Headspace is a startup with one simple goal: Make meditation accessible to everyone. 

It does this through a smartphone app full of "guided meditations" — audio sessions where one of the company's co-creators leads listeners on a journey of contemplation.

Headspace's app is designed for the totally uninitiated. It expects that you've never meditated before and that you may not understand the "point" of meditation practice. Its goal is to teach you the foundational aspects of meditation in your first 10 days of using the app.

The company is banking that at least some users will like the app enough to shell out for a pricey monthly or annual subscription. 

So, does it succeed? Yes and no. This is how my first 10 days with Headspace went:

Headspace is focused on secular, mindfulness-based meditation.

The history of meditation is deep, stretching back to before the beginning of the Current Era. Without going too far into the weeds, it's important to understand the difference between meditation as part of Hindu and Buddhist traditions on the one hand and secular mindfulness meditation on the other.

Headspace doesn't purport to offer enlightenment or to explain the concept of Samsara — the endless cycle of suffering, death and rebirth that is at the center of those Indian religions. Instead, the app aims to teach "the essentials of living a healthier, happier life." 

Though the principle of the practice is very similar — watching your breath — the underpinnings of each are drastically different. Headspace is based in modern science, while Buddhist and Hindu meditation is based on the writings and teachings of various spiritual leaders.

In many ways, Headspace feels like Buddhism-lite. It's got all the flavor of spiritual meditation with none of the religious underpinnings. That's not a huge surprise, as one of the app's founders is an ordained Buddhist monk. His goal with the app is to bring meditation to people who might not have tried it otherwise.


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