Saturday 1 October 2016

Working on hindrances

There is the traditional Buddhist concept of the five hindrances:  sense desire, anger, restlessness and remorse, sloth and torpor and doubt.  Anyone who has meditated has encountered them at some point or another.  Overcoming them is thought to be essential for progress in meditation.

What implications might this have for using neuroshaping devices for improving meditation?

Let's assume that there are EEG signatures for meditation states and that the EEGs of advanced practitioners exhibit those signatures whereas beginners don't. One approach to technologically boosting meditation that might readily come to mind is that we should try and reproduce in the beginner those states of the advanced practitioner through neurofeedback.  However, this ignores the fact that those advanced practitioners got to those states by overcoming hindrances.  If, as many meditation teachers say, we are already enlightened and we have to remove the "dust" that obscures this, then it makes sense to focus on removing these obstacles rather than trying to "force" a state that is already there but obscured.