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Headspace vs. Calm: A Meditation-App Battle That’s Anything but Zen (wsj.com)
125 points by yarapavan 35 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 103 comments



Many of you are correct that you don't necessarily need an app and you definitely don't need guidance after a point. But Headspace specifically has been extremely helpful in teaching me how to approach meditation and how to make a habit out of it.

For anyone who is just beginning I would definitely recommend going through Take10, all the Basics packs and all the Pro packs in Headspace. In this order the guidance gradually decreases and by the time you finish you will have built a good routine and will be ready to switch to unguided meditation.

At the moment I use Oak - it's free but only available on iOS. It effectively acts as a timer and tracker for my unguided meditation, nothing more.

I've tried Calm and I don't get appeal - the content, design, progression, voices... everything seems strictly worse than Headspace or Oak.


Agreed! Headspace was what finally got me to consistently meditate, unlike the other apps I've tried including Calm.

It could be a matter of taste though. The creator/'guide' of Headspace, Andy, has a kind of British bloke-ey voice that I really prefer over the deep, 'spiritual' guide of other apps. Maybe that says more about my distaste of the woo-hoo that is common in this field, but still. I've talked to people who dislike Headspace because of Andy's voice though, so YMMV.


I'm a fan of Insight Timer (https://insighttimer.com/). It has tons of free guided meditations as well as meditation courses that you can pay for. I tried both Calm and Headspace and I just didn't like the feel of them. Both seemed to tick all the cliche monetisation strategies of mobile apps.


I used headspace for a while, but then got hammered so heavily with ads so I heard the dude's voice for months on endm, interrupting my videos. To a point that I just can't stand him any more and considered reporting.

I don't understand how an app that claims to want to help you meditate can invest so heavily on harassing users with ads everywhere. This really pushed me off meditation altogether to be honest


I had the same experience. I'm in the correct target demographic because I'm interested in meditation and not yet doing it actively, but the ads have reduced my interest in meditation more than anything has increased it.


This is the first time I'm hearing anything about headspace and the whole idea of ads in a meditation app is simply absurd! Even if they don't play while you're supposed to be meditating, aren't ads one of the features of our world which is known for detracting from mindfulness?


The ads are not in the app itself - headspace seems to spend a lot in marketing and you can get hammered by repetitive ads promoting it in youtube, etc.

End result is associating the app with annoying ads.


Yeah my bad I wasn't clear enough. You get hammered on Youtube and the like, with short sentences that are used as well in the app itself and with the same voice.

So you end up hating the guy and its made phrases. A shame, really.


I am also fan of Insight timer. I had tried out a bit of headspace and calm earlier, found Insight to to work better for me.


I use it also and always recommend it, at worse you get a good timer for free. I probably do guided about 25% of the time mostly because I'm looking to learn a new meditation style. Also it has free yoga nidra courses, which to me is maybe more powerful than meditation. But no one talks about it the same.


I've been using Headspace and the 10% Happier apps for about a year (I started with Headspace, canceled subscription, and tried 10% later). I think they're very helpful. They're especially helpful for beginners who want to try meditation.

I'm reading some comments here and see some people mention how easy it's to meditate. I'm wondering if they actually meditate or know what it is. Before I started meditating, I too had similar thoughts. But I had some misconceptions of meditation before I tried these apps. These apps helped me to start my meditation on the right path.

After a year, I don't think I need these apps anymore. The guided meditations are distracting themselves because the teacher jumps in at random points to remind you of things that you already know. I do like the teachings they do before an after meditations. Sometimes, they are helpful and insightful.

I think these apps are fine for beginners. Once you get used to meditating for 20+ minutes every day, you probably won't need them anymore.


But as a beginner who wants to start too, my question is it better to use a paid app with monthly subscription than to listen to the same guided meditation on mp3 or youtube?


It's up to you. All these apps have few several free sessions you can try out. Heck, download all the meditation apps and try all their free sessions. Those are probably enough to help you get started.

I didn't mind paying for subscriptions. They do get into different techniques and insights that the free content don't give you. Although I never tried insight timer; that app seemed to give you a lot more content for free.


