Technology and Meditation: Interviews

After posting on Zen Meditation and Technology, I decided to go ahead and interview some people on their meditation habits, how it affected their lives, and how technology may/has played a role in their lives. Turns out, I got some really interesting answers! Hopefully this will be of interest to you guys. I got all answers to everything from the effects on your own daily life to the important concepts behind meditation. Hope you enjoy, and make sure to leave your opinion in the comments below!

The first answers come from "MeditationMann".

Greg DiVilbiss

Greg DiVilbiss

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I am a commercial Real Estate Developer that during the downturn became C.O.O. of a software company. I subsequently started a local marketing company. I have been studying personal development since High School (54 now) I meditate regularly. ...My blog is about personal development, my companies are real estate and SEO & local marketing.
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Q. What Effects do you see on your own daily life regarding your relaxation and meditation practices?

A. MeditationMann

I have noticed significant changes over time since I began meditating. When you meditate it clears your mind of all your thoughts and allows fresh new ones to come flowing in. It can benefit you a number of ways depending on what exaclty you are focusing on. But I have noticed that I am much calmer than I used to be, I have much more love and peace in my heart then I ever had before. I often come out of my meditation sessions in a deep relaxed state. It has also helped me in areas of my life where I have struggled; confidence was one of them. By focusing on key issues in my life coupled with a deep relaxation of the mind and body I am better able to stay relaxed and work through my subconscious problems.

A. Greg DiVilbiss (Partner)

There are a lot of tremendous benefits to daily meditation. The first is just having a sense of peace and contentment. I can be struggling with this or that and sit in meditation and all of sudden a sense of calm comes over me and I can focus on the matters at hand and not what I am thinking about the future or past ramifications are. I am a bit ADD and meditation has allowed me to have much longer periods of focused attention.

In addition to those benefits having greater clarity regarding the things I want to accomplish or achieve happens in meditation.

Q. Do you feel people can have a relaxing time with Technology? EX: T.V, Computers, Video-Games?

A. Greg DiVilbiss (Partner)

I think people can have a sense of being chill with T.V. and games and in fact one of my tools is using Wild Divine meditation and biofeedback software to meditate at times. However it is my opinion that in general setting time aside with ZERO electornics is critical to achieving a sustained peace of mind. Spending time in nature, even if you are not meditating can be a powerful tonic to the buzz of the electronic world. I personally try and get out into nature as often as possible, even if it is just my back yard.

To get out in the woods away from the noise of the city can be refreshing.

Q. What do you think the effects of these technologies are on people?

A. Greg DiVilbiss (Partner)

I think that in general there is nothing particularly bad about these technologies but I do believe that technology as much as it can bring us together it can be a distraction to what we are really feeling and can be a block to true communication. I think watching the news for example 24/7 can be particulary toxic and can interfere with a feeling of peace. Even if you are not aware of it there is a underlying stress that comes from TV news. Games, music, TV, Social Media are all fine but to take some time away and turn within can be tremendously rewarding.

Q. Many times, when relaxing, our mind is actually busy. Is there a way to overcome this tendency and prevent our mind from taking over?

A. MeditationMann

The technique that I used is one that I learned from a monk, which is to accept the thing that you are thinking about and let it pass. For instance, if you are meditating and you begin drifting away thinking about other things I will say "thinking, thinking, thinking" in my head and the thought will fade away. The basis behind this is that you aren't just suppressing your thoughts and forcing them out of your brain, if you do this the thought will still be there. In order for it to disappear from your mind you must first learn to accept it and sort of watch it fade away in your mind's eye.

A. Greg DiVilbiss (Partner)

This is simple, people make a big deal about monkey mind, obsessive thinking. I personally use a personal mantra to bring myself back. No need to fret, all you do is notice that your mind as gone wild, I think I am going to have soup for lunch, I love red, oh wait a minute, "peace be still". Ah I noticed my mind wandered from my sentence and I used my mantra "Peace be still" and then returned to meditaion no fret no worry, I just let the thoughts float by and disapate.

When I first started the uncontrolled thoughts came fast and furious but over time you start to notice that those thoughts are not coming up as much, it takes practice, but it is so easy....just notice...and let judgment...just let it go. You can use any mantra you want, it could be "love" or "breathe" it really does not matter.

Q. Many people would have trouble fitting relaxation/meditation into their schedule. Do you have any tips for such persons?

A. MeditationMann

The best thing about meditation is that it can be done anywhere and everywhere. In fact, we all meditate on a daily basis without even realizing. When we are daydreaming that is a form of meditation for instance. But many people, like myself, tend to get overwhelmed with everything going on in their life and they convince themselves that they can't fit meditation into their schedule. Meditation doesn't have to take long to do, you only need to meditate for a few minutes if that is all you have time to do. The best thing to do is set up a schedule and see where you are spending most of your time. Set aside at least 5-10 minutes of time where you will not be interrupted by anyone and focus on quieting your mind and relaxing your body.

A. Greg DiVilbiss (Partner)

I would say if that is an issue, you need to ask yourself  what your priorities are? If it is important for you to experience the health benefits and the increased focus of meditation you will be able to find the time. I know this sounds harsh, but let me ask you this...If you really want to do something do you find time to do it? I mean today is Superbowl Sunday, I am a tremendously busy guy, but guess what...I will be watching the Superbowl. It is a priority to me so it will get done.

If you have really convinced yourself you do not have time start with five minutes, set the alarm in the morning for five minutes earlier and get started. Once you do that set the alarm for 10 minutes earlier. You can do the same thing before you go to bed, or just take five during your work day. Sit at your desk and let your facial muscles relax, let your shoulders go and just pay attention to your breath for five minutes.

