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.