musings on 'Flow' or 'Being in the Zone'

I've been thinking about what it means to 'be in the zone.' 

For reference, wikipedia also calls it 'Flow' and has this definition:

Ipositive psychology, a flow state, also known colloquially as being in the zone, is the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity. In essence, flow is characterized by complete absorption in what one does, and a resulting loss in one's sense of space and time

NTs talk about the zone as though it is a relatively rare experience, so I will start by assuming it is. For them. My experience is that I enter an intensely focused state fitting the description of Flow quite often : all I have to do is engage in an activity I enjoy and start focusing on it, and after a few moments my self disappears, I lose all track of time and I remain immersed in the activity until interrupted or fatigued. That sounds awfully similar to the psychological definition of flow, so I think that I enter into the zone quite easily, and multiple times every day.

My musings are mostly on the relationship between feeling emotions and being in the zone. I know that I experience feeling different than NTs experience feelings. I can't really know what is like to be NT; but the more I review literature, jury cases, politics, war, the often inexplicable behavior of other people I know, and as I find the words to ask more and more pointed questions of NT friends, the closer I get to believing this about NT and Autistic emotions:

  • Normal-brained people have their emotions in the foreground of their attention most of the time, and only infrequently experience a state with only background emotions. Foreground emotions generally fade when focused intensely on a task or non-emotional idea. A non-emotion idea is usually abstract, quark theory or a study of perspective in different painting styles as opposed to ideas about abortion or form of government which can be highly emotional ideas and counter-productive to reaching 'zone.'
  • Autistic-brained people have their emotions in the background of their attention most of the time, and only infrequently experience foreground emotions. Positive and introspective foreground emotions are more likely when in a calm, safe environment.

From the definition I am getting the impression that one of the requirements to get there, is pushing one's emotions into the background.

That gels with my impression that I go into the zone easily, because for me my emotions are already in the background most of the time, and all I have to do is concentrate. But I think moving focus away from the emotions is actually a big deal for most NT people. I get the impression that they feel what I feel in my rare emotional-bubbling-over moments, ALL THE TIME. Before I knew I was autistic I would get really confused about crimes of passion and grown people squabbling over politics and coming to blows and full-blown wars with people dying, all because they wouldn't stop yelling long enough to listen to one another. If I rethink those things and image the people involved feeling like I do in one of my emotion moments, and UNABLE TO ESCAPE those emotions, it start to make a lot more sense. If that is the case, then it isn't so much they won't stop yelling as they can't stop yelling, or it is really hard to stop yelling, because they are over excited ridden by powerful emotions they can't just turn on and off like a water hose. If you're autistic, maybe, like me, you find it relatively easy to turn off your emotions after the first gush is past and you feel like you get a grip again. And maybe you find it really hard to turn ON your emotions, like when your fiance tells you about the tragedy of a coworker and you want to show sympathy but you know you need to FEEL a lot of sympathy or it won't show very much but you just can't fan the feeling into a full blown flame. It lies there like a little spark and you say 'that sounds terrible, that tragedy, how is the coworker taking it?' but it sounds hollow to your NT fiance because your voice doesn't have enough emotion in it.

What do you, whoever you are reading, think your emotions do? Foreground or background? Do you go into the zone and is it easy or hard? Frequent or infrequent? I might be unemotional for some other reason than that I am autistic, so I am curious if there are other people who also wander through life with the emotions mostly in the background and if they are like me in some ways.