Curious results using the Muse


#1

Hi! I’ve meditated on and off for over a decade. I’ve been using the Muse now for 25 days straight and just got to 99% calm in a 20 minute session in a weird way.

Initially I tried to focus on my breath and that sometimes worked. Then at one point the chirping would throw me off my game and I realized I was judging. So instead of fighting the judgment, I admitted the truth, that I am happiest when I judge others and myself. And darn but it started chirping like crazy. Granted, being Asian means both genetically and culturally judging often goes to the very core of who we are.

Since then I’ve continued with high results. I was hoping at one point I would get sick of it, and I tried I am happiest when I release myself from all judgment but that didn’t work too well. Today I tried: I accept that I judge others and myself, I understand that I judge others and myself, I am happiest when I understand why I judge others and myself. I can transmute the fact that I judge others and myself. They all work which is why I got to 99% calm.

There was one day when the deep truth of that statement also hit, that my life has been good overall because judging happens with high standards, I tend to be forward thinking and that has kept me out of trouble. Having said that, for years I’ve balanced this with self-compassion and compassion for others.

So I’m wondering if what the Muse measures isn’t calm at all, it’s focus. And maybe authenticity or alignment. If focusing on the breath doesn’t work, I think it’s because focusing on breathing isn’t something I’m naturally passionate about. But judging – wow. That’s a subject that, during a Muse session, I could ponder endlessly. I wonder whether or not I’m even meditating. Oh, I also get high results by turning down the volume as far as possible, that cuts out the distractions.


#2

Hi Eileen: Exactly what do you do during the calibration phase because I believe that is the most important phase of the Muse session.


#3

Hi Denny,

Thanks for asking. Calibration varies, most of the time I do a session shortly after I wake up (mind is quieter and I’ve been fasting). Sometimes if it’s later in the day or we’ve brought the Muse to the beach or something like that there are a lot of distractions. Sometimes I’m thinking of stuff and sometimes not. We’re in an urban area so sometimes I hear the LightRail or sirens blaring or someone bumping around. On occasion I’ve opened my eyes and yelled meditating! or coughed. If I don’t eat clean or eat sugar the session goes to pot.

I do notice the Muse seems more sensitive when I’m quieter during the calibration, but the overall results are the same, I can get non-stop chirping birds only when I go back to focusing on problem-solving and hacking the idea of judging. I’ve done Ishaya Ascension gratitudes for years and even those don’t get results like the judging does.

I’ll focus more closely on the calibration and if I notice any trends I’ll update this.

Take care,

Eileen


#4

Final follow up to wrap up this thread. Rather than fight, I decided I would wallow full tilt in the judgment until my subconscious had had enough and got really depressed for awhile, and followed that into statements about grief like: I feel deep grief and compassion for the world. Then I think once my subconscious realized I was giving it free rein it worked things out. Now the main thing that works with judgment is: I can use the fact that I judge others and myself as information.

Granted, when you’re in mid-life and shifting physically, I read what we think is in our head could just be chemical changes, and the 5-HTP supplements I started using helped with the depression, even though my life situations haven’t changed.

Other things that didn’t work before now work:

  • the Ishaya Ascension gratitude attitudes,
  • If I knew everything: what would it be / how would I find acceptance / etc,
  • My highest intention is to be love and have love, etc.

My stats range all over the place now, usually 60s - high 80s. I’m no longer emotionally tied to judgment so my mind wanders more than before.

The other things that have the most impact are still things like not getting enough sleep, not drinking a pint of water before Musing, not eating clean (like getting glutened or nightshaded). It’s been an interesting journey.


#5

Thanks for sharing. Your journey is a positive reference point for me.


#6

Yes, thanks for sharing. Very interesting.
C


#7

Hi Eileen,
Hail to the Goddess of Muse! I’ve spent 35 hours meditating with muse and I’ve NEVER had scores like you report every time! Along with some other guys, I have been speculating in a different thread about how to get the birds to sing, and I’m leaning increasingly towards your belief that it involves more nearly a specific focus, than breathing rhythms or one’s overall state of mind. Here’s an interesting article about Buddhist monks and EEG results from their meditation, if you’re interested. Given your results, it sounds like you’re already there! https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC526201/#!po=47.1154
If you have ANY other tips or insights guys at all, please let the rest of us stragglers know. And congratulations on your stunning success at Musing!
Best regards,
Jim Goza


#8

I was meditating on my own for a decade before I got the Muse and finally got concrete feedback on effectiveness, that’s why it was easy for me to align with what it was doing. It will take more than 35 hours to get there, but you should see steady improvement every week and that’s all that counts. Then you’ll find yourself in a different place six months from now, or a year from now. Good luck!


#9

Actually, we’ve shifted over to Alexa Head Space since it’s something both of us can do simultaneously. With the Muse headband we had to meditate serially, and because his head is bigger than mine, we’d have to adjust the headband constantly. It would pull on my hair all the time.


#10

Good job on getting to 99% calm! I’ve been Musing for a couple weeks. The best I’ve done so far is 95%. And lately I’ve been slipping back into the 70’s and below. Maybe there’s something(s) in my life I need to work out before I can see 90’s again?

AFAIK, what Muse measures is the brain waves, not focus specifically. I’d assume that alpha waves are mostly what it considers as an indication of calm focus, basically mindfulness. But there might be combinations of alpha and theta, maybe gamma, that it values highly. The Muse company doesn’t seem to want to discuss exactly what it looks for. Probably this is proprietary information.

When considering what we need to do to improve meditation practice, it’s useful to remember the 5 hindrances of Buddhist meditation: aversion, attraction, too little energy, too much energy, and doubt.

In my experience, when I start hearing the birds I tend to become excited. There is attraction to the sound of the birds, in the sense that I am happy, excited, proud that I am succeeding in the meditation session. But when I feel these emotions/sensations, the birds tend to go silent. The best response is to be aware of the birds, but not to be excited by them, remain indifferent. However, that is difficult to do.


#11

To stay “indifferent” is solid advice. I’ve found that indifference is sense of agility that is rewarded in my meditative practice. Thanks for this reminder.