1. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi -- the world expert on flow -- argues that we are at our happiest when we become fully immersed in what we are doing.
The line between the actor and the act blurs and, in some cases, disappears entirely.2. Buddhists by contrast maintain that contentment is achieved through detachment -- observing rather than engaging.
--Eric Weiner in The Geography of Bliss, talking about flow.
It would seem to me then that flow and detachment are in some ways OPPOSITES of each other Yet each, in some way, is claiming to be the path to contentment. And it would seem to me that they can't both be correct.
If we dig down a little bit further, it would seem that evidence from the field of happiness research shows that flow indeed is the path to the greatest bliss. By contrast the practice of detachment, does not actually make claims to happiness at all (indeed Buddhists would encourage us to practice non-attachment to happiness as well as sadness). I think people just get confused about what Buddhism is really all about because endless American Buddhists -- parading about on the pages of the Huffington Post Living section and elsewhere -- conflate Buddhism with all sorts of feel-good new age thinking that may or may not have anything to do with actual Buddhism.