One important thing that you get with the subscription, which could be harder-to-impossible to find free, is a progression of instruction. A 10-day series might remind you just in time about some detail you were forgetting, or provide insight on a difficulty you're likely to have encountered, or introduce a new technique and guide you through simple->full versions of it.


As others have mentioned, being properly guided with the help of a nice UI does make a difference. I'll add that actually paying for a service helped a bit too, though. didn't want my money to go to waste...


Davidji has a nice Soundcloud channel


> “Since winning App of the Year, we seem to have a much higher growth rate than they do, and we’ll surpass them from now on,” Calm’s Ms. Wang says.

This statement alone makes me root for Headspace.


Capitalism wreaks the concepts of meditation.


> “The irony is not lost on me,” says Rich Pierson, CEO and co-founder of Headspace, of the rivalry with Calm. But he’d rather focus on his Santa Monica, Calif.-based company’s authenticity, he says, which is drawn from co-founder Andy Puddicombe’s 10 years of studying meditation at Buddhist monasteries.

> “If you were going to see a psychologist, you’d probably want to know where they trained and qualified. It’s the same with meditation,” Mr. Pierson says. Calm’s founders previously worked in online gaming and advertising.



Thank you


> anything but Zen

Well... Zen isn't just what people today associate with it:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zen_at_War

and when we're there:

https://www.tofugu.com/japan/bushido/


Try oak meditation app by Kevin Rose. I've been using it for a while now. There is guided or unguided meditations.


These apps make no sense to me. What's wrong with going outside and sitting still? Do you really need all this tech/sounds/talking/etc,. to find stillness in yourself?

Meditation can be tough to learn, but you only have to do it once. I find it hard to believe that one can find true balance in their practice by using a meditation app. And what is the deal with having to pay for something that's essentially free?

Is it the entertainment value, or is it so that we can tell our friends, "Hey John, I just spent $5 on that new 'stress release' meditation and I have been feeling so zen!!".


Why pay a personal trainer when you can just do pushups instead?

Why go out for dinner when you could just cook for yourself?

Why pay for a therapist when you could just stop being depressed?

Why pay for a financial advisor when you could just do your taxes yourself?


Every single one of those questions has the same answer: Because they have knowledge that I do not, and can help bring the results of that knowledge into my life.

If an app brings change into your life, via application of knowledge you do not yet possess, then it has value. Whether or not these specific apps meet that criteria is, however, a question worth asking.


I suspect a better place to start is one of the excellent books on mindfulness meditation that's available now.

The Mind Illuminated by John Yates is the one I see recommended the most, and it's helped me tremendously. It goes through ten stages, from novice to very advanced. I'm still close to the beginning, but the instructions in the first several chapters have helped me make far more progress than I ever had before.

The Science of Enlightenment by Shinzen Young is also quite good, with more of an emphasis on insight rather than concentration meditation. There's also the classic Mindfulness in Plain English.

I do use one app. It lets me set a countdown timer, and plays a quiet gong when time is up. That's it.


A bit late for the party, but there is really good reddit community around the Mind Illuminated.

https://www.reddit.com/r/TheMindIlluminated/


Wow, thanks!


You’re missing an additional answer:

Because they are paid to be uncompromising about your goals, so that when you’re weak they’re strong and push you to be better.


Similarly you can say Why sweat it out and do the hard work when you can just buy an abcrucher, abroller or slim suana belt that promise the same result without any effort.

These apps too are meant to lure our lazy instant gratification craving part in exchange for money.


I can only speak for Headspace, but there's nothing "instant gratification" about it at all. In fact, stuff like "this is a lifelong practice", "it's a struggle sometimes/at the beginning", "there's a lot to learn abput your mind" are constant refrains.

Of course, you can still be cynical about that and say it's a great way for them to keep you subscribed.

But for me, it's been a good introduction. I've been practicing regularly, I introduced a friend to it, and we have decided to sign up together for a retreat in the spring. So it's not necessarily just mind candy to pad out your credit card bill.


I'm not convinced that throwing money at the problem is the solution to everything. I think sometimes it takes actual personal effort.


