I would try the various apps as a first step of inquiry into the skill of living in the golden moment of now.
Connected world: can mindfulness be practiced with an App?
In my personal experience and opinion, it can.
When you are short on time, do not know where to begin or which practice to use, when you are on the go (commuting, stuck in traffic, exercising, queuing, etc.), or want to experiment with the different techniques and teachings (secular or dogmatic) or simply out of curiosity, several mindfulness apps (App Store and Google Play) have been created in recent years as meditation or mindfulness aids for you to try out.
Further advantages are that apps are available 24/7, and when well designed and structured (like Headspace) they engage you even more.
Some are directed more toward guided meditations or affirmations or relaxation and others more for mindfulness practices.
I personally have explored several and found some more useful and entertaining than others. I found a 2015 study that rated the following apps the highest, among the 23 selected out of the 700 found:
The MARS criteria (Mobile Application Rating Scale) out of 5, was applied.
- Headspace (4.0) This app is my personal favorite. The app is well presented, ever-evolving, easy to navigate, full of useful information, and easy to understand, especially beginners. With its longer and multiple kinds of meditation on the paid version, more experienced meditators will find their happiness too.
I have not used the following apps:
Recently I came across the “Insight Meditation Timer” app, which has cough my attention, even though I have not fully explored it yet. Despite being slightly organizationally chaotic, I like the varied and numerous free choices that it offers.
I have posted on my YouTube channel a few meditations and relaxation scripts, which you are most welcome to explore and experience. I believe in open source material and information.
A word of caution
Not all apps are created equal, and neither are studies
Several apps claim to improve your cognitive skills in one way or the other, and some boldly claim health benefits, however, with no research of their own to back up their programs. What they do is link their app to studies and research external to their app and company, and use it as a base for their program.
These studies might be well researched or not. Nevertheless, in my opinion, and personal experience, the multiple benefits of mindfulness and meditation have been proven again and again. Therefore, I would try the various apps as a first step of inquiry into the skill of living in the golden moment of now. Be curious and use a grain of salt when delving into this modern take on a millennial tradition.
When you are ready
When you feel ready, I encourage you to find somebody to practice with.
May it be a group, a friend, a coach, or a teacher. When you share your experience with somebody, you can gain the following benefits: support, further information when questions arise, accountability, more engagement, and motivation as well as an opinion exchange on the different practices.
Furthermore, should a challenge arise during your regular practice, you have someone to share them with. Remember that each meditation is unique to you, and it changes from session to session as well.
Have you tried a meditation app? What did you think of it?
Now go ahead and explore the cyberspace of mindfulness and live in The Golden Moment of Now.