Thanks to Amir All for the A2A. I have tried such apps (including Headspace), along with other guided meditation, audio aids (shamanic drumming; audio entrainment, etc.), visual stimulators, biofeedback devices, etc. at different points in my practice over the years. My experience is that, in the very beginning of one’s practice, they can be helpful in the training and conditioning of mind for meditation…but later on (and actually fairly quickly IMO) they become a hinderance and can even become counterproductive. My understanding is that (beyond the initial free guided meditation) Headspace also encourages self-directed exercises in its programs, so that is a good thing I think. It is also my experience when teaching meditation that different people benefit from different techniques - and even the same person may benefit from different meditation techniques over time - so that relying on one technique, set of tools or practice may not be as productive or helpful over time.
As to your question about “going faster,” if you are just beginning that is rarely a good idea. IMO it is helpful to allow the results of meditation to percolate through your mind, heart and body, giving lots of space and time for different aspects of your being to process and integrate them. Patience (and letting go of expected results or outcomes) is an important part of meditative practice. Maintaining balance with other dimensions of our lives is also important. However, I would say that a regularity of at least once a day can be helpful - in fact just as with any self-care or training technique, a consistent and regular discipline is much more important than duration, frequency or speed of progress in my experience and observation.
One final thought is that I am not a big fan of the commercialistic, “consumer” model of meditation training. Which is why I offer most of my books as free downloads (including three that include meditation exercises), and why my audio entrainment CD (for introductory meditation training) is offered at the lowest price my retailers allow me to sell it. There are also many, many free smartphone apps and websites that offer useful meditation training tools, techniques and tips.
My 2 cents.
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