Yes and apps are a middle ground for many people between their own lack of resolve and the major investment in time and often money that finding a group or trainer represent. Pretty awesome segmentation! You'd be amazed at how many adult runners start out on beginner apps / programs like it and join a running group, to give an example from another market. What apps are missing is a way to capture value from that platform way of thinking. (I understand localization is hard and very labour intensive thus far away from an apps core.)


Did you go to a university? If so, do you think you got more out of "throwing money" at professors than you would have just trying to figure out [physical chemistry | architectural design | machine learning] yourself?


Your examples don't make any sense - neither by them selves nor with respect to the criticism they are aimed at.


Exactly, very good question.

Why not just do pushups, walk the stairs or just go running, cook for yourself and your friends, know yourself instead of paying for therapy. Even doing taxes yourself isn't such a burden.


I feel like your human experience may be significantly different from many other human experience.

Glad you can just decide to do those things, do them and stick to doing them! Well done.


It's really not that hard to find out at least one reason for each of these.

Because just doing pushups is not enough and even those can de done badly. Because cooking yourself is a completely different experience from going out to eat, part of the experience is precisely _not having to cook and clean_. Because some people can't help themselves and could end up in really bad places, because for some people spending time doing taxes could be very well used otherwise...


I advise everyone reading Die Kunst des stilvollen Verarmens. Wie man ohne Geld reich wird [The Art of Growing Poor Stylishly] by Alexander von Schönburg.

This is a book about why you do not really need all this stuff that commercial capitalism is trying to sell to you. It has inspired me years ago.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander,_Count_of_Sch%C3%B6n...

https://www.rowohlt.de/fm/592/sample%20translationSchoenburg...

https://www.amazon.de/Die-Kunst-stilvollen-Verarmens-reich/d...


Skimmed through the sample translation and to my surprize not everything said there was as obvious as I was expecting it to be. Thanks!


The samples are hilarious and thought-provoking. I’ll have to brush up my German to read this. Thanks for the recommendation!


Except most people don't, wont, or can't.

I got myself fit as I was able to plan for a healthier lifestyle and see it through. Not all folks can.

I wasn't able to get myself mentally healthy however, and without paying for mental health support I would never have had the mental stability to get myself physically healthy.

If you find life easy, good for you, but assuming everyone skips through life as easily as you is arrogant at best.

Headspace is great. Is it as good as heading to a monastery and studying for years? No.

Could you get the same experience without guidance? Sure, but most people haven't got the will power to stick to it. That's not a weakness. That's just human.


If you honestly can’t think of why anyone would do any of those things, you lead an incredibly blessed life.


Spot on, and I would have written that comment if you hadn't beat me to it. Once or twice a year I find myself in a restaurant setting, often reluctantly. The other three? Never.


Here my own experience with headspace.

I was meditating for some time, but I felt like I wasn't making any progress. I know the point is not to aim for progress, but I was and it was discouraging. So headspace helped me back on track.

I really liked Andy's voice and the guided session helped me see meditation in a different light. He uses all these metaphors to make you realize that thoughts are constantly passing, that you shouldn't judge yourself for getting caught up in a thought pattern.

I would say that the biggest advantage to meditation apps is that they distract you from your own thoughts and draw your attention to certain topics. They can also teach you how to relax when you're finding it hard to do that by yourself.

Also, I want to add, I stopped using headspace, because I didn't feel the need for guidance at some point. Actually, I felt it was distracting me, so I returned to meditation without any guidance or other devices.


>Meditation can be tough to learn, but you only have to do it once

it is hard to learn. been to a 10 day vipassana retreat this year, and out of 100 hours of sitting, i've spent maybe 5-10 truly concentrated, and we're talking perfect conditions, with some prior experience

the most difficult part in my opinion is getting the reference point for how meditation should feel like - you can spend years doing what is breathing exercises, visualization, etc. never hitting that point. this is where Muse (https://choosemuse.com/) helped me tremendously

commercialization aside, the real question is about the value of guided meditation most of these apps are about. like, honestly i don't know.


