Same, all around. Yorkieman, like you, I’ve tried everything I know… Vipassana techniques, mantras, Deepak, etc. etc… All completely hit and miss.
nBojana, I have also at times found that I could do several 3-5 minute back-to-back sessions and get dramatically better results each time. But not every time. Not right now when I tried. As nebulous as it sounds, it does seem to have something to do with intent. Those increasingly successful sessions had me eager to get back in there and do it better each time.
And I’ve actually tried to deliberately hack the calibration. I’ve tried moving around, blinking my eyes, etc. during calibration and during the ensuing session I might, or might not, have birds singing. No apparently correlation. Most often, I just follow the instructions exactly, “Take a deep breath, etc.” and go straight into deep breathing throughout the calibration and the session. I can tell no difference in results between one calibration approach and the other.
As I mentioned I’m also using the Muse Monitor app. in an effort to shed some light on what makes for a “calm” state. Viewing a live feedback image with the Monitor app on, I can go into a state of predominant Alpha waves pretty much at will. Given that I can almost never get birds to sing at will on Muse, I’m fairly certain that their “calm” state is not just an Alpha predominant state.
When deeply relaxed with Muse monitor, I get generally straight, untangled raw data lines with the highest percentage of Alpha waves, with Beta and Delta at the second and third levels of intensity, with Theta fourth, and Gamma always lowest in intensity.
I find that Delta and Beta both respond to movement, thoughts, etc… I have a more difficult time deliberately bringing up activity in the Theta range but when I’m deeply relaxed, it will generally increase.
These results lead me to speculate that Muse is looking for some combination and overall percentage of brainwaves much more complicated and difficult to intentionally achieve than just predominant Alpha waves. Purely anecdotally - I’m guessing that it may include certain percentages or patterns of Theta and Gamma waves, just because those are the most difficult for me to manipulate and control and certainly whatever state of mind constitutes a Muse calm state - is most difficult for me to manipulate and control. But that’s total conjecture on my part.
As crazy as it makes me, I’m not giving up yet. On the occasions when I have had nonstop birds singing I did feel really, really good. And I don’t think it was just because I was getting positive feedback. I think I was actually in a uniquely deep, truly meditative, state. In 33 hours of Musing, only once have I had a period as long as 2 minutes and 15 seconds where I was continuously in the calm state. It is usually very difficult for me to get 1 continuous minute of calm.
If I try to put my finger on any single factor that might link my good results, it quickly becomes entirely subjective. Nothing objective explains it. As close as I can get is to say that those sessions seemed to come at times when I felt really good about myself, when I was energized and eager to go deep into my mind. I honestly can’t tell anything different regarding my breathing or thoughts from a bad session to a great session.
If only they made a combined program where you could see your individual brainwaves AND get a signal when they were perfectly arranged. At least that way you would have some objective measuring stick. This way just leaves you blindly guessing…
Thanks so much for sharing your own experiences! Please let me know if you guys come up with anything at all that helps you and I’ll do the same.