Your Work, Your Meditation, and All Things Genius

What's the best (legal) way to get into altered states of consciousness?


But what's meditation really? Is it chanting mantras? Is it praying to your God? Is it just keeping the mind blank?

Different people have different definitions, but the foundation of any meditation practice is a focus on nothing. It helps you increase your attention span.

During meditation, you do not focus on any specific thing. You broaden your focus to awareness, where you are just aware of everything around you, you don't focus on anything specific and you end up focusing on "nothing".

Generally, meditation is recommended for 20 minutes a day. We are not monks to be meditating for 16 hours a day.

But is there a way to meditate for 16 hours a day?

There is. And it's called "WORK".

You might think that you need to put your mind to "thinking" to do work. The first question I get is "how can you get work done if you focus on nothing?"

But remember, "thinking about work" and "working" is not the same thing. Even if the "work" involves some thinking, subconsciously.

When I am in the state of flow, doing deep work, what I have realized is that you are not really "thinking" in the state of flow. You are just "doing".

Meditation is also a state of flow, albeit a tough one to achieve. Work is an easier form of meditation.

For example, the general assumption is that I am doing a lot of "thinking" while writing this article.

I did think about writing an article about this a while back, but now I am not "thinking". I am just writing.

The words, just flow. And while I am writing, I don't need to think about what to write, I just need to write. One word leads to another. One sentence leads to another. And the article takes shape.

When you are in the state of flow with your work, where you are deeply engaged with your work, time passes by without you noticing it and that happens only in the mental state of "no thinking".

You are just "doing" your work. Doing doesn't require thinking. Though it does consume mental space and all your cognition, note that you are not "thinking". It is a hard concept to grasp, so excuse me for repeating myself.

When you are "thinking" you are aware of the passage of time, and by default, you are not in a state of flow. You might be daydreaming. Or thinking about the past. Or thinking about how the future will turn out in different aspects of your life. The more you "think" the more you are away from the present moment.

You become more of YOU when you spend more time "thinking". That's where you form your identity, you think about yourself and your identity most of the time and everything revolves around that. It is very hard to "think about things", without thinking about yourself.

You are literally making no progress with your life goals when you are "thinking". And you are probably pulling yourself away from your capability to dissolve yourself in your work and achieve great results with your work.

You can bring your consciousness back to this very moment and when you are in this very moment, you can only "do". You cannot "think". Either you are doing "nothing" (which is meditation), or you are "doing" something. You are not "thinking".

When you are "doing" you are in the moment because you have to be like I am in this moment when I am writing (else, I cannot write). And while you are doing something, you are thinking about "nothing", and just doing the work. That's the state of flow.

The same applies to people who are deeply engaged in writing code, drawing something, writing something, building something, creating music, and just getting it done. They are not "thinking" while they are "doing". They are just doing, and that's when the miss the passage of time.

A lot of Entrepreneurs think that you need to do a lot of "thinking" about business plans, about the future, and that starts making them anxious. But "thinking" about your business gives the poorest ROI of your time because all the results of your business depend on you "doing" something about it than "thinking" about it.

But don't take me wrong, it doesn't mean that you can keep "doing" something or the other on your business/work and everything will take care of itself. What if you are doing the wrong thing? What if you are barking up the wrong tree? Don't you need to think? Yes, but it's called "reflecting" and not thinking.

You need to "reflect" on what you have been doing to make sure that you are doing the right things. But the reflection part, though a kind of thinking in itself, is retroactive. It comes to you post your work.

I can think about what I have done (today I wrote this article) on the later part of the day, which might lead to inspiration for the next article, but note that I am not "thinking" but merely "reflecting" on the recent events happened, and letting my mind process it.

That's where spending some time in solitude, or in a meditative state, or something that puts you in a state of flow, but something that's not "work", like motorcycling or your favorite hobby - is very important to clear your "cache" to make room for you to work again. Because your cache is filled up with the details of the recent events and you need to "clear" your desk before moving on to something else.

Clear up your mess so that you can make a mess, again. Creativity is a messy process. Before a beautiful piece of artwork is born there are discarded tries and paint spilled all over the place. You need to alternate your attention between cleaning up and making a mess.

When you alternate between reflecting on the work that you have done and the work itself, you are setting up yourself for some extreme success.

The state of flow is where great content is made, great code is written, great art manifests itself and great music comes to life.

You are not going to make any progress just by "thinking" about the future because that will just give you anxiety. And "thinking" doesn't move the needle towards your goals.

Even right now, as you are deeply engaged in reading my article, if you are reading without distractions, you would have stopped noticing the passage of a few minutes of your time, you would be in a state of flow, and notice, you are aware of what you are reading, you are absorbing it, but you are not "thinking". You are just "doing" the "reading".

Once you take a pause from what you are reading you have time to "think" and notice that thinking always brings back a form of "I" or "my identity" for you and you start "thinking" how "you" should be in your life, how "you" should apply what you read today.

The more you think about "yourself" and your identity, the deeper, you "think" and the farther you are going away from the state of "no-mind" or the state of flow, which is the only state where great work can manifest itself through you.

No big company has been built where the founding team has not put some insane amounts of time, without tracking the passage of time, doing deep work in the state of flow.

