Plugged in or Unplugged? Exploring technology in meditation practices
A stimulating discussion around the ancient practice of meditation and whether apps help or hinder their goals.
At no point at history has it been easier to reach others, access information, or learn lessons from far-away teachers. Despite the incredible advance in our virtual connectedness, there has been a surge of increase in people’s sense of isolation and loneliness. Decreasing connections to community and traditions, alongside an exponential increase in expectations has left many searching for new ways to live a more meaningful life. Is the answer to ‘plug in’, using meditation apps or augmented technologies, unplugging entirely – going off grid and reconnecting to nature, or might there be some middle way?
Amid the action and distraction that fills everyday life, contemplative practices help to provide insight and connection into who we are, who we want to be, and what is most meaningful to us. These profound practices have the potential to transform not just individuals but the entirety of human society, through greater connection. But in a stressful world where mindfulness and meditation are sold as a cure-all for insomnia, anxiety and depression, can meditation apps make our lives better or will they provide us with yet another thing to do?
Dr Nicholas Van Dam, Inaugural Director of the Contemplative Studies Centre, University of Melbourne
Dr Addie Wootten, CEO of Smiling Mind
Bhante Sujato, co-Founder of SuttaCentral and the Monastery at the End of the World
Dr Elise Bialylew, Founder of Mindful in May