.' (Maslow. p. p. (Csikszentmihalyi. a unified flowing from one moment to the next. and experience are all given 'by' time. What takes effort. 311) Dimension 2: Creativity Questions: What’s the source or cause of things? How does experience arise? How are things created? How do answers to these questions change as one changes? 38 March. p. we proceed from point to point. 1995. 106) ● Experience is typically described as involving a sense of control—or. 191) ● We have complete control in the special sense that we do not need to control anything. (Tulku. . between stimulus and response. 1995. When we adopt particular attitudes or release specific energies. lubricious dimension—it is quintessentially 'slippery'. He becomes like a river without dams. 2011 . and future. In the normal situation. .' Allied to this often is the feeling of grace and the look of grace that comes with smooth. 105-6) ● [An] aspect of fully-functioning is effortlessness and ease of functioning when one is at one's best. 1990. (Tulku. . welling up from 'time'.' or is 'in over-drive. Now there is no waste. 1962. and in which there is little distinction between self and environment. It is as though all the friction in the world were removed.' or 'is in the groove. p. I had to make no special effort to do anything. (Murphy. 125-6) ● When fully appreciated. (Tulku. . in which he is in control of his actions. subject. . A steady flow presents itself without leading on to identity and substance. muscles are no longer fighting muscles. effortless. or between past. . of working or laboring. 59) ● . (Ackerman. 302) ● Instead of objects presenting themselves to awareness. Now there is no point to such a procession and no place to arrive at. part of our capacities are used for action. and part are wasted on restraining these same capacities. 1977. (Tulku. pp. (Murphy. . Without special effort—for no effort is needed—the whole of experience is already transformed. (Maslow. 1994. 162) ● Our speech and gestures become totally irrepressible and spontaneous. ghostlike. when everything 'clicks. p. p. awareness. the dynamic center of our being. more precisely. 86) ● [golfer Bobby Jones:] I was conscious of swinging the club easily . effortless fully- functioning. present. p. as lacking the sense of worry about losing control that is typical in many situations of normal life. but 'comes of itself. p. 1994. objects. the totality of the capacities can be used for action. weave and glide upon effortless legs. 1977. 1962. comment and construct.

(Tulku.They are no longer seen as produced by—and tied to—a 'horizontal' temporal series. the mind. (Tulku. There is no 'doer' or performer of the magic. and yet things can feel as though they come out of nowhere. can point in what seems at first like a different.. original appearances each time. somewhat predictable.. the more spontaneous and comprehensive the creative process becomes. p. the familiar here or present. and yet be seen as fresh. magical world. and world can be recognized repeatedly over time. or even habitual. seem spontaneous and fresh? Paradoxes Appearance and events can have identifiable causes and sources within the world. or any other agent within a scenario. 107) ● All drab items. The same objects. and trends can become alive. Guiding Question: Do things feel familiar. along with all that appears in the momentary scenario. So they. some event in the distant past. More simply: The less the cause of things is seen to be a particular agent outside of or within a scenario. or does each new moment.. in their givenness with us. (Tulku. 49) ● Great Space is not a separate thing or cause. (Tulku. more vertical and liberating direction. (Tulku. it is not 'elsewhere'. 1977. 2011 . 1977. p. some psycho-physiological apparatus. 74) ● We live in a very fantastic. Quotes for Dimension 2: Creativity ● The source and resting point of all existence appears to be space. p. ultimately leaving nothing outside its scope. inspiring symbols. the mind. or any other item within the ordinary world view. facts. p. 10) ● The source of experience is not the self.Guiding Principles: The less the cause or source of experience and events is seen to be the self. 1977. with no source or cause. 145) 39 March. nor is its 'creative act' to be located in the time of the remote past. 1977. 1977. people. People and things can be assigned a historical identity while felt to be discontinuous or to be recreated moment by moment. p. the more spontaneous and comprehensive the creative process becomes.

with events and products appearing to be nonexistent. 1994. 1977. we approach each challenge with new resources. (Tulku. or future—is seen to be unoriginated. uncaused. We are all being newly born within Space and Time. products of Space and Time. 253) ● We are not creatures. pp. and unoriginated. p.. 300) ● The less we insist. ensuring that our experience stays within proper limits. for nothing is firmly established. while in another sense remaining measurable and attributable to particular individuals. in point of fact. there is no moving time. Guiding Question: Are you efforting or looking forward to getting things done. the closer we draw to the invisible energy of the Body of Time: the creative impulse through which appearance itself manifests. and time. our work process. 1977. p. present.. More simply: The less distinction between ourselves. 54) Dimension 3: Accomplishment Question: How does the experience of accomplishing things change as we excel? Guiding Principles: The less effortful our operations on separate existents or events embedded in a temporal grid. second by second. 1980. (Tulku. 2011 . ● There is no fixed world order that stands outside and around us. that person can experience the work as an activity that flowed by itself. the more balanced and the greater productivity is. 165-66) ● Everything—whether past. p. 40 March. Nothing is strictly impossible. (Tulku. the greater the productivity. Nor were we caused at some time in the past and then left on our own. with no effort.. (Tulku. Allied with this creative force. the things we’re working on. because 'knowledge' perceives that. or are you currently completely satisfied within your work-in-progress? Paradox While we can attribute production and service to a particular individual.

the longer it takes. (Tulku. healthy [self-actualizing] people we find duty and pleasure to be the same thing. 163) ● To the extent that we try to master the environment . 1962.. 1977. To cite psychotherapeutic experience. . 110) ● [My self-actualizing subjects were] uniformly more capable of effective action. non-interfering cognition. 184) ● The purpose of Zen archery is not to hit the target. 1962. and end- experience. (Tulku. 124) ● In . and the world change as we become more virtuous? Guiding Principles: The less we try to establish ourselves as autonomous beings confronting reality as a contrasting world of entities that are separated from each other by space. p. (Maslow. 1962. . as is also work and play.may seem to conflict with ordinary categories and distinctions unless we are sensitive to its purpose and range of application. . the more we see how we and all familiar things. The more eager we are to cure. He is at his best . the more eager we are to make a diagnosis and a plan of action. nonoccurring and nonlocated. 41 March. .. . . 105-6) ● His behavior and experience becomes . 11) ● Chains of events even within our ordinary space are seen to be nothing other than a kind of 'space' projecting 'space' into 'space'. pp. . p. p. our position. dimensionless space. but rather the concentration . . self-validating. This is not only felt subjectively but can be seen by the observer. p. p. 100-101) Dimension 4: Objective Space Question: How does the experience of space. (Murphy. while distributed over ordinary space. . (Maslow. . goal-orientedness. and experience . . . 1977. .such an orientation. . In this and in many other situations. 1962. it is proof that his spiritual discipline is successful. 1962. . Every psychiatric researcher has to learn not to try to cure. . using all his capacities at the best and fullest. end-behavior. .. pp. . not to be impatient.Quotes for Dimension 3: Accomplishment ● The person in the peak-experiences usually feels himself to be at the peak of his powers. self-interest and altruism . to that extent do we cut the possibility of full . . 1995. . . boundaries. . p. to be humble is to succeed. 7-8) ● ‘We'. . (Maslow. (Maslow. . . the less helpful do we become. When the archer does hit the center of the target in such a state of mental calm. .. are nevertheless unseparated and even intimately connected within and as a higher-order. to give in is to overcome. 2011 . are . rather than means-behavior or means-experience. (Maslow. . objects. Yet.

are nevertheless unseparated and even intimately connected within and as a higher-order. p. treading on clouds. (Murphy. (Murphy. While the physical world may be a referent for any activity. p. 1995. Guiding Question: Do objects and events take up space and appear to be separate and dispersed. the more they are interconnected as dimensionless space. Quotes for Dimension 4: Objective Space ● [long-distance runner Bill Emmerton:] I felt as though I was going through space. 65) ● Everything is made of emptiness and form is condensed emptiness. 38) ● [Charles Lindbergh:] . Although objects have volume. and ‘here’ and ‘there’ can mark positions. 1962. or are do they seem intimately connected in and even as one space? Paradoxes Familiar things. free from the gravitation that binds men to heavy human problems of the world. no world order seems fixed outside and around us. (Einstein) ● One small part of the world is perceived as if it were for the moment all of the world. 17) ● [golfer Jack Fleck:] I can’t exactly describe it. but as I looked at the putt. 1995. the hole looked as big as a wash tub. unhampered by time or substance. as though I were an awareness spreading out through space. 1995. . . 2011 . or exclusively occupying space. p. yet they need not have any perceived depth. however. 88) ● The astronomer is “out there” with the stars (rather than a separateness peering across 42 March. While there may be measurable lengths. (Murphy.More simply: The less things and beings seem separated by ordinary space. Objects may have an inside and outside. they aren’t experienced as extending in space. over the earth and into the heavens. while separate and distributed over ordinary space. p. there is no felt distance. there are no felt spatial divisions or extension—everything is the same space. (Maslow. Geographical coordinates and points. ‘here’. dimensionless space.

