Read this very intelligent blog by Christine Bissonnette, a writer living in BC, with whom I will be working with as a visual artist.....
Response to Toronto Star article jan.3 2016:
Do you really need an app to count your breaths? Ariel Garten seems to think so, the inventor behind Muse, a device that catches your brain waves EEG sensors, along with an app called Calm. Yet another drug to be calm or a technological panacea for fixing our troubled existence? This wearable headband promises calm. And focus. And relaxation. But Muse isn't some headset trying to alter your brain; instead its makers InteraXon want to train you to alter it yourself. Well, you don’t need a gadget that helps you to train yourself when in fact you can simply sit and count your breaths on your own, as has been taught by Zen masters and Buddhists for millennia. And it doesn’t put you out $300 plus wear and tear on your phone. Lets face it if anyone sits 2 weeks everyday for 10 minutes counting their breath, with or without a headband, they are on a good path to calmer reactions to their life situations. I believe if the experience is sans gadget the ensuing change in brain waves will be permanent as opposed to being depended on a headband and app manipulation. Because what you are in fact training yourself to do is be addicted to the band and when you are without it, you will have the same anxious responses you always had. The key is being addicted to focusing on your breathing in times of stress and you can do that anywhere anytime. It just takes remembering not running to put your gadget on. It has been proven during the Hippie Era that drugs do not cause permanent changes in your brain, except maybe cognitive impairment.
There is a lot more to Mindfulness Meditation than just having slower brain waves, there is training in self-awareness and learning about how your thoughts work by observing them and that is what ultimately changes our brain and helps us to control our thoughts. We can’t achieve this with gadgets.
Additionally when we embark on the road to self-development and self-awareness and ultimate calmness, we need to be of a certain character, according to the Zen Tradition. People were not allowed immediately to jump into Mindfulness Meditation for a reason, first they had develop moral attributes like humility and compassion. Of course in the Good Old American Capitalistic Tradition these can all be by passed in favour of the All Mighty Dollar.
My advice is to find a reputable meditation Teacher and work on the whole ball and wax, your brain waves, personality, perception and character building.