Trying Meditation

I worked from home yesterday, because of the snowstorm, and I called in sick today, because it was so cold this morning that I started losing feeling in my fingers and toes while I was trying to clear out the snow around my car. (I am legitimately getting over a cold. I’d probably be fine by now if not for all this weather…)

This leaves me with a whole day to just mess around, which has led me to try to knock a couple of “rainy day” projects off my list. One of those is something I’ve been meaning to do for a long time: trying meditation. I’ve been bookmarking (and occasionally reading) articles about meditation for some time now. I even downloaded a meditation app to my phone a year or two ago, but never got around to using it.

Well, long story short, I convinced myself to start using that meditation app today. The app is called Meditation Studio. When I first downloaded it, it was a paid app, but I got it for free via the old Starbucks app of the week thing (Which I guess is dead now. Oh well.) Anyway, I guess it used to be a paid app with (mostly) free content, but (as with many apps) they’re switching to a subscription model. But they’re allowing legacy customers to keep using it for free with all the currently available content, so that’s cool. The subscription price is a bit steep — $10/month (or $60/year). There’s a “holiday discount” going right now, which makes it a little more reasonable, but still not great. I did the first meditation in their starter series today, and my goal is going to keep going through that, one session per day for ten days, and see how that works out.

As I said, I’ve been thinking about meditation for a while now. It came back to the front of my mind recently, due to a few things. First, just thinking about New Year’s resolutions; I didn’t really make any this year, but it got me thinking about stuff I’ve been putting off. Second, I saw a few references to Dan Harris’ new book over the last couple of weeks. When he published the first 10% Happier book in 2014, I was kind of interested, but not enough to buy or read the book. The new one is called Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics, and is a follow-up to the first one. Third, the Note To Self podcast re-posted their episode with Chade-Meng Tan recently. After listening to that episode last year, I added his book Joy On Demand to my Amazon wishlist, but never got around to buying it.

I’m still somewhat skeptical about this whole meditation thing. My skepticism probably comes from looking at stuff like this astral projection video on YouTube that just makes me think of Doctor Strange. And it’s possible that it’s all just a plot to get us corporate drones to work harder, as this article (pretty much) asserts. On the other hand, here’s an article from HBR that makes a good case for meditation. And I should probably read this NY Times meditation guide that I bookmarked a long time ago; it seems pretty reasonable and practical.

I’ve also been giving the Breathe app on my Apple Watch another try. I disabled it pretty quickly after it first came out, because the reminders were a distraction, and I wasn’t convinced that it was at all useful. But now I’ve re-enabled the reminders and I’m giving it another chance. (Of course, the reminders seem to have stopped working now, so that’s something else to troubleshoot, which is only going to make me more stressed…)


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