It’s true to say, the more you understand about any subject, the greater your chances of becoming skillful.
To draw a comparison, let’s think about meditation apps. Out of curiosity I have recently listened to one of these and found the experience very interesting. After just a few minutes of guided meditation I actually started to feel slightly stressed. The opposite of the apps intention. The problem, as I heard it, was that in comparison to my own, the person setting the pace of this guidance, had a slightly elevated anxiety level. I ended up being guided into a place that felt nothing like calm and more like mania.
It goes without saying that attendance on a meditation/mindfulness training course, has a far greater power, in helping us fully experience the benefits of meditation. Meditating in silent solitude is a completely different experience to being guided. Guidance may be necessary at first, yet, if the pace of this leaves us feeling stressed, it would only prove counterproductive. And if it does little to teach us about the process we’re about to undertake, we can be left feeling, like we’re stumbling around in the dark. Understanding the process is part of the method!
It’s also worth considering how improved understanding of the mind, and how the intervention of meditation can affect us, helps us to overcome the reasons for why most people fail to become proficient. It’s only once we’re proficient meditators are we able to increase everyday mindfulness.
The ‘faddish’ nature of phone apps may be doing more harm than good.
The ability to stick with meditation, comes from an improved understanding of the mind, and how to overcome its unwillingness to quieten. A course that uses models, relaxed guidance, and advice from an expert is, and will always be, the sensible choice.