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Are there any meditation computer feedback programs out there? Like Biofeedback.

What could they do? Allow a teacher much insight into a student? Allow a meditator to know when wandering is happening, when subtle thinking is happening or to know when reality is seen directly or with concepts?

Would this be a helpful tool to be used all the time, only sometimes or never?-(Perhaps because it creates a duality, it creates aversion, it's unnessasary, it's not in the Pali Canon or anything).

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Biofeedback programs just take data such as heart rate, blood pressure, etc... and display them on a screen so that the person can see them. The underlying theory is that if a person can directly see what's going on, they would be better able to adjust themselves to slow them down.

Because these devices cannot directly access the mental activity of the meditator, I don't see how they could be of much use. Certainly if one is developing some form of calm abiding it might be useful to an absolute beginner, but once they start making progress, even stopping to check the machine readout would be comparatively distracting and would erode one's concentration.

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I've heard of some meditators who use tools like EEGs. Of late these models are becoming pretty cheap, USD 100-500, which was unthinkable even a few years ago. They can't be very accurate at this price but they are there, see for example Neurosky Brainwave.

At least in theory they can reveal whether thoughts stray frequently or stay in one spot, and we can train using the feedback to move brain waves to certain areas and stay there. I don't immediately see how this will add any more than novelty value to my meditation practice, since I already know the familiar zones my brain hits by observing the breath and other bodily signs. If I was more curious I'd probably read up on the possible patterns of breaths and their associated brain states, as far as I know the advanced Buddhist meditation literature is pretty encyclopaedic about such patterns.

Of course, such tools might be very useful - having never tried one I can't be certain.

A lot of reviews I've read claim these don't work very well. They seem to be mostly marketed for kids with ADD, but the geeky meditator is an emerging sub-category.

If someone I knew had one around I'd try it since I am curious, but since I know it'll probably be a useless toy on the shelf after a few weeks, in the spirit of letting go, I've skipped buying one for myself.

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There is a device called a muse. It is a personal EEG. I purchased it and have been using it for months. This device is now invaluable to my practice. You wear the device while meditating, and use a mobile app that listens to your brain and translates the level of activity into natural weather sounds. If your concentration is good and you are focused the weather is mild, if you are thinking or distracted the weather is more severe. You can calm it by bringing your attention back to your breath. This device does exactly what it claims to do. The more you use it the better it gets also,as there is machine learning that builds a profile specific to your pattern of neural activity. After two months the detection is so precise that the weather noise accurately detects nearly every thought that I have while meditating, it is incredible. If you have issues with a wandering mind, or getting lost in planning or lamenting while meditating, then this device could certainly be of good use to you. Here is a link to what I am referring.muse website

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