Inner Peace? There's an App for That
If you’ve spent any time in the digital jungle, you’ve probably experienced a moment or two where you’ve been in the thick of things and thought to yourself, “Stop the world! I want to get off.”
But how does one actually DO that?
After much contemplation, I figured that there was probably no better way to hit the “pause button” on all the chatter, buzz and gratuitous postulating and preening that I’m inundated with on a daily basis than to practice mindfulness meditation.
Ironically, I turned to the Internet to get me up to speed and armed for the adventure.
Here’s what I learned.
Om…Oh wait, did I forget to turn off the iron?
Have you sat in silence and just listened to yourself breathe recently?
Trust me. It’s really, really hard.
This is the essence of meditation. You sit and exist in the moment (which is easiest to do when you concentrate on your breathing) and relax.
In the case of self hypnosis (which I’ve also been studying), as part of your meditation, you also write yourself a new script for your subconscious mind of things you’d like to change in your life.
To begin my practice, I started by downloading and reading a number of books on meditation and self-hypnosis. (Yes, I know. That’s not a very Zen-like, “stop striving and just invite a new awareness into your life” way to kick off things. My bad.)
The most helpful book was A Surgeon’s Self-Hypnosis Healing Solution by Dr. Scott Fried (thanks Experience Life Magazine for the lead) which includes a handy script to record your own self hypnosis meditation, (the thinking being that your own voice telling you, “seriously woman…let it go already,” will speak more directly to your subconscious mind than some stranger’s.)
So, using the app iSaidWhat? and some fruity pan flute music on a CD I got from one of those end-cap kiosks at Target, I put on my best, “you’re getting veeeeeeeery sleepy” voice and got down to work.
Then it just became a matter of listening to the script every day (which I’ve been doing for about a month) and refereeing the internal battle between the me that wants to chill out and the me who would like this experiment to be a success.
When I first started meditating to my self-hypnosis recording, it kinda sounded like this in my head…
- “Concentrate on your breathing, Jen.”
- “Wow. I am really concentrating hard.”
- “Dammit. I shouldn’t be thinking about how hard I am concentrating.”
- “Oh hell. Now I’m chastising myself for thinking that I’m thinking too hard.”
- “Cool. My fingers are starting to get all tingly.”
- “This is kinda neat. Maybe this would make a good blog post.”
- “Dammit! Why are you thinking about the blog right now?”
- “Now I am THINKING ABOUT THINKING again!”
- “Wait…am I still breathing?”
Seriously people…the Dalai Lama I am not.
“Get the peace into mah bell-ay!”
Then I found Andrew Johnson.
Do you remember the character Fat Bastard from the Austin Powers movies? Well Andrew is Scottish and anytime he mentions relaxing my abdomen, I think of that character’s “get into mah bell-ay” line and giggle.
In spite of this 14-year-old boy reaction of mine, Andrew is actually rather awesome and has a whole slew of meditation/self-hypnosis apps in the iTunes store and on his website.
Want to stop smoking? Combat insomnia? Lose weight? Get over a phobia?
Andrew’s got you (and your bell-ay) covered.
I’ll be honest. I chose one of his apps mostly because it was well designed (why yes, I am a design snob), well reviewed and his accent is lovely. I could listen to him read math formulas all day and still find it soothing.
Is it just me, or did you lose some emotional baggage?
So I know the big question here is, “does it work?”
Hard to say. When it comes to programming your subconscious, it’s difficult to get your subconscious to write you a review to tell you if you’ve been successful in your efforts.
But, as I explained to my doctor recently, taking 20-40 minutes out of your day to totally unplug, relax and listen to positive messages is hardly a bad investment of anyone’s time.
Even if my subconscious and I continue to battle it out and I end up down the road in the same place I began, it’s not all for naught.
At the very least, now I’m remembering to breathe….while I just typed that sentence, while I ran the spell check, while I made this post live.
And really, in the grand scheme of things, does anything else even matter?