Spirit Tech: The Brave New World of Consciousness Hacking and Enlightenment Engineering With Kate Stockly.

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I recently read a book entitled Spirit Tech: The Brave New World of Consciousness Hacking and Enlightenment Engineering by Kate J. Stockly and Wesley J. Wildman. It was a thrilling read on the merging of biohacking technologies, spirituality, neurotheology, and much more. 

Technology now has the ability to modify and control the spiritual experience. This book is a journey through the high-tech aids for psychological growth that are changing the world while exploring safety, authenticity, and ethics.

Of course, technology is already helping to manage health, sleep, relationships, and finances, so it’s no surprise that technological aids for the spiritual journey would be the next frontier. From apps that help you pray or meditate, to cybernauts seeking the fast track, to nirvana through magnetic brain stimulation, this is the brink of the most transformative revolution in the practice of religion: an era in which the power of “spirit tech” can be harnessed to deepen your experience of the divine.

Spirit tech products are rapidly improving in sophistication and power, and ordinary people need a trustworthy guide. Through their research and insider access to the top innovators and early adopters, Kate Stockly and Wesley Wildman take you deep inside an evolving world with Spirit Tech. The book is the definitive guide to the fascinating world of innovations for personal transformation, spiritual growth, and pushing the boundaries of human nature. When you read Spirit Tech, you'll…

…find out how increasingly popular “wearables” work on your brain, promising a shortcut to transformative meditative states…

…meet the inventor of the “God Helmet,” who developed a tool to increase psychic skills and overcome fear, sadness, and anger…

…visit churches that use ayahuasca as their sacrament and explore the booming industry of psychedelic tourism…

…journey to a mansion in the heart of Silicon Valley where a group of scientists and entrepreneurs are working feverishly to bring brain-based spirit tech applications to the masses, and…

…discover a research team who achieved brain-to-brain communication between individuals thousands of miles apart, harnessing neurofeedback techniques to sync and share emotions among group members.

Kate Stockly is an academic researcher specializing in the scientific study of religion and women’s studies in religion. Kate’s first book, High On God: How Megachurches Won the Heart of America (co-authored with James K. Wellman, Jr. and Katie Corcoran; Oxford 2020), looks closely at the affective and emotional dynamics animating evangelical megachurches. Spirit Tech: The Brave New World of Consciousness Hacking and Engineering Enlightenment is Kate's second book. Kate also analyzes gender dynamics in religion and spirituality from a bio-psycho-social perspective. Putting the critical humanities—especially feminist materialism and affect theory—into conversation with the biological sciences, she theorizes how gender and sex interact with spiritual and religious expression and experience.

During our discussion, you'll discover:

-What is spirit tech?…07:33

  • It is basically an umbrella term
  • The idea of sprit tech as brain-based technologies is always changing with new tech
  • Technologies that draw upon contemporary neuroscience and are intended to accelerate the benefits of spiritual practice
  • Includes:
    • Mindfulness
    • Prayer
    • Meditation
    • Mystical experiences/psychedelic experiences
  • Technologies developed for peak performance, medical purposes, or just innovation are engineered in a new way for users to enhance their spiritual life

-Is this some kind of a shortcut to shifting brain waves or accelerating our spiritual journey?…08:50

  • The technology is not to the point of achieving the benefits of years of meditation
  • Dalai Lama: The benefits of doing this practice are so profound that if there is some kind of implant that would accelerate the process, he would be the first in line
  • Spirit Tech is a training wheel, not a motor
  • Training wheels help with balance, staying in line, staying straight moving toward your goals, but you still have to pedal while a motor takes you without any effort on your part
  • ARX
  • With Ben, it is still technology stacked on top of hard work

-What is tFUS and how does it work?…13:49

  • tFUS (transcranial Focused Ultrasound Stimulation)
    • Similar to tDCS (transcranial Direct Current Stimulation)
    • tDCS uses electricity while tFUS uses ultrasound waves
    • Can get deeper into the brain and sends more precise and focused stimulation
    • Is still in the research stage; no headset available yet
  • Research is done in the SEMA lab (Science Enhanced Mindfulness Awareness) by Dr. Sanguinetti and Shinzen Young
  • The Science of Enlightenment by Shinzen Young
  • Vielight
  • Halo

-What is rTMS, what areas does it target, and what might it be used for?…23:20

-Are there any commercial devices that use rTMS?…25:56

  • There are several commercial rTMS devices available
  • God helmet
  • rTMS was created by Michael Persinger
  • Did not encourage a spiritual perspective when using the device

