Unusual idea to help mindfulness in the modern world

Theravāda in the 21st century - modern applications of ancient wisdom

Unusual idea to help mindfulness in the modern world

Postby mindfulmaniac » Thu Mar 11, 2010 9:43 pm

In my spare time I am an open source software developer and general geek.

I have just finished a large project and am staring 'esati', a hand held device with 3 - 4 buttons a 4 line LCD display, speaker and microphone which will help me with daily practice.

Its aim is to help me be mindful during a busy working day full of driving and phone calls. I have started the code and will start putting soldering iron to chips in the next 2 - 3 weeks but the outline modes are ...

(1) Waits until conversation is detected, after a min or two plays a pre recorded message or sound ie a 'practice correct speech' or more subtly the sound of a meditation bell. When the conversation ceases, goto sleep until conversation is detected again.

(2) Waits until there is no conversation and at random intervals play a pre recorded message or sound ie 'just drive nothing else' or more subtly the the sound of a meditation bell. Random gap will be programmable from x mins to y mins. If conversation is detected ie due to a co-worker or a phone conversation, goto sleep until the conversation has ended.

(3) Combines (1) & (2) above

(4) Conventional meditation timer. Time programmable

The idea being that the messages can be easily changed, ie from 'just drive nothing else' to 'metta for other drivers' or 'metta for my co-workers' etc etc ...

Anyhow am unsure how this will be received, and I have a lot of work to do to complete it, probably 8 - 12 months but would like to know what you all think. :juggling:

Cheers

Dave
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Re: Unusual idea to help mindfulness in the modern world

Postby Goofaholix » Fri Mar 12, 2010 12:18 am

Sounds a bit like developing a machine to do weightlifting for you, or a machine to run around the block for you. The point of mindfulness exersizes is to develop "mindfulness muscles", a mind that is strong enough to be mindful consistantly by itself.
"Whenever we feel that we are definitely right, so much so that we refuse to open up to anything or anybody else, right there we are wrong. It becomes wrong view. When suffering arises, where does it arise from? The cause is wrong view, the fruit of that being suffering. If it was right view it wouldn't cause suffering." - Ajahn Chah
"Remember you dont meditate to get anything, but to get rid of things. We do it, not with desire, but with letting go. If you want anything, you wont find it." - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Unusual idea to help mindfulness in the modern world

Postby bodom » Fri Mar 12, 2010 12:35 am

Gunaratana often speaks of setting a watch or alarm to go off every hour and to practice one minute of mindfulnes of breathing. Your idea sounds similar. Do what works for you. Eventually when your sati is well established you can do away with the device.

:anjali:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Unusual idea to help mindfulness in the modern world

Postby christopher::: » Fri Mar 12, 2010 12:43 am

I agree with Goofaholix, you cannot program a machine to monitor everything, that's our job. But a meditation timer that also functions as an alarm that chimes every hour with the sound of a temple or meditation bell would probably be something people would be interested in.

Would be cool to program it to include several different sounds options, like waves crashing, birds chirping, Tibetan gong, Japanese bamboo sticks hitting together, etc....

<edit> LOL, looks like this isn't a new idea...

Zen Alarm Clock

:tongue:
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
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Re: Unusual idea to help mindfulness in the modern world

Postby Guy » Fri Mar 12, 2010 1:28 am

Here is a free program you can download which rings a bell or a gong at user-specified intervals:

http://www.peterrussell.com/ToM/index.php (The website seems to have a New Age type of thing going on, but nevermind)

I can see the value in these things as training wheels, but ideally we should train ourselves be constantly mindful as Goofaholix has mentioned.
Four types of letting go:

1) Giving; expecting nothing back in return
2) Throwing things away
3) Contentment; wanting to be here, not wanting to be anywhere else
4) "Teflon Mind"; having a mind which doesn't accumulate things

- Ajahn Brahm
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Re: Unusual idea to help mindfulness in the modern world

Postby mindfulmaniac » Fri Mar 12, 2010 7:26 am

Many many thanks everyone. The problem I have is I am easily distracted. I will be mindfully driving, very aware, noticing the changes in position of my body, the engine, the outside scenery then I get a phone call and get into details about some customers problem etc and find myself mentally chewing on it for the next hour or so until I arrive on site .

I need something to remind me to come back to the practice until it becomes totally automatic. There are programs that do this but I am a mobile engineer so I have no PC on the road, thats why I am aiming at a hand held device. As far as different sounds, the sounds are digitally recordable so anything goes with a click or two.

The problem of consistent mindfulness has been a sticking point for several years now, when I am mindful there is an 'ease' with the process, a sense of the perfection of what is no matter what it is, a completeness, a hint of where this practice leads but I am so easily pulled away into the conceptual world. This is my 'geeky' solution to try and tilt the scales in favor of more mindfulness. Plus of course I have just handed over my last project so am looking for something to build ... :jumping:

My last project was open source (free), kmotion.eu, and this one will be too, so if anyone finds it useful, can use a soldering iron, they will be free to build their own.
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Re: Unusual idea to help mindfulness in the modern world

Postby Goofaholix » Fri Mar 12, 2010 7:07 pm

mindfulmaniac wrote:Many many thanks everyone. The problem I have is I am easily distracted. I will be mindfully driving, very aware, noticing the changes in position of my body, the engine, the outside scenery then I get a phone call and get into details about some customers problem etc and find myself mentally chewing on it for the next hour or so until I arrive on site .


Every time you notice you haven't been mindful is a moment you are building a bit more mindfulness strength. As far as mindfulness goes the journey is what is important, not so much the destination. If one could just turn on a mindfulness switch one wouldn't have learned anything.
"Whenever we feel that we are definitely right, so much so that we refuse to open up to anything or anybody else, right there we are wrong. It becomes wrong view. When suffering arises, where does it arise from? The cause is wrong view, the fruit of that being suffering. If it was right view it wouldn't cause suffering." - Ajahn Chah
"Remember you dont meditate to get anything, but to get rid of things. We do it, not with desire, but with letting go. If you want anything, you wont find it." - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Unusual idea to help mindfulness in the modern world

Postby mindfulmaniac » Fri Mar 12, 2010 10:34 pm

Yep, thats a fair point well made :smile:

Many thanks

Dave
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Re: Unusual idea to help mindfulness in the modern world

Postby effort » Sat Mar 13, 2010 7:54 am

i think that if nero science with electronics rich to the state that it could distinguish differences between mindfulness and non mindfulness ( i think all of us accept that mindfulness is the quality of the mind and impulses , aren't we? ) then a different generation will born.

i think retro likes the idea!
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