The Intention We Carry
Each week we feature Andy's answer to one of the questions he has been sent by a member of the Headspace community about their meditation practice. Here he answers one from a Headspacer who is struggling to overcome a bout of writer's block.
I’m on Day 19 of the Mind Series. I’ve enjoyed becoming a calmer and more focused person, but I have a problem. I started meditation specifically to help with writer’s block. Instead of helping me 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”. Does that make sense? 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?
This is a great question and thanks so much for sending it in. First of all though, well done on making it as far as the Mind Series and it’s great to hear it’s made such a big difference in terms of feeling calmer and more focused. I’m pretty sure this is a question that many will 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 entirely 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 have never felt either of these qualities are particularly useful in the process of writing. In fact they both sound very stressful qualities to try to maintain.
It may well be that what we are talking about here is a fundamental shift in the way that you work and, if this is the case, this is quite normal and a very positive process. It may well take a short while to feel more confident in the new way of working, but it sounds as though that process is well underway already. Many people run on adrenaline and spend their entire lives dependent on these stressful impulses to produce their work, perhaps believing that it is the best way, or the only way.
But meditation shows us there is another way. By letting go of those things 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. But it asks us to let go of those old ways of working. 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
Do you have a question you'd like to ask Andy about any aspect of your meditation practice? Simply visit the Andy's Answers section of our community forum where you'll find instructions on sending your question in, as well as all the questions he has answered to date.
We also recommend you check out our FAQ section, which is full of insights to help ease you along your Headspace journey.