Counterintuitive productivity

We get what we want when we stop thinking about it.

I got a very practical lesson on this in my 10 day Vipassana meditation retreat.

The schedule was pretty demanding contrary to what many might think:

  • 4am wake up time
  • 4:30am meditation
  • 6:30am breakfast
  • 8am meditation
  • 11am lunch break
  • 1pm meditation
  • 5pm tea break
  • 6pm meditation
  • 7pm discourse by teacher
  • 8:15pm meditation
  • 9pm back to room and lights out

That’s 10 hours of meditation more or less, and when you can’t even exercise (it’s against the precepts), falling asleep at 9pm might be tough, especially at first.

My routine usually is to be in bed around 10:30/11. Suffice it to say it was a challenge.

One of the first thing the teacher said though, really helped me fall asleep almost on command.

He said anytime you’re struggling to fall asleep and you’re obsessing over the fact that you’re not falling asleep, just let it go and focus on the meditation instead. One breath at a time.

It worked and it’s a tool I still use to this day.

It’s a lesson we can take into the real world too. Most of the times our creativity is blocked by our obsessive thoughts on why we can’t do something and how hard it is. What if we just let go?