Judson Brewer, author of The Craving Mind: From Cigarettes to Smartphones to Love – Why We Get Hooked, & How We Can Break Bad Habits – kept his meditation practice and medical career separate for a decade. Luckily for us, it eventually dawned on him to inform his research and clinical practice with the 2500-year-old insights of Buddhism. As he dove deep into the dynamics of addiction, he noticed that the primary western model for understanding human learning – BF Skinner's operant conditioning – was simply another way of describing the Buddhist concept of dependent generation. That is, humans, like all organisms, survived because they learned to associate certain triggers with behaviors that produced a reward that conveyed survival benefit. As in, see a fruit tree, eat the fruit, get a dopamine rush to the brain to signify, “This is good; let's remember it.” And repeat, with each loop reinforcing the lesson. This was fine as long as our environment rewarded behaviors that increased our wellbeing: eating, mating, resting, finding warm and dry shelter, etc. But along the way, we grew these big brains that complicated things. We remembered that high-calorie food made us feel good, so we turned to food to ease our bad moods even when we weren't hungry. And as we created new ways to get dopamine (drugs, alcohol, compelling technologies), our minds leveraged this learning loop into craving and addiction. Once Brewer noticed the similarities between operant conditioning and the Buddhist model of human craving and suffering, he wondered if the Buddhist practice of mindfulness could be a tool to decouple craving from behavior. Armed with the latest real-time neurofeedback and fMRI technologies, his lab studied brains that craved and brains that had overcome cravings. Brains that had been meditating for years, and brains that had just started meditating. Brains that were struggling to meditate, and brains that received feedback on how well they were meditating. And armed with this data, Brewer and his team at the Center for Mindfulness at the University of Massachusetts Medical School crafted interventions that were staggeringly effective in helping participants overcome their addictions. Now Brewer is making these interventions widely available, convenient, and affordable via smartphone apps that target emotional eating, smoking, and anxiety.