-Plant medicine, religious practices, and stimulated experiences…28:35

  • There is a spiritual intelligence when using certain plants used in plant medicine
  • Other plant medicine activities might simulate the same experience
  • Entity-based and chemical simulated spiritual experience
  • Ancient wisdom has practices to manipulate the mind and the body into a spiritual state
  • The pros of using these technologies without the side effects of plant medicines
  • Pharmakeia – using drugs to commune with the divine

-How does Zendo work?…41:14

  • Shifts Ben's brain into meditation in 20 seconds
  • Zendo affects neuronal excitability by applying DC electricity between the 2 patches
  • It is believed to cause a deep polarization of the neurons

-How does the Zendo differ from the Muse?…43:02

-What is Virtual Sacred Reality and Microdose VR?…48:18

  • Technodelics Microdose VR, Tripp and SoundSelf
  • Inspired by the psychedelic experience
  • Simulates visuals to put you in a mindstate similar to a psychedelic experience

-Church and the intersection of technology/spiritual directors…52:40

  • Spiritual direction is now a whole field profession in
  • Combination of a pastor and a coach
  • Technologies are tools – “A technology powerful enough to liberate is powerful enough to enslave”

-What is Field, and what happens there?…58:38

-And much more…

-Upcoming Events:

Click here for the full written transcript of this podcast episode.

Resources from this episode:

Kate Stockly:

– Podcast:

– Books:

– Other Resources:

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Do you have questions, thoughts, or feedback for Kate Stockly or me? Leave your comments below and one of us will reply!

Ask Ben a Podcast Question

3 thoughts on “Spirit Tech: The Brave New World of Consciousness Hacking and Enlightenment Engineering With Kate Stockly.

  1. Zownie says:

    This discussion seems to run fairly counter to the two articles on your convictions regarding plant medicine.
    It seems like a confusing message to allow these perspectives on your platform.

  2. Oveja says:

    I Corinthians 2:2-10

  3. Parv Syed says:

    Hi Ben,

    Great Podcast!

    I founded a company called Virya and we are in the “Sprit Tech” space. We focus on the analysis of transcendental experiences during Auto Self Transcending (AST) practices like (TM, Ziva, VM) using the Emotiv Insight Headband . We fall in the neurofeedback category. There is a large body of research on NonDual experiences or NDA (Non Dual Awareness) that are marked by slow inhalation, along with autonomic orientation at the onset of breath changes and heightened Alpha 1 (8–10 Hz) frontal EEG coherence reported during TM practice as well as Dzogchen meditation. We are able to quantify the quality of the AST experience during the 20 min session. So in AST the experience itself must be Effortless. The typical protocol is based on thinking of a mantra (sound without meaning) in a way where the mantra becomes increasingly secondary in experience & ultimately dissolving into an experience where pure self-awareness or NDA (Non Dual Awareness) becomes primary. Most people fall into the trap where they overthink the mantra or feel that the mantra is special in someway is JUST FOR THEM ; what they miss – is that similar to “muscle memory” which has a compounding effect from years of working out , the mind develops “mental memory” as you expose the mind & body to NDA via AST . Overtime the mind automatically develops the ability to sustain a transcending state outside meditation what we like to call Auto Sustained Transcending (AST 2.0). At this stage the use of the “mantra” is secondary the moment you close your eyes you begin to Transcend Automatically.

    AST is different from general mindfullness or general zen/ buddhist style meditation which fall in the focused attention (FA) and open monitoring (OM) categories and aid development of cognitive and affective skills during the meditation session which are crucial to deal with challenges in daily life. The Unique Factor in AST is that experience of Transcending is automatic, conducted by the natural tendency of the mind, and it must be an automatic process. Any intention or individual directing of the mind leads to increased activity in a localized area the mind cannot transcend. Which is why meditations in focused attention (FA) and open monitoring (OM) categories don’t lead to experiences of NDA (Non Dual Awareness) right away rather development of mental witnessing of all that is arising.

    So, using Muse Band to practice AST would be distraction, because the sensory stimuli ( birds chirping) which is part of their feedback loop itself would be the deterrent for the mind to effortlessly transcend and thus experiencing Non Dual Awareness also reffed to as Turiya in Advaita Vedantic (Non-Dual) tradition of ancient India would not be possible. One of the main reason I started this company.

    All meditation Practices (including general zen/ buddhist style to Non Dual Vedantic meditations ) which neuroscience coined as focused attention (FA) open monitoring (OM) and Auto Self Transcending (AST) categories at its philosophical foundation discuss the importance of non-dual experiences as the one of main foundation of spiritual development.

    This is an emerging space and I am glad you dived into it.


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