Dave's first experience trying meditation when he was taught how to meditate at 8 years old by some high school kids. He didn't come back to it until he was looking for help to get off of ADD medicine. He started experimenting on his own with meditation. He also tried the Calm app. He did their 21-day course.
Dave then started working with me (Stewart Alsop) and found that his progress took off. We talk about the importance of having a teacher when meditating. Dave thinks that having a teacher there with you meditation it leads to a much faster feedback loop where the student can ask questions and get immediate feedback as to where to follow the meditation. There is a difference in the practice of meditation and the theory of meditation. When you are beginning, the theory can be distracting.
Stewart describes his experience learning meditation through the internet and finding practices that were harmful without a teacher.
We talk about how reading with ADD is very difficult and how meditation can help to improve concentration. Dave thinks that the difference between people with ADD and without is that people with ADD have less of a chance to catch when the focus has wandered. Meditation is the act of continuously bringing the awareness back to the present moment and thus helps people with ADD immensely. After practicing meditation for several years, Dave can now read without the ADD medicine that made it possible earlier in his life.
Stewart shares his own experience of having ADD and not being able to pay attention at school when someone else was directing his attention. Stewart brings up the fact that when he played video games his attention was brought fully into the present.
Dave brings up the difference between the effortful concentration when practicing meditation and how that is different from the effort that is required to sustain the attention on the object of meditation. In video games, it's easy to get yourself to play them so there isn't much effort in actually starting it. With meditation that is a whole different story and it requires effort to start it and it requires effort to sustain it, particularly in the beginning.
Stewart brings up the fact that video games are an example of meditation in action. When you play video games, the flow state happens quickly and you are brought into relationship with the video game. The barriers between you and what is happening in the video game go away.
Dave talks about how his experience with Soccer is also similar to video games. It's not about winning the game either, it's about the group energy is all on the same page.
Dave talks about his experiences with ADD in school were very different from Stewart's experiences. He was able to hyper-focus on the voice of the teacher and for him, it turned it into a conversation between only him and the teacher.
Stewart asks Dave what the benefits he has found from having ADD. He says that the diffuse brain helps him to create music and that it actually gives him an unfair advantage. This diffuse brain allows him to make non-obvious connections and to pull in influences from all parts of the environment. He explains how he uses this diffuse brain to help him with freestyle rap. ADD seems to allow him to tap into the associative brain where the mind pulls lots of different loosely related subjects together on a thin thread. Making music allows him to let himself go into the ADD state as opposed to fighting it.
Stewart asks about the state of friction, the opposite of creative flow. We talked about programming and how Dave needed ADD medicine to pass through the states of friction. Dave talks about how he and his band have gone through so many friction states that lead directly to the flow states that he has a lot more determination to pass through them with equanimity. Dave has adapted himself to the friction side of creative work. It seems that it is also important not to get attached to the flow parts either because they are temporary.
In creative flow and in friction, time takes on a different perspective. Time slows down at some points and speeds up at others. In order to stay in the flow state, Dave puts his phone and other distractions in another room.
We talked about how Dave first found music and how he was conditioned to like it. His Abuelita would be singing in the kitchen when she was singing in Spanish. He then got into doing air trumpet and making noises.
David meets Erik Torrenberg who started a freestyle rap app. That's when David got into freestyle rap which naturally leads to his songwriting.
Stewart asks David about his time in technology and about his time organizing hackathons. David talks about he found his love for empowering people to realize that they can create something. He says that he doesn't care what people end up creating, but just that they create at all.
We talk about being a responsible or mindful hedonist. It's a difficult balance to strike between mindfulness and mindlessness. Dave talks about using mindfulness to become more aware of pleasure at the moment and how we can create more pleasure with mindfulness.
We talk briefly about the age we are entering will allow people to become incredibly creative. That we are entering an age where people are getting the powers usually attributed to gods. Stewart asks Dave, "How do you impart a sense of responsibility that comes with the power of creation?" Dave says that he will have to think about it more and its a good question.
Topic for a future podcast: What kind of art is dangerous?
Here is Dave's music listen here on Spotify
Here is some more info on how to meditate with ADD