The company 40 Years of Zen is the brainchild of renowned biohacking guru David Asprey. The best way to describe what this company does, is as a neurofeedback bootcamp. It’s a 5-day experience that takes place in a luxurious farmhouse near Seattle. Participation is limited to 6 people at a time. When you first arrive, a map of your brain is created using proprietary technology. By donning headgear full of electrodes, the system listens to your brain waves. It then utilizes artificial intelligence and machine-learning algorithms to analyze the data based on 8,000 variables. The result is a detailed map of your brain with an assessment of its strengths and weaknesses.
Based on this map, a personalized protocol is developed for you. Each day consists of 3-4 hours of neurofeedback sessions for which you sit inside individual, futuristic-looking egg pods. During the sessions, you get into a relaxed state and listen to a unique set of sounds designed to stimulate your brain. In response, new neural pathways are created, effectively rewiring your brain.
After each session, you go through a debrief with the team of experts as they walk you through images of what your brain was doing. They also offer educational talks on neurofeedback and related self-exploration techniques. Meals are prepared by an executive chef, based on Asprey’s Bulletproof diet. You can also do daily acupuncture and yoga sessions, and provided with specially formulated supplements.
The net result of the experience is that you walk out a calmer, more relaxed, positive, and resilient person. This is in part due to your brain being able to generate more alpha waves, which are the ones that help you to get into a “flow” state. The team claims that these benefits are permanent. It’s as if you had done 40 years of meditation compressed into 5 days, hence the name of the company.
What You Can Do
The price tag for this too-good-to-be-true sounding experience is a whopping $15K, so for most us this might just be a curiosity. We did not find much scientific evidence on the effectiveness of neurofeedback to rewire your neural pathways, though we did read through a number of positive reviews of the experience from participants. Our main takeaway is that there are many paths to self-improvement and there are no silver bullets out there. It’s about finding what’s right for you, given where you currently are. At the very least, 40 Years of Zen will give you a unique 5-day window for self-exploration. The downside, besides a significantly lighter wallet, otherwise seems limited.