I've been curious about the Muse device. Do you still use your every practice?


occasionally, like 2-3 days straight after a longer break from the practice, to tune in, or at random, to gauge how consistently i can clear my head

the main selling point for me was the api, and possibility of using it as a brain-computer interface, but i haven't done anything fun with it yet (except of setting up the drivers for python, and verifying it indeed works)


Yeah, I feel the same way. I'd go so far as to say that even being near my phone makes it harder to concentrate. If I want to meditate, I turn it off. (Not on silent, but off. I find great comfort in not being near powered-on electronics).


I feel the same about meditating near an powered-on electronic device, but in modern world it impossible to escape from EMW emitting devices. You can turn off all wireless capable devices in your home but can't control devices in neighbor house or nearby cell tower.

I have personally had more satisfaction meditating outside in fresh air near natural environment than indoor. I also know of many meditative experts who routinely visit remote areas in forests to practice deep concentration.

I would like someone to build an app to locate more favorable spot for meditation by calculating net wifi traffic in air.


I think that you are brave to state that you prefer to meditate away from EMW devices on HN. I pinky-swear that I'm not trying to be a jerk.

It's true that we're bombarded by wireless signals. In addition, we're bombarded by all manner of noise and radiation, both terrestrial and from space. It seems a little bit foil hat to imply that you can meditate better if you turn off wifi in your subdivision, doesn't it?


Oh, I don't mean that EMW devices make it harder to concentrate. I mean that my brain is conditioned to divert attention to electronics and turning them off is the best thing I can do to control my own impulses.


The book "The Science of Meditation: How to Change Your Brain, Mind and Body" talks about how having a teacher or going on meditation retreats will help you become better at meditation than just going it alone. Although these apps in no way compare to a teacher what is wrong with people using them as a support (As I do myself)? If they get people starting down the path to a daily practice, then I don't see what's so bad about them. To those dismissing people that do use them please practice some loving kindness and try and understand why we might use them.


> talks about how having a teacher or going on meditation retreats will help you become better at meditation than just going it alone.

Maybe I'm cynical, but that reads like a pure monetization strategy to me.


My reading of the book suggests it has nothing to do with monetisation, but is based on years of scientific research. I'd highly recommend the book if you want to find out how meditation effects your brain.


Can someone help me understand, or reference an article, what is hard about meditation? Or what are people seeking to improve upon when seeking meditation servicss?


Have you tried meditation? It's hard. Try sitting for 15+ minutes, not moving, and concentrate on one thing (like your breath) without getting distracted. Maybe it's easy for you.

There are many distractions that can happen, not necessarily mind-wandering. There are other distractions like getting bored or falling a sleep, discomfort in the body (which includes itches, pain, needing to move, etc.), outside noises, forgetting to focus on your breath, etc. Your mind is constantly seeking new stimulus while you're trying to calm it down.

For me, it's hard to do that without getting distracted. Maybe the easiest part is remembering to focus on the breath after you get distracted. But that's also easier said than done.


Yea. I try meditation, and I consider myself really bad at it. This is because, like you said, it's hard to remain completely focused on something simple for long; but more importantly, it's not helping me with my objectives here: giving my mind rest, and extending my attention space and cognitive energy.

So here's the thing, whenever I read stuff on meditation, it often quickly veers into these frankly even sometimes pretentious discussions and concepts that I honestly dont understand. I could be wrong, but it reminds me of a lot of the hand-wavy "bro science" workout advice I've heard.

The best ways I've found to meditate, or rather I should say to at least reach my goals of meditation, so far are a hot bath or listening to music.


There are many forms of meditation. The particular forms being popularized by these apps actually is of the more difficult forms to achieve. Revealing my age, back in the mid 70's when I became interested in meditation, I surveyed the available forms. There was a lot more readily available information on mediation back then, without the click-baiting poor journalist wrapping too. All the information back then was organic and authored by the practitioners themselves.

Anyway, I choose Transcendental Mediation because of the form of the meditation: one is assigned a nonsense mantra phrase, which the meditation technique is nothing more than finding a comfortable position, closing the eyes, and repeating the mantra in one's head for 20 minutes. Thing is, after about 5 minutes a complete psychedelic trip occurs; the nonsense mantra fills your head with nothingness, no logic to "think". After 5 minutes your brain just trips. I'm aware of the mantra's echo, but I'm in fractal landscapes skipping tra-la-la with Bambi and blue meanies. Really.

