Think Better.
Feel Better.

Musings on meditation & living well.

A Different Kind of Love.

My name is Jess and I’m in charge of the website here at Muse: the brain sensing headband. Well, I was in charge of the website because today is my last day with the company.

My decision to move on was terribly bittersweet. The time I had at Muse was incredible but I’ve had to make an extremely tough decision regarding the direction of my life from a professional and career perspective.

I thought about writing this story because as we approach Valentine’s and all its relevance to love I figured I’d discuss a different kind of love; one that’s not about couples and cuddling. What I am referring to is the love you feel for the people you work with and the culture you work in:

The love I feel for this company spawns from many different factors:

  1. Gratitude. People in this organization genuinely care for one another. We are a very small, close knit team. We routinely have sessions where we all get together in one large room and select one or two people who we are grateful for. Whether that colleague is someone who helped you on a project or someone who treated you to a coffee without you expecting it, no good deed goes unnoticed. The warm fuzzy feeling we get after each session not only brings us closer together as a team but also inspires us to achieve more and drive our goals forward.
  2. Lunch Roulette. Everyone in the company participates in an activity where a roulette wheel is spun to determine who you will go to lunch with. This, of course, has the benefit of bringing people out of their shells and learning more about the people they may not have had the pleasure of interacting with before. It’s kind of like an intra-company blind date. What could at first be awkward later ends up building great relationships in the office. Everyone is unique and fascinating when you get to know them. At Muse we have people from all walks of life – from brain surgeons, to creative designers to PhDs in computer science and machine learning and mindfulness gurus – and all of these people have a story to tell.
  3. AMA’s. Every other Friday someone in the company volunteers for an AMA Reddit style physical gathering in the office where someone is selected to sit at the front and tackle questions from the rest of the team. The questions range from questions you’d expect from a biographical exploration of someone’s life to the abstract and ridiculous. “Who’d win in a fight between Wolverine and Spiderman and why?” “If you had to grow an extra appendage what would it be?” Our group sessions can sometimes be hilarious or sometimes sad depending on the experiences of who the volunteer is that week. Whatever the case may be, we all leave feeling a distinct and purifying camaraderie.

I’ve only selected three things for today’s blog post. I could have written about the mind controlled beer tap or the levitating chair. I could have also mentioned Daisy the office dog who I will miss dearly or various yoga and meditation sessions on the roof.

I know people who have worked in environments so poisonous that it affects their daily lives or offices that are neither here nor there but I can truly say I love everything about this place and I am grateful that I will only be a couple minutes away. There is no doubt that I’ll visit again.

Signing off with all my love and paying the internet cat tax below,

Jess.

Understanding your Muse Session Results

At the end of every meditation with Muse, you get a chance to reflect on the brain data your headband detected during the session. Muse’s session report lets you see how you were shifting between three different states:

  • Active: This is time spent with a wandering mind. Your attention was fluctuating.
  • Neutral: This is your natural resting state. You attention isn’t fluctuating, but you aren’t deeply focused either.
  • Calm: A deep restful focus on your breath. These are moments when you’re truly concentrated on your breath.

So in this session, you can see that I was moving back and forth between a resting state and deeper focus on my breath. That matches how I felt during the session. I was trying to focus on my breath but whenever I lost focus, Muse’s audio feedback was guiding me back to my breath, so I never ended up totally lost in thought. Pretty typical.

Here’s how to read my session report in more detail:

  1. The percentages for calm, neutral and active represent the proportion of time spent in each state during the session. Note that Muse is tailored to focused attention on breath. Other meditations may lead to unexpected results.
  2. Muse measures your brain’s natural electric field from outside your head while you meditate. This graph presents these data in a way that helps you reflect on how you were changing state over time. You can see when your mind was in each region: active, neutral, or calm.
  3. You receive 1 calm point for every second that your brain is in a natural state of rest (neutral), and 3 calm points for every second spent with deep restful focus on your breath (calm). You don’t receive any calm points for time spent active, but an active mind is an opportunity to notice your wandering mind and bring your attention back, earning yourself a recovery.
  4. Recoveries celebrate the moment when you move from active (wandering mind / fluctuating attention) to neutral (a natural state of rest). If you look at my graph, you can see a lot of peaks, but there are two in particular (around 0:05 and 1:00) where I went into the active region then recovered back into neutral. Those recoveries are key to building the skill of focused attention and integrating the benefits of meditation into your daily life.
  5. When you find a deep, restful focus on your breath for an extended period of time, you may hear birds singing quietly. Over time, you’ll learn to use the birds as a cue to settle even more deeply into focused attention.
  6. Session awards celebrate and recognize certain qualities of your session. You can earn awards for high calm %, long session lengths, lots of points/birds, and more. Tap on your awards to learn more about why you’ve received them.

No matter how your session results look, what’s important is that you spend time meditating. Try not to get into a pattern of judging your performance harshly or becoming self-critical.

Meditation with Muse is all about being curious about your experience. Simply use the data to help you reflect on your meditation and motivate yourself to commit to a daily practice. Happy Musing!

3 Ways We Incorporate Mindfulness Into The Workplace

We’re excited about 2016 and involving mindfulness into our own daily lives. During any given week at Muse we are lucky enough to have a culture that incorporates meditation and mindfulness into everything we do as long as our schedules and workload can accommodate of course.

But even though we have a lot going on, we give ourselves time to be present. We make an effort to use our own office meditation space that’s open to every employee as well as the many guests who come and practice either as a group or individually.
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We are grateful for every single one of you.

Its our 10th day of ’10 Days of Holiday Gratitude’ today and we’d like to end our series by proclaiming that we are grateful for every person who has ever shown an interest in what we do. We strive, on a daily basis, to find ways of bringing mindfulness, meditation and a healthy mind to the forefront of people’s thoughts. As a token of our gratitude we’d like to offer everyone 10% off anything in our store starting from now through December 26.  Simply use the code ‘gratitude2016‘ during checkout and you’ll see the price adjust.  As we move into 2016 lets be more aware of all the wonderful things in our lives and celebrate them throughout the years to come.
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What’s the value of gratitude? Why does it even matter? Day 9

10 Days of Holiday Gratitude from Muse

We at Muse practice gratitude and were so moved from Seth Godin’s Thanksgiving Reader that we challenged the diverse and talented group of people we’re proud to call our colleagues to chime in on this conversation.

Join us here on the blog daily for 10 Days of Holiday Gratitude from Muse.

Stay tuned. On Day 10 we’ll share our own gratitude in the form of a special surprise to all of our supporters.

 

What’s the value of gratitude? Why does it even matter?


There is a lot of negativity in the world, and every person is just trying to do their best with their own situation and given their own perspective. We all have goals and things we want to achieve, and focusing on those can feel like you have blinders on. So it’s important to step back and stop to check how far you’ve come and thank the people who have helped you along the way in the way of gratitude.

The value of gratitude isn’t monetary, but is emotional and very human. We move so quickly though our days and have so many thoughts running through our heads that taking a moment for gratitude will fill the human emotion inside. It matters to take a moment to reflect, as when you do accomplish those goals they will be valued more.

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By Jess Joyce