Reading while Using MUSE


Hi Guys,

I noticed that after calibration of the MUSE session, that even when my mind doesn’t wander around and I am 100% focused I keep hearing the storms and that it doesn’t register as calm. So I tried something new. After calibration, I opened up my laptop and began reading an ebook. Interestingly, I started hearing birds all the time and when the session ended it registered as more than 80% calm.
Did anyone had the same experience?


I just did the test with reading during a 10 minute session and had 14 birds and 44% calm, and this was with lots of noises around that were loud enough so that I didn’t actually hear any birds, while my phone was in front of me on the table with speaker on (I wore no headphones). I also got birds to sing while I was painting. But reading and painting are activities that require focused attention, which is what I believe triggers the birds. I am using Muse for only 5 weeks or so, but I also had numerous occasions when I felt I was calm and focused, and only was hearing loud weather. In such cases, I will go with the session for five minutes and if I am not able to quiet down the weather at all, I will restart the session, with assumption that calibration didn’t go properly. In most cases the next session will be much calmer, while for the first one I’d only get the “Perfect timing” award. But I also accept that sometimes I am just too scatterbrained and can’t keep my focus for long, and in such cases I’d at least get upwards of 10% calm, with subsequent session gradually getting calmer.


In my experience, I can still hear some weather when the Muse is registering neutral. I have to go all the way down into calm before the weather disappears entirely.

I think it’s wrong to try to relax and be calm while the Muse is calibrating. This will set the bar too high. While calibrating, the user should have an active mind. This was what the Muse company advised for previous versions of the Muse headband. But now the instructions seem to advise a more relaxed or at least neutral mind for calibrating.

What I do during calibrating is count to ten (in my mind) in English, then in French, then in Spanish, in Russian and finish up with German if I have time. I thought this would keep my mind very active jumping from language to language! But anything that needs an active mind should work well, such as going through the multiplication tables.

Keeping the mind active during calibration seems to give a better range of results when I meditate during Muse. Yes, I do hear the birds more easily - sometimes within 10 seconds of starting meditation - and can stay in the calm zone longer. If you set the bar too high during calibration, it can give frustrating results. You’ll have to try too hard, which in itself can have a negative effect on the results.

I guess if you get really good at the Muse and want more of a challenge, you can start focusing on your breath and calming yourself during calibration, or even before it.


I haven’t tried reading, but, for me, I’d bet it would cause hurricane-strength wind sounds. My muse seems to be extremely sensitive to my eye movements. It’s visually obvious with the Muse Monitor app, and audibly obvious with the Muse app. Band placement on the forehead doesn’t seem to make a difference. Maybe I just have electrically noisy eyes? Anyway, it’s a challenge for me to keep eyes absolutely still, regardless of whether they’re open or closed.


I haven’t noticed a lot of weather sounds generated from moving my eyes. Next time I Muse I’ll pay attention to that to see if there is a connection.

But I don’t seem to move my eyes much when I’m meditating. I mostly focus my attention on a point between my nostrils as I breath. Then if there are muscles I need to relax, my attention can go to those muscles without my eyes moving to point to the muscles. It is possible to do that. Usually I need to work on relaxing my forehead muscles, where I appear to store most of my tension.

I also notice that if my mind wanders into thoughts, it’s usually accompanied by a slight tensing of my lower lip and jaw. So as soon as I recognize that I have wandering thoughts, I bring my mind back to focusing on that point between the nostrils and I relax my lip and jaw.


One drawback to reading during the calibration phase, is that you need fairly bright light to read, whether it’s light from a laptop or light from a lamp. If I can, I like to have the room fairly dark when I meditate. The darkness - as well as closed eyes - helps generate alpha waves. So reading during calibration would be a hindrance because of the light needed.

There are a lot of things you can do in your head to keep the mind active without having to look at a book or a laptop. But the next time I Muse when there’s enough light in the room, I’ll try reading during calibration to see the effect it has on the session.


Yes i have noticed that calm thinking of focused thinking is registering as calm. As a meditator i know that is not a preferred state. I have tried to get information on their algorithm for calm and the different bird sounds but they have not responded to questions. Not very encouraging as a company


I also noticed that when I read with muse I hear a lot of birds. Reading something interesting on laptop and birds running non-stop. I did it just couple times 5 min sessions. Not sure if it is reproducible.