.'space' dimension may be those structures without thereby being finite. 1977. 1977. 62) ● Great Space . is not spread out over any region.. (Tulku. . the mind and physical reality. 2011 . is not set in contrast to solid. become resolved in the light of different and more accurate conceptions. (Tulku. p. (Tulku. (Tulku. region of our realm is virtually infinite in its Great Space aspect. p. the more inside and outside are deactivated. 105) ● A truly comprehensive 'space' . . (Tulku. 39) ● The Great Space dimension reveals an all-inclusive unity that. 112) ● Each finite . . the ordinary mind. an abyss at another separateness through a telescopic-keyhole). no wider and founding environment. they are all intimately connected insofar as their Great Space dimension is considered.distributed over ordinary space . Guiding Question: Is there a private space or personal world that feels separate from everything outside. xi) ● When a single feather and a thousand worlds are equally this space.. p. p. 1962. 1977. 16) ● Although. . (Tulku. . p. eventually an overall understanding—which is itself a kind of space—expresses and is all presentations. the more inside and outside are seen as the same undivided space. xli) ● Dichotomies like 'existence' and 'nonexistence'. (Tulku. (Tulku. p. . p. (Maslow. 1977. p. and ‘objective space’ all derive from a higher space. More simply: The less separated 'our private world' and the 'world of others'.. p. opaque 'things'. or do inner and outer. ..structures. 1977. 'object' and 'space'. p. ‘personal space’. . 1977. 1977. the.. subjective and objective appear to be inseparable facets of the same undivided space? 43 March. 1977.. (Tulku. 199) Dimension 5: Mental Space Question: How do personal space and mind change? Guiding Principles: The less the sense of separation between 'our private world' and the 'world of others'.are finite in size. rather paradoxically. 14) ● Surfaces can appear as such and still be more transparent.. has no extensive dimension. 112) ● While all familiar things are. because—in a sense— they 'reflect' the degree of our own relaxation. and it becomes clear that the self. 112) ● All existence and experience is like an apparition. who can say which contains which? (Tulku. . no dimensions to it. p. 1977. a surface with no substantial core. 1977.

1977. 1994. . (Tulku. . 1977. . the more you experience yourself as .. . . I can have a personal space or position without having to feel separate from anything/ anyone else. Space. the creator becomes one with his work being created. p. 42) ● The more you 'open things up' .g. . 15) ● We. . problems and confusions. p. our space. pp. with what was formerly not-self. which has no 'place'. . . (Tulku. 63) ● We completely transcend a self-centered orientation and become fully with everyone and everything else. 113-114) ● The shape and form of what appears becomes inseparable from the shape and form of mind. Locations and attitudes. or independent of ‘the outside’. . 2011 . I can have a mind without feeling that it’s stable. p. Quotes for Dimension 5: Mental Space ● He is more able to fuse with the world. p. . xliii) Dimension 6: Identity Question: How does personal identity change? Guiding Principles: The less 'charge' that the self-component has as the agent dominating a passive surrounding. 1962.Paradoxes I can have a mind without needing to feel that it’s separate from others’ minds. (Tulku. 1977. 1977. p. (Tulku. 1977. (Maslow. . the clearer it is that the 'self' is a generalization of many instantaneous 44 March. the notion of inside and outside is thus deactivated . (Tulku. . . p. 45) ● There is actually no ordinary mind at all. e. the lovers come closer to forming a unit rather than two people. If these walls can be somehow rendered transparent without thereby setting up new walls and points of view. no 'position'. . the appreciator becomes the music . . no longer bind us. 105) ● Lower space is like a walled enclosure. (Tulku. our awareness are all deriving from a higher space and understanding. continuously existing.

(Murphy. really. Guiding Question: Is there a sense of self that stands apart from experience and externals. There can be recognizable personality without an experience of personality-owner and without a feeling of repeated patterns. . 23) ● [auto racer Jimmy Clark:] I don’t drive a car. 2011 . but also because we had managed to become such a close-knit team. . . The car happens to be under me and I’m controlling it. . I as swordsman see no opponent confronting me . (Murphy. p. 1995. . . . 19) ● [When judo is practiced properly. . . (Murphy.] There will be no curtain to separate you from your opponent. (Murphy. and you feel free of all mind-body constraints.presentings of 'time'. . consciousness vanishes . (Murphy. It’s no longer that you’re in a car and doing something with it. that’s why I refer to this as a complete entity. 1995. (Murphy. every movement he makes as well as every thought he conceives are felt as it they were all my own . are part of the car and the track. . . I feel a car is an animate object. . . eventually our sense of identity is seen to derive from an awareness that is not limited to a particular position or 'point of view' at all. . p. More simply: The less the self dominates ‘its’ surroundings by taking various positions. Quotes for Dimension 6: Identity ● Being ecstatic means being flung out of your usual self. 112) ● [Japanese swordsman:] When the identity is realized. not solely from our success. 1995. . or do you feel identified with. 1995. . we felt . or the same as. . what's happening? Paradoxes There can be people with names and histories who nevertheless have no sense of substantiality or continuous existence. You and your opponent will no longer be two bodies separated physically from each other but a single entity . (Murphy. an extraordinary elation. p. . the clearer and more fluid our awareness. 1995. 1995. . . p. p. . 1995. but it’s as much a part of me as I am of it. . p. You will become one with him. 133) 45 March. p. 32) ● We had known some of the most exciting climbing of our lives. . had reached a level of unity and selflessness that had made success possible. 130) ● [Stirling Moss:] You have to be part of the car. 32) ● [auto racer Jochen Rindt:] You just .

for it is only the rational that makes divisions. a 'knowing' clarity that does not radiate from a center. p. Appearance shares in the 'no identity' of space. of non- plurality. knowing things that are happening from inside them? 46 March. but is rather in everything. (Tulku. 'taking' form without a body. p. 1994. pp. and everything is in it. 2011 . 1977. 252) ● Forms appear but do not take birth. differences. of 'no-things'. (Tulku. without establishing an 'active subject' and a 'passive object'. (Tulku. p. our prospects and our aspirations. 146) ● Our usual rigidity and lethargy derive from the fact that the 'self' that we ordinarily try to improve is a generalization of many instantaneous presentings of 'time'. the identities we proclaim and the perceptions we own. while space appears 'in' things. At one level. It is with everything and reveals everything. 1994. . (Tulku. 1977. . or do you feel intimately part of what's around you. Guiding Question: Is knowledge simply something that you or others possess or lack. Opposites unite. the clearer it becomes that knowing is not just a particular type of event. 147) Dimension 7: Locus of Knowing Questions: Where is the locus of knowledge? Where does knowing happen? Guiding Principles: The less we see knowledge as just something located inside our heads that we try to achieve during certain acts of knowing. but a mode of 'seeing' which is not limited to a particular position or 'point of view' relative to passive objects. the more it becomes a balanced. ● An actual appreciation of 'time' shows that the way in which it presents identities. A new condition prevails: 'things' as appearance are space. But . they exhibit but do not take up the conditions they portray. 1977. we continue to 'be' our patterns and our limits. 33-34) ● We too appear in the dance of time. eventually there is a balanced encompassing of the whole situation. things are and are not. (Tulku. and interrelations is a direct evocation of 'space'. More simply: The less knowledge is that which is both lacked and held by a self. unowned encompassing of whatever manifests. p. The borders between 'is' and 'is not' are no longer solid in the same way. 178) ● This Knowledge is not oriented around us as the subject in a world of objects.

knowing need not feel like it belongs to a person. our space. 240) ● This Knowledge is not oriented around us as the subject in a world of objects. p. 282) ● Full knowledge dissolves the 'distance' between knower and known that characterizes conventional not-knowing. 1977. or radiates or occurs from a center. 2011 . p.Paradoxes While an individual can know and perceive. (Tulku. particularly not just something located inside our heads. (Tulku. as the conventional picture of an isolated knower would have it. When a particular person knows a locatable object. but is rather in everything. p. . Quotes for Dimension 7: Locus of Knowing ● It is possible that ordinary 'knowing' and the observed insentient physical basis for it are both the result of a higher-order 'knowing' having taken up a certain stance or position. there may be no felt distinction between knower and known. the 'knowing' clarity does not radiate from a center. but instead. 1977. 27) ● The higher-order space or field is not falsified or blocked out by the appearance of discrete objects. p. 30) ● We. The apparent object pole and the containing world horizon can all be 'knowing'. More precisely. takes time. and everything is in it. 252) ● There is no longer a 'looker'. p. only a 'knowingness' which can see more broadly. When a particular person knows an object. our awareness are all deriving from a higher space and understanding. an intimacy of knowing emerges. without establishing an 'active subject' and a 'passive object'. xlviii) Dimension 8: Content of Knowing 47 March. (Tulku. (Tulku. (Tulku. (Tulku. 1977. 42) ● Knowing is . 1977. It is with everything and reveals everything. p. p. p. 25) ● The knowing 'by-standers' and the known 'outside-standers' are no longer accepted as what is really knowing and known. There is neither an 'outside' nor an 'inside' in the ordinary sense. 1977. we might say that higher-order knowledge does attend to conventional items and perspectives. 1987. and knowledge becomes inseparable from love. 240) ● We can develop a mode of 'seeing' which is not limited to a particular position or 'point of view' at all. 1977. . Thus. (Tulku. but rather a pervasive and intimate 'in' or 'within' as an open-ended knowingness. 1977. (Tulku. (Tulku. With no distance. from all sides and points of view at once. p. 1977. knowing can be experienced as a nonlocated encompassing field.

to place what is 'known' into familiar categories and judge in terms of oppositions such as good and bad. opposites are seen to be unities and the whole dichotomous way of thinking is recognized to be immature. suffering. Quotes for Dimension 8: Content of Knowing ● At the level of self-actualizing. the closer it comes to a clear appreciation merged with the subject under investigation. unbounded knowing. categorization. or events. or thoughts are known. 48 March. the more that knowing illuminates the relationship between subject and object. and emotion can appear without a relatively positioned victim or owner. Pain. or is awareness an illuminating clarity merged with the subject being explored? Paradoxes While particular objects. and hopes. people. events. anticipations. categorization. More simply: The less that knowledge is restricted to a self’s identification. Memories need not refer to a separate past position. The perception of a particular object need not involve a sense of a perceiver nor any feeling of separate context for the object. Guiding Question: Is knowledge simply identification. 'understanding' and 'feeling'. 2011 . many dichotomies become resolved.Question: What happens to the content of knowing? Guiding Principles: The less that knowledge is a possession that only allows the self to identify and distinguish what is desired from what is not. eventually knowing merges with the subject under investigation. becoming an awareness that seems to 'embody' both clarity and appreciation. Thoughts can express distinctions without referring to experientially separate objects. and judgment. still there can be a sense of comprehensive. and expectations need not refer to separate future positions. judgment. and detached observation.

