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A Mosaic of Traditions - One Virtual Sangha => Practice Tools => Topic started by: OOBD on April 18, 2015, 09:45:51 am

Title: Meditation Devices
Post by: OOBD on April 18, 2015, 09:45:51 am
I'd like to hear opinions about the pros and cons of using technology to assist one's meditation practice. I am mainly referring to any external piece of technology that induces a meditative state, such as Hemi-Sync binaural beats, energy resonance devices, crystals, etc.
Title: Re: Meditation Devices
Post by: wayseer on April 18, 2015, 01:59:28 pm
Do want to meditation or be entertained?
Title: Re: Meditation Devices
Post by: OOBD on April 18, 2015, 03:20:20 pm
I believe that some people who use such devices do earnestly desire to cultivate real and beneficial meditative states, while others may simply want a momentary break or escape from the stress of their daily life, or would like an exciting mystical experience. 

The Buddhist path of meditation is aimed at cultivating wholesome mind states and eliminating unskillful mind states, and in my opinion, such meditation devices and technological enhancements are detrimental to these goals, as they bypass the learning process that otherwise must take place if one is to cultivate a peaceful mind. 

I've spoken with some meditators who have different goals for meditation, such as "raising their vibration" or "connecting with their Higher Self" or simply taking some peace and quiet time, without the specific interest in actually developing the ability to cultivate skillful qualities of mind and let go of unskillful mind states. I suppose such devices are more appropriate for these meditators.
Title: Re: Meditation Devices
Post by: wayseer on April 20, 2015, 12:19:20 am
Why do want to meditation?  If you are seeking a 'peaceful mind' then a secluded beach would be fine.
Title: Re: Meditation Devices
Post by: cosmic_dog_magic on April 20, 2015, 04:21:26 am
you could stare at a candle until it's out
Title: Re: Meditation Devices
Post by: OOBD on April 20, 2015, 07:16:27 am
You guys have not addressed the issue raised in the OP, which is what the pros and cons are of using technology to assist one's meditation by inducing altered states.
Title: Re: Meditation Devices
Post by: Dharmakara on April 20, 2015, 10:44:56 am
Hi OOBD.

Hemi-Sync binaural beats might have some value (a pro), but it shouldn't be considered as an alternative or replacement for the tried and true forms of meditation:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hemi-Sync (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hemi-Sync)

As for energy resonance devices, crystals, and other such devices, well, there probably wouldn't be any value (a con) other than delusion and chasing willow-wisps in the wind --- at this point, one could add pet rocks and every other fad that has come and gone through the years.
Title: Re: Meditation Devices
Post by: OOBD on April 20, 2015, 01:03:23 pm
Hi OOBD.

Hemi-Sync binaural beats might have some value (a pro), but it shouldn't be considered as an alternative or replacement for the tried and true forms of meditation:

[url]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hemi-Sync[/url] ([url]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hemi-Sync[/url])

As for energy resonance devices, crystals, and other such devices, well, there probably wouldn't be any value (a con) other than delusion and chasing willow-wisps in the wind --- at this point, one could add pet rocks and every other fad that has come and gone through the years.


I don't know man, my pet rock has proven to be highly beneficial to my meditation practice. 

I try not to use Hemi-Sync during my daily meditation practice.  If a tranquil mind state is artificially induced, that means I didn't have to go through the same process of calming and letting go that would otherwise be necessary, and it is this process that brings results, not only during the meditation practice, but in my daily life as well.  I see it like taking drugs to feel joy rather than giving rise to joy naturally through the cultivation of wholesome mind states.  You aren't learning the skills that the practice is aimed at developing. 
Title: Re: Meditation Devices
Post by: Dharmakara on April 20, 2015, 01:37:40 pm
Exactly  :D
Title: Re: Meditation Devices
Post by: Marcus Epicurus on April 20, 2015, 02:24:37 pm
My question about all this is:

What is wrong with using the tried and true method of mindfulness of breathing that The Buddha taught?
Title: Re: Meditation Devices
Post by: OOBD on April 20, 2015, 03:17:11 pm
My question about all this is:

What is wrong with using the tried and true method of mindfulness of breathing that The Buddha taught?

It seems some are more interested in the bells and whistles than in the process of development and growth.
Title: Re: Meditation Devices
Post by: Galen on April 20, 2015, 04:09:01 pm
I would be genuinely  interested in hearing any scientifically tested study that shows that a technological device or crystals could aid in meditation
At the same time any device would have the issue of creating a dependency. The feeling that  you need to have it to successfully meditate

My best "device" to help with my daily meditation is my kneeling bench, but I also practice regularly, walking, standing, laying down, sitting anywhere so that I do not even become dependent on it.