This is why I think all these meditation apps are a joke, as they impede too much, they guide too much to enable experiences as I get when I meditate.


I found the following hard and found an app useful in mitigating these:

* Initially, committing to a daily practice. After 6 months this problem disappeared one my meditation became a habit.

* Getting comfortable with the different techniques. Focusing on your breath is fairly straightforward (in practice, but equally quite difficult to start with) whereas techniques such a loving kindness and resting awareness can be a bit tougher to understand. The Headspace forums suggest everyone struggles with certain techniques, so having a guide was useful (for me).

From reading of "The Science of Meditation: How to Change Your Brain, Mind and Body" it seems there is always more to learn but as an app meditator I can only give you the above experiences.


There have always been meditation teachers, practice programs, books, all kinds of materials. Monasteries are like huge complicated frameworks for meditation. In our culture we instead have apps. Maybe that's kind of lame, but it is what it is. And it kind of scales more economically...


> having to pay for something that's essentially free?

At least it's cheaper than the Transcendental Meditation snake-oil course (sponsored by your favorite celebrity):

https://www.tm.org/course-fee


Humans have always had a dependence upon technology to garuntee them happiness (i.e. television, apps, social networks, automobiles, housing markets, etc). As technology improves, our society becomes more and more reliant.

When technology fails us for one reason or another we seek a form of change (i.e. shutting off your brain for a moment, meditation). However since our society has developed dependencies on apps, we seek the solution in the exact madness we’re trying to escape. To err, is human.


I learned through face-to-face instruction with a teacher, some fifteen years ago. These days I consider the experience invaluable. There's something about having another person there legitimizing what you're doing, which is basically sitting down and daydreaming, that soothes the conscious mind and allows it to take the task seriously.

I don't know how much value an app can be in replacing a real person, but it's gotta be better than nothing.


Ever hear of a book? Traditionally, they are far better than an app, and in many ways better than a human teacher at your side. Meditation is one case where a book is probably the best guide. Speaking as a Transcendental Meditation practitioner for over 40 years, started in 5th grade back in '76. My Iowa church and school freaked and even tried to claim my meditating was a satanic influence on other kids... If it's not Satan it's Capitalism fucking with meditation. Why are people so tribal stupid?


I think it's far from settled that books are better than apps. I read a ton of books when I was a kid, as I got older I spent less time with them. I consider quality video content to be better than books at conveying information.

I personally could have probably muddled through learning how to meditate with a book, if I'd had the inclination. I'm not so sure most people can. All people unfortunately aren't created equally.

All the people I talk to who don't seem to be getting much out of meditation, I'm not so sure any book could have helped them, while I'm pretty darn sure that if they were sitting in front of me allowing me to guide them once a week, they'd get the trick within a month or so.


"Ever hear of a book?", "Why are people so tribal stupid", "Speaking as a Transcendental Meditation practitioner" - questionable whether meditation is helping you. :)


Nothing about meditation dictates one can't get angry amazed at people acting stupid. It's not enlightenment, it's a method of refreshing and relaxing.


Sure, but without these apps, perhaps millions of people wouldn't have been interested in meditation.

I mean, you certainly don't need a Fitbit or Apple Watch to change your habits and start to exercise regularly, but for some people, having the feedback from these devices help them see their progress and that's what keep them motivated.


It's a good question. As someone who has practiced meditation in fits and starts over years, I can only say for myself that Calm provides a structure that helps me make sure it actually happens. I use the Apple TV app mostly, and I've been meditating much more consistently over the past few months than I had previously.


You have a good point, but at the same time what these apps offer is step by step guidance. Some people, I'd say most people don't even know where to start and this is exactly what they offer. Maybe a vague example would be paying for a gym membership.


Agree so much. At its core, this is just another example of a well-tested strategy to make money - take something simple, make it complex, then sell a teacher/guru/app who makes it simple again! Same reason why so many books that could be 5 pages long are 200 pages instead - 5 page books don't sell.