165) ● This knowledge was freely available: less a possession to be obtained than a luminous. 207) ● [Soccer player Pelé:] Intuitively.. body. experience becomes less fragmented and conflicted. 1995. p. p. (Tulku. 1994. 1977. 1995. 271) ● The shape and form of what appears becomes inseparable from the shape and form of mind. p. It is not simply a content of knowledge.. p. 1977. and knowledge becomes an ever-present companion and guide. mind. at any instant. p.. 38) ● [weightlifter Yuri Vlasov:] Everything seems clearer and whiter than ever before. (Tulku. 253) ● 'Knowingness' is inexhaustible and can be neither fragmented into little knowable packets nor foreshortened by known content of any sort.. p. It is not a meaning. but never entering the mirror itself. This does not mean that 'knowingness' is a vacant absorption. he seemed to know the position of all the other players on the field. (Murphy. for it involves no sense of a subject-object duality. xlv) ● As we learn how to take knowledge itself as the topic. (Murphy. 1977. 219) ● Great Knowledge is.Arguments and assertions cannot single it out or refer to it. 1987. distinctions come from wholeness and remain within wholeness. free of separations and disharmonies. inquiry and wonder give rise to the love of knowledge. (Tulku. p. but rather that 'things' and encounters are themselves 'knowingness'.. 151) ● In this new vision. p. eventually we draw a wealth of nourishment and energy directly from our own being. (Tulku. (Tulku.It is unlearned or nonlearned learnedness. 49 March. 61) ● Knowingness has the quality of perfection. p. 1977. and others become more open. and to sense just what each man was going to do next. transparent 'attribute' of experience and mental activity. 2011 . (Tulku. 1987.. 1994.freedom from subject-object fragmentation.. xliii) ● Mental projection can practice the instant reflection of images. (Tulku. personality. The source of our knowing merges with the subject under investigation. 14) Dimension 9: Well-Being Questions: How do health and wholeness arise? What happens to fragmentation of being? Guiding Principles: As habitual self-images lose their feeling of reality and the boundaries among self. p. (Tulku. arising within memory or awareness like an image in a mirror. p. (Maslow. as if great spotlights had been turned on. 1962. 119) ● With all ordinary thoughts—even as these thoughts—you may discover.. p. 1994. (Tulku.

a joy beyond comprehension . or worry. for the presence of these is itself incomparable beauty. 1995. 165) 50 March. 1977. reasoning. a feeling that all ills were healed. anything less than perfection was impossible. mind. 297) ● In this new vision. p. emotion. and no ugliness or imperfection. Quotes for Dimension 9: Well-Being ● It happens when our inner forces are resolved. . 1977. sensations. always had been. . and personality. fear. 277) ● We participate in an uncontrived intimacy. 51) ● [defensive tackle Joe Greene:] Playing with every part of yourself [with] the will to get the job done. . p. and different body parts without any sense of fragmentation or feeling of separate ‘parts’. bliss. (Murphy. p. everything was all right. it makes us feel at home. (Tulku. There was nothing wanting in all of creation. or is fulfillment and satisfaction naturally and directly accompanying a sense of wholeness? Paradoxes There can be a person with a personality. that there are no other unexpected forces lurking underground. greater nourishment and fulfillment is drawn directly from being. 1994. 1977. . (Tulku. intuition. And when a person's forces are resolved. because we know. (Alexander. . p. 7) ● [climber Arlene Blum:] Like coming home to a place of beauty. p. xxxiv) ● No aspect of an experience is 'outside' or apart from knowingness according to this perspective. (Murphy. 10) ● [climber Rob Schultheis:] I felt . p. 268) ● No separations or disharmonies are found when appearance is seen as the embodiment of Knowledge. 1995. and peace—a place where I felt I belonged . p. sensation. (Tulku. . 287) ● Wealth is intrinsic to our Being. is our greatest treasure. 1977. When this is recognized—without there being a recognizer—there can be no bondage. 1979. . . . unfragmented into reason. splendor.More simply: As inner and outer partitions lose their feeling of reality. . Everything is now 'within'. and always would be. really. 1977. 124) ● An integrated. body. p. 1995. emotions. (Murphy. by some sixth sense. p. (Tulku. (Tulku. and intuition. natural intelligence. 2011 . distinctions come from wholeness and remain within wholeness. Guiding Question: Are there boundaries and divisions among your self. You have great awareness of everything that is happening around you and of your part in the whole. and our key to progress. (Tulku. p.

and fulfillment as we come to live life to the fullest? Guiding Principles: The less we see our selves as lacking and needing pleasures and things. Though most of the world is outside the individual. ugly or imperfect. xvi) ● 'Space' and 'time' are not just backgrounds or supporting mediums for further 51 March. Whether a situation is labeled positive or negative. More simply: The less a self is seen as needing things. thoughts. the more everything is found to be immediately fulfilling. need. Within a finite duration of clock time infinite fulfillment is available. p. 2011 . Quotes for Dimension 10: Need and Fulfillment ● We can find everything to be clear and fulfilling. fulfillment and complete appreciation are immediately available. and emotions—is found to be immediately fulfilling. and can see that there are no isolated packets of nourishment or knowledge to be grasped at in an anxious or a 'venturing out' manner.Dimension 10: Need and Fulfillment Question: What happens to desire. a person need not feel cut off from or lacking anything. 1977. the more everything—all situations. Guiding Question: Are you driven by a desire for pleasure or a need. there are no isolated packets of nourishment to be grasped at in an anxious or a 'venturing out' manner. or is everything being found to be immediately and inherently fulfilling? Paradoxes A person can have desire and preference. (Tulku. without any sense of need or deficiency. or can pursue this or that course of action.

p. and our ego-centered values. it is not 'here' in this or that. whether convention labels them as 'positive' or 'negative'. We are also absolutely self-sufficient in a nonegoistic sense. p. eventually time appears as energy that does not occur in moments. (Tulku. 1977. directly from Space and Time. not by making linear progress. 287) Dimension 11: Feeling of Time Question: How does the experience of time change? Guiding Principles: The less that time carries the existential character of being an inescapable force compelling us to move within a linear temporal grid. 216) ● Although infinitely greater 'knowing' is available. 1977. the more time appears as a nonlinear and nonsequential dynamic process. Guiding Question: Do you notice a feeling of time flowing around you. 156) ● This idea of infinite growth does not mean that we need to follow some long. which is usually nurtured only indirectly through the pursuit of our physical pleasures and needs. (Tulku. but as the suspension of the riddle which our common condition of searching for fulfillment is always posing. We can draw nourishment and energy directly from our own being. the more that all going from place to place and from experience to experience seems to occur as a succession of experiences in the same 'spot'. Great Knowledge grows. 241) ● Fulfillment is available within all situations. experiences. 2011 . p. nor is it outside or elsewhere. 1977. and future times without any felt separation between the times. More simply: The less compelling our sense of time passing. or are you timelessly involved in things? Paradoxes There can be distinguishable past. p. 1977. thoughts. and is neither linear nor sequential. difficult path. present. 271) ● We participate in an uncontrived intimacy. 52 March. (Tulku. and emotions. p. This is not meant as a riddle. (Tulku. (Tulku. 1977. but by opening up to the infinite perfection that is 'here'. They provide a very special form of nourishment for our humanity.

is actually enabling. 53) Dimension 12: Feeling of Reality 53 March. (Murphy. 1977. p. and so any amount of experience constituting five minutes could also be had in one second. timeless encounter—timeless in the sense of being unconditioned and without ordinary duration. The 'series' is a fiction. 1995. . . Awareness of the passage of time completely stops. p. not restraining. . 1977. 42) ● [Tom Seaver:] As Rod Gaspar’s front foot stretched out and touched home plate. p. . Quotes for Dimension 11: Feeling of Time ● A single play may seem like forever or an inning may seem like only a second. It seems as if I had all the time in the world . . They are not linked. it penetrates directly through all meanings and partitions to show Great Space in a perfect. from one thing to the next. 1995. in a way that irrevocably separates them. 1994. p. 106) ● Time is neither linear nor sequential. there are neither moments nor successive movement. (Murphy. p. 136) ● Time. . Clock time may be finite and limited. (Tulku. (Tulku. . p. . 1977. 41-2) ● We are 'time'. 1980. p. 40) ● [football player John Brodie:] Time seems to slow way down . but separate from. nor is the 'larger' one really larger. 47) ● There is a common experience in Tai Chi . . 1977. (Tulku. (Tulku. 1980. and yet I know the defensive line is coming at me just as fast as ever. in fact. 1995. The 'small' interval is not really smaller. 162) ● The boundaries distinguishing five minutes from one second are unreal in a certain sense. Without confirming division. in the fraction of a second before I leaped out of the dugout . any 'time'. p. p. . (Tulku. (Tulku. (Murphy. (Murphy. 2011 . my whole baseball life flashed in front of me . it allows for the conceptual separation into past and present and future. (Tulku. p. . . 150) ● The Body of Time transitions the appearance of what appears.Events can ‘occur’ without any experienced movement or transition from one to another. 1995. Instead. 142) ● Time ceases to be seen as unfolding distributively. but the experienced duration of a period of clock time is not at all fixed. . 47) ● Different times do not violate the nondistributive nature of Great Time. pp. and thus no succession. by their respective positions in a temporal series. it. if appreciated and used with the right 'Knowledge'. rather than merely isolated objects located in.

Guiding Question: Does reality seem solid. There’s no longer weight to my body. (Tulku. p. p. the less we see reality as a compounded object. nothing substantial is found as a ‘core’ or foundation. eventually giving way to complete openness. 1994. The clearer our perception. 116) ● People have told us that the world “seemed like a dream” after an uplifting game or sporting expedition. When events occur. 1995. 135) ● Everything is made of emptiness and form is condensed emptiness. they can seem ethereal and insubstantial. or does everything seem wondrously ephemeral? Paradoxes While objects and people exist and interact. 2011 . eventually arriving at a final stage that is open and empty. p. The feeling of flesh is gone. 1995. events. 1995. no longer hardness to the stick. it can seem dreamlike. (Murphy. 4) 54 March. (Murphy. 117) ● [runner Ian Jackson:] My body seemed insubstantial like some ethereal vehicle of awareness. Quotes for Dimension 12: Feeling of Reality ● [Charles Lindbergh:] All sense of substance leaves. the fixed sense of reality grows more attenuated. and substance are explored. p. fixed. (Einstein) ● Substance gradually grows more attenuated. and substantial. More simply: When ‘happenings’ and existents are thoroughly explored. (Murphy. Experiential fragmentation of objective reality destroys certainty. certainty is diminished in proportion to how experientially separate entities seem. Though knowledge may refer to physical and mental realities. as though nothing at all is really happening.Question: How does reality seem to change as one matures? Guiding Principles: As experience.

1994. Complete involvement in whatever is at hand is self-actualization. In contrast. and social needs. We can all—employers and employees alike—make good use of this kind of powerful. From my research it eventually became clear that in the ‘zone’ we have the state of peak performance of all types. Grove. long-range vision that naturally guides us toward peak performance--not by motivational or manipulative techniques. As mentioned previously. continually increasing involvement in whatever is at hand. who said. 163-4. A vision can provide an ideal against which to measure our progress. selflessly. . there is nothing above or beneath it. 55 March. “When there is a genuine vision . with full concentration and total absorption. then we can get very direct and helpful feedback. people excel and learn. . p.” (pp. 27) Conclusion With some bearings.” (p. 2011 . 1994. . but because they want to. continuous improvement is moving toward the center. 1990) The need for management support and motivation is gradually obviated. vividly. a state in which there is a natural. it would require less and less management effort to get better and better results. not because they are told to. it can be much easier to get to our destination. whenever possible. there’s no motivation any longer. ● Substance is a mysteriously condensed form of what in our ordinary way of speaking we would call 'nothing at all'. . Most companies drive progress by focusing on the bottom line. Maslow. 43-4. ‘unfabricated’ melding of both peak productivity and self-actualization. (Tulku. no point of origination more solid than its own communication.” (pp. “Self-actualization means experiencing fully. For optimal profit and fulfillment it serves us well to pursue the peaceful. 1994. yet most productive ‘zone’ at the center of our whirlwind of activities. 5) ● For each appearance. security. Senge. and motivate by carrot and stick approaches that focus on physiological. . If we have a sense or vision of what peak performance is. 18) ● 'Before' the present manifestation. aspirations for self-actualization are self- sustaining--they continually motivate. nor by trying to replicate others’ successful processes. nor by simply getting us to agree with or ‘buy into’ organizational goals or values. management implements a self-actualizing means of continuous improvement that requires continually decreasing management effort. 1971) So by fostering employee movement toward the zone. This is confirmed by Abraham Maslow. self-actualization continues to motivate people to ever higher levels of performance. . we’ll probably find it easier to ‘attain’. Thus the zone is a natural. (Tulku. appearance without substance offers the other side of birth . but by helping us to simply and directly explore essential qualities of our experience. or directions. But once these needs are satisfied. p. 9. 'before' the 'before' that manifestation presupposes. becoming more involved. p. (Tulku. “Unlike other sources of motivation . 1983) So if management could foster employees’ self-actualization aspirations on the job. . cross-cultural meeting ground for personal values and fulfillment and organizational goals.

56 March. 2011 .

Transitions How do we get there? 57 March.Part II -. 2011 .

2011 .58 March.

Introduction to Chapter Three Having reached some conclusions about the character of the zone of peak performance. The Employee Engagement Network online has over 3000 members interested in enhancing employee engagement at work. Is this because our cultures teach us to be externally oriented? Is this because the word engagement is most often used in behavioral or social contexts? Because work environments 59 March. With enough understanding and experience. When you are working. group and organizational success. Of these I found only one. The Network produced an E-book called “The Employee Engagement Top 10. put service to the organization and to the needs of others before your own. such as: join a professional organization. we now turn to the question: How can one directly improve one's activities. These things all exemplify ways of enhancing what I call external involvement. the greater the concentration and engagement. Maslow agreed: “One can learn to see in this Unitive way almost at will. just connect with others. one can very reliably approach and ‘enter’ the state or zone of peak performance.” I found it very surprising that only one of 320 suggestions was clearly about what I call inner involvement. astrological patterns. The more you focus on the work. become the go-to person for your work. moving closer and closer to complete absorption. that was about changing one’s moment-by-moment experience rather than changing behavior or long-term attitudes: “Focus on the work. Do not let distractions remove your focus. or some other apparently uncontrollable factors? Or is there a reliable way to do it? I have learned that it is not just an accident. do the work. from Scot Herrick. communicate appreciation for the talents and contributions of others. There were 320 suggestions for enhancing engagement. connect high performance with individual.” This book was a community project from thirty-two contributors of the Employee Engagement Network. How do we do it? Whenever you see an opportunity to improve your involvement in whatever task is at hand. Maslow.” (p. 1970) Getting into the zone doesn’t have to be a matter of luck. xiv. and the complete range of human consciousness and functioning. take it. support continuous learning in yourself and others. and then stay there. including work and relaxation? How does one move from a first-level to a second-level and even to a third-level. even if we aren’t aware of the extent of the possibilities available. But we need to clarify what we mean by involvement. And most of us already know the general process. moment-by-moment. or in whatever we’re doing. 2011 . network with high performers. blessing. People usually think that increasing involvement is making certain behavioral or attitudinal changes. defined as the degree of our experienced absorption in whatever we're doing. zone experience? Is it just a matter of luck.

plus a few steps that go beyond psychological changes that are based on the self as the agent of change. holding back. and well-being. Getting into the zone of peak performance need not be just a matter of luck. and commonsense way we 'buckle down' when we have to get something done. If one is locked in a room with a task that has to be completed. almost everyone knows that increasing inner involvement is the primary. resigned to doing something. Improving involvement is a powerful way to increase productivity. an experiential focus during work—breaking down barriers to increasing involvement--provides a natural meeting ground of the individual employee's concern with fulfillment and optimal well-being with the organization's concern with optimizing productivity and quality of product and service. but there is much more to learn about approaching the zone. and ‘getting into’ one’s activities is well known. connecting with others. a job during which. By consistently noticing transition points and choosing directions of increasing involvement. This commonsense approach of ‘concentrating’ on. particularly when I was a technical writer for software manuals. natural. social involvement by joining a group. And not just productivity is improved. We go through certain predictable stages as we increase involvement and approach the zone: avoiding. our primary means of changing involvement is inner. 60 March. being involved. etc.still foster a policy of “check your personal life at the door?” Because people don’t understand how important it is for our productivity and our sense of fulfillment and well-being to be absorbed in what we’re doing? Because people don’t know the range of experience culminating in complete involvement? Because we don’t know the methods or techniques needed to get “into the zone?” I think it’s fair to conclude that this topic of improving inner involvement is not at all well known. and won’t or can’t leave until the task is done (this actually happened to me). I was in fact working in a room by myself. I can say that it is reliable and replicable for anyone who is motivated. most of the time. Continually improving inner involvement simultaneously drives productivity. Having gone through this kind of continuous improvement process hundreds of times over at least twenty years. my work became a peak experience. directly experiential. As we concluded in Chapter One. getting into it. 2011 . The extended example in Chapter Three presents a description of some typical changes as one gets into it. We conclude that increasing productivity resulted from choosing consistently productive directions at transition points where the scenario could either become more simple/ integrated or more complicated/fragmented. The example comes from many experiences I had at work. not changing our external. even among those who are quite interested in engagement as a means of improving well-being and productivity Despite our preoccupation with external involvement. quality. being absorbed. and being completely engrossed. and well-being. quality.

How many of us have work projects where all we do all day long is make one or two products? How can productivity be assessed at times when we're not making the products that are measured? Most of us also do countless other tasks that are not included in conventional measures." In a typical company the primary focus is on productivity and the financial bottom line. But these measures often fail to take into account much of the work that we do throughout the day. managers. we--whether employees. let alone the best place to focus. etc. efforts to increase productivity involved measuring how we spend our time in order to identify process improvements. Thus." (p. We might also question the types of work for which such conventional measures can be applied. 1990) Seldom is one's immediate experience considered a field of opportunity for improving performance.- -the driver and optimal key to sustainable business success may be continuously improving employees’ 'internals'. particularly one's inner. However. Well-being. and sometimes propose ways of improving one's external . work. A preoccupation with results ignores the negative side-effects that the drive for bottom-line results can have on our individual well-being. To foster truly continuous improvement and personal satisfaction. relaxation. we need feedback that is 61 March. downsizing. Rather than focusing on 'externals'--technological fixes and innovations. By focusing on results without balanced attention to their well-being. yet burn out in the process. 12. perspectives and qualities of experience. Senge. 2011 . Focusing on optimizing results does not guarantee optimal individual well-being. and otherwise. moment-by-moment involvement and work capacity. or individuals preoccupied with our personal projects--may produce a great deal during a long work crunch. most businesses these days proudly state that they are "results-driven. In the past. perhaps even approaching the zone? Interestingly enough. In fact. We seem to be relatively unaware of what Peter Senge calls "the subtlest aspect of the learning organization—the new way individuals perceive themselves and their world. reorganization. social involvement. the typical responses to this question almost always suggest external methods and processes.Chapter Three Optimizing Inner Involvement Drives Productivity. the push for productivity can actually undermine individual and organizational performance. and Quality—All At Once How does one continuously--moment-by-moment--improve one's activities. companies might want to reconsider how they drive productivity and improve the bottom line.

