Meditation Mediation

I plan to share my “path to meditation” sometime in the future. It’s the path that lead the skeptical, pragmatic, logical, rational, engineer that I am to embrace meditation as a daily habit. It’s been useful, and I’ve been doing for some years now.

But it dawned on me that I owe a debt of gratitude to some authors and apps that helped me get here on that path.

8 Minute Meditation Expanded: Quiet Your Mind. Change Your Life by Victor Davich – This is the book that got me started several years ago (2010, to be specific). Particularly at that time meditation had significant spiritual overtones, almost to the extent of being inexorably tied to one religion or another. This is a great practical, pragmatic approach that opened the door for me.

Insight Timer is a free meditation app that I use as a glorified timer. I simply have it sound a tibetan singing bowl once a minute, with a slightly different starting and ending sound, to time my meditation and to bring me back as my mind inevitably wanders off.

Headspace is an app and an approach to meditation aimed to take you from beginner to experienced with specific “packs” of guided meditation to address or leverage an assortment of issues. The creator, Andy Puddicombe, has a great Ted Talk that lead me to Headspace. When my unguided, solo practice with Insight Timer starts to feel a little too random, or I just feel the need for a slightly more structured stretch, I keep coming back to Headspace.

It’s worth mentioning two additional books, both by Ryan Holiday: The Obstacle is the Way and The Ego is the Enemy. Neither are about meditation, but both stress a concept that I’ve come to see as helpfully intertwined: stoicism. The mindfulness practices of meditation coupled with a stoic philosophy (which has a high degree of overlap with Buddhism) have lead me to a better place.

I’m grateful for the authors — both written word and app — that helped make that possible.