Not to say its all a scam - it does genuinely help to have a trusted teacher in many cases, whether its for accountability and a push or just reminding you of the basics.

I guess what seems more distasteful to me is how much meditation is being marketed as the new self-help cure-all to stress/anxiety etc. Its makes you wonder how many people need it because they are stressed vs. how many people need it because marketing manufactured that need.


> Meditation can be tough to learn

And these apps are a way of learning far cheaper than hiring a coach irl.


I just didn't find headspace to be effective on a long term. One simple mindfulness exercise I did find useful is noting, especially observing when you change posture. After the initial promise however, I found that the effects did not last. I will try insight timer, since it seems to get favorable reviews.


I find the voices used in both quite terrible. I quite like Sam Harris's voice and so I got his app.

His actual voice is just endlessly zen, so when he's really trying to be soothing and calm in a guided meditation. It's just really calming and transparent, so I can focus more on the technique of meditation.

He also has more of a hands off approach compared to Headspace and Calm. Whereas the other apps are pretty high touch, Waking Up is fairly low touch, and Sam lets minutes go by with no guidance, just letting you attempt the technique on your own after the introduction.


I'm not really into these apps, but personally I love listening to one or two ASMR channels on YouTube. If I'm feeling stressed I have 3 or 4 that I listen to very often and they help me a lot.


Can you share the links?


Meditation apps certainly helped a lot of people discover that practice. In a stressful world, that is great.

But it's funny how this turned into a big business.


Is meditation really different from doing any focussed activity? Especially isn't reading a book same thing as meditation, only more educative.


Mindfulness meditation, at least, is very different. A key attribute is awareness of the current moment -- the here and now. Books, including non-fiction, take the reader to another place.


TRY MEDITATION! ⁱᶠ ʸᵒᵘ ᶜᵃⁿᵗ ᵇᵉ ˢᵘᶠⁱ –Idries Shah, Knowing How To Know


What do you think of Sam Harris’ app specifically? Pros and cons?


I've always meditated on my own. I tried Headspace to see what the fuss was about and thought it was laughably bad...but i'm not a beginner so it probably just wasn't aimed toward me.

Sam Harris's app is the only one i find actually valuable because he frequently releases 5 to 30 minute "lessons" that are audio of him teaching some aspect of meditation or purpose. Talks on death, gratitude, the goal of meditation, thought experiments, etc. I don't do his 30 day guided meditations that are also in the app, but I'm sure they'd benefit some people.

The pros with Sam's app is that he is going to give you a unique experience and ask you to "look for things" in your meditation that might otherwise take you years to realize you should be looking for.

The con is the same with all guided meditations. An app can't tell what level of concentration you happen to be at during your 30 minute sit, and so it often interrupts you just as you're making some real progress.


I think both of those are... well kind of stupid. If you want to meditate, you can use some guiding meditation in first few times, but really you want to be able to meditate on your own.

In interest of many commercial products is for you to be dependent on them. This is opposite to benefits of meditation in my view.

Now as always, real thing is much harder than pretending to do it, which is why those two apps are popular. Sam Harris app is much better in that regard for example.


Even people who have been meditating for decades often do guided meditations, not because they can't do what you call the 'real thing'.


That is not my experience. You don't need apps to meditate.


Via apps? :D


Oh yes, here we come: Guided meditation through VR! Westernize meditation too.

How about going outside to meditate in nature? What happened to that? :/ Do it while you still can, as we have not completely destroyed our planet yet.


I thought meditation historically has mostly happened in seclusion from nature, in temples, monasteries, bedrooms, etc. Going indoors to sit in meditation isn't a "Western" phenomenon!


Westernization is a "process whereby societies come under or adopt Western culture". It does not necessarily have to happen in the West.

Anyway, these monasteries are actually on mountains or deep in the forest for a good reason, so not exactly in seclusion from nature. Buddha himself is said to have attained Bodhi under the Bodhi Tree. Meditation and nature are strongly tied to each other. Are you trying to suggest that it is not the case? It definitely did not happen "in seclusion from nature", that would be not only counterproductive, but it is historically incorrect.


