My experience with mindfulness is a bit checkered. I’ve used a few of the popular apps out there to learn the practice, to some degree of success. For one reason or another, though, the habit just didn’t stick. I’d loathe the 10 minutes of silence, totally defeating the purpose. Mindfulness finally clicked for me when I connected it to my faith. No longer was I seeking to focus solely on myself; rather, I was taking time to intimately be with God.
For many years, mindfulness and meditation have been suggested to me for improving my physical health. Migraines thrive on an overactive nervous system, and mindfulness has been show to reduce that hyperactivity. At least three separate times, I tried to implement mindfulness into my daily routine. Each method that I tried to learn, whether through a book or an app, wanted me to “just simply be.” Reaching that state required a laser-like focus on myself in each moment. I would try to discover how I feel, what’s going on in my body, and what do I sense in this moment?
Only now, in hindsight, do I see the problem with these methods. These guides were telling me to turn inward to find peace, when the true source of peace is God. I can’t find peace, or be truly present in the moment, without shifting my focus off of me and onto the Giver.
There are several really good meditation apps in the iOS App Store. Modern, beautiful, easy to use, and really enticing. I used several of them, but I hesitated from subscribing to any of the big ones, like Calm. The price tag was just too high for something that I wasn’t enjoying.
That all changed when I found Hallow.
One evening, I was searching for Catholic apps to install on my phone. There are very few apps that are both Catholic and really good. Hallow’s app icon first caught my eye. It was bold and I was instantly drawn to it. I downloaded the app and started playing around with it. The user interface is at the level of some recent Apple Design Award winners. It’s clean, simple, and delightful.
After experimenting for a few minutes, I started the sessions. Hallow has what they call “praylists.” These are a series of meditations on a particular topic. I did my first session and immediately felt the connection. 10 minutes wasn’t arduous or boring, it was a joy. I looked forward to my time meditating and praying. I enjoyed it so much, I now do two 10-minute sessions a day, with ease.
The creators of Hallow have put a lot of thought and effort into their app. Not only does it look and feel good, the content is rock solid. It’s not thin and it’s not too dense. The theological value hits right in the middle of leading you deeper into prayer and then getting out of the way so that you can pray.
Background soundscapes are an important component in modern mindfulness apps. Developers are constantly creating and adding new background noises for users to listen to while meditating. There’s the classic thunderstorm soundscape or a babbling river, all the way to New Age electronic trance music.
Hallow has three background soundscapes, but one totally caught me by surprise; silence. No noise, whatsoever. The narrator leads me, and then leaves me in peace. He pops back in for a prompt or two, but when he’s quiet, my world is quiet. I relish this peacefulness.
I subscribed to a full year of Hallow because I want this app to continue to grow and expand. The App Store is in a malaise, with hundreds of thousands of apps, but only a few good ones. The golden era that the early days of the store are long gone, and now you have to really search for the diamonds in the rough. Hallow is a true diamond.
If you want to take your prayer life in a new direction, or if you want to get into mindfulness, you need to take a look at Hallow
. Spend your meditation time connecting deeper with your Creator.