“What do meditation apps reflect? Are they just another form of habitual compulsion—just an automatic way to relax—or are they tools for facilitating personal growth and awareness? I think they can be both.
There’s not a really a way to determine which it is globally. I’m seeing people grapple with this on a very individual level, where they realize they’re using the app for a purpose and then eventually realize that this purpose is the wrong purpose to have.
That’s [an insight] that’s common in meditation communities in general—rethinking and re-reflecting upon why you’re doing what you’re doing, why you’re thinking what you’re thinking…
An open question people are asking about meditation apps is: If you’re outsourcing attention to the technology itself, is it really attention that you’re developing as a skill for yourself?
I think ultimately people are looking for a changed relationship with life itself.
Digital technology often stands in for this larger problem in society. The relationship between technology and society is more complex than public discourse allows, so I think people are really looking for a change to their life.
How they experience world. How they go about the world. What parts of the world can people actually change?
The common trope is that you can’t change the world, but you can change yourself. I think many meditation app user—and many meditators—sort of approach changing the world through changing the self. By changing your relationship to the world, you’re changing your life, you’re changing your phenomenological experience.
But then the way you interact with your environment—what you put out there sort of creates a different type of feedback loop that not only changes your experience but the experience of others. So changing yourself can make the world better ultimately.
I think that’s where a lot of people are coming from.”