Oh meditation, I love you.
I’ve been meditating for a few years now. The change in my life is pretty indescribable because apart from the obvious changes (health, wellness, better sleep, happiness, less stress, etc), there’s this undercurrent of flow and peace that infuses my every moment. I find it hard to describe but maybe i just did. :) Meditation will always be a part of my life.
The first app that I fell in love with was by Dan Harris called 10% Happier. It’s awesome and I highly recommend. It’s filled with great guided meditations by different teachers (the best in the world) and there are a plethora of choices for meditating and learning. I love it. 💜 I use it. I recommend it. (I am happy with the free version.)
But, there’s another (free) meditation app that I adore, too. It’s called Oak by Kevin Rose. I’ve been using it pretty exclusively lately. The difference between 10% Happier and Oak is the difference between variety and simplicity. 10% Happier has a wide variety of options for teaching mediation whereas Oak is simple and straightforward with three choices… Wisdom, Breathe, Meditate.
Let’s take a closer look…
In this area of the app there are brief “wisdom” lessons by Alan Watts. Lessons like… Excessive Thinking, Life from above and beyond, The purpose of meditation, and an Introduction to meditation. (I hope they continue to add more from Alan Watts because I’m a fan.)
This is where I spend the most time. Again, simple… and effective. Here’s how I do it: I set up the timer for 20 minutes. I use the background Tibetan Om sound (really fucking groovy) along with a two-minute interval bell in the sound of Crystal Bowl (large). This interval bell reminds me every two minutes to get back to concentrating on my breath in the event that I start wondering whether deja vu is a glimpse into the fourth dimension or if I start planning what to pack when we move abroad. I end the meditation session with an ending bell of Bronze Bowl (large).
I started using Oak with a 15 minute duration but quickly increased to 20 minutes because the aforementioned setup was so effective, fun, and addictive. In all my other times of meditating pre-Oak, I never so quickly increased my time. Maybe it’s the Oak app or maybe I’m just strengthening my practice and drawn to longer meditations.
This function is fantastic, too. It reminds me a bit of “Heartmath” where you easily follow along with your breathing. Oak gives you a spinner to follow along with inhales, holds, and exhales. Totally useful and effective to keeping you focused on breathing.
As you progress with meditating, your oak tree grows. It’s pretty cool finishing up a meditation session, and when closing out of the app your oak tree grows. 🌳 It’s a little reward.
Lastly, and quite importantly, there is an area of the app that tells me my progress: how many total sessions I’ve done, how many total hours (same for breathing) AND…. get this…. how many people are “breathing” or “meditating” in real time right along with me. My favorite thing to do before beginning a meditation session is checking this part of the app and seeing how many others are meditating with me. I feel a wondrous connection to all of the others out there meditating with me.
All in all, meditation has changed my life and this app makes it that much easier to keep my practice strong.
For more on meditation in my life, check this post out – thanks for reading.
Do you meditate? What’s your favorite meditation app? Let me know on Twitter.