When in doubt meditate. Or medicate.

I’ve been slack. Perhaps slacker is a better word, since I’m never quite completely taunt. I’ve been using the free-time allotted to me between work and child rearing to murder pixels on Playstation. When I finally unfurl myself from the sofa after everyone else has gone to bed I feel contrite about how poorly I’ve used my time. It does not however stop me from repeating the process the following evening. A localized death spiral, day four.

I should be reading. Or exercising. Or even working. I pretend that Playstation is meditative. Or possibly therapeutic. I am not however entirely convinced, since I die more often than I care to admit, which makes me teeter towards bad language and fuels the otherwise slow-burning rage.  So really, I’m partaking in a form of self-abuse, the malingerers form of  self-harm.

I have however recently done some for-realsies meditation, usually just before I go to bed. I downloaded Oak, which is Kevin Rose’s foray into the meditative app space.  I subscribe to his monthly news letter and occasionally listen to one of his podcasts. Our Venn’s overlap somewhat.

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I’ve done about… forty minutes of meditation with Oak and tried each one of the breathing exercises. The Wisdom section features little excerpts from Alan Watts, of whose beard and philosophy I am a big fan.

However being an huge devotee of Headspace there have been some psychological consequences to my flippant behaviour. The whole time I was using Oak I felt like I was cheating on the bald magnificence of Andy Puddicombe and his general British-ness. Which leaves me conflicted.

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I feel like I need to make a choice. Like which mediation app defines me as a person. Ha ha. Its difficult. I like the artistic style of both apps, i.e the general orangeness of Headspace with its little cartoon people or the minimalistic vibe of Oak. I’m quite shallow so I often make decisions based on aesthetics.

At the moment Oak feels like a MVP. Minimum viable product. Which is a concept I understand, but don’t really like. Oak does however does feel like it has potential.  And it is competing against Headspace, the MacDaddy of meditation apps.

I consider myself a meditation-n00b. With the concentration span of a… well, lets just say its below average. I need Andy to tell me what to do, to bring me back from wherever it is I’ve wandered off to and then congratulate me at the end, stroking my sense of achievement. Well done Joey, you managed ten minutes, now go forth and wreak havoc once more on your little microcosm (with your sharpened spoon and umbrella hat).

Oak feels more hands-off and unstructured. Headspace, especially in the beginning feels like a curriculum that you work through. I suppose it depends largely on your personality.  Do you have previous meditation experience? Then Oak. Can you self-regulate? Oak. Does the quietness of your mind resemble the lush green fields of Elysium? Oak.

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If however, like me, the above .gif is an accurate depiction of whats going on inside your cranium, then I think Headspace is probably the better option.

I’ll keep the Oak app for awhile. See where they go with it. Even though that runs contrary to my SOP of keeping apps on my phone that I don’t use regularly but I am loathed to dismiss it just yet.