Headspace: A Brief App Review
Before approaching my experience using the Headspace App, I'd first like to draw out some of my past experiences with meditation to provide some context for my perspective.
I first meditated at a very young age when I was introduced to the Yogi movement and some followers of Paramahansa Yogananda. If you're local to LA you may be familiar with The Self Realization Fellowship that he established and Lake Shrine a temple and garden located just off Highway 1 and Sunset Blvd. Yogi devotees often implemented a combination of group meditation and personal silent meditation. The group meditation is marked by the rhythmic repeating of the syllable "Om," sometimes for over an hour. Through the collective uttering of this sound, a real harmony emerges throughout the room and it produces a very tangible sense of communal connection. I highly recommend experiencing this to anyone who hasn't, it's a remarkable feeling that I have yet to experience anywhere else. Generally you could find this sort of meditation group through a Krishna Temple or at Lakeshrine. As for the Om effect (I'm making this term up) I think it is derived from the same forces that make dancing at a concert or singing together desirable, but I feel that the Om experience reaches far deeper causing a sort of tribal communion. On the other hand, the Yogi devotees' individual meditation which admittedly I have even less experience with, is very similar to the popular conception of meditation where one clears their mind in hope of reaching a more blissful state. I have often found this practice helpful, though I never succeeded in implementing it on a regular basis.
Freshmen year I was tasked again with mediating every week for a class. Given that peace and quiet were scarce I often took to the church pews or kneeled at one of the alcoves in the Chapel. This rarely worked in the sense for weeks I could not bring my mind to rest. I would lock myself down to a spot for 30 minutes, and thoughts would fly. Nonetheless, I would always rise a tad more relaxed and refreshed, and with a bit more clarity. Throughout my time at LMU I have grown in my Catholic faith and I've always felt it kept meditation in my life even if I was not actively trying to meditate. During mass there are multiple occasions that necessitate silence and often help one reflect on their week or clear their mind. I have found the ritual of going to mass every week a welcome reset, that sort of sets the week anew. I believe meditation can have the same effect on a much more regular basis, providing mini resets throughout the week.
Using Headspace did just that for me. After every session whether I was really able to clear my head or not, I felt somewhat re-centered and focused. It also solved my main problem with meditation which was not sticking to a schedule. Since it has so many different multi-step meditation packs and allows you to set reminders, it also kept me on track well beyond my personal discipline would've otherwise. I've made a point in the past to wake up every morning and start with a bit of Yoga, but I generally can only hold to one morning commitment at a time. Since the app gamifies meditation, it helps keep you on schedule and continue to meditate even if it's for the wrong reasons.