The sense of dread gradually dissipates. as Einstein called it. continue gradually. increasing involvement results in a more complete integration of the experiential aspects of the work scenario. and even when we're changing tasks. I have the distinct sense that this job is being imposed from outside. The pressure and anxiety about the deadline gradually subside as I turn toward the work a little more. and don’t recognize is important? What if we take a close look at what we’re already doing when we successfully improve productivity? Let's set up a 'thought experiment'. at a point ‘up ahead’. along a linear time line that extends from here in the present to next Thursday. It takes considerable effort to even think about getting started on the script. relax. and I won't leave until the task is done. and refocus on the work. We need ways to measure how we think. There's a tendency to take this feeling at face value. to add energy 62 March. and then to concentrate on my task. I'm at a transition point. to simplify things and isolate what's important. Extended example of changing involvement So what does guarantee results and well-being? What about identifying necessary tasks. but I decide to let go of this unproductive anticipation. the following account is an amalgamation based on many actual experiences. and make myself more anxious. almost forced upon me. and I've decided that I'm going into my office. and I have a speech that is to be delivered Thursday. I realize that writing this speech has begun to feel like a 'thing' very separate from me. but I'm not going to be that irresponsible. feel. 2011 . So I just allow the feeling to be there. I find these practices are necessary for me to have the confidence that I'm doing the right thing. Suppose I have a speech that I have to complete. no matter what task we're doing. I feel time flowing strongly and relentlessly in the background. I could avoid the feeling of dread and the task of speechwriting.always available. Anticipating the upcoming event. where my productivity can either decrease. or maybe even improve. I have a feeling of dread. I visualize myself speaking a few days from now. and I'll turn off the phones. determining priorities. By definition. and view our work at any given moment and not just the steps we go through to accomplish it. How do I improve my performance as I progress with the task? Examine the following account of an extended work period during which inner involvement—which can be defined as the degree of our experienced absorption in whatever we're doing—increases gradually for some time. decreasing involvement results in a greater disintegration of experiential aspects of the work scenario. I could focus on the deadline up ahead and the feeling of time slipping by. then decreases awhile. Note that rather than being just a story. and begin to make notes about the talk. what does guarantee results and well-being? Is there anything that we’re already doing. Again. There's pressure and a subtle sense of anxiety attending the flow of time. But these practices are not the core practice. After I get more of an outline for the talk. It's Monday. and carefully scheduling our work? Personally.

My feeling of time has changed considerably. I'm actually getting the work done more quickly. I could take a break. I write down some more ideas that I want to present. I write down a few more ideas. once again visualizing giving the talk.to it and then react to it. The insight about rearranging topics clearly came on its own. I face the confusion. Now the writing really takes on a life of its own. I am not the least bit aware of other projects I have to do. The process is creative in the sense of presenting material that seems new and fresh. let alone the opportunity to get so much done 63 March. not arising from any apparent source. Things begin to flow a little more easily. and insights are frequent. I am aware of a lot of other objects in the room. The quality of thinking is different also. At this point I am considerably more involved in the work." The papers feel distant from my body. Gradually the observer-observed split dissolves. As this becomes very clear. There seem to be more points at which these interruptions and others are noticed. visualize myself giving the speech. or other objects in the room. I may miss something important. as an observer who is not completely "into it. I feel a little puzzled about the order of these ideas. with no volition on my part. So I'm at another transition point. there is only a slight distance that is sometimes felt between my mind and body and the papers. Although a bit of effort is required on my part. I reorganize the list. Ideas come easily. I think about rewarding myself by taking a break. I feel good about being able to participate in this process. It's another transition point. So my energy is a little scattered. not so much like 'I' am directing the thoughts. The subject-object split and the scattered energy are clear signs that there is an opportunity for greater involvement in the scenario. the work scenario will not improve much more. There's some momentum to write more ideas down. Periodically there are little bits of pride that arise as I congratulate myself. 2011 . but I know I would miss the currently strong flow of the work and the fulfillment I am experiencing. It's my decision. I experience wonder with the process as well as the accuracy and value of the content written. and check the list to see what is missing. I still experience it somewhat from outside. The material seems completely original. and soon realize that a couple of the topics would be better at a different place in the talk. Time is not passing so strongly from past to present to future. Time has only a subtle flow apart from me and the work. then read the list from beginning to end. surprising me again and again. But this is not just a feeling. I might see these experiences as being normal. and more work 'events' or moments seem to be occurring every minute. the thoughts and the work seem to flow somewhat by themselves. In fact. I know if I simply rush to put more ideas down. but from past experience it's clear that if I take them as being realistic for this kind of work. but also a drawing of attention to examine the confusion. Although I've gotten ‘into the work’ a bit. as well as other scheduled tasks that I have to do in the next few days. But from another perspective it's clear that no one is forcing me to do this. I feel very little anxiety about time passing toward the deadline. I relax a bit and think about what to do next. I do not feel like an observer separate from the work. as if some other kind of momentum was accelerating.

making the scenario either more simple/integrated or more complicated/fragmented. subtly aware of what time it is and how much time I have till the end of the show. and a persistent sense of separation between myself. and also a pull to continue the momentum of the work and figure out what to write next. 64 March. I am self-consciously watching TV here in the present. and having taught parts of it to others. My mind is divided between the show and being aware that I really want to do my work. Having gone through this kind of continuous improvement process hundreds of times over more than twenty years. between an anxious self ‘here’ in the present and the relentless flow of time into the future. and I look at the clock and realize it's almost time for my favorite TV show. and then (2) choosing a direction of increasing involvement? Isn’t this the natural way that we improve productivity without even thinking about it? By consistently noticing transition points and choosing directions of increasing involvement. I am not aware of objects in the room. These distractions are noticed and disappear very quickly. or pressure. nor is it as enjoyable as I'd hoped it would be. Work has turned into a peak experience. I procrastinate. My mind starts to wander. 2011 . put my work aside. strongly ambivalent feelings about what's happening. the TV. I get confused about the message I want to get across in the speech. I realize that congratulating myself on 'my' progress doesn't make much sense. feeling anxious and guilty about a job waiting for me in the future. There is little felt separation between 'my' mind and the thinking and writing being done. 1. Nor is there a feeling of time passing. but pretty soon I'm thinking about how I might be able to finish my work after the show is over and during my free time during the next couple of days. and my work. fear. just a matter of luck. Randall. when I'll return to my work. Yes. My experience is divided into present and future ‘rooms’. Watching television is not a flowing experience now. nor of the work as a 'thing' or project. But at some point.quickly. 1987) So in this phenomenological account. I'm slightly anxious. The scenario is complicated. and begin to watch the show. it seems possible! I think I have enough time. time partitioned into present and future. when things improved. since it doesn't feel like 'I' am the source of the flow. This is important—it shows that getting into the zone of peak performance need not be an accident. (p. what facilitated the improvements in productivity? Could we generalize and say that increasing productivity resulted from (1) noticing the transition points where (inner) involvement could either increase or decrease. There's a strong tendency to avoid the confusion. I can say that it is reliable and replicable for anyone who is motivated enough to go through a natural learning process with their own experience. Besides anxiety. The flow of work has stopped and time slips by quickly again. With some subtle anxiety lurking in the background. There are no noticeable feelings of anxiety. I know this is the best time to do this work. I also feel guilty or pressured about not getting the job done. This is another transition point. my work became a peak experience. While I'm watching TV. with my awareness divided.

But we need to go well beyond psychological techniques. but what would I get out of it?” The answer: your health and level of well- being should gradually improve. as well as the accuracy and value of the content written. . 1994. . Perhaps you found yourself 65 March. Tulku. during work. For example. 125-129. For example. unnecessary complexity. when we’re driving a car. .) Improving quality Noticing your level of involvement in a task can also be the basis for continuous quality improvement. 2011 . Optimizing well-being At this point you may be thinking. what else triggers us to improve a work process besides a transition point centered on conflict. That's exactly what my example above shows: “Things begin to flow a little more easily. you have identified a key to improving your progress. Regularly noticing your level of involvement in this way provides feedback that you can use to approach the zone of peak performance (for a way of charting involvement. Some years ago. . we cannot be completely engrossed in an activity whereby we use it. Recall a time when you significantly improved your involvement in a work project by breaking through strong emotional resistance. . . Similarly. . If a race-car driver feels somewhat out of control when making high-speed turns. if you feel any separation from your work.” But don't take my word for it. . and an unrestricted sense of openness (the 'zero' component). time is not passing so strongly from past to present to future. or if you feel any distracted within your work environment. if you aren’t completely swept up in the energy of the project. this disruption in the driver’s sense of flow could indicate an opportunity for increasing the quality of the steering mechanism. “My company would benefit greatly from this approach of tracking involvement. Whenever a tool or technology does not meet our needs or expectations. Identifying a resource as a source of disruption can give us the opportunity to improve our work environment. Although a bit of effort is required on my part. Research on the zone (see Chapter One) provides further guidance. the thoughts and the work seem to flow somewhat by themselves. This research shows that a high degree of inner involvement implies a melding of worker and task (the 'glow' component). see pp. or wasted energy or effort? These disruptions in work flow draw our attention to processes that we can change for the better. . we usually discern inadequacies in the resources at our disposal only when our experience of using them is disrupted or disturbed. confusion. we don’t usually notice it—it virtually becomes a part of us. . I feel very little anxiety about time passing toward the deadline. I experience wonder at the process. I could take a break. . . I feel good about being able to participate in this process. but I know I would miss the currently strong flow of the work and the fulfillment I am experiencing. Volkswagen advertised that their distinction as an auto manufacturer was that they considered the auto and the driver to be one. . You can then try to identify productive and counterproductive responses and choose how to proceed. if the vehicle is functioning properly. a timeless and effortless flow of events (the 'flow' component). . So. .

