Andy Puddicombe is the co-founder of Headspace, a digital health platform that provides guided meditation training for its users…

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I am forever grateful to Andy Puddicombe for putting together this wonderful app. I am equally as gratefully to my good friend Claire for opening her mouth and sharing her experiences, as it was her story that lead me to try this ‘Headspace’ thing for myself.

“Headspace” I would suggest is best known for the guided meditation app that it has produced. This app was my first foray into mediation. I hadn’t really tried anything else so I have no yard stick to compare it to… however recently I recommended it to a friend, who does have some more experience in this world as me, and she has found it one of the best experiences of guided mediation she has had. 

If you are interested in trying it you get the first 10 days for free… This is the website for Headspace or if you are more into visual fodder this is the link to Andy’s 10 min TED talk.

If you do try it the first 10 days are similar but different to the full version. Similar in format… Andy guides you through the exercise… different in that once you become a member you get to choose different themed packs. I have done; Stress, Anxiety and Acceptance to name a few…

However this is actually supposed to be a book report! So lets get onto that…

 

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Being the avid reader that I am when I downloaded the app I also downloaded the book at the same time. Now I got a shit load of value out of this decision. 

What I unintentionally did for myself was prime myself for the sitting practice. I was READING FIRST about the meditation that I was then practicing later, so when he mentioned this new layer or concept each day during the app’s guided meditation I wasn’t sitting there going ‘Wow this is a radical concept, wow this is knew, hold on what was that, say that again please..?’. I was sitting there going ‘Ahh yeah, righto I remember reading that, yep got that, yep I remember that…’ which I felt resulted in a much more relaxed state of mind optimising the learning process.

Also the book helped me connect and trust Andy more as a person. I think when choosing a teacher/guide/mentor you must want something they have, and the more parts of them that you like/respect/admire/want the easier it is to accept and take into your life the advice/changes/ideas they are offering.

I also am a stickler for credibility, authenticity and EXPERIENCE. Sorry but if you are offering me advice on something you’ve only been involved in for a few years I’m going to fact check you pretty damn hard… even if you’ve been doing something for 20 years, if its not been at a professional, full time commitment level… still I will be sceptical of your words… Andy however spent 10 years in the Buddhist monk community, initially as a apprentice and then working as a fully ordained Buddhist monk (all while still in his 20’s), here’s the link to wiki… , plus he now runs a full time meditation consultation practice… So for me personally this was enough to make me happy to place trust in his words and advice…

So other than some really interesting stories from Andy’s life (I wish there was more of these, I hope he writes another book and delves more into his story and stories of being a monk… oddly they are often quite funny and very relatable!!!) and the guided mediation sequences (in written form), there are also some great case study stories that Andy shares from his current consultation practice which I also found highly valuable. Reading about the variety of things that mediation can help with definitely gave me the hope and confidence to push on and develop my own practice.  

 

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These are some of my favorite excerpts from the book:

 

 

Often in life we get so caught up in the analysis, the dissection of every possible outcome, that we miss an opportunity altogether. Of course, some things require careful consideration, but the more we live mindfully, in the moment, the more we start to get a sense of what feels right. Whether you think of it as a gut feeling, intuition, being guided, or just knowing for yourself that its the right thing to do, this can be an incredibly liberating discovery. – Andy

 

Carrying a map is one thing, having someone show you the way is quite another. – Andy

 

For some reason we’ve come to believe that happiness should be the default setting in life and therefore, anything different is somehow wrong… life can become like a chore, and an endless struggle to chase and maintain that feeling of happiness. – Andy

 

…meditation does not make you think! All it does is shine a big bright light on you ind so that you can see it more clearly. This bright light is awareness. – Lessons from a monk

 

If you can give up your desire to always experience pleasant things, at the same time as giving up your fear of experiencing unpleasant things, then you’ll have a quiet mind… When we try hard to hold onto please states of min that creates tension… when it comes to unpleasant feeling we’re always trying to get ride of them, right? This also creates tension… – Lessons from a monk

 

At first you see the hole, but the habit of walking down that part of the street is so strong that you can’t help but walk straight into it. You know it’s madness, you know that it’s going to hurt, but you just can’t help yourself!… if you continue meditating, you’ll begin to see the hole much earlier and be able to take some evasive action. At first you may try to go around the edge and fall in anyway… eventually, with practice, you’ll see it with such clarity that you’ll simply walk around it and continue on your way. – Lessons from a monk

 

If you’re distracted, then it’s not meditation. Only if you’re undistracted is it meditation. There is no such thing as good and bad meditation, there is only distracted or undistracted, aware or unaware. – Lessons from monk

 

We actually have the ability not to take thoughts too seriously… Think back to a time when you might have had a though that was so extreme you laughed at it. In that moment, you saw it for what it was, a crazy thought, no more than that. And so you didn’t give it too much importance and probably let it go. So we have this ability within us, it’s just getting used to the feeling of taking up the position of an observer on a more regular basis. – Andy

 

Happy reading peoples.

Namaste :)