About this project
Our social fabric is in chaos. Animosity and intolerance are on the rise. We're here to suggest a surprising form of resistance: MEDITATION.
Resist the system with us. What is the system? The sum total of our culture, social conditioning, economics, and politics.
Awaken strikes at the heart of what this system depends on: perpetuating our illusion of separateness. When we meditate, we are rejecting the need for constant stimulation, detaching from consumerism. By contrast, we are cultivating a healthy, loving relationship with ourselves one that doesn’t rely on what we own or how we look, but which is rooted in the simplicity of who we are, our inherent and fundamental goodness as human beings.
Awaken is a new kind of meditation app that will open your mind to see the person society has influenced you to be. Come be a part of the revolution. Inspired by Eastern philosophy, each audio-guided Awaken meditation digs into the heart of our real everyday lives, including our relationships, our habits, work, culture, and society. Each week, we will release 2-5 new practices that delve into classic themes and teachings, as well as current trends and subject matter, such as intense topics that reflect what is happening right now. Bringing mindfulness into all the facets of our everyday lives is an ongoing process of renewal. Our app will meet that need by refreshing and renewing on a timely basis to respond to peaceful ever-changing personal and societal needs.
Our Practices Feature:
- Classic mindfulness meditation,
- Contemplation with a journaling prompt,
- Opportunity to share your wisdom and connect with other members.
Our Method is about exploring what's true for you and your own experience and connecting and sharing with others. With social media becoming more and more frivolous and superficial everyday, the Awaken community is about real, heartfelt connection, and the wisdom that arises from intentional conversation.
We know there are a lot of meditation apps out there - but none of them are talking about culture and politics, undoing racism and sexism, or about the impact that all these systems have on our minds and hearts. How can we can separate from the world and somehow have a pleasant, peaceful internal existence without addressing what’s actually going on around us? Yet that’s what other meditation apps seem to be teaching.
We’re different. We believe that internal and societal transformation need to happen simultaneously.
Or, as one of eye-opening Awaken teachers Rev. angel puts it: "Love and justice are not two. Without inner change, there can be no outer change; without collective change, no change matters."
We hope to build a strong community and even a movement of bringing mindfulness more deeply into our lives, culture, and politics. We're not *just* a meditation app alone, and we’re fortunate to be working with some leading luminaries in the application of mindfulness to our lives and world:
In one sense, Rev. angel, Lama Rod, and Greg Snyder are not just meditation teachers. They’re teachers of the world, farseeing prophets whose teachings point the way out of our current chaos toward a more harmonious inner and outer world for all beings. Immersing yourself in their teachings is absolutely life-changing. Awaken is here to let you do just that!
After incredibly positive feedback from test users this past spring, we're asking your help to take it to the next level. We're pre-selling discounted memberships so that we can develop a fully featured app for both iOS and Android and to compensate our teachers. Help us achieve this mission and be a part of the change.
We're so excited to share the project and build it further with you!
- Use the app
- Access our full library of meditations
- Attend our live, virtual teachings and enlightening discussions
- Talk with the creators of Awaken or our knowledgeable teachers.
- Go deeper with your practice and receive teachings specifically individualized to where you are.
- One-on-one collaboration with a teacher is a time-honored tradition across meditation lineages that can be truly transformative.
Why We Created Awaken & The Story So Far
Ravi here. The idea for this app crystallized for me the morning after the 2016 US Presidential election. I was at week-long silent meditation retreat, and when the results were posted that morning, I was devastated, along with pretty much all the participants at the retreat. Thankfully, the teachers leading the retreat decided to break the schedule of dawn-till-dusk meditation. Instead, they facilitated group conversations and awareness practices geared at allowing us all to process emotions and support each other.
While there was no changing the results of the election, what happened that day was transformative for everyone in the room, whether it was simply moving through stages of grief or even brainstorming creative methods (of which this app is one). The day combined all the things that make Awaken special - mindfulness practices, contemplation, and supportive conversation and authentic sharing. Being so moved by the experience, I had to find a way to share what I had been through - and the result is this app.
We've spent the Spring testing our prototype with a small group of users, and results have been off the charts. Check out what people have been saying:
There is a long way to go, but we really believe we’re building something special - an amazing app, community, and movement. And from the beginning, I knew I didn’t want to do this as a regular, profit-focused startup - so we’re going to function as a worker-owned cooperative. Instead of owning 80%+ of the company, Susan and I own one share each, just like everyone else we’ll work with - and while profit is a long ways off, we’ll be putting most of any extra money we make towards social causes instead of keeping it for ourselves. I wanted to send a clear signal to our community that we care first and foremost about our mission. We’re doing a bunch of other things differently as well - you can read more below or on the About section of our website.
About Our Approach & How We’ll Use the Funds
While we ask for a monthly membership fee like other meditation apps, profit maximization is not our goal - transformation of self and society is. We'll use the funds we raise to sustainably provide a great digital (and hopefully, down the road, physical) space for our community, and to compensate our terrific teachers, ensuring our meditation content is top-notch. We pledge to be fully transparent with expenses and include you in the process of financial decisions. And as soon as we responsibly can, we'll be switching to a pay-what-you-can model to maximize accessibility (and we’ll even have some scholarship memberships available when we launch). You can find out more about what makes us unique on our organizational philosophy page.
We have big dreams about what the future of meditation, our social institutions, and the world could be - but we need your help to get there. Let's build that future, together. If you have any questions about our fledgling company or any of the rewards or anything else, just shoot us a note at email@example.com.
About the Founders
The co-founding team of Awaken, Ravi Mishra and Susan Stainman, have backgrounds in mindfulness, tech, entrepreneurship, and art. We handle the development of the app and production logistics, and, for now, we guide most of the meditations.
Born in India, raised in California, living in Brooklyn, Ravi is desperately trying not to be a cliche, and failing. In his simultaneously best and worst hipster impression, he's combining his expertise (technology and entrepreneurship) with his deepest passion (meditation and Buddhism) to try to create something that "helps people" or "makes the world a better place." When not being self-referential in an app bio, you can find him teaching meditation at the Dharma Den, running or biking around Brooklyn, or pursuing one of too many hobbies (current favorite: learning how to spin fire poi). He was a very active participant in Occupy Boston and has worked at one of the largest activist/online campaigning organizations in the world, Avaaz.org. He's been practicing in the Zen tradition for almost a decade and is soon to be a student in the Mountains and Rivers Order Zen lineage.
Susan is a Susan, most of the time. When she's not Susan-ing, you can find her at her studio in Brooklyn making her art or teaching meditation. Then again, you could argue that exactly then is when she's most Susan-ning. It's all very confusing, this notion of identity. (This bio was written as a placeholder by an Awaken co-founder who'll remain nameless. Upon reading it, Susan declared she could do no better. But we'll take just a second and plug her art.)
And We Like To Have Fun
This didn't make our final video, but in case you have a minute and enjoy laughing, we present, for your viewing pleasure...
Risks and challenges
We wanted to make sure we kept risks and challenges to a minimum before we turned to you to help bring our dream to life, so we've created a prototype of the app for the iPhone. We're confident we can take this prototype and get to a fully featured app for both iOS and Android with a successful Kickstarter campaign. And given that we already have some amazing teachers lined up, we don't see much risk or challenge in sourcing great meditations for you. We're proud to say that we don't foresee any significant risks or challenges for this project!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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