Today, Razorpay is a $7.5B company and there are 1000s of people working there. There are marketing teams, sales, legal, compliance, tech, and so on. But the foundation of Razorpay was built by Shashank Kumar (the CTO), doing some really deep work, without noticing the clock ticking and the darkness outside becoming darker.

I have seen him code till late in the night, sometimes till 3 am, all alone in an empty office of 10,000+ sq ft. There was no one apart from him, the moment in time and the code in front of him. He was not "thinking about coding" nor "thinking about how to build Razorpay into a multi-billion dollar brand". He was just "coding".

He was "doing", not "thinking".

If you are reading this right now, I am pretty sure that you can recall instances of your past where you were doing something passionate and forgot to notice the passage of time. You need more of that.

You need to spend a good amount of time in your life doing work that helps you forget the passage of time.

Else you will get "burnt out" just "thinking" all the time.

Remember, the "you" is a fiction created by your own mind. The more you "think about yourself" the more chapters you are writing about "yourself" and your identity becomes heavier.

A heavy identity is a hard thing to carry around. It drags like baggage behind you, wherever you go. And since it is "fiction", it needs constant maintenance.

That's one of the saddest parts about being successful. Even when the success resulted because of divine deep work in a state of flow, the fruits of success are the poison that takes most people away (sometimes very far away) from spending more time in that state of flow. Because success ends up building your identity, even if you resist it.

If you are humble, non-egoistic, you have better opportunities to be in a state of flow, which will result in stellar work, which will result in appreciation, which becomes a part of your ego, stifling the very source of your creativity and becoming a resistance to do great work.

The only way is to not be associated too much with that identity and keep it at arm's length. Keep brushing off that appreciation and resist getting the success to your head if you want your next work to be your best work. If anyone appreciates you, praises you, celebrates you, just say "God is Great" and move on. Keep focusing on your work, not the results of your work.

The best way to make use of the appreciation and ego-boost that you get, is to leverage it to create circumstances where you can get an opportunity to put yourself more in a state of deep work. Use your ego, to kill your ego. Your ego will resist it, but don't let your ego use you.

That's why many times, successful multi-millionaires and even billionaires like to keep things simple as they were and resist buying into a bigger car or a bigger house. More often than not, consumer purchases are less about utility and more about "your status" thus boosting "who you are" and your ego. The more that ego builds, the more it requires an amount of time to maintain that fiction, the more time it takes away from helping you "do the work" that puts you in a state of flow.

I have to constantly remind myself, as nowadays my business makes good profits, that the purpose of doing what I am doing is to create a structure and environment around me that helps me do more of what I do, in a much more peaceful way, without any anxiety about the future.

I was more at peace when my business was struggling because I knew that my time cannot be spent on the luxury of "thinking" but the necessity of "doing" because "doing" is what gives results that will solve my problems in my business.

Though there were a gazillion problems in my life (including relationship issues), the dire need of "doing" work kept me sane and in a state of flow for most of the time. That made sure I spent a good amount of time, forgetting the passage of time.

Your soul heals in the state of flow. You become "less of yourself" and lighter. You stop thinking about "yourself" and your identity. The less you think about it, the less baggage it accumulates, and the faster your can move around.

I guess Buddha achieved 100% lightness and became one with existence.

While achieving Buddhahood is a far cry for most of us, we can stop spending time at the edge of sanity "thinking" all the time, and spend more time at the center of "insanity".

When you are "sane" you are more of yourself and you are more of your "ego". When you are "in-sane", you are letting go of who you are. That's why it takes insanity to become a genius.

Genius happens in the state of flow. You let the genius manifest itself through you.

Remember, "you" are not the genius, though people will call you that. That's why most geniuses (see A.R.Rahman) cringe when they get praises.

True geniuses cringe when they get praise about how genius they are because when the genius is attributed to the identity of the person, that's the first danger to the source of that genius in the first place.

Unfortunately, most people in the world today, haven't had the opportunity to put themselves in a state of flow, do deep work for a long period of time, and see their work give rewards 100x or 1000x of what they do today.

People are stuck in a hamster wheel of doing something just for the income, and instead of using that income to build a space where they can work in a state of flow, they use that income to build their identity, status, ego and to maintain that ego - it requires more of continuing to do what they don't like (nonpassionate work) for the rewards it has made the ego addicted to.

That's why it is so important to become a monk, at some level, even if you have a family. Investing your capital in creating blank space for you is the best investment you will ever make because the blank space gives you the opportunity to do deep work. By blank space I mean, setting up your life in such a way that you are not constantly worried about "maintaining it" and keeping the bills paid.

Unfortunately, not spending time doing deep work and putting you at a state of flow has a negative spiral effect where you move the more away from it, the more likely you are going to continue moving away from that center of your being, building more of your "identity" along the way and letting that identity define everything that you do, every decision you make, and letting it take control of your whole life until death does you and your ego apart.

I almost missed it, before I caught it back by a single thread, and started putting myself more back into deep work and a state of flow.

Believe me, it makes for a life worth living, to lose yourself in your art, in your mastery, in what puts you in a state of flow.

If you have forgotten about it, remember it. And take yourself back there. Stop being at the edge of sanity, and go to the center of insanity.

🥂 to the one true Genius.

And all the people who can tap into that Genius. Without which life becomes meaningless.

"Written By You Know Who"