The Intention We Carry

July 12, 2014

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.

6 Comments on this article:

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July 12, 2014

Meditation helped me with this exact problem. I'm reminded of this quote from the Dalai Llama:

"Nine times fall down, Nine times get back up." Keep at it.

[Full quote:]



July 14, 2014

Great blogpost!



July 15, 2014

I'm a writer, beginning on Headspace and meditation, and it was awesome to read this. Thank you, Andy!



July 15, 2014

Thanks Andy, and thanks for the author who wrote in. I'm a composer who has also taken the road less traveled in showing up to the creative work. This has been a much needed change. Cheers!



July 15, 2014

This was my main concern as well when I started meditating. I wondered if I would loose my drive if I were too accepting. I still run on adrenaline sometimes, since this seems to be my old way of working.
What helps me a lot Andy, is your question about our motivation and intention at the end of each meditation session. Having a clarity of purpose and knowing that each moment will perish thankfully fuels my ambition.



July 19, 2014

This is a great question and even a better answer, thank you Andy. I am in day nine but still, I would like to know if you have some thoughts as to what kind of effort, what kind of discipline is that which we are able to access through this new way/approach? If it is true that some of us were running on cortisol and adrenaline, I wonder what kind of intention and discipline is that which we can access. This is an essential question because some of us have been trained to think of and to practice writing (academic/critical/theory building) as a painful and at time debilitating exercise. Indeed, we are trained to finding and creating conflict within accepted ways of thinking. That is perhaps why these forms of writing are loaded by conflict and anxiety.

Thanking you in advance for your thoughts and suggestions,