Meditation gadgets promising a brave new world of plugged-in Zen

Analogue meditation is so 2012. In this century, gamified gadgets can fast-track your path to enlightenment. Picture: Shutterstock.
Analogue meditation is so 2012. In this century, gamified gadgets can fast-track your path to enlightenment. Picture: Shutterstock.

Here's a question to meditate upon: can you hack enlightenment?

I've heard it takes a few lifetimes to attain the supreme state, so probably no. And what's that strapped to your head?

This is a high-tech meditation aid called Muse. It's a headband that reads my brainwaves with EEG technology to monitor my meditation performance. If I achieve my goals, I'm rewarded with chirping birds.

Stop right there. Performance, reward, achievement, goals ... and meditation. Spot the one that does not belong. Seriously? You have relaxation KPIs?

Yes. Analogue meditation is so 2012. In this century, gamified gadgets can fast-track your path to enlightenment.

More lifestyle:

Holy mandala! Is nothing sacred? Meditation, the last bastion of serenity in this data-driven, hack-hooked, technology-tormented digital din of a world, has been reduced to gadgets and games. I'm trying to breathe out the anger, but it's not working.

Here, try my headset. It monitors your breathing - and your heartbeat, too. It can also translate your mental activity into weather sounds: calm, or stormy.

I don't need your gadget to know I'm a category five hurricane right now. Please tell me something good about all this.

If someone needs a bit of digital help to establish a meditation practice, where's the harm? Remember, meditation has scientifically proven benefits: lower stress levels, better immunity, improved emotional health, sharper mental focus...

Now you're making sense. What else is rocking this brave new world of plugged-in Zen?

There's Core, a circular-ish gadget that pulses and vibrates to guide your breathing when you hold it during meditation; Spire, a clip-on device for monitoring your breathing, and Braintap, a double whammy of spectacles and headphones lulling you into "a heightened state of consciousness" with light and sound.

And if you're cashed up and want to go all-out, there's the Somadome, a $47,000 isolation pod. It looks like a chair with half of Humpty Dumpty on top and transports you to private bliss with light and sound therapy.

Still not sold. Here's my problem with all this paraphernalia: meditation is meant to help us find inner peace, not extra worldly goods. I don't want devices getting all up in my dharma. I'll stick to old-school cushion and candles, thanks.

Have it your own way, but I reckon I'm only three more electric bird chirps away from nirvana.

  • Amy Cooper is a journalist who embraces wellness, but has also used kale to garnish a cocktail.
This story Meditation gadgets plug into your path to enlightenment first appeared on The Canberra Times.