Q. Many children nowadays grow up surrounded by technology every waking minute. How do you feel about this?

A. MeditationMann

I think technology can be a good thing, but like everything else if it is not used in proporiton than it is bad. I think technology has its advantages and can definitely help us flourish on this plane of existence, but at the same time if we aren't careful we will lose sight of who we really are. Children are born with a fun, creative and imaginative mindset. They have a natural spiritual connection because of the lack of influence from the outside world that has been taught to see the things children see and feel as fiction. Technology ultimately draws us away from the spiritual beings that we really are. Like I said, it can be used to help us but many people become too dependent on technology and lose the ability to think for themselves.

A. Greg DiVilbiss (Partner)

I think it is harmful. I live in a University community and you can see kids walking around the campus with their heads buried in their phone. You have people from all over the world with all kinds of interests and experiences yet the kids are walking around in a bubble. I would highly recommend that you spend time with your younger children outside, encourage outdoor play, try going camping with no electronics allowed. Even just a family walk in the neighborhood.

I am all for electronic play but experiencing the other parts of life are important as well. Give the electronics a rest.

Q. How can society be affected, as a whole, through meditation?

A. MeditationMann

When you meditate it can not only be felt by you but everyone around you can feel the energy that is resonating from your body. Because of the electromagnetic field that is created by the heart and brain other people are able to feel them without knowing it and without having to even be in the same room that you are in. If society, as a whole, were to engage in a daily meditation practice then our thoughts would be much clearer and people would make much more rational decisions. So you are not only affected by your meditation but so is everyone around you.

A. Greg DiVilbiss (Partner)

I truly believe that if everyone meditated many of the problems we face as a society would be reduced. Meditation in my mind increases compassion not only for others but for yourself. You develop a greater perspective of what others are going through and are less reactive to things in your environment. I mean just being able to ignore that idiot driver cutting you off is a blessing and would make the world a better place.

There have been studies done that showed a reduction in crime in cities that have had a percentage of meditators in a given area.

Q. What kind/type of meditation do you practice?

A. MeditationMann

I practice many different types of meditation. The kind of meditation that I have been indulging in the most as of recently is transcedental meditation, which focuses on the idea of astral projecting. I also do some guided meditations at times. Sometimes I will play some relaxing music and focus my attention on seeing myself in a place of paradise walking down the beach or something. Then I do a countdown to put myself in a trance, and begin focusing on things in my life that I am struggling with like lack of confidence, not caring so much what other people think, or something along those lines.

A. Greg DiVilbiss (Partner)

I practice a variety of types I started with just simply relaxing my muscles and quiteing my thoughts. Just being in my body and allowing the muscles to let go.

I later practiced forms of focused meditation where I focused on a particular object like my breath or a candle flame.

Lately I have been practicing Vipassana and Shamatha types of Mindfullness Meditation with Alan Wallace being my teacher.

Alan Wallace Meditation retreats are all posted in Itunes for free and you can learn a lot if you want to go deeper into a mediation practice.

At the end of the day though just spending time relaxing your muscles and paying attention to your breath coming in and going out, releasing your random thoughts by just noticing and letting them go will make a huge difference in your life.

Q. What are the important concepts behind meditation?

A. MeditationMann

The most important concepts that you want to consider when thinking about meditation is the ability to become one with yourself. Meditation is a way to clean out the mind from all the clutter accumulated throughout the day from interactions with other people. Meditation should be done with a proper posture so that the energy through your body can flow much easier and you will have a better chance at achieving a deeper state of relaxation. Your breathing, however, is probably one of the most important things when it comes to meditation. So that your body can get the right amount of oxygen make sure that you are breathing through your diaphram. When you take a deep breath in make sure your stomach expands outwardly until you can't suck any more air in then slowly let it out through your nose if you are able to.

A. Greg DiVilbiss (Partner)

This can be a very deep subject but in general I think the most important concepts are to allow your body to relax, to be fully present in your body noticing what it is feeling, subtle relaxation of your muscles as you notice places of resistance, just going deeper and deeper into relaxatoin. Once you have better control of your body, do the same with your mind, let your mind relax, just notice what you are thinking and let the thoughts float by like clouds, you notice the cloud but pay not mind to it, it just floats by.

Once you start to have some success quieting the mind and just being silent and you notice the still small voice within you can start with some focused meditation on a word or a flame, just always allowing whatever that happens to happen.

Relaxation to me is the core concept.

Q. In your opinion,how should you practice meditation?

A. MeditationMann

The question is hard to answer because it depends largely on your own personal preference. Some things work better than others. But what I usually do is sit in a chair, close my eyes and focus my energy of clearing the negative energy from both my body and my mind. It's eaiser to do in a chair because in a chair it is harder for us to slump over and maintain a wrong form of posture, but you can sit cross-legged, lay down or sit in a chair. But you can practice it through guided meditation as well, which is good because you have somebody walking you through the meditation which leaves your mind less room to travel and wonder around.

A. Greg DiVilbiss (Partner)

I do not know that there is a "Way you should" practice meditation. Should from my point of view is counter to the goals of meditation. You can learn to meditate in ways that people before you have found useful and helpful but even then just because it works for someone else does not mean it fits you.

What I would recommend is starting a practice of relaxing and quieting the mind utilizing techniques that "YOU" find useful taking the knowledge of people that have been there before and using what works and leaving behind what does not.

So in my best Yoda impression "There is no should, there is just do".

There it is! Thanks Greg DiVillbis and Meditation Mann for taking part in the interviews, I wish you and anyone else who may be meditating good luck (and much mindfulness)  in their endeavor.

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Andrew Plaza

Nerdy Tech fanatic interested in the intricacies of life, technology, and high existence.

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