Well, after trialing both Headspace and Calm. Here’s my verdict…
As a beginner, I definitely think Calm and Headspace are great apps if you’re interested in the fundamentals and not sure where to begin in terms of meditation.
I considered myself as a beginner but after trialing both apps, I realised I needed something more, something deeper, something more compelling and challenging. That’s when I decided to give Insight Timer a go and in the end, it was the app best suited for my practice.
I can’t separate Calm and Headspace. It really comes down to personal preference. I enjoy the bed time stories more in Headspace but I like the aesthetics and layout of Calm better. I also like the daily check in on Calm as it allows you about 5-10 minutes reflection.
I feel Insight Timer has a more Buddhist, Zen feel to it and features an Advanced section for those, like myself, who want a deeper practice. 20 minutes meditation is really not enough for me. I think I need about 2 hours at this point to reach a point of lightness.
My confidence is shot, my self-esteem is shot. This is the result of seeking validation from external sources. And for some reason, I’ve been choosing to wallow in self-pity. Go figure!
Last month, I skipped meditation for 11 days and this month, I’ve managed to dodge it 6 times already. Consistency means a lot to me and when things are inconsistent, my frustration sets in. But I’ve learnt to not beat myself up for it, I remind myself that it’s alright, there’s always room for improvement; there’s always room for more growth.
Times I feel like this, I know I always have to go back to the fundamentals, the basics. It takes so much discipline out of me to constantly pick myself back up just to avoid numbing myself or suppressing what’s on the surface, as well as what’s happening on a deeper level. But I think that’s the reality of life, constantly going back to the basics.
I meditated today to take a breather, to unclog my mind, to remind myself to purely focus on the now and what’s in front of me because my problems are the result of some extremely irrational thoughts that manifested into irrational behaviour and self-defeating defence mechanisms. My problems are nowhere near as problematic as the man I work with who has a 7 year old daughter with a very rare disease, or the elderly lady I talk to everyday nearing the end of her life.
Being present as often as possible whilst simultaneously trying to process and examine all the demons I have placed on the backburner is turning out to be one of my biggest challenges. But it’s of great importance that I engage in this process even if it’s uncomfortable and super fucking confronting.
Freud believed that a lot of our present behaviours are a result of the way we were brought up. It may not always necessarily be the case but I do agree that many of our traits and behaviours are a result of our upbringing.
A bit of self-disclosure: My mother had my sister at 20. Did she know what she was doing? Who knows ‘cause there’s way too many influences to factor in like the society she lived in, the culture, the way her own parents raised her, my biological father’s infidelity, the list goes on. All of these would have greatly contributed to the way she raised her children.
We probably grew up thinking our parent(s) were two self-actualised individuals (going by Maslows’ Hierarchy of Needs) but in reality, our parent(s) raised us from their own level of awareness. My mum had my sister at 20 — the internet back then was nowhere near as accessible as it is now. I knew fuck all when I was 20 even with Google at my own disposable😂
I can over-analyse this as a means to no end but my point is I believe my mother did all that she could do with the resources she had available and the knowledge she had at the time. I guess the question I pose is are you aware of how the relationship you had with your parent(s) during your adolescence has affected your adulthood? In terms of behaviour, morals, beliefs, your perceptions on friendships and love… everything. Actually, let’s cut the b.s, the real question is what dysfunctional behaviours did you acquire during your childhood that you have subconsciously brought to your adulthood? (That you may need to shed some light on).
It’s so easy to tell others to just “ignore” or say “it could be worst” or “it’ll be fine” but by doing so, we invalidate and downplay what the other person feels or is going through. Sometimes we say, “but it doesn’t matter” or “it’s nothing” and as a result, we end up minimising our feelings. There isn’t some kind of measurement on how ‘severe’ “it” is. Yeah, maybe it will be fine eventually but if you talk about it, it matters. Period. Regardless of how big or trivial it may seem in the grand scheme of things.
I want to write this and look back on it in a few months time and observe any difference in my thinking process and the manner in which I express myself. I’m currently on a 23 day streak of practising Zen meditation.
Firstly, there’s several kinds of meditation but I focus on two which in Western culture we refer to these as ‘mindfulness’ and ‘Zen’.
I view mindfulness meditation more so as observing ones’ thoughts and allowing them to pass free of judgement. I practice this form of meditation because it often leads me to introspection and insight, as well as see where my ego generates false senses and ideas about myself and others.
On the other hand, Zen meditation for me is more focus on the posture and the breath which then allows me to be free of thoughts. When chains of thoughts do kick in, I check back in with my posture and breathing. Practising Zen allows me to be present which is very rare for me throughout any given day.
I have had an on/off, love-hate relationship with meditation for the past couple of years. I just wish that there wasn’t such a gap in between the days of consistent practice to weeks on end of skipping it.
Initially I started practising meditation to go along with my yoga practice. Because I often avoid the meditational aspect in yoga out of laziness, I started to approach meditation and yoga as separate practices. I mean you would think the meditational aspect in yoga is the easy part but… wrong!
During a time of consistent practice, I experienced some kind of… I have no idea what to even refer it as. I journal frequently and wrote about it. I do know that the sole reason I practice Zen everyday is to experience the same thing again. Not just for a second time, I’m talking over and over again. I think the more I try to force it, the less likely it will occur so I understand I shouldn’t force, just allow.
Ahh… I don’t know. I think everything I’m trying to explain is difficult to comprehend with language. Like, if you’ve never eaten fried ice cream, it may be hard to imagine but you can probably get close because you’ve probably had something fried and you’ve probably had ice cream…🤷🏽♀️