The Distraction Deficit

The Distraction Deficit

How attention is at the core of the mental health crisis and why mindful awareness is our greatest teacher today. If we are unable to contemplate the gravity of The Distraction Deficit and the impact it is having on how we think, feel and act then the mental health crisis will continue to worsen.

Distraction is diabetes of the brain and social media is the sugar.

Mark L Lockwood (BA)(hons)(psy)

Your reptilian brain is intimately locked into the Distraction Deficit. This part of the brain is attracted to sensation based language. What we see watch and hear on social media is geared to make us impulsive. Impulsive enough to buy, click, follow and go down virtual tunnels and rabbit holes we don’t even know exist. Just a few seconds and we make choices. Vital and important choices that become part of our decisions. They are part of what we do daily and what we do daily accumulates to the sum of our lives that are either powerful and purposefully enriched, or distract us into wasting our time and energies on things that don’t really matter. Scrolling is a micro example. Staying in a job too long, or making a major purchase that you don’t need are both examples of reptilian responses that start with small, habitual daily choices. Add enough of these bad judgements together and you can end up lost or behind without even realising it has happened to you. Distraction today is diabetes of the brain and social media is the sugar. 

Social Media is an insult to our million year old brains. The body, mind and soul are geared to be creative and to grow and purposefully contribute to the betterment of everything. The Distraction Deficit con makes us operate on a similar level that personality disorders do. We make anything that we cannot solve or bear unconscious compounding the already growing consciousness deficit that we are facing. 

One of the biggest problem of all is that we are likely to enjoy distraction and even become addicted to it. Any addict is about doing what doesn’t work for you again and again to distract from how you really feel, think and live. 

Why we fall into the Distraction Deficit trap so easily:

  1. We feel we’re missing out. We get Fomo. What’s happening that I am not part of or falling behind on. 
  2. We need to control what is happening socially with comments, personal knowledge, sharing and posting to feel that we have stated our case and done our thing. Even though none of it really matters at all. 
  3. A feeling of being burnout out feels normal. We tend to try and kick ourselves into performing better as opposed to taking some quality time out for self. 

So what can we do about TDD and ADD and all things manic, impulsive, compulsive and the like? Well, developing your Contemplative Intelligence confronts the negative impact of The Distraction Deficit head on by using different parts of your brain throughout the day. Monkey mind or lizard brain can be overridden with time and practice. We need to become aware of why we are tired, grumpy, off centre and unable to concentrate for a very long time. The degradation of our attention spans is leading to an epidemic of a mental health crisis across all ages, locations and cultures. If we literally just stop and think, we will rise above it.

What do we mean by your Contemplative Intelligence (CQ)? 

The contemplative state of mind is rather a state of being and a way of living. It is about giving and receiving, listening and making sounds, stillness and movement, breath and no-breath. Learning how to use his methods of Contemplative Intelligence or CQ for healing, even long standing conditions or life blocks, can change not only your thinking in a short period of time, but also your entire neurological chemistry if practiced over time. Healing with Contemplative Intelligence or CQ is a force to be reckoned with and is a necessary response to the obsessive and compulsive thinking that leads to many, if not most, mental and emotional health issues today. Contemplative Intelligence shows us how to switch off Survival Brain for success and healing in life. Fast.

The Distraction Deficit

Being aware and disciplined as with anything in life we need a daily detox. With a day well spent mindfully on thinking about your thinking, meta-thinking or Contemplation as we call it you will overcome your own mindlessness issues.

Here are the top 10 benefits of being mindful as opposed to distracted all day.

  1. You will start to Sleep Well.
  2. If you do what matters you can save yourself 10 years of your life to get ahead in your relationships and your career and other areas of your life. Yes, if you spend time mindlessly as opposed to investing in it, it is going to cost you.
  3. Actually live your life. Eat and taste your food. Enjoy conversations with eye contact and connections that otherwise you may miss. 
  4. If you’re mindful focus and Flow return to your life. 
  5. Your breathing changes and deeps and regulates. You become less anxious and agitated. You do much more because you’re not skipping from one thing to the next. The brain is no good at that. 
  6. You will be able to set goals and actually achieve them more regularly. 
  7. Your life will be of a higher quality and you will be less likely to become depressed, anxious, burnout or addicted. 
  8. Your quality of conversations, interactions and even daily situations will improve by several points on a 1-10 rating scale. Being present in life is a no-brainer.
  9. You will talk less and listen more by default. This makes us smarter, happier and better liked by others.
  10. Emotional regulation and cognitive improvements will increase ten fold after 90 days of practice.

Top 10 things we need to do to protect each other from The Distraction Deficit (TDD)

  1. We need government legislation on our personal rights to disconnect and take time out for contemplative practice. Like time off work, this needs to be a must for all employers and employees. The world has changed and so must our workplaces. 
  2. Teach your kids how to live. Be a parent and an adult with knowledge. Do what you can for the sake of balance.
  3. We need families to prioritise The Distraction Deficit’s downsides and work together to keep everyone accountable and mindful of their habits, actions and behaviours. 
  4. Put phones away when visiting and conversing with friends.
  5. We need mental health practitioners to become aware of The Distraction Deficit epidemics and then receive training in helping people to implement strategies to cope and then overcome The Distraction Deficit. Contemplative practices are capable of doing this. 
  6. Add an automated message for nights and weekends to your phone.
  7. We must realise that nutrition plays a major role.
  8. The social media giants, advertisers and marketers, business owners and the like. Need to become accountable of Deficit Intelligent strategies that consider peoples mental and emotional health and incorporate plans to improve this area of their business over the next 20 years for example. Green house gasses are a result of lizard brained activity. 
  9. When you catch yourself in a Distraction Deficit get out of it and train your brain. Soon enough you will change your habits.
  10. Post about the impacts of the Distraction Deficit and other mental and emotional health benefits of balancing your inner binary system. Don’t do a 1 if you don’t do a zero. Rest and action go hand in hand.

