Podmasters: Buddhist Geeks' Vincent Horn On Meditation In The Modern World


Vincent Horn imagines a future in which instead of yoga studios on every corner, there will be "technodelic meditation training centers." Altering consciousness will be an activity that is not largely reserved for the weekend, but a routine part of the business day. Go in, strap on some devices, get into the state of consciousness you desire for the tasks of the day ahead, and head off to work with a clear and focused mind.

"Technology is beginning to be able to produce consciousness-altering effects that previously only psychedelics or intense meditation could produce," Horn says in an interview with Tech Times.

In 2007, Horn launched the Buddhist Geeks podcast, a show geared toward "tech-savvy Buddhists looking for a fresh perspective on what it means to be a modern-day practitioner." As support for the podcast grew, surpassing 100,000 monthly downloads, the company transformed into an educational nonprofit.

"It's something in between a podcast and a movement," says Horn. "Buddhist Geeks started as a podcast and over time it's grown into more of a conversation, more of a group of people who are interested in technology and Buddhist practice and some deeper questions about how to practice that way in the 21st century."

Horn describes himself as a mind hacker and a bona fide Buddhist geek. He has been practicing meditation since he was a teenager, and spent a year doing intensive silent retreat practice.

"One way of thinking of a meditation retreat is that it's stripping down all of the technologies we have and just leaving you with your bare human experience," he says. "I include within that the technology of language. That's a human invention that's 50,000 years old and you don't even have that when you're in that environment."

On the other end of the extreme, the Buddhist Geeks podcast routinely features topics including game design for meditation and virtual reality. To Horn, technology is increasingly becoming another tool for achieving different states of consciousness. Scientists studying the brain and cognition are common guests on the show.

Contemplative science is a field that's emerged in the last 20 or 30 years that merges science and Buddhism, and is a core theme of the podcast. Born out of dialogs between the Dalai Lama, the leader of the Tibetan Buddhist system, and neuroscientists, the field has explored various questions that previously weren't even considered valid scientific inquiries, such as whether consciousness is located in the brain.

If Buddhist Geeks' sporadic updates aren't enough to satisfy your search for meaning and purpose, Horn recommends checking out the eclectic perspectives offered on Krista Tippett's On Being podcast. For those focused on business and technology, he recommends The Reboot Podcast, noting that, "it goes into the difficulties of being an entrepreneur, such as the difficulty of depression which almost no one really talks about in that community."

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