Headspace

About a year ago I tried to meditate using the headspace app for a while…it didn’t really stick. I struggled to find the right time of day to use it, even though when I did manage to do it, I really liked it.

Last night I was struggling to fall asleep. My brain was over drive so I downloaded the Headspace app again and logged in to try one of their sleep meditations.

The soft voice of the narrator guided me down a river with trees on the banks and fish in the water. Within minutes I drifted off.

It seemed to make me focus on just one thing (the fish story) and that was enough to send me to sleep with headphones on my ears.

it made me want to keep my subscription and try the meditation stuff again.

Getting bored and having energy

Is getting bored a good thing?

In the age of Facebook, Netflix, Spotify and Fortnite it’s easy to let the system take control. If you allow them, these streaming, entertaining, dopamine tripping platforms will keep you glued to your seats all day. They won’t let you get bored.

This thing is, getting bored serves a function. As far as I can tell, the whole purpose and spiritual breakthrough of Yoga is to cope with boredom and through this to reflect on life. No time for that in a video game.

Some other activities where boredom is there to be overcome:

Taking a walk with no phone in hand. Just walk.

Listening to an album from start to finish. Just listen

Running for 30 minutes straight. Just run.

When were you last bored?

Audio Responsibility

Who is responsible for the music you listen to? And the interviews you hear? Who decides when your voice gets recorded or not?

In a post industrial world, we have more choice than ever as to how and when we consume things. Take your music streaming service of choice – it likely has ~50m songs to choose from at the tap of a button. This can be overwhelming, which explains the success of Spotify and its algorithms. These ‘tailored playlists’ take the responsibility away from you and the music you hear.

The idea of audio responsibility then, asks us to behave in a more engaged way around music and anything else we feed our ears.

A couple of tips to get started on the road to audio responsibility:

  1. Read about it before you listen to it. This forces you to be an active participant and it makes the experience so much more satisfying. Check out this book to get started: Link
  2. The equipment you use makes a difference. Headphones, amplifiers and speakers are the best places to start investing (responsibly) in your audio experience.
  3. Nobody knows what you want to hear better than you. Not even Spotify.

Here’s to taking responsibility. 🙂

Google enhancements

One of my favourite things to do is to combine 2 x Google services to enhance my music listening experiences. I like to work my way through this book: 1001 albums to hear before you die. I have the book open to read in my browser in Google Play Books. As I read I listen to the albums on Google Play Music. A Google double whammy.

If you read about a piece of music while you listen to it, the experience is more enjoyable than just listening. Our brains respond to trusted recommendations and descriptive writing in interesting ways – the music seems to open up as you read about it. It is really fun identifying all the features of an album with headphones on, at the same time as it is described in words in front of you.

Google may not have the highest bitrate in its streaming service, but its flexibility and complementary nature of its other offerings mean that it has become a staple in my listening habits.