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It’s going to drive you insane.” Stewart Butterfield, the C. “I feel like we’re in the early stages of a species-level change with devices,” he told me.

All of this has led to a strange but perhaps inevitable oxymoron: digital therapy.

Since 2012, when the app launched, Headspace has been downloaded by three million users. ”Puddicombe’s surprise might have been exaggerated. For several years now, the overlapping worlds of business and self-help have been abuzz about mindfulness meditation.

Among its acolytes are Richard Branson, who put the company’s meditation exercises on Virgin Airlines flights, and the Seattle Seahawks. (In February, an executive coach opined in the that mindfulness “is close to taking on cult status in the business world.”) The World Economic Forum, in Davos, opens with daily meditation sessions; Fortune 500 companies like General Mills, General Motors, and Target offer their employees contemplative programs, embracing Huffington’s message that enlightenment need not be at odds with the pursuit of profit.

He is bald, with blue eyes and a deep tan, and he looks as much like a personal trainer as like a personal guru. Meditation was one of the habits that seeped from San Francisco’s counterculture into its hacker culture.

The rest of the Headspace app consists of three hundred and fifty hours’ worth of guided meditation lessons, delivered by Puddicombe.Catherine Kerr, a neuroscientist at Brown, told me, “Just in the last five months, I’ve talked to several people using Headspace.They’ve all reported these hard-to-quantify benefits that have to do with attention, equanimity, alertness, and being able to deal with daily life.” Among my friends in New York, I’d noticed something similar. told me that it had cured his anxiety: “It’s like having a monk in your pocket.”Last year, following a period during which a combination of stress, caffeine, and Instagram addiction had me in a constant state of low-level hysteria, I downloaded Headspace.The basics of mindfulness meditation are easy to find—you can download instructions from the Web.But, Puddicombe told Brzezinski at , “I liken it to driving a car.

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