Meditation and nature are not tied at all. All you need for meditation is your brain. You can meditate in your basement, on an airplane or under a tree.

Maybe you are confusing the mindful meditation with the spiritual meditation?


I did not say that you cannot, however it is more difficult to do so, especially for a beginner, because of over-stimulation from the environment. Of course there are many ways of doing it and with different intentions. I said that meditation historically did not actually happen in seclusion from nature.


I really don't understand why one would need an app to meditate. Meditation is really simple. There's no need for automated guidance.


Christ people, this is a glaring place where an app is a complete joke. Don't be so stupid!


You definitely sound like a good source of advice on how to be more zen and less reactive :)


These apps are horrible. They function as a crutch for people who just don't know any better (not necessarily their own fault) and what they teach isn't even actual 'meditation'.

And that makes it even worse because then you get all these people saying 'ooh I meditate' when no, they've not even meditated once.

It's all western BS about making money, not about helping anyone. And people are too stupid/lazy/dumb to know any better, it's the same with 'learn to code in 24 hours', '6 abs in 6 weeks' etc.

If you want to meditate - actually meditate - get rid of the apps. Just go sit somewhere and turn your attention inwards, it's so simple, children should know this.

There's also a world of difference between 'being present' (which should be your default mental state) and actually meditating, they're as different as night and day, that's something else people don't get.

</rant>

The constructive part, if you're actually interested check out Raja Yoga, again 'yoga' that westerners do is a bastardized form of Hatha Yoga which was nothing more than a warm up in itself. There's a good series of lessons from the 1940s. You'll find them if you're meant too.


Please take a look in the mirror, your ego is out of control.

Words are for people to communicate to one another. They're not a stand-alone entity that will remain correct, regardless of time and place.

In the west, yoga and meditation mean something other than what they mean, in other cultures and time periods. That's perfectly fine.

Folks are doing stretches and holding poses, they like it. Great. Folks are sitting down and listening to something soothing for 10 minutes, they like it. Great.

There is no downside here - the only downside you're finding is inside yourself, being projected outwards.


Neither do I like the tone of the parent comment, and neither have I went to the meditation lessons, so I am not an expert, but:

>> In the west, yoga and meditation mean something other than what they mean, in other cultures and time periods. That's perfectly fine.

You know, in real life we take care of our children because they will never know better if we don't teach them something at the right time. So often it's actually beneficial for someone to push you in order for you to understand the finer things in life.

In my stretch class it would probably take me a few months to reach a split if my teacher wouldn't just push me (by pushing I mean literally - physically push my legs apart). Because I was afraid I would tear something apart - be he otherwise knew it wasn't as unsafe as I've thought.

So... Yeah. Make sure you've got a good teacher before you start. Because most of them generally do not care at all.


> There is no downside here - the only downside you're finding is inside yourself, being projected outwards.

Well, there is one downside: it makes it harder to refer to the original meaning of the word, which could point to something valuable.


Why do you seem them as a crutch/why do you see what they practice as "not meditation"?

For perspective, when trying meditation at first, I did it without the use of any technology- I read "Mindfulness in Plain English" and some other articles and books, and attempted meditating based on what I learned there (with mixed periods of success).

And then at some point later, I tried headspace to see what the hype was about. I found both paths helpful and effective- after all, the guided mediations in headspace largely just reflected the same things that the books had taught me. I don't have a headspace subscription and wouldn't get one, but I don't see it as significantly different than an audiobook version of some of the material I had read about in order to understand how to meditate. And maybe you could make the argument that people should just do that instead (listen to audiobooks, since the cost would be much lower). Do you see something fundamentally different?


The concept of meditation is simple. But you might need guidance on how to get over roadblocks or need new insights that might help your meditation practice. These apps are helpful for that.


> Just go sit somewhere and turn your attention inwards

Perhaps you were born with a natural instinct for what meditation is, what to do when thoughts arise and you go off track, how to sit comfortably, what you’re aiming for and what you’re not.

But I didn’t, I needed to read books to start my development. I absolutely don’t think children should know this.




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