Lowering treshold?


#1

Is it possible (or even meaningful) to somehow lower the threshold for the “calm” band? I find that it is a bit too easy to remain in the calm band: I can have quite a lot of thoughts without chasing away the birds or leaving the calm band, as long as I retain my sense of being present.


#2

This is not a direct answer to your question, but during the calibration, by being very present and relaxed, you will definitely make the session more challenging, as the difference compared to the calibration will be less marked than if you put a lot of effort into the brainstorming.

Something I found just recently was that by tilting Muse so it is located higher on the forehead seems to have made sessions significantly more difficult for me.

The standard advice from meditation teachers regarding thoughts is to just let them be as they are, and this way they will eventually start to fade of their own accord.

One yogi I watched a talk by, mentioned a technique of very subtly and gently ‘reaching in’ to the thought space with your attention, and telling it, ‘calm… calm…’. Depending on the pliability of your mind, this can actually work, he said.

The fact that you notice all these thoughts would seem to be a testament to increased mind clarity, i.e. you are actually seeing processes that normally go by unnoticed, below the threshold of everyday awareness.

Sorry for rambling, hope you find some of it useful.


#3

Thank you for commenting. I just this morning tried different behaviours during calibration (will do more experiments), but it didn’t make a difference. I wrote a mail to the Muse support (in response to an earlier response):
Dear Gwen (or whoever gets this),

thanks for your response. However, it did not really address my concerns. Actually, I am wondering if you just pasted a standard, pre-formulated answer, rather than trying to figure out what is going on.

In your response, you recommend me to really try to think hard during calibration. If I followed your advice successfully, I would presumably ”improve” my results. However, the problem I am dealing with is that I get excessively high ”calm” scores, and very low (often 0%) ”active” scores, even though my inner experience is not one of continuous calm, focussed awareness without thinking.

I just made a brief test with the calibration procedure (see attached images). In the first session (6.23) I focussed on my breath during calibration and in the second (6.31) I followed the instructions and tried to think of as many tools, etc., as possible. In the first session I had 85% calm, 15% neutral and 0% active. In the second session I had 83% calm, 17% neutral and 0% active. It seems that it doesn’t make any difference if I think hard during calibration or not. I also don’t do any tricky things with my eyes, I keep the closed and still all the time.

I really want to know if these results reflect the properties of my Muse headband, or something peculiar about my head and brain activity. Or if the Muse is simply not very accurate. What does work is that the Muse properly registers when my mind really starts wandering during a session. Then the graph leaves the ”calm” region, and stays mostly in the ” eutral" region. However, even then I usually have very low percentages of ”active” (below 5%). And, as I wrote in my first mail, I can do quite a lot of thinking without any reaction from the Muse, as long as I have a focussed awareness. It only reacts when I lose focus and get lost in thinking threads.

I would like to know if this is extremely unusual, or if there are many people who have similar patterns. I really would like the Muse to be a helpful device for training my ability to stay stably in calm awareness. I also would find it interesting if my results were comparable with other people’s results, i.e. knowing that the Muse measures the same processes in the same way. But I guess the latter does not really apply, for whatever reasons. And I do believe that you Interaxon people know far, far more about this than you communicate. I think that is unwise, because you would gain far more trust in the device among potential and actual users if we know as much as possible how the Muse works.

Best wishes,

Thomas Jordan