Recently on Facebook, someone asked what the best meditation practices were. Most people answered with things like deep breathing and honing your awareness. In other words, most people had the right idea.
But a few too many said things like Headspace.
Honestly, I was surprised. The best meditation involves listening to someone telling you to meditate? That can’t be right. If it were, monks would train their rosary beads for iPhones.
Serious meditators master everything from mindfulness to metta. They don’t rely on other people to micromanage their meditation sessions.
So meditation apps aren’t “the best” practices around.
And I’d go further than that.
In fact, I’d barely call them meditation.
I’ve dabbled with a few of these programs. I only made progress once I uninstalled them.
Years later, it’s clear to me what the problem was. The key to all mind training is a strong intention. If you’re clear on what you want and focus on it, you’ll get the results eventually.
If you want to learn to meditate, you can do that on your own. It might be tough contending with your own mind at first. That’s okay – all you need to do is maintain your intention.
Or you could work with a coach or a meditation group. They’ll give you feedback in the moment and keep you motivated.
You could listen to hypnotic audios. Great programs like Paul Scheele’s Paraliminals (I’m not an affiliate, just a big fan) go beyond meditation. Hypnosis uses your intention to enter the meditative state and create real changes.
But a pre-recorded message reminding you to breathe doesn’t do any of this. It outsources your intention to a piece of software. Is it better than not meditating? Sure, but it’s not the best use of your time.
Simply sitting and thinking about focusing does more than any app.
Yes, even if you “can’t meditate”.
I’m not going to lie – meditation apps seem more comfortable, especially early on. Don’t get sucked in. You get better results by imperfectly focusing and breathing.
It’s not a popular opinion. People like having a helping hand.
I certainly don’t blame anyone for that.
But there’s a time to receive guidance and there’s a time to put it into action. That’s why I wrote a book – if you can meditate and read at the same time, then you don’t need my help. For everyone else, it separates the learning from the doing.
Sure, it may be old school to recommend a book over an app.
(Especially a physical book. Made from trees and everything.)
But if you’re scared off by old, proven methods, then why are you thinking about meditation in the first place?
If paper doesn’t scare you, then read on: