Biocybernaut Institute 21-40 Years of Zen in 7 Days FAQ

21-40 years of zen in 7 days

Frequently Asked Questions

40 Years of zen

For several years, Dave Asprey of Bulletproof was an Affiliate of Biocybernaut and he promoted Biocybernaut brain wave trainings. “40 Years of Zen” was the name Dave Asprey used to promote Biocybernaut to his audience. Dr. Hardt allowed Dave Asprey to use this term, because this is based on Dr. Hardt’s 1993 research paper that shows that 7 Days of the Biocybernaut Alpha training produces brain wave changes virtually identical to the results of Advanced Zen meditators, who had from 21 to 40 years of practice.

Dr. Hardt did not object to Dave using the 40 years of Zen descriptor because this was a core finding of Dr. Hardt’s research.  But when Dave trademarked “40 years of Zen” and went off to do his own biofeedback center using something that was not based on Dr. Hardt’s technology or training methods, it seemed quite unprofessional, borderline unethical and clearly misleading to the public.  Dave has not published scientific data that shows his new technology and unproven methods will produce the brain wave patterns of advanced Zen, so this is misleading. This fall Dave is launching his own neurofeedback training that attempts to emulate Biocybernaut.  Unfortunately for people who are not aware, he is using the testimonials, science and information from the Biocybernaut Training and claiming it as his own.

We have compiled some answers to questions regarding the differences to the Biocybernaut training to other standard clinical Neurofeedback trainings offered.  Please contact us if you have any other questions.  Thanks!

1)  What are the differences between the Biocybernaut Training,  and other standard clinical Neurofeedback trainings?

Standard traditional Neurofeedback widely uses Operant Conditioning as compared to Biocybernaut which uses conscious learning of Voluntary Control.  At Biocybernaut we give you feedback on your own brain waves, where your feedback tones get louder (or quieter) as your brain wave microvolts get larger (or smaller).  In this true feedback process you make the changes yourself in a conscious and voluntary way.

2)  Is training more variables better?

Dr. Hardt has found that giving people too many feedback signals, actually overwhelms people’s learning skills and slows down the learning.  Overwhelm is definitely not good for learning.
Some people claim to have 5,700 variables and hype this number to make it seem somehow better.  Actually, no one could do feedback on that many variables, so they have to be summarized or combined into a smaller and more useable number.  Biocybernaut Alpha feedback is actually based on 12,000 to 16,000 different signals from the brain, but it would not be feasible to try to do feedback on that many signals, so these are summarized and combined to make a smaller number of signals, 6 to 28, depending on where in the 9 Levels of our trainings a person is working.  With this smaller number of brain parameters to control, people can actually pay attention to the different feedback signals and then learn to control them.
More variables or signals is not better.  What is most important is the meaning of those variables to your goals.  The color of your toothbrush probably does not imply success or failure of your next date.  At Biocybernaut the variable upon which we do feedback have been chosen after decades of careful University research, and in consultation with EEG experts.  

3) How is Biocybernaut training like Zen?

Research studies on different meditation practices have shown increases in alpha brain-waves in both Yoga (Wenger & Bagchi, 1961; Anand, Chhina, & Singh, 1961) and Zen (Kasamatsu & Hirai, 1966; Hardt, Timmons, Yeager, & Kamiya, 1976). In the Zen studies, beginners showed increases of alpha activity; intermediate meditators showed increases of slow alpha, and advanced meditators showed emergence of rhythmic theta waves, unlike the theta of drowsiness. Differences between Zen and Yoga in the alpha blocking response to stimulation were seen in reports by Anand, et al. (1961) and Kasamatsu & Hirai (1966). These EEG differences (no blocking in Yogic Samadhi, and continued blocking without habituation in Zazen) suggested comparison with differences in Zen and Yoga philosophies. Yoga philosophy is more likely to deny or devalue external reality in favor of the “real” or superior reality within. When absorbed in the Samadhi of Yoga meditation, external stimulation was ineffective in blocking alpha. The external world had little or no effect on the Yogi’s EEG. This is consistent with the beliefs of Yogic philosophy, in which the external world is held to be mere illusion, or Maya in Sanskrit. On the other hand, Zen philosophy seeks to bridge the inner and outer worlds, neither denying nor reifying either the inner or outer realities. Yoga meditation is done eyes closed in most traditions, and the mind is fully absorbed with inner events, to the exclusion of the outer world of the senses. On the other hand, Zen is typically done with the eyes half open, downcast, with soft focus (i.e. blurred or defocused vision). This visual strategy could help Zen bridge the gulf between inner and outer worlds. We might well wonder which of these two meditation traditions is more like alpha feedback training. The Yogic absorption into inner experience would tend to ignore stimuli from the world of the senses, including even feedback sounds (and scores) signaling alpha waves. On the other hand, the Zen acceptance of sensory input (even distractions), and their integration into a steady inner awareness, would seem more compatible with the sensory processing requirements of the alpha feedback setting. Indeed, the requirement of the alpha trainee to open his or her eyes for several seconds every 2 minutes to view the digital feedback scores may be more compatible with Zen than with Yoga practice. It would therefore seem more suitable to compare the alpha feedback changes to those seen in Zen meditation.

4) Will the Biocybernaut training improve my meditation practice?

5) What were your research findings regarding 21-40 years of zen in 7 days?

When taken together, the studies of Kasamatsu and Hirai (1966) and Hardt, et al. (1976), show Four Zen EEG changes: [ 1 ] Control Ss show no alpha increases, [ 2 ] Beginner Zen Ss show increased alpha amplitude mainly at the back of the head (Occipitals), [ 3 ] Intermediate Zen Ss show increased alpha amplitudes which spread forward on the head, and which slow in frequency, [ 4 ] Advanced Zen Ss show the above changes, but in addition also show rhythmic trains of theta EEG, which are morphologically different from the theta of drowsiness. The theta wave criterion is a stringent one for alpha feedback, since only advanced Zen with 21-40 years showed it.
Results: Determination of Cumulative Change Scores and t-testing. Sets of change scores were calculated, separately for each of the 17 Ss, on each of the 7 days of training. Each set had 64 change scores (8 head sites with 8 filters at each head site). Each change score was the difference between a given day’s average score during the task of alpha enhancement (minuend), and the corresponding average score during the first day’s pre-feedback white noise baseline (subtrahend). Thus each change score of each S, on each of the 7 days, reflected a given head site’s and a given filter’s change from the baseline level on day 1 (before any feedback training). When these change scores for each S were collapsed across all 7 days of training (by summing), they became Cumulative Change Scores, and each S had 64 of them (8 EEG channels each with 8 filters). These Cumulative Change Scores were then t-tested across the 17 Ss. If the t was significant and the average change score was positive, then there was a significant increase in that EEG parameter for the group of 17 Ss. A significant t with a negative average change score meant a significant decrease in that EEG parameter for the group. All 8 head sites (O1, O2, C3, C4, T3, T4, F3, F4) showed significant [p<.05] increases of both broad band alpha and slow alpha. In addition, there were significant increases of both fast theta and slow theta at the two Frontal sites (F3 & F4), and the levels of significance were all higher than p<.01, with the highest levels of significance (p<.0025) seen in the fast theta, which is closer to the alpha frequencies. Beta and delta changes were not expected, and few were found. Only 3 of the 8 head sites showed any significant beta changes (O1, C4, & T3), and these were small increases. Only one site showed any delta changes (C3), where there was a significant decrease of delta activity
It is quite remarkable that all 8 head sites showed significant increases of both broad band alpha and of slow alpha activity. Remarkable for two reasons: [ 1 ] Only 4 of the 8 sites provided feedback signals to the Ss, suggesting extensive generalization of the feedback increases of alpha, and showing that localization-ofcontrol to near the feedback sites was not developing. This can probably be attributed to the use of four simultaneous feedback sites. [ 2 ] In Zen meditation it took 6-20 years of practice to reach the stage of increases in slow alpha and the alpha spreading forward toward the Frontals. Beginners with 0-5 years of experience did not show either the slowing or anterior spreading alpha activity. Technology speeds things up, and EEG feedback may accelerate the processes of intense concentration, inner focus, and self control seen in Zen meditation. There is yet one further consideration: the Frontal theta increases. Only those advanced Zen meditators with 21-40 years of experience showed theta activity in their meditation records (this theta alternated with their slowed alpha activity), and yet the 7 day alpha feedback trainees showed this same result. The alpha trainees had highly significant increases of both fast theta and slow theta activity at the Frontal sites (F3 & F4)

6) How do I know if I am getting accurate feedback?

You don’t know, so you have to trust the engineering and scientific experiences of the people who design and operate the feedback technology.
Brain wave signals, the human electroencephalogram or EEG, are very tiny,- only a few millionths of a volt, so it requires low noise high technology to detect the signals at the surface of the head and to process them in ways that exclude artifacts, such as coughs, sneezes, swallows and even eye blinks.  EEG signals are so small that even an eye blink produces electrical signals many time larger than the EEG (brain wave) signals.  If these are not filtered out, then you are dealing with nonsense (artifacts) not the EEG signals.
So great care must be taken in attaching the sensors to the head, and it is necessary to have a technician continuously monitoring the signals on a polygraph to make sure the sensors have not fallen off or degraded in their connection to the scalp.
And once the sensors are well attached an monitored carefully and continuously, the quality of the signal processing then comes into play.  To know that you have Alpha waves, you must filter the Alpha signals out of the other brain wave signals, and muscle electrical signals, that are always present.  Biocybernaut has the best filters in the world, and it has artifact detecting techniques in the software so you know that your Alpha feedback is accurately representing any Alpha activity you are producing.  Without such good filters, your  so-called “Alpha” signals could be based on certain tension in the muscles or noise coming in from poorly attached brain wave sensors.
Accuracy of the feedback is of paramount importance and Biocybernaut has spent decades developing methods for detecting EEG signals accurately, monitoring every session continuously so that the accuracy is assured throughout and identifying and eliminating muscle artifacts and movement artifacts and bad-sensor artifacts.  Without continuous monitoring of each of our clients brain waves on a polygraph, it would not be possible to know that the feedback is accurate.

7) Why does Biocybernaut minimize light exposure during brain wave training?

8) Why does Biocybernaut still use traditional electrode placement on specific headsites?

At Biocybernaut we measure individual head sites and apply gold electrodes to the head. This technique is used to prepare the head sites so that the best brain wave reading can be obtained; in addition, it causes the least discomfort for the individual.  When head caps are used it can put pressure on the head and constrict the head and cause headaches and pain for some people, especially in the longer sessions that allow deeper work to be done.  Such discomfort would be counter-productive for use in a consciousness expanding Training.

9) What are important design characteristics of an effective brain wave training center?

  • What are the differences between the Biocybernaut Training,  and standard clinical Neurofeedback training?
  • Standard traditional Neurofeedback widely uses Operant Conditioning as compared to Biocybernaut which uses Voluntary Control.
  •  Is training more variables better?