People often try to use metaphors to explain meditation. Some stay pragmatic and compare it to physical exercise, while others get lofty and talk about ocean waves crashing on the side of a mountain.
These metaphors are aiming to make the practice more tangible, because the reality is, it’s quite a subtle thing. You’re trying to achieve a “meditative” state of mind, but what exactly does that mean? There’s no simple answer. No one other than you can experience your consciousness. It’s up to you to find your way.
Teachers can help point to techniques, share things they’ve learned, and support you through emotional discoveries, but ultimately the practice is yours to explore. Meditation is a process of personal experimentation and discovery. As you practice, trust your own experiences and insights – there’s no higher authority than your own experience.
Many find that a playful, curious approach helps a lot in the early stages. Being open and ready to try different techniques, positions, tools, lengths, and locations is key. When practicing with Muse, you may also learn from experimenting with your soundscape settings as you search for a feedback loop that feels right.
Here are some Muse soundscape settings to play with:
Gentle and Soft
Turn up the background volume while reducing both the feedback and birds volumes to make the soundscape much gentler. If you find the feedback too distracting, this can help a lot.
Silence the Birds
If you find the birds distract you too much, you can simply turn their volume down to zero. They’ll still be counted in your session report and data – you simply won’t hear them.
Focus on Real-time Feedback
The background sound helps ground the soundscape and prevents total silence from becoming a distraction when you’re calm. Turning up the feedback and birds and setting the background to zero can feel like a very different experience, so it’s worth exploring.
Turning off the Sound
It can also be instructive to explore having no sound feedback at all to see how different it feels. You’ll still get a full session report with all your data after the session.
When playing with your soundscape settings, try to find a feedback loop where Muse supports your focused attention on the breath without getting in the way. You’re looking for volume levels where your wandering mind is pulled back to the breath, but your focused mind is not pulled away from the breath.
Your preferred settings may be different from those of other Musers, and they may also change over time as your practice evolves. If you ever find yourself frustrated or unable to find settings that work for you, remember to bring back that playful curiosity and enjoy the process of exploration itself. Good luck!