The difference maker touted by CEOs, college professors, and celebrities for effectiveness and fortitude is meditation. Now that this spiritual practice has become so well known for improving concentration, lowering blood pressure, easing anxiety, and just helping us get more shit done, it's time for capitalist to harvest its many properties and ensure that one of the benefits of meditation is also that it is profitable. I have a water app to remind me to drink something that I would die without. Seems silly, but with there being so many options for fluid consumption, the most basic, free, and life giving option goes by the wayside. Dry hair, bad skin, lack of concentration, and poor digestion are some of the effects of being dehydrated before your organs start to shut down. So to remind me to grab a cup of water before tea, lemonade, a Starbucks drink or pop, I use technology. Adults don't want their parents nagging them to eat their vegetables or to check their oil. Instead we use daytime TV filled with experts who love us way less than our parents as guideposts for what's best for us on a daily basis. The difference is, the TV experts are going to charge us a fee either through the cable service or with commercials. The same can be said for the world of apps. Yes, some are free, but let this conspiracy theorists tell you, they are reading your data habits while you sleep or in this case meditate. The marketing emails, telemarketing calls, and ads you see on social media are not by accident. The newest meditation app I've tried has an option for better sleep, to use before a date or job interview, and even a panic attack, say what now? If I'm on the verge of a panic attack I'm supposed to have the wherewithal to pull out my device, type in the security code, click on an app, sort through the ads, find this meditation and experience mental bliss shortly thereafter. Are we all not aware that the gift of meditation and the act of meditating are one in the same. The ability to pause your actions and thoughts to interject the right action and right thoughts is meditation. If I can interrupt a panic attack to pull up an app, then I have just interrupted the panic attack. Alas, as a life coach expert myself, I know that until one makes it a habit, one can't utilize nor benefit from even the best of antidotes. The notifications we allow from our devices are supposed to facilitate habit creation. After a while, for me at least, they start to resemble a nagging parent and pretty soon they're the noise pollution and distractions that are putting distance between me and my goals. As a spiritual life coach, I've taken a class on meditation and received a passing grade. After life coach school, I've continued to read books, listen to speakers, attend sessions outside my home, and yes, use meditation apps to increase and improve my meditation practice. What can I say, the stuff really makes a difference. However, once you begin, it's always a part of you. If you need to meditate before surgery or a test, no matter if you're the receiver or deliverer of said surgery or test, just do it. Eyes closed or open, you can bring attention to your breathing and instantly interrupt an unwanted reality for a new one, that, like life, always begins with a breath. You're meditating right now. The newest app, I've tried comes from an educated accomplished entrepreneur that I had to witness being crushed on the TV show Shark Tank because the business experts felt she overvalued her company. My hubby and I felt so bad for her that we immediately decided to try out the app only to discover a half off discount for Shark Tank viewers, hmmm. Simple Habit is a thoroughly thought out app that curates world renowned meditation practitioners to guide you towards your meditation goal. It's a free app and there are a few simple meditations. However, the good stuff is gonna cost you the equivalent of a daily Starbucks habit. The Inscape app does what it's name implies; you escape inwardly. This app allows one to tap their inner landscape of concentrated breathing with focused vocal direction to strengthen pausation. After all, everything you need is already inside and available to you. We just need to learn how to better access it when we have use for it. Meditation certainly supports you in doing that. Inscape also has a brick and mortar facility that provides in person meditation classes. Both of these apps will charge you monthly or annually for a membership. You can also own certain themed meditations for a small fee and use them as much as you want. Of course this will get boring. Yes, meditation and waiting for the benefits of meditation to kick in can be very boring. This may be why people need support, technological or otherwise, to stick with it. Once I was able to quiet the chatter, monkeys, or "a.n.t.s." in my own head, I'd find myself sleeping away. Some people feel like a failure if they wind up sleeping during meditation. You'll hear those who are really committed say, "I'm not doing it right." You are. Meditation always opens the door to the cerebral storehouse and allows you to take what you need and only what you can carry. There's no burdening allowed. If you fall asleep, you may just have needed the nap. What I learned about myself through meditation is that I'm pretty much a real life superhero. I have the uncanny ability to make order out of chaos. Before I could control this power, it looked like I thrived in chaos. This doesn't sound good at all. There was even a point where I distrusted myself so much that I thought I was creating the chaos just to give myself something to bring order to. As a I learned to control my gift, I realized that it's like I can hear the hurts of the world through my feelings. As a result, I needed to learn how to turn off the world so I could have peace. I used to suffer from night terrors, so clearly my sleep pattern was being interrupted, which didn't allow me to get the benefits of proper sleep. When I was falling asleep during meditation, in the beginning, it was because I really needed a peaceful way to access rest. I still have nightmares. I now prioritize taking naps. And I also get very good sleep. Meditation has changed my life exponentially. The bad stuff doesn't go away until your heartbeat does. However, there is a way of living with chaos, stress, or negative thoughts in harmony with peace, confidence, and focus. Meditation provides a way of coexisting with your afflictions and your abilities. The last meditation app I've tried and the best one I might add comes from Oprah Winfrey and Deepak Chopra. The latter has a center for yoga, meditation, and various other spiritually centered classes, and of course we all know the former has been practicing and touting the benefits of meditation for as long as we can remember. The road from being an unwanted child in racially segregated Mississippi to being the queen of media influence, CEO, and philanthropic billionaire must be fraught with horrors and hurts yet untold. The gift of meditation has clearly allowed Ms. Winfrey to access interchangeably her vision, her potential, her voice, and her talents to create success over and over again. This is Mastery at its finest. Why am I partial to Oprah's app? Well it's Oprah & Deepak, and it's always been free. The app often launches free 21-day themed meditation events that certainly help one ingrain the habit into one's daily activities. There are no annoying notifications. It has space for journal writing, beautiful imagery, and the soothing voices of Oprah & Deepak. A friend complained about being able to understand Deepak's accent, and yes, some people may feel Oprah is over exposed. Having her in your ear may not seem appealing. I respectfully disagree. These two together are the parents I hoped, wished, and prayed for. No, I don't want to replace my parents, just the tape of my inheritance that can sometimes play in my head without my permission. My parents nagged doubt, fear, insecurity, inferiority, hate and disbelief into my subconscious. They didn't know any better; it's okay. Oprah & Deepak have done the opposite and thus far, all for free... sorta. It is setup to try before you buy. There is no meditation available unless you purchase it or sign up for the next 21-day experience. Given that their app is the best, and I want to take my meditation practice to the next level, I'll make my first meditation purchase through this app. You can certainly go it alone with just a place to sit, some willingness, and that very free breathing you're doing right now. Meditation allows us to have an intermission for the dramas playing out in our minds when we unknowingly relive our traumas in our sleep or awake, or the news cycle goes from being a loop on CNN to a loop in our brains. The mind doesn't turn off until we're dead. It's job is to process information nonstop. Sometimes we can control the information, most times not. Meditation facilitates harmony so the inner me doesn't become the enemy, allowing me to use my superpowers wherever and whenever I want for good and for good.