IMHO you meditate "with" life not to get away from it using special conditions.
Anything that you perceive as a problem is not a problem, it is your path.

So my short answer is no, you don't need any device to help you to meditate.
For the longer rant read on.

I have taught for years that you do not need any specific "ideal" conditions to be able to meditate ie. silence, low lighting, gentle music.

I had a student that said that they liked to meditate outside on her porch but she had a new neighbour that had their dog barking when it saw her outside. I told her to go outside and listen for the dog barking using the sound as a cue to return to the breath . She said that it worked and eventually the dog stopped barking.

IMHO "guided Meditation" where a person, live or on Tape, leads you suggesting an imagined setting has some limited usefulness as a relaxation technique, but again it can create a dependency, i.e., can you relax without it?

I think some specific guided mediations that are used to help deal with past traumas are very beneficial ( like the ones used by Belleruth Naparstek in "Invisible Heroes")

I would also highly suggest "How to be Sick" by Toni Bernhard, she teaches how to maintain your practice with very difficult situations.
While a regular sitting practice is important it is a beginning. It is the raft that gets you across the river ( helps you to get to know your mind) but you eventually have to continue you journey on the other side of the river.

I think that working with someone that is an experienced meditator can help you a lot more than any "device". Someone that can help you with things like posture, what to do with your hands, Working with your breath,  working with thoughts as they arise

Some people are concerned because their minds are very active and erratic. There is a Zen Koan about the Horses. There is the worst horse, the master has to capture it, struggle to put on the saddle and bridle, restrain it to get on and direct it with the legs and reins. The good horse, is calm while it is saddled and easy to get on and needs slight direction with the shift of the body to know where to go. The best horse knows when the master needs to ride and comes to him, he knows where the master needs to go and moves with gentle, effortless speed. The question is ‘which horse gets you there?’
They all do, and one is not necessarily better than the other. The master that rides a worst horse must become a better rider.   

We do not get to choose the horse we ride. We have our own mind to work with, and we cannot "trick" it, our mind knows what we are thinking ( Dahh!)
We all have to get to know how our mind works first, get used to it.

Carl Rogers said:
 “The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.”

This is what the initial basic practice is made to do

But then we have to bring practices, skillful means, ways of working with our minds into everyday situations. When we are making dinner, when we are waiting in a line, in a traffic jam, dealing with an upset spouse or child. When we don't have devices or ideal conditions available.

Even after that we don't really change, we become more of what we essentially are, we become more authentic.

Carl Jung said:
“All the greatest and most important problems of life are fundamentally insoluble …they can never be solved, but only outgrown. This outgrowing proved on further investigation to require a new level of consciousness. Some higher or wider interest appeared on the patient’s horizon, and through this broadening of his or her outlook the insoluble problem lost its urgency. It was not solved logically in its own terms but faded when confronted with a new and stronger life urge."

One way of experiencing this greater life urge is often the realization that we are made of "GoodStuff".
I'm not just talking about thinking we are great, a lot of times that is just a narcissistic delusion that covers our underlying feelings of inadequacy. I'm talking about a true discovery of our own basic goodness. It is surprising, shocking, especially since our wonderfulness is all intertwined with all our embarrassing, squishy, smelly bits.

I use this poem to describe this shocking event:

Oceans

I have a feeling that my boat
has struck,
down there in the depths,
against a great thing.
And nothing
happens!

Nothing...

Silence...Waves...
--Nothing happens?

Or has everything happened,
and are we standing now, quietly, in the new life?

Juan Ramon Jimenez  Translated by Robert Bly

Now why would you want to miss out on this discovery? 
The discovery that you are kind and good,  loveable and loving, powerful and gentle

I believe that the urge to use some short cut, some easy way, some device, to help us meditate comes from the underlying belief that we are not capable otherwise, that we are not worthy of the benefits.
The truth is that we are all worthy.

One of the first things taught to me as I learned about Buddhism is that we are all born whole and complete with something wonderful to give back to existence.
Just like in the Wizard of Oz. The Tinman always had a heart, the Scarecrow a brain, the Cowardly Lion was brave and Dorothy always had the power to go back to Kansas. The Wizard didn’t give them anything that they didn’t already have. The magic of Oz was the gift of awareness.

I Like to use this poem to teach this:

What we need is Here

Geese appear high over us,
pass, and the sky closes. Abandon,
as in love or sleep, holds
them to their way, clear
in the ancient faith: what we need
is here. And we pray, not
for new earth or heaven, but to be
quiet in heart, and in eye,
clear. What we need is here.

