Deep Work & Obstacles to Meditation

written by: CLARKE SCOTT 

This week has afforded me some time to think, breathe, and do the work I love—deep work.

But before we get into that I wanted to thank everyone that replied to my request for your preferences on content and the format of my work.

And I wanted you all to know that I greatly appreciated, and enjoyed reading your comments and thoughts.

By now I should have replied to each one of you that submitted your thoughts. If you did not receive an email from me, please do let me know!

1. The Results of the Content Survey

The results are in and there is a clear winner! And that winner is…

MORE! Haha!!

To remind you of the choices here:

1. I want more in-depth articles that help me integrate meditation into my everyday life.
2. I’d like to see shorter articles as your writing bores the crap out of me!! #SorryNotSorry
3. I want courses on meditation and monthly meditation retreats….like yesterday!
5. I want you to start a Youtube channel with long-form conversations with interesting people about consciousness, free will, and meditation.
6. I want it all buddy! Well, maybe not #2.
7. Who the hell are you anyway?!

I must say I was happy to see that #2 and #7 received zero votes!

So this meant it came down to 1, 3, and 5.

Interestingly, no one picked up on the fact there was no #4. I removed #4 to see if anyone would notice. Perhaps people noticed but kept it to themselves, but I have doubts about that as no one at all mentioned it.

But putting the idea that people don’t read newsletters to one side, for now, here is what will be happening over the next three to six months.

Option #1…check!
I have many in-depth articles scheduled for publication. Some are personal and story-based, while others are SEO friendly and theory-based.

Option #3…check!
I am currently in the research and writing phase of producing my first online course on meditation. This course will be a 6-week online course called The Way of Meditation.

It’s an introduction to meditation that lays the foundation for the two masterclass programs to follow. These will be an advanced meditation program, an intermate to advanced breathwork masterclass.

Option #5…check!
I’ve been throwing around ideas with my team for how we can leverage Youtube. And while I’m not interested in pumping out Youtube videos, I do see the value to you and me in leveraging Youtube as a platform for long-form conversations with interesting people, and perhaps also discussion

The topics of these conversations would cover the principles, ideas, and strategies for living a good life—as well as solo discussions about topics I find important and relevant to what we do here.

Bonus option…
These conversations and discussions could then be repurposed as a podcast for those that like to listen to long-form content.

Finally, at this point, I am placing the monthly retreats on hold, but I may look at this again in the future.

(You can always have your say again by replying to this email with your preferences, and if you would like to see meditation retreats but have not voiced your opinion so far…now it the time!!)

2. Deep work and why it should matter to you

Deep work is the kind of work that matters over time. Indeed, it is the only work that matters over time as it gifts you the mental space to contribute to our world beyond what has already been said or done.

This idea, while not new, has been the focus of Cal Newport’s academic work and the subject of his book, Deep Work where he describes it as:

“Deep work is the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task. It’s a skill that allows you to quickly master complicated information and produce better results in less time. Deep work will make you better at what you do and provide a sense of true fulfillment that comes from craftsmanship. In short, deep work is like a super power in our increasingly competitive twenty-first century economy. And yet, most people have lost the ability to go deep—spending their days instead in a frantic blur of email and social media, not even realizing there’s a better way.”

Interestingly, the first section of the quote above sounds a lot like meditation to me.

Perhaps this is simply my own bias showing its face but what is interesting about Newport’s articulation is the juxtaposition of deep work to shallow work.  

Indeed, since reading this book, I’ve noticed in my own life how my mind, body, but more interestingly, how my breathing changes in response to deep or shallow work.

Deep work is like eating healthy—you might need to chew a little more but the benefits are clear to see. While shallow work gives immediate feedback, a hit of dopamine, but ultimately places you into a kind of semi-conscious state of stupidity.

One of the things I love about this book is that it gives you permission to go deep without guilt. It makes it clear that deep work is not time-wasting. It is not navel-gazing. It is not not productive.

And it is deep work only that produces deep work. No amount of thrashing around on the surface of your life will create anything of substance.

Whether it is because Newport is an academic or whether his logic is sound I can’t say, but I do know this, reading this book, and talking to my friends and wife about it, has shifted my thoughts on producing anything of real substance online.

Once I did I started to see more evidence of this kind of work online.

It was always there but I did not notice it because I was stuck in an endless loop of shallow work.

So deep work not only allows for the possibility of creating content of substance, and this will enable you to make an offering to the world, and as such, it will be your legacy once you’re gone

3. New Article – What it takes to have great meditation

I have written a new article about overcoming the obstacles to meditation. The article is quite theoretical but I hope helpful.

This is the opening…

Science, medicine, and the wisdom traditions are all in agreement—meditation is good for the body, the mind, and the spirit.

But, for many people, their experience of sitting down, crossing legs, closing eyes, and trying to meditate is one of constant struggle—ultimately leaving them with a feeling of utter frustration.

However, it does not have to be this way. By understanding the causes of distraction and lethargy and what to do when these arise, you will be in a better place to know how to overcome the obstacles of meditation.

Indeed, understanding this feeling that something is not quite right with your meditation is a good sign as it shows that you’re becoming more aware of your inner world. Giving up your practice, however, only meters from the finishing line by thinking this is all too hard would be a shame.

So, if you have ever tried to start a meditation practice that led to the thought, why can’t I meditate? Then this article is for you.

You can read the full article, how to overcoming obstacles of meditation.

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