These practices of healing with Contemplative Intelligence or CQ are simple, and are highly focused around mindful awareness that pull you out of your limbic system of egoic defence mechanisms of fight, flight and freeze and push you towards your prefrontal cortex where creativity, empathy, performance (actual doing things) and ingenuity reign supreme. This exercise is known as practicing contemplative fitness and shows that mindset is far more powerful than any knowledge we can gather to help us heal. The more reps you do each day, the better your outcomes will be. So meta thinking is the future of medicine. Without a doubt, with all the information, knowledge and high tech around us each day, going beyond normal thinking will become like medicine to those we fall prey to the distraction deficit and all of its pitfalls.

Private Mental Health Clinic

Whilst in the life of the intellect ‘contemplation‘ refers to thinking profoundly about something, in the religious life contemplation is a kind of inner vision or seeing, transcendent of the intellect, facilitated by means of practices such as prayer or meditation. Yes, we need to think about our thinking or we will become mindless. This is simple math! To our clients who we teach Contemplative Intelligence skills and practices to it refers to living an authentic life on purpose and with meaning. Contemplative practice is about ending your own suffering. It is about awareness and conscious involvement in living a good life on this planet. Even if you choose a simple one. Contemplative Intelligence work or therapy if you will, yields a kind of knowing which changes the whole of one’s life. Yep, expect changes physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. This movement of heart and mind, ignites a love stronger than anxiety, depression addictions or even death and illuminates the mind with the very splendours of God realization and self actualization.

Contemplation or higher cognitive functioning ends distraction and is simply meta thinking and goes through stages from gross to subtle that end in pure knowing and away from limited or retracted consciousness. Healing with Contemplative Intelligence or CQ is a process that basically looks like this, in its simplest form:

Focus your awareness on a thought

Deeper quiet reflection comes in

Intuitive wisdom that is not verbal, visual or auditory is connected to

Formless knowing is what it all about. You can’t see your spirit can you, or your emotions, but we know they are there. Contemplative Intelligence works on connecting all these things together.

Contemplative Practice “rewires” our brains to think non-dually with compassion, kindness, and a lack of attachment to the ego’s preferences. In contemplative prayer we move beyond language to experience ourselves, others and God as Mystery. We let go of our needs that turn into obsessions, to judge, defend, or evaluate, by plugging into the mind of God Consciousness.

In some traditions, one of the focuses of contemplation is the Mahavakyas as described in the Upanishads. It is also a very Christian tradition that we follow. Mark says that “you will find the roots of contemplation in all religious and spiritual traditions. Take yoga for example, it is virtual contemplative intelligence in ecstatic motion!” Yoga means union and that’s what Contemplative Intelligence does. It unifies you with you, then you with others, and then the earth and nature and then with God, in no specific order that is. It is a beautiful healing practice that changes lives from day one. Everyone should learn the art and practice of contemplation today and Healing with Contemplative Intelligence or CQ is available to everyone.

Mark has developed methods of Healing with Contemplative Intelligence or CQ, that are really helping people get out of their minds and their stuckness fast! No one is beyond help and we find that the million year old brain, really has a ton of people trapped in obsessive and panic stricken thinking. It creates a mess over time and eventually people get so lost or confused, and so sick and dis-eased that they eventually seek psychiatric or drug rehab center styled help. It is such a pity that so many people wait for a deficit like a rock bottom!


We are all pleasure seeking beings. We seek pleasure, comfort and solace from what can sometimes feel like a brutal, busy and unmanageable world. The only problem is the pleasure we are seeking is not the right pleasure. Love is what we all truly seek and we find little of it in social media, television and the connection we receive online. It doesn’t have enough love in any of it and love is the only thing that can satisfy the pleasure cravings of our hearts. So we are doomed to fall prey to the emptiness of the distraction deficit until such time as we realise that what we are chasing is not what we want to find. Everything is geared to help us stay asleep, stay scrolling and    stay plugged into the virtual social systems out there. Our reward is a worldwide case of adult Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and the cure is simple.

We can’t keep doing what we are doing if it is not working for us. We are more edgy and impulsive today than we may ever have been. So what we need to do is what everything else in the world does. We stop. We listen. We breathe. Then we connect what is to what we are. This is the zero and one (01010101) binary system that governs the Universe. We can’t do one half of life, without the other. This is our compass and our guide back to the core of who we are and what we are doing here. It is proof that we are being done and that there is a purpose to our lives and our love seeking natures. But that is another story for next time. 

Namaste and Domo Arigato 

Published by Mark L Lockwood

Mark L Lockwood (BA)(Hons)(psy) teaches spiritual transformation and is the founder of Contemplative Intelligence. Author of The Power of Contemplative Intelligence, Autotherapy and Recovery Magic. Our work is about the science of finding your spiritual self.

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