2011 . Nevertheless. (p. So how can we optimize our work efforts? Probably not by focusing our attention on results. And while focusing on improving involvement may lead to slightly lower productivity in the short run. the greater are our feelings of well-being and fulfillment. the objection that tracking involvement could cause a decrease in productivity may simply reflect an organization’s short-sighted rather than strategic approach to progress. Businesses seem to be in such a hurry to produce and to improve this quarter’s financial results that they can hardly see the possibility or importance of increasing employees’ productivity and work capacity over the long term. and investors fostered peak performance for my company. . Second. As hotelier Chris Conley said. So boosting involvement can be a powerful means for increasing productivity. quality. and well-being. This objection. available energy. well-being. . didn't you experience an immediate change in your sense of satisfaction and confidence? Did the breakthrough boost your overall outlook on your job. and level of confidence—grows. 2007) 66 March. Conley. is unfounded. including your time outside the work environment? The more we absorb ourselves in a task. We can then accomplish things at a faster rate and with greater levels of quality than before. 13. some managers might fear that people could use this approach to concentrate on self-improvement and personal satisfaction at the expense of their work commitments. the greater our involvement. efforts to increase involvement often require letting go of personal desires and preferences in favor of dedicating ourselves to focusing on and accomplishing the job. First of all. and maybe even on life in general. It's all about where you put your attention. But by focusing on improving involvement in our work.avoiding a challenging new assignment that you felt uncertain about taking on. our work capacity—including our awareness. Moving toward the zone optimizes personal as well as organizational progress. while understandable. which doesn’t guarantee improvement of well-being and quality. When you overcame your reluctance and dove into the project. customers. “I came to realize that creating peak experiences for our employees. we can increase productivity. and quality—all at once. . The level of fulfillment we derive from our work largely corresponds with the degree to which we fully dedicate ourselves to the task at hand. by intentionally working to resolve the conflicts that preoccupy us at transition points.

” But without values and valued qualities of experience. at least implicitly. and optimal well-being. Where do these problems come from? Organizations focus primarily on results and profit. assuming that individuals periodically make suitable revisions of their performance values. related to the experiential field: Make increasing-involvement 'moves' in the field as often as one can.Introduction to Chapter Four Modern work environments suffer from a number of issues: First. We might call these two aspects of the ‘game of life’ the experiential field and the scoreboard. while: (2) Acting and keeping one's scoreboard “at the back of one's mind. The organizational focus is imbalanced. common. for those involved in organizations. a hollow shell. quality of services and products. they’re not highly motivated. goals and actions. Second. To facilitate progress toward personal and organizational goals. there’s a ceiling limiting our sense of fulfillment. much less optimizing. we can then periodically measure these values as a way to drive our progress. Yet if we can’t do both simultaneously. Then. worker well-being and work capacity: (1) The primary practice. they have trouble relating their personal goals and values with organizational goals. organizational progress--including simultaneously improving productivity. Thus employees and management alike suffer from the lack of a vision and operational method of optimal work which truly provides and actively fosters a natural meeting ground for both personal fulfillment and organizational results. then well-being of employees. slighting values and quality of experience. visionary meeting ground. quality of product and services second. and which inspires people toward peak performance. 2011 . employees feel unfulfilled. our ongoing experience and the recording of our intentions. it has two aspects. each individual can define performance values to measure his/her involvement along one or more dimensions of the experiential field. employee motivation. the following two practices should optimally drive and sustain long-term individual and. This fosters an environment that says.” 67 March. and they tend to think management is most interested in profit. This chapter points out the availability of such a natural. self-actualization. it can be difficult to know how to foster your deepest values while pursuing organizational goals. As we act to accomplish our goals. leave your values at the door. “When you come to work. weighted toward the physical or material. management has trouble sustaining. work is empty. From a personal point of view. Third. Establishing a playing field for peak performance No matter what we individuals do in life.

Inner involvement takes priority over behavioral involvement. and religious or spiritual values and discipline.” However. Step 2: Define a range of inner involvement in terms of specific experiential performance values. moving us toward realizing the zone and increasing engagement/involvement whenever possible. it depends on the 'fit' or congruence of performance values chosen--by each individual--with the individual's personality. divine. First. What's good for most people may not help a peak performer. and should be. goals. “best values. If the organization imposes values that conflict with those of the individuals--even if it considers those values worthwhile. and work capacity. Shared and irreducible attributes of cross-cultural peak experience can help provide the experiential--not theoretical or behavioral or results-focused--direction for continuous improvement. Therefore. a definition of optimal work can be drawn (as was done for peak performance in general in Chapter One) from common descriptions of peak experience by Maslow.Three steps are suggested for implementing this approach to Managing by Actualizing Values. 2011 . 68 March. The utility of your definition will clearly depend on two important factors. natural. For a particular individual. well-being. obvious. among others. whatever--there will be conflict and overall progress will surely suffer. and managing by actualizing values at the deepest levels. Csikszentmihalyi. Murphy and White. the most important aspect of all forms of behavioral involvement is inner. There are many effective ways to define inner involvement. The American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) national web site used to state: “Although there is an intellectual construct called high performance work. the MBAV approach recognizes that each individual is. the transformational efficacy of a set of values also depends on the individual's level of development. Without a significant degree of congruence. From their works we can derive a vision of the zone and use it in our measurements of involvement during work. quality. the final arbiter of which values to use for transformational or practical purposes. It's ultimately up to the individual to decide whether to adopt particular individual and organizational goals. and Tarthang Tulku. and vice versa. goal board by determining personal and organizational goals and priorities. innate. Step 3: In order to optimally drive progress in productivity. it does not have a common definition. continuously improve inner involvement. Although experts in organizational development are usually preoccupied with dynamics and methods of outer or behavioral involvement.” empirically validated. or experiential. Step 1: Set up the outer. the individual's well-being and performance will suffer.

The significant presumption here is that moves on the inner. “When we keep our eyes on consistently operating our business by aligning with our core values. to point out how it can serve as the basis for managing by actualizing values. 1997) There's no need to convert anyone to a particular set of values. experiential field drive both ‘inner’ and ‘outer’ progress.” (p. practices. in his book Peak. It's sufficient to clarify what is already in place within each person. But does changing the way we see the world really change the world we see? Certainty about the efficacy of driving progress via increasing involvement will probably come only from validating it in your own experience. and to trust and support everyone's progress. Blanchard. 2007) This approach to optimal work constitutes a version of what might be called Managing by Actualizing Values (MBAV). similar to Blanchard's Managing by Values approach. customers. or disciplines. 13. However. Chip Conley confirms this approach: “I came to realize that creating peak experiences for employees. and has real potential for breaking through the typical employee distrust of management’s motives. the scoreboard does in fact take care of itself!" (p. 2011 . Conley. Then this approach can serve as a genuine meeting ground for personal fulfillment and corporate results. 69 March. and investors fostered peak performance for my company. for which it’s stated. 49. beliefs.

70 March. 2011 .

environment. First. intrinsic drive? If so. And if it’s truly general--applicable to any person. peak performance. Are there ways for individual workers to set up a challenging atmosphere centered on this perennial. we can inquire whether there actually is a balanced. self-actualization. there is the inherent drive for self-actualization described by Maslow. which truly provides and actively fosters a natural meeting ground for both personal fulfillment and organizational results. or more generally. and task--it cannot be defined in terms of organizational structures. and which inspires people toward peak productivity. it would ideally balance concerns about productivity. general vision of optimal work. and the records of our intentions. our ongoing experience. we might call these two aspects of the ‘game of life’ the experiential field and the scoreboard. If so. Besides the usual external carrot-and-stick management methods. the scoreboards. product and service quality. we can inquire how workers can best motivate themselves. Producing. and optimal well-being. As a shorthand analogy to a sporting event. 2011 . instead of the modern preoccupation with bottom-line results. perhaps it could tell us how best to do processes and practices by defining a set of possible experiential "performance values" and tracking our progress within this set. and best practices or processes. how can management establish extrinsic organizational goals and yet support this intrinsic drive? Might it even be possible to foster a genuine meeting ground for personal fulfillment and organizational results that has real potential for breaking through the typical employee distrust of management’s motives? Introducing the work game. Though such a vision can’t prescribe specific practices or processes. employee habits. I propose that to optimally facilitate progress.Chapter Four Managing. each individual should (1) maintain a scoreboard that represents progress toward both personal and organizational goals (determined as 71 March. or be motivated. management styles. it has two aspects. and Evolving by Actualizing Values (MBAV) Introducing the Issues Individual contributors and managers alike suffer from the lack of a vision and operational method of optimal work. and the possible moves No matter what we individuals do in life. culture. goals and progress toward these goals. and employee well-being and work capacity. Second.

