I have been using the Black Lotus app from the day of its inception. It is indeed a cleverly built app with a unique, one of its kind gamification of success on spiritual path. While the earlier versions of the app where the stepping stone in the right direction for transformation, the latest version has pivoted to bring out the best from the user’s ability and enable them to achieve success and extraordinary benefits on the path.

At the heart of this change in approach is the most important attribute that drives triumphant organizations of any category of products that humans have built; Quality. In my opinion, the most indispensable feature of any product be it made from a machine or hand is its Quality. The same applies to self-transformation in humans, the Quality of change that one eventually achieves.

Let me first tell you how I used the previous versions in my practice.

Black lotus app basically worked towards enabling and tracking the progress of the aspirant on three fronts; meditation, chanting and kindness. While kindness was driven by a set of recommended RAKs (Random acts of kindness) to channelize one’s external behavior, meditation and chanting were more intrinsic to one’s mental and “spiritual” personality.

RAK’s required me to get out of my shell and do some acts that bring a smile on face of others, bail people out of trouble or even help them when they least expected. I feel it helps as a building block to make the core of one’s personality tender. The RAK’s have helped me in incorporating three key behavioral attributes in my life; Courage, Compassion and most importantly Empathy. (Links to check my take on these attributes)

The app also helped me in expressing myself by means of sharing kindness stories. The expression of one’s deeds not only helps in building self-confidence to further continue with it, but also inspires others to take up this transformational habit.

The techniques and methodologies around Mediation and Mantra Chanting are described in detail in “A Million Thoughts” and “The Ancient Science of Mantras” respectively. Their benefits and approach for success on the respective path are also covered elaborately in the book. The Black Lotus app acts as a platform, as a tool, to trod the path of spiritual transformation with the books as “Syllabus”. The previous versions of app had goals based on number of hours one invests in mediation and chanting. The more the hours, the higher you move on the gamified path of spiritual evolution.

So as a user, I was clear with my approach, sit down, invest the hours, churn it, day in day out. As the days ticked by, Black Lotus app became my companion, it became my mind journal. The metrics on the app were a measure of my effort invested in all three aspects meditation, chanting and kindness.

RAK’s did the job similar to a drop of curd, turning entire bowl milk into itself, that too irreversibly. Kindness slowly started to become my second nature. (Long way to go, but I have a feeling am on right track). The recommendation for RAK’s makes it easier for one to “Act”.

When it comes to meditation and chanting, my approach was very straight forward, sit down on my asana, put the Black Lotus app on, let it do the counting while I practiced (either silent or guided meditation / chanting). I did this for nearly 2 years. I think most of the users did this for 2 years. We together as a community clocked thousands of hours of chanting and meditation.

The benefit? Personally, I can now sit for certain specified duration of time unmoved which was not possible before. The numbers that I clocked got my body and mind trained to an act that slowly was becoming an indispensable habit. The quantity of hours I accumulated had built a foundation on which I can now carve my path towards transformation (Long Long way to go though).

But is that the only purpose? Did it actually mean I had to keep on accumulating hours to get better? Was the equation towards transformational change directly proportional to number of hours I sit on my asana and meditate? It was surely not just that, I wouldn’t say I had got it wrong but I would confess I did not get it right. While I was thinking on methods to tweak my approach and going back to school i.e. reading the two books again, the announcement of new version of Black Lotus app came out.

The app had now completely changed, and it was not just the UI/UX but the approach towards building transformational changes had changed. While it would be cliched to say it had come as a blessing from the mentor and founder of Black Lotus, our beloved Swamiji, the question that came up to me is “why was the black lotus app not like this from the start itself?”

Maybe it required certain level of readiness on the aspirants part, maybe it was a planned approach to build the foundation using old version so that the user to soars higher with this new version. Either ways we have now arrived at the right moment, the right place with the understanding of right skillset and most importantly the best tool; Black Lotus – The World’s Best Meditation App

It gave me the impetus to pivot from just Quantity to Quality.

The latest version of Black lotus has dedicated its focus on building the traits that are key to self transformation still keeping meditation, chanting, breath work and kindness at the heart of its approach.

More importantly it has adopted the principle of HIIT which is a proven and validated success model when it comes to physical training. Also Black Lotus has come up with its very own RARE framework to enable user to take up goals and achieve transformation in their respective areas. Currently following are the goals that are available in the form of goals on app.

  1. Be Mindful: Master the art of mindfulness to be more effective at everything you do.
  2. Be Calm: Calmness is your most potent weapon, Master calmness.
  3. Experience Zen: Experience the power on Now.
  4. Build Focus: Unleash the power of concentrative meditation to be more focused in all aspects of your life.
  5. Be Stress Free: Stress is a response and you can change it.
  6. Build Self-Esteem: Regain your self-esteem and learn to love yourself.

So, what does this bring to the table now? How did it change my approach?

Firstly,  for me, it’s no more a case of just put the timer ON and accumulate the hours. It’s now about how well I perform in the limited time allotted. Yes, you heard it right limited time. Every task in the RARE pack is time bound. In fact, the time required to be invested from a user on a given day varies from about 17-21 mins only depending on the pack. The points scheme on the gamified spiritual path has also changed and is now based on completion of each stage of the RARE framework. And not just that, even the evaluation/journaling has some points associated with it. (Let me give you a hint, watch out for the evaluation part, it is the most important aspect if you have to move to next level on the path).

Suddenly my approach has changed. From writing an essay for 20 marks in a literature exam to that all important 2-mark MCQ in a GRE/GMAT exam. I now know my “performance” is no more linked to quantity of practice but to the Quality of my approach. So, when I sit down for my Sadhana, my mind is now more alert to the fact that I have only 12-15 mins to train myself, it’s no more a leisurely walk in the park for 30-45 mins. I better “Be Here Now”, be sharp and alert to make the most of the handful minutes I have to practice.

For me, using the new version of Black lotus is no more about doing elaborate and daunting task like digging a road through a mountain using a Tunnel Boring Machine, its more intricate like drillin holes with laser in a computer chip. More sharp, more precise and of best Quality.