          - Wendell Berry

From this momentous realization of our own goodness comes that greater Life urge That Jung talks about.
I believe that urge manifests itself as wanting to be our best, to bring out our best qualities much like Martin Seligman suggests in "Flourish".

Suzuki Roshi said:
We are all perfect the way we are,
and we could all use a little work

In Buddhism we are encouraged to work on ourselves daily with practices to develop the four limitless ones Loving kindness, Sympathetic Joy, Compassion,
I like to add four more:
Curiosity, Gratitude, Generosity and Courage
We can all develop and grow these and more qualities

Nikos Kazantzakis said:
Three kinds of souls, three prayers:
1. I am a Bow in your hands Lord, Draw me lest I rot.
2. Do not over draw me, Lord, I shall break.
3. Overdraw me, Lord, and what cares if I break!





Title: Re: Meditation Devices
Post by: wayseer on April 20, 2015, 04:39:06 pm
You guys have not addressed the issue raised in the OP, which is what the pros and cons are of using technology to assist one's meditation by inducing altered states.

Actually I am addressing the issue raised in your OP but you can't see it.  When you do, you will realise you don't need props for your meditation.
Title: Re: Meditation Devices
Post by: OOBD on April 20, 2015, 06:24:03 pm
You guys have not addressed the issue raised in the OP, which is what the pros and cons are of using technology to assist one's meditation by inducing altered states.

Actually I am addressing the issue raised in your OP but you can't see it.  When you do, you will realise you don't need props for your meditation.

What you fail to realize is that I have plainly stated my stance on the subject and have been clear that I do not use any kind of prop for my meditation practice.  The questions you have asked simply do not apply to me.  I completely understand what you mean by asking those questions, but again, you are asking them to the wrong person.  I simply want to hear opinions on what other practitioners believe the advantages and disadvantages are of using meditation aids.  I encourage you to share your opinion but please understand that I don't use aids in my meditation practice nor do I agree with their use.  Read my second post in this thread and you will have a better understanding of where I stand on the issue.
Title: Re: Meditation Devices
Post by: peacefulrandy on April 25, 2015, 06:47:19 am
No in general although there are guided meditations, you still have to change yoursef even though there are termas that just by looking at one once can purify all your negative Karma and so on you still do that for yourself no one can do it for you. You are not limited to yourself you are interdependent even in your own mind.
Title: Re: Meditation Devices
Post by: MJohnstone on May 13, 2015, 02:33:25 am
I use meditation a lot in my life. to me, using technology during meditation can be really distracting.
Title: Re: Meditation Devices
Post by: DavidM843 on August 18, 2016, 04:53:44 pm
I've played around with binaural, isochronic tones and white or pink noise during meditation.  They did help a little in settling my mind and blocking out distractions.  I think the only dangers involved are coming to depend on them, and chasing after certain states of mind with them.  I don't use them anymore, but the worst I can see happening is falling into the traps that almost all meditators fall into anyway.
Title: Re: Meditation Devices
Post by: stillpointdancer on August 19, 2016, 03:51:44 am
I'd like to hear opinions about the pros and cons of using technology to assist one's meditation practice. I am mainly referring to any external piece of technology that induces a meditative state, such as Hemi-Sync binaural beats, energy resonance devices, crystals, etc.

These may change your state of consciousness, but it wont be meditating. I think such things are useful at the start, if you are having trouble meditating, in that, for example, I found self-hypnosis, self-improvement tapes to be useful in my youth. Years later, I am sure that those experiences helped me with meditation practices that I took up. Similarly, I don't do drugs, but have met many people who did, and told me that what they experienced led them to take up meditation and Buddhism. Maybe experiencing some altered state of consciousness will open up real meditation to people who would not have tried it otherwise.

My guess is that there may be such serendipitous outcomes to using such technology, but for me meditation is most effective when it is at it's simplest, just sitting. The technology I have used in the past is something like timed bells, allowing you the experience of meditating with someone timing, say, ten minute intervals for a particular meditation such as metta bhavana, but allowing you to do this by yourself. When I say 'simplest' I don't mean 'easiest'. In fact it may take many years to achieve simple sitting meditation of that kind, which is when real progress then kicks in.
Title: Re: Meditation Devices
Post by: Gettingitright333 on April 24, 2017, 12:24:02 pm
Binaural beats really helped me, although I can't be around electronic devices like I used to be and maintain concentration. If you can, thats great. Crystals are very effective, but be mindful of what the crystal does and how it reacts with your mental state. For example, don't meditate with rainbow obsidian if you want a calm, serene meditation experience for example. You may find yourself working through your life's deepest struggles
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