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By Jonathan Roseland

I'm not a doctor, medical professional, or trained therapist. I'm a researcher and pragmatic biohacking practitioner exercising free speech to share evidence as I find it. I make no claims. Please practice skepticism and rational critical thinkingYou should consult a professional about any serious decisions that you might make about your health. Affiliate links in this article support Limitless Mindset - spend over $150 and you'll be eligible to join the Limitless Mindset Secret Society.

Biohacker Review: Take-10 to learn meditation

Mindfulness has been a part of my life for the last three years in the form of Dual N-Back brain training and HRV training practice with Heartmath's devices. I kept hearing that the best tool for learning meditation was Headspace; this is a guided meditation practice, so there's this guy, with a very soothing English accent who talks you through the meditation process. If that sounds a little weird, well it is, but only for about the first three minutes of your first mediation session. After that, it's very mesmerizing.

The most unexpected positive of meditation is that I feel awesome after using Headspace and I didn't realize how crappy I felt after a day of sitting in front of the computer solving complex problems. Also...

I'll be having a busy day, and I'll think that I can't quite fit 10 or 20 minutes of meditation in but I'll use the app and I'm always so glad I did because I feel so great and focused afterward.

I always thought you needed a quiet, tranquil place to do meditation, you don't.

  • I've done meditation in my room with a big window next to a busy, loud street.
  • I've got roommates doing stuff in the other part of the house. And music is playing somewhere but I'm still able to have a pretty good meditation session.
  • I've done it on bean bags next to kids playing video games.
  • I've done meditation on trains and planes.
  • While lying in hostel dorm beds.
  • I've even done it while on dates!

I lay down on a bed and kind of just dangle my legs off it while I do, I find this position much more tranquilizing than sitting up or on the floor with my back against a wall as a lot of people prefer.

You can keep returning to Headspace's Take-10 series if you aren't ready to spend money. I've used the free version for over 50 mediation sessions now. It's free and awesome, there's no reason not to check it out.

I did upgrade to the paid version of Headspace

They were offering a 3-month membership at a steep discount and I thought why not? The paid membership opens up a bunch of different modules which delve into different modalities of meditation and mindfulness methods.

  • I did the creativity, focus, and happiness modules,
  • The creativity module teaches you this fractionation technique where you focus your attention but then let your mind run and think about whatever, which is supposed to make you more creative.
  • The happiness module focused on a gratitude exercise and focusing in on the emotions of gratitude.
  • The focus module entailed an exercise focusing on different parts of the body.

In general, meditation has been great for my focus and happiness, but the paid Headspace modules have not made me any more creative, focused, or happy.

Headspace is "training wheels" for learning meditation but it's not what's going to take me from being an intermediate meditator to a truly advanced one. The main utility of Headspace is guided meditation and after almost three years of meditation, I've kind of figured out a meditation process that I like and the guiding voice is distracting from what I want to focus on in my practice, which is...

  1. Taoist breath counting
  2. Blue Sky mode
  3. Empty mind
  4. The Cool Draw sex transmutation visualization

I find that when there's no little voice in my earbuds and I'm truly alone with myself for 20 minutes; I can go deeper and it's more of an intensive focus exercise. I got way more value out of Headspace's free Take-10 course, it taught me to meditate and outlined the Blue Sky Protocol for me.

I'll continue to recommend Headspace to those who are brand new to meditation but I'm going to take a break from guided practice. I did pay full price for an additional month and after this month I'll move on from Headspace.

Vs Insight Timer

insight meditation timerThere's a less feature-rich yet free meditation app called Insight Timer that I've used extensively and it's quite good:

  • Most importantly, it's a simple meditation timer with a couple of different settings for intervals and sounds.
  • It has a library of guided meditation sessions, it's worth trying a couple of these.
  • It has some light social network features that show how many other people are meditating simultaneously. I found these unnecessary though and turned off notifications.

 Habituate gratitude

I mentioned how Headspace taught me to be more mindful of gratitude - I've since habituated that for 60 seconds in the mornings...

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Headspace - How It Works
Andy's Tips - Why aren't I seeing improvements
What are the Benefits of Meditation?

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(Updated: December 20, 2016)
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