How 40 Years of Zen Changed My Life
By Scott Donnell
40 Years of Zen is a program created by Dave Asprey that claims to help you access meditative mental states that typically take 40 years of meditation practice to achieve. Dave says, “40 Years of Zen is the #1 most impactful biohack I’ve ever used in my life.”
But is 40 Years of Zen all it’s cracked up to be? I went on a mission to find out.
My Mental State Prior to 40 Years of Zen
2020 was probably the most stressful year of my life. I mean, who didn’t have an awful year? My company, Hapbee Technologies, Inc. went public and the process almost killed me. Between the pressure of having three kids under 5 and the stress of running four companies, I was really struggling.
When I had my worst nervous breakdown ever, I realized it was time to make a change in my life. In early 2021, I started a 100-day journey towards total health and wellness that aims to transform my mind, my body, and my environment.
As part of this health journey, I wanted to train my brain to function at its optimal capacity. I had never done any neurofeedback training or similar biohacking prior to 40 Years of Zen, but I was open to anything.
To be honest, I didn’t know much about 40 Years of Zen before I got there. Dave told me, “You’ve got to try this. It’s going to change your life.” So I said, “Okay, let’s go.”
40 Years of Zen is a five-day program located in Kenmore, WA (30 minutes outside of Seattle). I grew up in Oak Harbor, WA, so I’m pretty used to the rain and overall dreary environment that defines the winter months in northwest Washington.
When I arrived at the facility in January of 2021, I was surprised to find out I wouldn’t be able to use my phone for the whole week. After frantically texting my assistant to tell her I would be unreachable, I shrugged it off and tried to mentally prepare myself for the experience. The 40 Years of Zen team restricts phone usage in order to keep your brain in a calm state throughout the program.
Basically, the purpose of 40 Years of Zen is to train your brain. The program relies mainly on neurofeedback, a process that increases IQ, EQ, and Cognitive Function. The potential results of the program include increased self-awareness, the ability to communicate more effectively, and the capacity to free up energy so you can maximize your potential.
Every day, I entered a futuristic Zen Pod for neurofeedback training. The first day, my brain went a little haywire because I wasn’t used to being still and my body couldn’t relax. With each session, my brain became calmer and calmer until I was able to really sink into the experience. I finally got to the point of gaining more mental clarity and getting rid of brain fog.
Another component of the program is analyzing your results with neuroscientists. Taking a look at the 8,000 brain scans they took, I learned so much about the different waves in my brain and how I can control them. I also received a personalized brain map that shows my strengths and weaknesses.
Takeaways from the Experience
Honestly, 40 Years of Zen changed me–it literally transformed my brain. I know it sounds too good to be true, but let me explain.
Developing Alpha and Theta Waves
There are two brainwaves called delta and high beta waves that are linked to logic, problem-solving, strategy, and survival mode (fight or flight). Those were off the charts for me, which is what made me a successful entrepreneur all these years.
Unfortunately, these brainwaves had practically stomped out the alpha and theta waves, which are the ones directly linked to creativity, freedom, love, joy, and peace.
The whole week was about resetting my brain to be able to feel those feelings and cut down on the delta and high beta waves that have been overpowering my brain. One of the primary goals of increasing alpha waves was to make my brain more efficient.
My brain was stuck in survival mode. It wasn’t able to shut off, even during sleep. I had no supplements and minerals to give my brain energy. It was like pressing the gas pedal all the way down when there’s no gas in the tank.
When I developed the ability to increase my alpha and theta waves, I became a more focused and joyful person. I was finally able to allow my brain to relax, reset, and prepare for the challenges ahead. One month later, I’m a much more centered person…and it seems like my nervous breakdown was a lifetime ago.
Improving My Relationships
One of the most important aspects of the program was dealing with trauma. As I began to wade through my past, I was able to forgive a lot of people, including myself, which was the hardest part. It was extremely powerful and so valuable to me.
I finally reconnected with some family members I had grown apart from. Most importantly, my marriage has become 10 times stronger since then. At last being able to communicate from a place of love, understanding, and empathy rather than from a place of hurt has completely transformed my relationships.
As a founder and leader of many companies, I sometimes struggle to understand how my team is feeling because I tend to focus on productivity and taking action quickly and confidently. Now, I am more intentional about considering others’ perspectives and slowing down enough to make sure there’s enough time to think through decisions.
This experience has enabled me to lead Hapbee in a much better way. Now, I’m a leader who is able to care for others and lead with humility. I know this is only the beginning of the valuable impact I’ve gotten from 40 Years of Zen. I would definitely recommend it to anybody who’s a leader in any capacity.
40 Years of Zen is a key part of my 100 Days Challenge. Follow along to see what other biohacking tools I’m using to impact my health this season.
Not ready to shell out the cash for 40 Years of Zen? You can help your brain relax with the Hapbee Calm signal whenever you’re feeling stressed.