all of which are lagging indicators. For clarity we can distinguish two types of involvement.com/involve. 2011 . Emphasizing results on the scoreboard can negatively affect employee well-being. Most of the literature on involvement or engagement uses this behavioral meaning (for example. or the bottom line. In the work game. It focuses on change in one's perspective. Very seldom is there even the simple recognition of the importance of the natural process of trying to deepen our concentration and involvement in the experiential field when we try to improve performance. productivity. does not guarantee optimal employee well-being or even long-term productivity. 49. one might join a group concerned with the disarmament movement. In the previous chapter there was an extended example of how being aware of (and even measuring) involvement provides immediate feedback to drive progress (see also “What Guarantees Optimal Productivity and Well-Being?” at http:// www. By focusing on results without a balanced attention to their well-being (which can be measured on the experiential field) employees may produce a great deal during a long work crunch. or observable behavior. 1997) However. often touted as a kind of overall 'best practice'. it can instead be measured along one or any number of dimensions of the experiential field (discussed in detail below). but these two aren't always congruent: people can just “act 72 March.html ). overall personal and organizational progress--including improving quality. you can drive balanced. is often accompanied by 'moves' or changes in inner involvement. see dictionary.com).reference. For example. and should then (2) focus on one’s experiential field while making different possible 'moves' of increasing involvement defined by performance values measured along one or more dimensions (this will soon be explained further). However. or experiential involvement. when you're playing tennis. and employee well-being--if everyone focuses on increasing their own engagement/involvement on the experiential field rather than focusing on the scoreboard. or qualities of experience. with a set of experiential performance values (defined in step 2 below). such as attending meetings. Outer involvement behavior. which can be measured by the degree to which one is fully preoccupied or absorbed in whatever is at hand. As Kenneth Blanchard asked in Managing By Values. yet burn out in the process. use of the word involvement in this article usually refers to inner. It's clear that focusing on results. This type of involvement is often seen in black-and-white terms--that is. what kind of results can you expect if you keep focused on the scoreboard--measuring profit or ‘results’--rather than the ball? (p. While inner involvement is also often seen in black- and-white terms. you're either involved in a movement or you're not. Behavioral involvement is measured in terms of a person's actions.described in step 1 below). Sometimes there is a secondary emphasis on quality of products and services. where should we focus? In a typical organization the primary emphasis is on productivity and the bottom-line outer gameboard goals (step 1). behavioral and inner.manage-time. Blanchard.

. Although most people in most cultures and in these times have become preoccupied with the ‘outer’ world. the scoreboard does in fact take care of itself!" (p. and then (2) making a 'move' in the direction of increasing involvement. and investors fostered peak performance for my company.” or "talk the talk" outside. Hypothesis: the best approach to optimal work is . “When we keep our eyes on consistently operating our business by aligning with our core values. customers.” (p. . Without ‘inner’ buy-in. similar to Blanchard's Managing by Values approach. we concluded that work progress naturally results from (1) noticing the transition points where your (inner) involvement could either increase or decrease. the following work practices should optimally drive and sustain both long-term individual and organizational progress--including simultaneously improving productivity. 2011 . for which it’s stated. focused on the experiential field: Make increasing- involvement 'moves' as often as one can (a process defined as continuous improvement). while: (2) Working and keeping measures of one's progress and goals (the scoreboard) "at the back of one's mind. but still not "walk the walk" inside. . 1997) We could reword it this way: Actualizing values drives inner and outer progress. or on what could be called inner performance values--they are not preoccupied with measuring or tallying the products and services they are producing or delivering. . This is the natural way that we improve productivity usually without even thinking about it. Presuming that there is sufficient organizational support (mostly management understanding and trust) for the environment described below in steps 1 and 2. As Blanchard says. Blanchard. . Chip Conley confirms this: “I came to realize that creating peak experiences for employees. The results just seem to flow from this focus of energy ." The significant presumption of the hypothesis is that the ‘inner’ playing field and the scoreboard are not separate. their attention is primarily on qualities of their immediate experience of working. making the scenario either more simple/integrated or complicated/fragmented. experiential field drive both ‘inner’ and ‘outer’ progress. 13. 49. this statement redirects the emphasis and says that the inner field is essential--and that outer results somehow follow directly from inner progress. quality of services and products. but related parts of a larger reality in which moves on the inner. This leads to a hypothesis about the best way to drive progress. In the previous chapter. "all of their attention is on what they’re doing .the part. . . Conley. In his book Peak. . worker well-being and work capacity--in any culture and environment: (1) The primary practice. [Yet] Lots of companies seem to watch only 73 March. . When people perform at their best. 2007) This approach to optimal work constitutes a version of what might be called Managing by Actualizing Values (MBAV). when people do their best. whether working on one’s own or as part of an organization. behavioral compliance is superficial acting.

com/2009/03/31/boosting-productivity-quality-and-well-being) inner.html on the Results in No Time website at www. any effort to keep corporate and personal goals separate is artificial--our personal lives affect our corporate lives. Doing so demonstrates management's understanding of the close connection and interrelationship of personal and organizational goals.their scoreboard–-the bottom line.manage-time. Personal freedom and integrity take priority over trying to accommodate an organizational decision that one doesn't put faith or credence in.com/103Frames. and vice versa. One should not start with an organization’s mission alone. The organization must at the very least. Step 1: Set up the outer. can be misleading or even dangerous.html. Personal goal-setting may be done privately or in a group setting. Blanchard. Blanchard says. goal board by determining personal and organizational goals and priorities. As discussed in Chapter Three (as well as my article “What Guarantees Optimal Productivity and Well-Being?” (http://www.” (p. Blanchard. and trust in the efficacy of MBAV." (p. which just limits possibilities at the outset. Step 2: Define a range of inner involvement in terms of specific experiential performance values. These goals then are up for adoption by every individual employee--and it's ultimately up to the individual to decide whether to adopt them. somehow clarify and periodically update its goals and mission. This action is initially done.wordpress. whether manager or individual contributor. with a shorter version at http:/ /stevrandal.manage-time.com/involve. One should realize that the organization is just a part of a much larger whole. 1997) Three steps are suggested for implementing this Managing by Actualizing Values approach. 3. Anyway. 2011 . see conventional time management (http:/ /www. Ideally an organization will provide time for identifying personal goals. Each person identifies and prioritizes his or her personal and organizational goals using common time management practices (For example. by every individual in the organization. In Managing by Values. not to limit yourself to only personal or corporate goals. 23. In some cases there may be personal ethical or moral objections. and the MBAV goal here is to improve your performance in life in general. as well as support for.com).manage- time. 74 March. Organizational goal-setting may be done privately by management. and pass this direction on to all employees. presuming that this is in fact the case. "a company creates a motivating environment for its people--one in which employees can see that working toward the organization's goals is in their best interest. and updated periodically when useful. or more publicly with (external) involvement or participation by other employees. 1997) However.

(4) getting into it. and quality of product and service. Consider the core values that. and the work scenario had a heavy or inert feeling. productivity. It can also more generally be defined as a measurement of one or more dimensions. Fourth. Tulku. but also as you switch between tasks. or even when there is no apparent task at hand. unlike other measures of progress defined in terms of specific results. concentration (C). You can assign numbers from 0% to 100% for each of the three dimensions. and if desirable. A low degree of involvement could mean that individuals and objects were strongly felt to be separate. goals. for fine granularity and precision. each individual should specify his/her personal set of performance values to be used to measure inner progress at work. will guide and shape the way you fulfill your purpose. how you define engagement or involvement will determine what your suggestions are for improving them. There are many ways to do this—your choices will probably depend in part on your own personality. an effortless yet powerful flow of events. and spaciousness: a high degree of involvement can indicate an experiential melding of objects and individuals. as discussed below--has the important benefit that it can be used not only while focusing on any task. as by the degree to which one is fully preoccupied or absorbed in whatever is at hand. 2011 . Thus tracking and improving experiential involvement is both an indicator and a driver of all aspects of progress. (3) being resigned to doing something. as stated earlier. Then at work you can periodically recall your recent experience as if you were viewing a videotape replay. or production processes. for you or your organization. Inner involvement can be defined. during other times as well. you could estimate involvement as a combined measure of three dimensions of integration. (6) being absorbed. Whatever your selection. services. awareness (A). one's performance level can be measured very simply along a single dimension by choosing one of the following seven ‘values’: (1) avoiding. We could symbolize it this way: I ~ W*P*Q. (2) holding back. A second way to track engagement: define it as a combined measure of three dimensions. and religious or spiritual disciplines. determine which of these seven performance values best fits your experience. Third. 120-129. Your definition will also determine whether truly continuous improvement can be fostered using the performance values—some specifications do not provide sufficient granularity for continuous improvement. (5) being involved. and use the average of the three values for a combined measure of involvement. and then look for ways to improve. and energy (E) (pp. intense effort was required to get small things done. the natural practice of tracking involvement--however it is defined. For this step 2. and (7) being completely engrossed. Using these values provides a rough measure of involvement. In addition. you could (a) define engagement as a combined measure of the twelve dimensions defined in Chapter Three (and also in an article on the zone 75 March. As a first example of how to do this.experiential involvement in the current scenario is directly proportional to employee well-being. and a sense of openness pervading the entire work scenario. with each dimension having a set of work-process or performance values that are experientially possible during a work period. energy-flow. 1994).

