Unhook from Apps
And Learn to Meditate on Your Own
By Dina Kaplan
Perhaps you can picture an image of the Buddha surrounded by students as he shared wisdom and taught his followers and friends to meditate.
There is a good reason for this.
Until recently, meditation was always taught by live teachers sharing knowledge with students in person, so the students could then learn to meditate on their own.
This modern concept of people listening to guided meditations, and not knowing how to guide themselves, is new.
I will admit that I smile when a meditator says they only listen to guided meditations.
Because it means that to meditate, you must first turn on your phone or computer. You then need to select an app or website, choose a meditation technique or goal, and decide how long you want the meditation to be. This is a lot of work, and a lot of tapping, to enjoy the ancient practice of meditation! It also means there will be times in your life you won’t be able to meditate even if you want to, because you don’t have a signal, your phone isn’t working, or you don’t want to use data and don’t have access to Wi-fi.
For all of these reasons, one of my goals as a meditation teacher and founder of The Path is to give all meditators and want-to-be meditators the freedom and skills to learn to meditate on your own.
It is beautiful to meditate first thing in the morning, if you enjoy meditating then, before even looking at electronics. I do this and cherish this sacred time of silence before the work day begins. It is one of my dreams to make this possible for everyone. To me, this is an act of liberation. To have a life beyond your phone and computer. And to know how to bring yourself, without needing any guide, to a place of calm, relaxation, and insight. What an awesome thing to know how to do on your own!
For eight years I dreamed of teaching people how to meditate on their own — forever. And I have now finally written, filmed, and edited a class that exceeded my wildest hopes. It’s called 30 Days to Meditator, and it teaches you a variety of different mindfulness techniques you can then practice for the rest of your life. One of the techniques involves focusing on the natural breath. Another has you focus on the sounds in your environment and choose not to judge them. This is great to do if you’re in a noisy environment so that you can truly meditate anytime, anywhere. The course covers other techniques as well, including a body scan, which is a wonderful technique to bring more awareness to this thing we are carrying around all day, the body!
The meditation part of the course is really exciting, because you start by only meditating ten minutes a day, which usually feels easy and doable, and then in just one month you organically build up to meditating 25 minutes a day. Once you do this, you will see huge changes in your life. You’ll notice a deep feeling of stillness. You’ll find yourself being able to pause between what happens to you during the day and how you choose to respond to it. And on a subconscious level, your mind will change — you would actually see the difference if you did an fMRI of your brain before you started meditating, and then if you had a consistent practice for just two months. You would see more grey matter in your pre-frontal cortex. What does that mean? It means you have more emotional regulation and more of an opportunity to choose how you want to respond to people throughout the day. You have more control over your emotions, words, and actions. That is really exciting to think about.
But I increasingly think that being mindful and calm in the modern world requires more than meditation. I know how stressed people are and how easy it is to ruminate and harbor fear and worry. So I also teach awareness exercises in this course, a series of optional positive psychology tools to help you live with more ease, joy, and delight.
One of them is to begin noticing what I call “the gap.” This is that sliver of a moment between when something negative happens, such as receiving a tough email or text, and how you choose to respond. In “the gap” you have freedom. You have a range of options and potential responses. But we can only find this freedom if we can first pause in the gap.
Another awareness exercise is to choose not to judge people, places, or things. So much of our mind is full of the useless clutter of our judgments. Why did she wear that? Why did he say that? Why are they walking there, or stopping there, or eating there? This creates chaos in our minds and serves no purpose. If we can minimize this judgment, we can start to live in the now. Our actual lives. And to feel a powerful sense of calm wash over us.
I offer more tools in the course as well. To help us open our awareness to what is. To open our awareness to the people around us. And to our emotions.
What if we had a greater ability to understand the impact of our words and actions on other people? What if we could live with kindness and joy? What if we inspired the people around us to be a better version of themselves?
These are all reasons to learn to meditate on your own. And to become more aware. I feel proud and excited about this new course I put eight years of my life and research into. And we are now offering it at 50% off, but only for a limited time —for the first 100 courses sold. I hope you join me on this path to mindfulness and awareness. And if you take 30 Days to Meditator, I’d love to know how it goes for you and to stay in touch! Please write me at firstname.lastname@example.org or DM me on Instagram at @dinakaplan. I am honored to be on this journey of mindfulness together and excited to stay in touch.
Dina Kaplan is founder of The Path, Lead Teacher for The Path’s Meditation Teacher Training program, host of The Path’s Mela retreat and a certified meditation teacher who leads meditations and retreats around the world for individuals, corporations, festivals, conferences and more. Dina also writes about mindfulness for entrepreneurs in Forbes and has written about meditation for the New York Times, Time Magazine’s Motto brand, The Standard Hotel group and many other publications. Dina has studied and practiced dozens of meditation techniques, including Vipassana, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, Vedic (or “mantra”) meditation, loving-kindness or (“metta”) meditation and more. Dina’s mission is to give people the tools and inspiration to begin and continue a daily practice and to create community around meditation. Before The Path, Dina was an Emmy-award-winning journalist and founder of the digital media start-up Blip.