Meditation is a means of transforming the mind through techniques to develop deep concentration, positivity, clarity, and calmness.
There are many meditation practices and traditions, and most offer a means of understanding the habits and patterns of the mind and cultivating new, more focused states of being.
In our fast-paced world, the quest for calmness is a growing one and the technology sector and app developers have been quick to respond with a plethora of mindfulness and meditation apps in the marketplace.
Apps are available with both free and paid platforms. Basic free features usually include a limited free trial or mini-lessons accompanied by your choice of a soothing soundscape, such as rain falling, a crackling fire, or a gentle stream.
Accompanying images are often nature-based.
Users can select the kinds of issues they are concerned with, such as stress, anxiety, sleeplessness, and so on and select corresponding meditation or mindfulness exercises.
Subscribers have access to a much wider range of services and customization and most apps offer personal analysis via mood check-ins and progress-trackers.
Based on your profile, the app will recommend choices and you can adjust your sessions accordingly.
Some offer badges and rewards for progress, others enable you to connect with other users, and many provide access to teachers and thought leaders in the mindfulness field.
Over the years, I’ve experimented with various mindfulness apps. But I’ve found adapting to them a challenge.
One of the sources of modern stress is the smartphone itself, the very device used to access the service.
Many people, myself included, are trying to reduce or manage time spent on devices, so there is a certain irony to using apps to decrease phone dependence and increase mindful awareness.
Personally, I find this difficult to get around, although using the apps as a tool to learn about meditation and mindfulness and to develop a sound practice can certainly be valuable.
Offline, I find attending meditation classes and in-person talks to be most beneficial and I’d recommend the meditation series at the Fraser Valley Kadampa Meditation Centre as a good place to begin the journey to a calm mind and a peaceful heart.