This is an excerpt from my future book, even if i cannot call it a book as i wrote only 10 pages. But it is very interesting and i like to debate about this.
Flow - is a state of mind when you are connected with everyone and everything around you, when you go through life with a spirit like the water (the alleged mizu-no-kokoro), without any real obstacle.
Love - especially romantic love, is one of the most powerful feeling that you can find anywhere on Earth. Not kidding, a study in anthropology involving no less than 170 societies, searching for evidence of romantic love, reached the conclusion that there is no society without love to be present.
Now, both love and flow are characterized by intense focus and intense euphoria. But when you love someone, your attention is focused on that person, when you are in flow, your attention focus will shift from deep inside to being aware and perfectly integrated in the whole outside world. If we get an analogy with the Light, surprisingly, falling in love is like a huge firework explosion, while being in flow is like the Light focused in a laser beam. And from this different view, few questions come to life. What is harder, to focus in one point and maintain that focus indefinitely or to expand into infinity? Can you fall in love when you are in flow? Can you go in flow when you are in love? Do they overlap? How can we maintain our flow, or the initial intensity of being in love? I will try to answer to all these questions, from biochemistry perspective.
To fully understand this you need to find what really happen to us when we fall in love, or when we are in love. There are three main areas of the brain that are activated in romantic love. First one is the ventral tegmental area (VTA), a part of the brain containing A10 cells, the ones that make dopamine. VTA is part of the brain's reward system, some scientist describe this area as the reptilian core of the brain, associated with wanting, motivation, focus and craving. The feelings processed by VTA are much bellow cognitive thinking process, even bellow basic emotions. As a significant synchronicity, same brain region is activated by cocaine rush. But love is much more. Why? If you really want, you can completely erase the habit of using cocaine. That is the reason why some believe that, if you fall in love romantically, it is better to be sure that the other person is feeling the same way about you. VTA become even more active when you cannot get what you want. Dumped, you just love harder. The second area activated by romantic love is the core of nucleus accumbens, the part of the brain that is activated when you are willing to take big risks for big gains or big losses. The third area activated is the one associated with deep attachment to another individual. According to the research done by Art Aron, at the people who are still in love after 25 years, the brain areas associated with intense romantic love are still active, like in the beginning.
What are our conclusions? Romantic love is addiction, as good or as bad as the relation with the chosen one is going well or not. In this process, we have all the characteristics of a typical addiction: tolerance (you need to see or to stay close to the other person more and more), withdrawal (a symptom where one would experience major depression when he or she having access to something/someone that is addicted of it, after being dependent on it) and relapse (you can easily get back in a former state and/or condition, even after you were thinking that you got over it). As humans, the implications are far more subtle than our far cousins, the primates, for example. In the animal kingdom everything is simple, thanks to the pheromones & company, we have only love at first sight. But we will speak about this with other occasion.
And the question remains. Why we fall in love? They tested socioeconomic background, level of intelligence, level of good looks, religions values, childhood, personality types according to biology, as in measured degrees of dopamine, serotonin, estrogen and testosterone. (If you are wondering about, search The Braverman Test).
Why we feel that a person makes us to fall in love with rather than another? We do not know yet. The magic is still there.
(That's it for today, in the second part i will write about the three stages of love, the three stages of flow and the major difference between them, we keep in touch.)
Disclaimer: This text is also re-published on some of my personal blogs, such as this one , Publish0x and my Medium blog.
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