Today, I’ve completed the last session of Balance’s Foundation and Advanced plans.
After reading The Headspace Guide to Meditation & Mindfulness this summer, I wanted to give meditation a more elaborate try. I’ve dabbled with it a couple of times in the past but never really long enough to establish a habit.
I didn’t start out with Balance right away. Unsurprisingly, my first stop was Headspace. After some sessions, I gave room to other contestants: 7Mind, Calm, Oak, the Plum Village app, Smiling Mind, and Waking Up. For some, I couldn’t stand the teacher’s voice, which surely is a very personal thing. For others, the app felt overloaded and overwhelming, a point which Frank Chimero and Tom MacWright already wrote about earlier this year.
Ultimately, I’ve settled on Balance. Their personalized plans are an interesting distinction to the usual plain recordings found elsewhere and make for a more varied program. The app is straightforward and both of their voice actors, Leah and Ofosu, are pleasant to the ear (albeit a bit too hippy-dippy-lovey-dovey-huggy-wuggy-fuzzy-wuzzy from time to time). On a final note, it’s definitely been a plus to explore all of that for free thanks to their one-year promotion.
Now, after over 15 hours with Balance and streaks lasting several weeks, I’m comfortable drawing at least an interim conclusion. Where do I stand on the topic of meditation? Well, I don’t know. It may have had some benefits or it may not have had any. It’s difficult to truthfully evaluate and judge such changes. Jamees Bedford recently paused his meditation habit for two weeks and felt immediate downsides; I’m certainly far from that. I’m not sure whether or how long I will continue but perhaps I’ll take some advice from Kevin Wammer and just sit in silence and focus on my breath. There doesn’t need to be an app for everything.