Our Bloggers

Marc Jacquemin

Meditation meets technology

I’m a geek. I love technology. I feel it empowers me to get what I need, or mainly what I don’t need but want, almost instantly. I want a movie, boom, it’s there, a song, click, I can start listening to it in less than a second. If I can’t remember something, I google it. You get the idea. 

So what does this have to do with meditation? So far, nothing it seems. Gizmos have become a major source of distraction, and in most case they play a big part, at least for me, in taking us away from the meditation cushion. It’s so easy to grab you iPad and spend hours on Facebook and Twitter, to start watching a movie on Netflix,and so on... We want to be entertained, distracted from our own mind because it’s much easier than spending 10 minutes on a cushion trying not to grasp at our thoughts and emotions. 

A few months ago, I thought: “Ok, there must be some apps that will help me get my meditation done!” So I started to have a look at meditation apps for my iPhone, and to my surprise there were hundreds of them. I downloaded a few and started experimenting until, sadly, I realised none of them were doing me much good.

About 95% of them were trying to teach me how to meditate using all kind of methods, from new-age music to binaural beats to “relax” me. I know how to meditate, I have been a (bad) Buddhist practitioner for over five years, have been on a few retreats, and have had the chance to meet a wonderful teacher who has guided me trough those years. The point is, I don’t want to learn or relearn how to meditate, I want something that will help me to just do it, that will motivate, push and remind me to get my ass on the cushion and meditate.

As for the other 5% of the apps I found, a couple had some great elements, but they did not give me what I was looking for in terms of usability, aesthetics and functionality.

So after being distracted on a long fruitless hunt for something that would help me not to be distracted, I decided to give it a go myself. I left my job at Apple, where I had been working for over three years, and started to work full-time on my new project, Meditacious.

In one sentence, the goal of Meditacious is to bring technology and meditation together.

Where to begin? I decided to start with things we use everyday: our phones and the internet. Phase one is to build a website and mobile phone app to support people in their daily meditation. I won’t explain in detail how they work but there’s a link to a video at the bottom of this post.

The world has changed tremendously in the last few years. Mobile technology has transformed the way we communicate, share, socialise - the way we live. If you can’t beat it, why not join it? Is it possible to merge two things that seem to have opposite objectives? As far as I’m concerned, it’s not only possible, it’s a necessity!

The Buddha taught in so many different ways, according to the capacity and background of his students. I’m convinced that if he were alive today, he would be using technology as a support for his teaching, because let’s face it, mobile technology isn’t going away - quite the opposite - so let’s find the best ways to integrate it with meditation.