Jumping into the new year of 2021, Netflix was proud to release a new interactive animated show, Headspace: Guide to Meditation. With circumstantial battles of the pandemic emerging throughout the past year, these eight episodes of guided relaxation might just be what society needs.
After studying meditation for years, speaker Andy Puddicombe shares practices he learned throughout his journey living with Buddhist monks. The show contains abstract animations of shapes floating around in an infinite imaginative realm portrayed as the mind. With little commitment needed, each 20 minute segment dives deeper into the idea that you are not your thoughts. They showed subtle methods on how to tune out stress, anxiety, anger, physical setbacks, unfulfillment, and thoughts themselves.
I especially loved the tone of low expectations and relatability presented. There wasn’t any special music or cliché beach waves in the background. There wasn’t a wrong way to sit, breathe, think or visualize. In a way it makes this experience feel completely leisurely, kind of like hypnosis. You could tell the speaker was highly aware and sensitive to people who may have more trouble clearing their mind. He would often mention how thoughts naturally wander off in such blank focus.
Another aspect that made this show interesting was the abstract animations. The metaphorical pictures uniquely interpreted stressful situations people feel everyday. It felt like a wakeup call stressing that I wasn’t the only one going through mind restlessness. The colors and visuals alone would be interesting to watch even without the following meditation sequences.
At the beginning of each episode, the speaker revealed a little part of him by telling stories from his own journey to living a happier and more peaceful life. He also shared personal stories about his students and their struggles. This again made it feel more relatable hearing him talk of others and their internal battles.
Although the speaker came from a deeply religious background, the guide itself was so neutral and comfortable in regards to particular beliefs. I was beyond surprised to learn that there are real physical benefits that result from meditation. After watching just one episode, I felt noticeably more relaxed and isolated from my negative thoughts. As I watched more and more, I learned how to accept that these thoughts come and go like every situation I have been in. I would highly recommend this to anyone, regardless of whether you are encountering a stressful situation or not, for it can be life changing.