Reyad is a thirty-three-year-old Egyptian who currently sleeps in the parks of Milan., eats in charity kitchens , and occasionally washes dishes for restaurants whenever he needs some cash. When during the interview he was read a description of the flow experience, and was asked if this ever happened to him, he answered,
“Yes. it describes my entire life from 1967 up to now. After the War of 1967 I decided to leave Egypt and start hitchhiking toward Europe. Ever since I have been living with my mind concentrated within myself. It has not been just a trip, it has been a search for identity. Every man has something to discover within himself. The people in my town were sure I was crazy when I decided to start walking to Europe. But the best thing in life is to know oneself… My idea from 1967 on has remained the same: to find myself. I had to struggle against many things. I passed through Lebanon and its war, through Syria, Jordan Turkey, Yugoslavia, before getting here. I had to confront all sorts of natural disasters; I slept in ditches near the road in thunderstorms, I was involved in accidents, I have seen friends die next to me, but my concentration has never flagged… It has been an adventure that so far has lasted twenty years, but it will keep going on for the rest of my life…
Through these experiences I have come to see that the world is not worth much. The only thing that count for me now, first and last, is God. I am most concentrated when I pray with my prayer beads. Then I am able to put my feelings to sleep, to calm myself and avoid becoming crazy. I believe that destiny rules life, and it makes no sense to struggle too hard… During my journey I have seen hunger, war, death, and poverty. Now through prayer I have begun to hear myself, I have returned toward my center, I have achieved concentration and I have understood that the world has no value. Man was born to be tested on this earth. Cars, television, sets, clothes are secondary. The main thing is that we were born to praise the Lord. Everyone has his own fate, and we should be like the lion in the proverb. The lion, when he runs after a pack of gazelles, can only catch them one at a time. I try to be like that, and not like Westerners who go crazy working even though they cannot eat more than their daily bread… If I am to live twenty more years, I will try to live enjoying each moment, instead of killing myself to get more… If I am to live like a free man who does not depend on anyone, I can afford to go slowly; if I don’t earn anything today, it does not matter. It means that this happens to be my fate. Next day I may earn 100 million — or get a terminal illness. Like Jesus Christ said, What does it benefit to a man if he gains the entire world, but loses himself? I have tried first to conquer myself; I don’t care if I lose the world.
I set out on this journey like a baby bird hatching from its egg; ever since I have been walking in freedom. Every man should get to know himself and experience life in all its forms. I could have gone on sleeping soundly in my bed, and found work in my town, because a job was ready for me, but I decided to sleep with the poor, because one must suffer to become a man. One does not get to be a man by getting married, by having sex: to be a man means to be responsible, to know when it is time to speak, to know what has to be said, to know when one must stay silent.
-Flow, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi