Let’s get geeky with Vince Horn, contributor to buddhify
By Dana Jaffe
Recently, our editor Dana Jaffe sat down with each of the buddhify teachers to find out what they’re all about. Here she talks with Vince Horn about why he started meditating, video games, and what it is like running a meditation-related business.
Let’s see. Well, I think it was my family. They were meditating before I came around. Just before I was born, my family got into meditation — sort of like the new age variety of it. I grew up with family members who were meditating. When I was 13, I did an eight-week meditation class with my aunt who was teaching. That was my first formal introduction to it. So basically, osmosis.
I’d say I’ve gotten more practical, less idealistic about work over time, because being an “expert” in the field doesn’t mean that I can build a good company. It doesn’t grant that immediately. Over time, I’ve had to loosen my idealism about meditation and just focus more on the nuts and bolts of marketing, of building technological systems, of integrating those systems, and providing good service to people. Just the basics of business — like having a two-year cash flow, a good budgeting system, and good relationships with investors — and all of the different dimensions and aspects of business that are their own skills. Meditation can support those skills, but they don’t translate one-to-one by any stretch of the imagination.
I’m passionate about both actually. I love business. I think it’s really interesting. It gets hard sometimes when I hear criticisms of business coming from progressive leading meditators who don’t like business. They think it’s like the devil. I find that challenging. But then I remember that I have this opportunity to create something lasting in the world through my business, and I’m grateful for that. Haters gonna hate is basically what I’m saying, and meditators gonna meditate.
The game that I played most recently is called Destiny. It branched off of the Halo game lineage. It’s on PlayStation. It’s a first-person shooter game. We have a clan on there — almost all of them are meditators — and the name of our clan is Namaslay. These meditating people get together and we just hang out. It’s fun. It’s another extension of our community. I like it because we’re not getting together to be spiritual or to be meditators. We’re hanging out as friends. It’s like a male bonding ritual.
What’s interesting is, I’ve noticed that there’s a contemplative aspect to the game. When you’re going in between matches, you’re in this ship. The ship is floating above earth and then it is very gently gliding to its destination. It takes a long time, way longer than it needs to. I think the makers of the game learned that in order for the game to not feel like video game crack, they have to insert these pauses. I really liked that because Halo, which is a previous first-person shooter game, felt much more like crack. When I would play that game, I felt cracked out. I played for longer and I’d get jittery. One of my friends and I call it the Halo sweats. You play long enough and you start to have this video game sweat, because you’re just so frenetically involved in the game. In this game, it has none of that. I play less. It’s less jittery and cracked out; no Destiny sweats. I appreciate that the game designers figured that out.
A long-time friend, mentor and hero of Rohan, Vince has been at the forefront of the progressive meditation for over a decade. The co-founder of the highly influential Buddhist Geeks, he now heads up Meditate.io with his teaching and life partner Emily.
You can experience Vince’s contributions to buddhify through the meditations for Work Break, Waiting Around, Walking I, and Stress & Difficult Emotion II. You can find out more about him and his work at www.vincenthorn.com and meditate.io.