Guided meditation apps are naturally spread over time

Meditation’s insights unfold slowly. Aspirants are typically advised to practice daily. Over weeks and months, they may begin to experience the world differently. Some concepts in meditation won’t make any sense if you’re still having trouble clearly perceiving your breath—so they’re better introduced somewhat later. Other concepts must be introduced many times, in many different framings, before the moment is finally right.

A book on meditation isn’t well-suited to this kind of slow unfurling: much of it may not make sense initially; readers will have to re-read it again and again as their practice progresses. Most readers probably won’t.

But a Guided meditation app’s experience is stretched out in time. Each day’s session can introduce some new idea: Guided meditation apps bundle instruction with daily sessions. Intermittent repetition of old ideas can keep them active in the back of students’ minds until they’re ready to really engage with them. Rather than delivering a bound monograph on meditation, the ideas can be slowly unfurled (a kind of Timeful text). This is an unusual property for a mass medium: Mass mediums mostly lack an authored time dimension beyond a day.

A particularly sophisticated meditation course could even introduce “more challenging” ideas later in the sequence, a bit like the idea described in Mnemonic texts could be serialized in small sections over time, timed to reader recall

Some connections here to Spaced everything; e.g. Spaced repetition may be a helpful tool to develop or change habits.

Last updated 2023-07-13.