It has been a long time since I wanted to talk to you abut a book I’ve found really inspiring, but somehow I’ve never found the right moment or way to do it and, even now, it’s not the best time. The book is a nice and humorous essay about meditation, written by the Dharma teacher Doug Duncan, and its title is “Dharma if you dare: Living with Abandon”. If you are a control freak like me, the title itself can make you shake. In fact, for a long time, I could not read further than the fourth chapter. When I finally finished reading the whole book, I found it true and inspiring, but I was still unable to apply its principles right away; so I decided to subscribe a meditation app that could help me with the practical side of meditation, without having to leave my house and join a retreat in some isolated place up the mountains
It was in this way that I joined the Headspace community. I must admit that at first, I didn’t like the idea of yet another subscription after things as Spotify, Netflix and the like. In fact, I used for months a different app, which at the time didn’t require a monthly fee and allowed its users to buy single guided meditations. After reading Mr Duncan’s book, though, I understood I needed more guidance to dive deeper into meditation practice and I surrendered to a low monthly fee in order to have it. After five weeks, I can say it was a wise choice.
When you first approach Headspace, the service allows you to use the app freely for ten sessions, which you can decide to explore at the pace you prefer. It must be said, though, that the app encourages you to meditate on a daily basis and it’s easy to understand why: meditation is beneficial only if you set on the cushion (or chair) with regularity. The positive effects of meditation build up on time and repetition.
Headspace, founded by Rich Pierson (the tech guy) and Andy Puddicomb (the meditation teacher), was built with the Western world in mind, “to make meditation accessible, relevant and beneficial to as many people as possible”, as Wikipedia puts it. So that when you use it, you can forget all the things you would stereotypically associate with any Oriental discipline (the chanting, the incense, the uncomfortable positions, the aloof theories, the unbearable sense of superiority of the older practitioners) and just do it. Refreshing.
The first step you will encounter is building the foundations of your practice. You’ll learn how to meditate through thirty guided sessions, grouped into three stages. I know that it might sound boring and slow, but you’ll soon start to feel the benefits. Moreover, meditation builds on regularity and repetition, so if you want to give it a try you must start slowing down and accept to do the same thing again and again. Admit it, you already do a lot of things repetitively every single day. Why not try something that at last will benefit you? In a short period time, you’ll start craving those moments of calm and relaxation. At least, I did.
After you’ve built your foundations (something you can do at your pace and that you can re-do anytime) you have access to all the other guided meditation series. You can focus on several subjects as sport, health, relationships, performance, or go even deeper into meditation with a go-pro series. You can choose among some single sessions as well and, for every series you choose, you can fix the duration of the single session, selecting between ten, fifteen or twenty minutes. What do you say?
In my personal experience, meditation has been the real game changer. I would have never been able to come to some heavy realisations about myself and the relationships in my life without it. Maybe I would have never been able to follow a fitness program or put into practice positive thinking without it. I am not saying you have to use the same app as I did, but I strongly suggest to give meditation a try. It can only be good. In the meanwhile, thank you for your precious time.