September, 2010

Sep 10

Project Dagaz

Beer van Geer – Project Dagaz from Quantified Self Amsterdam on Vimeo.

This video excites me. It is from a Quantified Self talk (I have mentioned that group before).  And the guy is using technology to measure meditation.  Right up my alley. Within the first two minutes of the video, Beer van Geer asks the same question that I had mentioned in my previous post.

Where is the open culture of meditation in western societies?  How will meditation manifest itself in the west?  He seems to think that it will be through technology (which I agree with).

He is using a NeuroSky mindset device to track brain waves while meditating.  The hardware seems pretty non-intrusive. Especially compared to emotiv’s headset. Could you imagine someone walking around with one of emotiv’s headsets attached to their head? Any hardware like this has to be designed with the minimal amount of weirdness in mind. Otherwise, this type of device will forever remain a toy.

And even if a user takes the leap and puts on the NeuroSky headset, the specific application that van Geer built is still too esoteric. He has every right to maintain a spiritual theme within his application, but displaying mandalas and playing odd music in the background will not help bring meditation to the masses.

But this is a step in the right direction. This is the future.

Sep 10

Why Call It Mindfulness?

Meditation is too foreign of a concept for Westerners to take seriously.

If someone is meditating in a park in Japan, do people look at them strangely? I don’t know. I have never been to Japan. But I know that if you try to doing it here, then you definitely would turn heads.

And that is detrimental to the meditation experience. Yes, you could say that if you were truly meditating then people looking at you would not matter. But that is a little too idealistic.

At my office building, complete strangers cluster in a room and stare off into space for hours on end. They are not meditating. They are exercising.

What is the difference?

People can see what you are doing when you are exercising. When you are meditating, they do not know what is going on in your mind. So, they probably assume the worst.

Continue reading →

Sep 10

A Floating Milk Bottle

Dairy in the SkyBack when I was younger, I read about a technique used to help you remove a controlling thought from your immediate awareness when you were trying to be mindful.

When the thought comes up, you picture a glass bottle.  I always pictured an empty milk bottle.  The kind that you would leave at your doorstep for the milkman to pick up.

Then you would visualize the controlling thought and place it right next to that bottle.  I would try to come up with some kind of visually striking symbol that was related to what I was thinking about.

You would imagine the thought slowly entering the bottle. Then imagine a cork plugging up the bottle.

Continue reading →

Sep 10

Clarity Breakers

Periodically throughout my day, I recall times when I was able to think very clearly.  I remember having full control of my thoughts.  I remember everything seeming to be in its right place.

Broken EyeglassesPeriodically throughout my day, I recall times, in my life, when I was able to think very clearly.  I remember having full control of my thoughts.  I remember everything seeming to be in its right place.

Those moments of clarity do not happen often.  And when I stop to think about them, I try to determine what about the present moment is stopping me from feeling that clarity.

The causes fall into three categories:

  1. Body
  2. Mind
  3. Environment

Continue reading →