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If I just accept the now, how will I get anything done?

by Andy Puddicombe

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Hi Andy — I’ve enjoyed becoming a calmer and more focused person with Headspace, but I have a problem. I started meditation specifically to help with writer’s block. Instead of helping me get past it, it’s actually worsened my situation by making me more accepting of not getting things done.

I feel as if the urgency I used to have in my life to get things done disappears with each out-breath of “accepting the now” and “being satisfied with the way things are.” It’s as if I can’t get my mind to go into critical work mode anymore because I can’t access the sense of conflict and anxiety necessary for writing. Will this pass?

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This is a great question and something that I’m sure many people have thought about and perhaps even feared. Needless to say, the process of meditation is different for us all, but I can say with some confidence that this is unlikely to continue for a long time.

Ultimately, it is not the present moment which defines how much we want to work or the sense of urgency we feel to complete it, but rather the intention we carry into each new moment. I’m not sure what kind of writing you are doing and why it is so heavily reliant on conflict and anxiety. I have to say that I’ve never felt either of these qualities are particularly useful in the process of writing. In fact, they both sound like very stressful qualities to try to maintain.

It may well be that what we’re talking about here is a fundamental shift in the way that you work, and, if so, this is quite normal and a very positive process. It might take a while to feel more confident in this new way of working, but it sounds like the process is well underway. Many people run on adrenaline and spend their entire lives dependent on these stressful impulses to produce work, perhaps believing that it is the best way—or the only way.

But meditation shows us that there is another way. By letting go of those old ways of working we are able to work with more flow, more speed, more productivity, more focus and just about every other quality we could possibly want for writing. It requires a slightly different approach and a new type of effort, driven by intention and discipline as opposed to cortisol and adrenaline. So do stay the course if you can. It will continue to change and in time I suspect you will be pleasantly surprised with the result.

Warm wishes,
Andy


Learn more about how meditation is like juggling:

Andy Puddicombe

Andy Puddicombe is a meditation and mindfulness expert. An accomplished presenter and writer, Andy is the voice of all things Headspace. In his early twenties, midway through a university degree in Sports Science, Andy made the unexpected decision to travel to the Himalayas to study meditation instead. It was the beginning of a ten-year journey which took him around the world, culminating with ordination as a Tibetan Buddhist monk in Northern India. His transition back to lay life in 2004 was no less extraordinary. Training briefly at Moscow State Circus, he returned to London where he completed a degree in Circus Arts with the Conservatoire of Dance and Drama, whilst drawing up the early plans for what was later to become Headspace.