The Muse Headband: A Way to Hack the Meditation State

I’m a meditation snob. I’ve been meditating for over 25 years, so when the Muse headband first hit the market I thought it was a cool gadget for new meditators but not something I’d ever want to use. Plus I thought it looked dumb.

At the Bulletproof Conference this fall in Pasadena, CA, I had the opportunity to try one. Sold! When my mind got calm as I focused on my breath, the weather quieted and I heard the sound of waves. Real-sounding birds tweeted when I held focus for two seconds in a row. The first time I heard birds I got so excited that my mind screamed, Birds! I got birds!, which knocked me out of focus and shut up the birds until I was able to calm down again. I’ve gotten over that and now can hear the birds without losing it!

I use Muse almost every day in addition to other meditation sessions I do without it. Here’s why:

1) Having real-time feedback on the state of your mind is cool. It just is.

2) By having direct feedback on when you’re focused and when you’re not, it helps you train yourself to relax and focus even when you’re not wearing it because you know what that state feels like. Sometimes you can be focused even when your thoughts wander. I think it’s fascinating to learn which thoughts take me out and which don’t.

3) In a short session with Muse you can come out calmer and clearer than you might with regular sitting meditation because of the auditory reminder to bring yourself back to focus in real time. You end up sitting with more attention. This benefit extends to when you meditate without it because you become more adept at catching yourself when you’ve wandered because you’ve internalized what focused feels like in your body and mind.

4) It’s fun to compare notes with other users and several users can share one Muse headband, which I think is cool. You download the Muse app to your phone, so each person has her/his own account linked to the headband. Your data accumulates on your phone only and nothing gets stored in the headband.

5) Bird sounds!

6) It has a variety of meditation techniques and sounds in the database. Try them and find the ones you like best.

7) It’s fun to use it at different times of day, before and after sleep, caffeine, food, exercise. Get to know your mind and how it fluctuates according to what you do!

I have not been asked to write a review of Muse and don’t any compensation for doing so. I’m just sharing about it because it’s cool. And, yeah, I look like a dork. But it’s worth it to learn more about my mind!

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