The Meditation App For People Who Don’t Meditate


Surely its creators didn't mean it this way, but Insight Timer was made for competitive meditation. Which, if you're of average stringing (meaning that you're significantly higher strung than most regular meditators), might be the only type of meditation that works for you. Not only does the app list a live "Activity" scroll of users from around the world who've just completed a session—"Harj in Stockport, England completed 30 minutes of Meditation," "Yasu in Okinawa, Japan completed 20 minutes..." and so on—but it keeps track of how you're measuring up against yourself. Check your "Stats" to visually rack up consecutive days of meditation and total days you've meditated since first downloading. It even sets meditation milestones and sifts everything into an Excel-like chart, for the sensing, thinking, and judging types (in reference to the Jungian personality profiles; there exists about a dozen different apps for determining yours).

Choose between timed meditation (for $2.99 you can upgrade your ending bell from WoodBlock to the Kangsê bowl or Gong HanChi, among other features) and a whole slew of guided meditations, Jon Kabat-Zinn's "Healing Lake Meditation" being Emily Weiss's top pick. One instructs you to place your past regrets and future worries in two different suitcases, imagine yourself setting them outside, and then walk back in and chill out. Sounds crazy—and it is, because I'm not just packing up the expensive juicer I shipped from Texas and never use or my new "assembly required" Ikea kitchen cart and throwing them out on the avenue—but it's actually very calming. The guided sessions run anywhere from less than four minutes to an hour, so you can build up your zen-durance (had to, sorry). There's even a real-time map with little yellow dots showing where all the current meditators in the world, using the app, are located. So if you weren't already compelled to get in on the action, that extra layer of nationalism could push you over the edge. No? What if I told you that the Basu bell is totally free?

—Annie Kreighbaum

Jared Leto photographed by Terry Richardson for Terry Richardson's Diary

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  • Anna

    First i laughed now I can't get enough!

  • Emma Hager

    This sounds like such a cool app! It's hard for me to meditate these days because I always feel like there a million other things to do in this world that need my attention. That's really not case all the time, especially when taking a few moments to passively observe yourself are extremely necessary.

    Also, Annie, I love your writing. Always a pleasure to be on the receiving end of your type.

    • ITG Annie

      Emma Hager, you are a delight to have as a reader!

      • Emma Hager

        Your Stacey dress-up the other day was, as they say, *everything.*

  • Chelsea Scally

    LMAO ok this is seriously exactly what I need!! Was just saying the other day I need to meditate but I don't even know where to begin, this is worth a shot right?

  • Lauren

    Saw the pic and thought we were getting a Jared Leto Top Shelf. Will meditate on this.

    • AsphodelJones

      Saw this pic and hoped against hope we were getting a Jared Leto Top Shelf (or one from the even-better looking brother, Shannon Leto!).

      • Eliza

        Omgggg me too--I want to know what hair products he uses (and get more shirtless pictures of him).

    • ITG Annie

      The first shirtless, wet Top Shelf. Ha!

  • ikillplants

    How about this for a meditation breaker (must chant): More Annie More Annie More Annie!

  • Pink Elephant Blog

    I love meditation apps! They really do help. I use Simply Being and Headspace - both are really great!


  • Haiku Jew

    My meditation
    is walking on a Maine marsh
    and after, coffee.

  • Perfectly Imperfect

    Never tried meditation but I just might now.

  • Hannah

    Downloading this because my brain is a monster. Thanks Annie!

    • ITG Annie

      Hi Hannah!!!

  • Clove7771

    Annie, your writing is entertaining & informative. Thanks for piquing my interest. I will try this app while I'm waiting for your next post.

  • Cat Woods

    Have you tried Smiling Mind? It's Australian - they have different meditation programs for different purposes. I'm about to do the sports program to "increase my focus" and fight "negative thoughts"!