Note to Andy Puddicombe

Andy Puddicombe is the voice of Headspace, a guided meditation app which has gotten some attention recently. I’ve been using Headpace for over a year now and really love it. As I was meditating this morning I had a question regarding the meditation and wanted to reach out to Andy. Hopefully I’ll get a response! The question is below, I’ll update this with any answers I get from Andy or the Headspace crew.

Question:

Hey @andypuddicombe, I love what you’re doing with @get_headspace! I’m was curious though, going through level 6 you talk about focusing on ‘this’. On the happenings of the current moment without dwelling on conceptions of you or I. Certainly not focusing on past events and reliving how they made you feel. But, I’ve found that the analysis of previous actions/events can be useful when done in a way that promotes growth and not dwelling in the past. On learning rather than self-flagellation. Granted, it’s difficult to stay growth focused when ruminating on the emotional past. In your opinion, is there a place for this type of introspection in a mindful life? Recommendations on further resources regarding this type of ‘mindful rumination’ would be much appreciated.

This Will Not Be Much

I want to write something every night before I go to bed. It might not be good, it might not even follow a coherent theme. But it will be words that I created. At the end of the day it will be my creation.

I’ve been utilizing headspace for many months now and have been thoroughly enjoying it. As someone whose mind usually races, races, races all throughout the day I’ve found that my thoughts have been a little more deliberate throughout the day. I’ve found that I have a bit more space.

But as you progress through the course, one of the underlying themes is how to live in the moment. How to take what’s directly in front of you and acknowledge that as the main part of your existence. For me, trying to do this at first was like trying to make the Titanic to a 180- it’s just not going to happen. I’ve practiced ruminating on the past and projecting that into the future too much to be able to adequately focus on what’s actually happening right now. As time went on, though, I’ve found that I can focus on the present much better. Live in the moment, not in the YOLO way but in the presence of mind kind of way.

I think this is a good way to think, overall. It’s definitely been helpful to my overall happiness. But I do have some questions with this technique. For instance, many of my positive traits (and frankly, many of my negative traits as well) have arisen due to contemplating previous circumstances. Analyzing previous situations and thinking about how I could improve them has led me to many epiphanies. It’s been stressful along the way, but I have learned a lot through this technique.

So my question, to the world and to myself, is are these two things mutually exclusive? Can you focus on the present and simultaneously learn from your previous mistakes? Can you recognize that your past is part of yourself and therefore part of the present as well or is that cheating? Is there a time to focus on the past and then once you’ve made your conclusions you have to shut if off so that you can’t dwell on it any longer?

I have to think about this more because I really do not have an answer. But at first glance the ideas of living in the moment and improving based on previous circumstances seem to be at odds.