After Dan Harris, the host of Good Morning America, had a complete meltdown on air, he searched for a solution to the voices converging in his head that ultimately lead to his mental stutters. He wrote a book called 10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works— although the title does sound a tad misleading, it couldn’t be more true. Hearing about his book lead me to Headspace which ultimately got me into meditation.
Headspace is a guided meditation app that allows you to easily practice the weird and conflicting art of meditation. You are guided by an awesome guy, Andy Puddicombe. Hearing his voice alone is enough to make you drop into a calmer, more rounded person.
I’ve always been, as I’m sure is the case with many people, a little skeptical about meditation. It sounds like something you would only do only if you were in Tibet while on a vision quest taking a number of shrooms. But, I can safely say, all my doubts have been answered.
How Does Headspace Work?
Each day you do a guided meditation that is chosen from one of your ‘packs.’ These packs are usually 30 days long and follow a theme. An example would be, if you choose the “anxiety” pack to alleviate your angst, Andy will then walk you through dealing with your anxiety day-by-day until eventually it becomes a meta-skill — in other words, you are subconsciously dealing with your anxiety before it pops up (this, at least, has been the case with me).
Below is a basic video showcasing the app (excuse the background noise):
Mediation has taught me three basic principles:
I think, in fact, presence is the umbrella that IS meditation. The more I learn about presence, the more I realize it is the source of true happiness and well-being. When you are present, you are engaging in the art that is life. You are in the moment—not thinking about what you had for breakfast, not thinking about your finances and not thinking about thinking—you are here, now, dancing in the moment.
They say you don’t feel too different when you meditate but the only way to find out is to NOT meditate. When I miss a day of meditation, for whatever reason, I feel a strange sense of unease. It’s an odd feeling in the unconscious and I’m convinced it has to do with lack of gratitude and acceptance. As Tony Robbins would say, you can’t be fearful and grateful at the same time—it’s impossible — so mediation is now a key ingredient in my life.
There is a silent strength when you meditate. You walk the earth feeling no need to prove yourself. You are comfortable in your own skin and your body language exuberates self-worth and acceptance.
How Can I Start?
Headspace have a free 10-day trial that walks you through 10 minutes of daily meditations. After that, you can choose to pay for the app. Side note: if you’ve got an iPhone but you’re unwilling to pay a few bucks for an app, I officially dislike you.
Another app, which I have not tried myself, Calm, is similar to Headspace in that it is also guided. Tim Ferriss has mentioned that it’s great but he prefers Andy’s voice on Headspace.
Alternatively, you can google guided meditations — there are tons. Tara Brach has an awesome one which I will link here.
Tony Robbins alternative to meditation
Tony doesn't enjoy the idea of having no thoughts (although this isn't actually the goal of meditation), but if you fall into this category, try his Priming technique by following this link. It is a powerful way to start the day.
Ideally, you want to meditate first thing in the morning in order to experience the positive effects throughout the day. I typically meditate after my cold shower in the morning.
It's difficult to truly write and portray the positive effects meditation has had on me. I hope this post has shed some light and maybe provided some insight into meditation. Meditation doesn't have to be a woo-woo concept that has no real world benefits. If you apply yourself and be present you can be boundless.
Download Headspace and give the free trial a run. All I ask is 10-days ― 10-days for 10 minutes first thing in the morning and I'm almost 99% sure you will experience a new found self.