Is there a private space or personal world that feels separate from everything outside. or are do they seem intimately connected in and even as one space? 5. What's good for most people may not help a peak performer. subjective and objective appear to be inseparable facets of the same undivided space? 6. Is knowledge only identification. or are you timelessly involved in something? 12. chart the rise and fall of these twelve factors throughout the day by periodically considering the following questions that contrast various aspects of ordinary work from peak performance: 1. fixed. or does everything seem somewhat fluid or dreamlike? However you define your involvement system. Is there a sense of self that stands apart from experience and externals. it would probably be helpful to compose some questions to help determine your current performance level and the direction for progress. or is everything being found to be immediately and inherently fulfilling? 11. Then (b). body. somewhat predictable. as in the second way to track engagement above. or is there a natural sense of wholeness. Are you driven by a need or a desire for pleasure. seem spontaneous and fresh? 3. Do you notice a feeling of time flowing in the background. or are you currently fulfilled within your work-in-progress? 4. and satisfaction? 10. or even habitual. These dimensions or aspects of the zone are close to being irreducible aspects of peak experience. or also an illuminating clarity merged with the subject being explored? 9. Do objects and events take up space and appear to be separate and dispersed. and substantial. judgment.wordpress. or does each new moment. Consider relating to one's work using average performance values limited by inculcated experiential strictures (see http://stevrandal. categorization. the transformational efficacy of a set of values depends on the individual's level of development.google. Does reality seem solid.com/group/playing-in-the-zone). mind. and vice versa.published in the Jossey-Pfeiffer Bass 2007 Annual--see a similar version of this article at http:/ /groups. and who experiences the flow of time from past to present and future. or is there a sense of being intimately part of what’s around you. knowing things that are happening ‘from inside’ them? 8. along with all that appears in the momentary scenario. fulfillment. Do things feel familiar. or does your activity seem to flow effortlessly ‘by itself’? 2. Are you looking forward to being done with the activity. has ‘room 76 March. Is knowledge simply something that you or others possess or lack. and detached observation. For a particular individual.com/2009/07/24/whats-the- zone-of-peak-performance/ on my blog). Are you applying effort or control to something that feels separate from you. or absorbed in. and personality. An individual who is experientially separate from the work action. 2011 . Are there divisions among your self. or do inner and outer. what is happening? 7. or do you feel identified with.

Grove. core values of the 'zone' of self-actualization. Grove. Then this approach can serve as a genuine meeting ground for personal fulfillment and corporate results. who often "don't have time for" this kind of approach) to adopt a particular set of values. because of your growing insight and realization. Besides helping to empower every individual worker. . centering our approach to peak performance on increasing involvement relieves management of the effort involved in carrot and stick methods of motivation. while: (2) Working and keeping one's goals for the results scoreboard “at the back of one's mind. . and should be. 2011 . . bring them to the point where self-actualization motivates them" (p. The method allows and even fosters people's own current religious or sectarian definitions of performance values on the experiential field. Organizational developers don't need to adopt and implement another foreign program. you will eventually have the granularity of feedback necessary to directly approach peak performance. As Andrew Grove pointed out. and to trust and support everyone's progress. to . By thus improving the precision with which you observe the workflow. . and has real potential for breaking through the common employee distrust of management’s motives. Because the spectrum of available values is broad. It's sufficient to clarify what is already in place within each person." (pp. In contrast. the motivation toward self-actualization does not seem to die out. focused on the Inner board: Make increasing-involvement 'moves' in the field of experience as often as one can. which can only be temporarily satisfied. 1983) Thus he suggests that "Our role as managers is . These methods depend on repeatedly filling individuals' lower-level needs (such as approval and security). 77 March. self-actualization continues to motivate people to ever higher levels of performance. these performance values could gradually approach the irreducible. and work capacity. you periodically make appropriate revisions of your personal definitions of involvement. continuously improve inner involvement. The following two work practices should simultaneously optimize and sustain long-term individual and organizational progress--including productivity. or disciplines. the MBAV approach recognizes that each individual is.for improvement’ in the transition toward peak performance values. 168. Step 3: In order to optimally drive progress in productivity.” About practice 1: Make increasing-involvement 'moves' in the experiential field as often as one can. to point out how it can serve as the basis for managing by actualizing values. the final arbiter of which values to use for transformational and practical purposes. well-being. 163-4. 1983) Another huge advantage of this MBAV approach is that there's no need to persuade or convert anyone (including managers. . practices. beliefs. "Unlike other sources of motivation . quality of services and products. If. worker well-being and work capacity--in any culture and environment: (1) The primary practice. quality. .

There seem to be countless opportunities for most of us to improve the degree to which we are absorbed. if energy is a dimension that you're measuring by a percentage value. occasionally notice where you are in the range of performance values you defined in step 2. About practice 2: Work and keep one's goals for the results scoreboard "at the back of one's mind. Though my arguments might be convincing. experiential Board. no opportunity for improving our work process. their attention is primarily on qualities of their immediate experience of working. For example. To try it out. and the direction for improvement. As we deal with those that are obvious to us. most of us become preoccupied with the outer world. Participants might also practice various 'noticing' exercises designed especially to break up the limitations keeping us from deepening our involvement. If you are aware of a performance value that is low or peripheral." As mentioned in the introduction to this article. but can I really prove this to anyone? I doubt it. 2011 . If it seems there is no restriction or limitation. or what 78 March. towards what is sometimes called the 'zone' of peak performance? Use the questions you wrote in step 2 to determine the level of your involvement. Then you can simply attend directly to the feeling for however long it persists. Management's support for such meetings would be influential. or does your process currently exemplify the values toward the center. That was certainly true for me. On the other hand. To do this. The object of the game is to approach peak performance by driving inner involvement--in whatever way you have defined it--as high as you can. it's often easy to identify a limitation on complete involvement in the work scenario.Although as we grow older. you can simply enjoy things and go on. as you work. When people perform at their best. By noticing these feelings consistently and persistently- -whether focusing only on these feelings or simultaneously continuing to work--you can eventually dissolve the obstacle clouding the fuller and more frequent appearance of central values in experience. and your estimate was 40%. view your experience as a kind of playing field where you are the only player. Are you experiencing the peripheral values. this approach to optimal work constitutes a version of what might be called managing by actualizing values. certainty about the efficacy of driving progress via increasing involvement will probably come only from validating it in your own experience. I made some arguments discussing step 2 above to support this statement. do whatever you can to change it to a central value. However. such as the level of anxiety about time passing. It could be helpful for motivated individuals to meet periodically (even if only around the tea/ coffee pot or dining area) and discuss obstacles and insights--our experiences are often very similar and it can be helpful to share how we deal with them. before long it seems we are naturally presented with possible transition points that are more subtle. do something to increase your energy level. sometimes people will define dimensions in terms of ‘values’ representing feelings. to win the overall game of life. we need to focus and master our play on the inner.

goals. objectives. the most important. Conclusion In order to optimally drive progress in productivity. or self-evident) essential. efficacy of each individual's definition of involvement depends on the congruence of these same performance values with what to some people are presumed (and to other people are credible. and to trust and support everyone's progress. whatever--there will be conflict and overall progress will surely suffer. self-realization. the transformational efficacy of a set of values also depends on the individual's level of development. behavior is meaningless and robotic. Then this approach can serve as a genuine meeting ground for personal fulfillment and corporate results. Although experts in organizational development are usually preoccupied with dynamics and methods of outer or behavioral involvement (as defined above). beliefs. In addition to congruence of performance values chosen with the individual's personality and preferences. It's sufficient to clarify what is already in place within each person. irreducible. As stated earlier. the final arbiter of which values to use for transformational or practical purposes. If the organization imposes values that conflict with those of the individuals--even if it considers those values worthwhile. the individual's well-being and performance will suffer. For a particular individual. obvious.could be called inner performance values. Therefore. 2011 . driving aspect of all forms of behavioral involvement is inner. a huge advantage of this is that there's no need to convert anyone to a particular set of values. the primary focus should be to continuously improve inner involvement. or enlightenment. this method allows an evolution in definitions of involvement when appropriate--and with the average person this does happen occasionally. well-being. it depends on the 'fit' or congruence of performance values chosen--by each individual--with the individual's personality. and has real potential for breaking through the typical employee distrust of management’s motives. and religious or spiritual values and discipline. Ideally. divine. and priorities as they work. What's good for most people may not help a peak performer. The utility of your definition will clearly depend on two important factors. the MBAV approach recognizes that each individual is. Without a significant degree of congruence. or disciplines. or 'zone' values of what has variously been called peak performance. 79 March. experiential-- without this. they are not preoccupied with measuring or tallying the products and services they are producing or delivering. core. and work capacity in any culture and environment. to point out how it can serve as the basis for managing by actualizing values. natural. innate. and vice versa. And although they naturally and periodically recall their tasks. “best values. and should be. self-actualization. which is defined as a measure of one or more dimensions of values that are experientially possible and measurable during a work period. practices. First. quality. management will be willing to trust the discovery of efficacious and naturally motivating values by each individual.” empirically validated. In addition. There are many effective ways to define inner involvement. Inner involvement takes priority over behavioral involvement.

80 March. From their works and many more by other researchers and writers we can piece together a vision of the zone and use it in our measurements of involvement during work. and Tarthang Tulku. The American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) national web site used to state: “Although there is an intellectual construct called high performance work.” However. and managing by actualizing values at the deepest levels. Murphy and White.Managing by values is probably effective because of the focus on values instead of results. and how they are used. moving us toward realizing the zone and increasing engagement/involvement whenever possible. it does not have a common definition. but its efficacy also depends on what values are used. Shared and irreducible attributes of cross-cultural peak experience can help provide the experiential--not theoretical or behavioral or results-focused--direction for continuous improvement. 2011 . Csikszentmihalyi. a definition of optimal work can be drawn from common descriptions of peak experience by Maslow. among others.

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