Two Years of Daily Meditation with the Muse Headband, Has it Changed Us?

Two Years of Daily Meditation with the Muse Headband, Has it Changed Us?

The 7th of July 2024 provided us with an excuse for a mini-celebration. My wife reached two years of consecutive daily meditation using the Muse headband system, and on the same day, I passed 5 million Muse points in the same time period. In this feature, I’ll provide an overview of our journey, some of the things we’ve learned, and the amazing benefits meditation has brought to us.

Meditation is enormously beneficial for brain health and overall well-being. It is an ancient practice that has been performed since the dawn of modern humans and is one of the few health-promoting activities that comes with zero significant drawbacks.

Although some who have yet to experience its benefits might be concerned that learning to meditate might be difficult, rest assured it is not. Companies such as Interaxxon, who invented the Muse headbands, have helped to make meditation accessible for all.

A woman adjusting the MUSE S headband whilst in her bed

The company’s headbands contain medical-grade EEG sensors, which monitor the electrical activity produced by the brain. Through clever programming, the individual waves are then displayed in a graphical format on a mobile phone, and user progress is stored safely on the app.

Reasons to Celebrate
Twenty-four days ago, the Muse app showed me that I had been meditating every day with it for exactly two years. The app shows it as a numerical ‘streak,’ although I had reached 730 consecutive days without any graphical fanfare, it felt like an achievement for me.

I did consider writing about my meditation experience then; however, other mini-milestones were within reach: my wife reaching the same 730-day, two-year mark and the possibility of me reaching five million Muse points. As mentioned, both these were achieved on the 7th of July.

An image showing Natasha passing two years and another showing Paul's points tallyThe above screenshots were taken on the 7th of July, 2024.

In my current role, I often need to research ways to live a healthier life, and I am also afforded the opportunity to read articles submitted by leading health experts. One word that popped up time and time again is meditation. Although I was quite familiar with the practice, I realised there was more to learn.

A little over three years ago, I decided to dive ‘head-first’ into reading and watching everything I could find on meditation, and the more I did, the keener I became to make it a core component of my life.

Growing up, statues of Buddha surrounded me, and I was no stranger to the word meditation. My mother, a practising Buddhist, often talked to me about her culture and practices in my younger years.

Although I dabbled in meditation occasionally, I used it more as a badge of honour or a talking point. It was only in more recent years that I realised that it is much more than an interesting conversation topic, and it is one of the best ways to protect my mental health now and in my later years.

A tray of fruits and vegetables

Our Ever-evolving Lifestyle
After more than twenty years of marriage, my wife and I still act like newlyweds, and our focus is always on the best for each other. Each other’s health is always at the forefront of our minds, and although my wife was already leading a super-healthy lifestyle, I lagged somewhat in that department.

Introducing any drastic changes after many decades of doing the same things is far from easy. What we found has made it much more straightforward is doing it with another person, particularly someone you love.

An image showing brain neurons

Although there were no hard and fast rules regarding who would be doing what, based on our individual interests and experience, the most obvious area for me to focus on was ways to improve and strengthen our mental health through mind training and my wife’s responsibility was pretty much everything else!

In addition to the mindfulness practices, we do daily intermittent fasting, avoid all sugar, alcohol, and ultra-processed foods, and have stopped watching or reading things that could be detrimental to our mental health. We mainly eat organic produce, drink unpasteurised milk, and make our own Kefir, biotic water, Komboucha, and fermented foods.

We also constantly increase our intake of fats, salads, and vegetables, use castor oil, go for daily walks, spend time in natural environments, hike, climb mountains, perform grounding, and consume daily supplements, including Omega-3, Vitamin D3, Hydrolysed Marine Collagen, Magnesium Glycinate, and a whole lot more.

An image showing a blonde-haired woman meditating in the countryside

Before I get into the details of our meditation practices, I want to acknowledge James Clutterbuck and Steffan Iverson for the incredible work they’ve done in creating platforms that have helped millions understand what is going on inside the bony domes at the top of their bodies.

James created the Mind Monitor platform, which allows users to examine specific brainwaves. His app creates CSV files, which are then uploaded to his web platform and then converted into multiple graphical charts.

A chart showing gamma production in the right hemisphere

Steffan has taken this a step further with his Meditation Monitor platform, which uses the same CSV files created in Mind Monitor to provide a detailed brainwave analysis. His platform also produces comparisons with experienced meditators, the location of individual brainwaves (see above), and more.

As one becomes more familiar with meditation techniques, the urge to investigate brain activity further is natural.

James and Steffan’s creations work independently from the Muse app, and I must have conducted thousands of meditation sessions using both. If these weren’t available, I would’ve likely been much closer to 10 million Muse points, as on some days, I would only find the time to use Muse’s app for a few minutes daily.

Meditation Practice
On average, I will meditate for between one and two hours daily, while my wife finds a shorter time, such as 15-20 minutes, more beneficial.

Although I dedicate more time than many others do to meditation, I should stress that longer sessions do not always equate to better.

Some experts state that as little as 15 minutes of daily meditation is enough to change the brain’s physical structure and produce significant benefits, and research tends to confirm this.

When I meditate, my mind enters what I can best describe as an empty space. It is a very comfortable state of mind that I can maintain for well over an hour.

Screenshots taken from the app seven days after reaching the 5 million calm points milestoneThe screenshots shown above were taken from the Muse app and added to this article on July 14, 2024.

During my meditations using the Muse headband, I’ll have a good idea of what the data will show before my sessions end.

For example, if I do a 30-minute meditation session with a Muse headband, I would expect to see around 300 birds, an average heart rate in the low 60s, around 100% stillness, a few recoveries, and a high calm percentage. For a 20-minute meditation, it would be around 200 birds, and so on.

Monkey Mind
When most people first start meditating, they will likely experience constant distraction, known as the ‘Monkey Mind’. Even the most experienced meditators are not immune to this. Trying to prevent thoughts, etc., from appearing is nigh impossible; the secret to achieving a calmer and quieter mind is in observing them but not engaging with them.

A monkey on a branch inside a mans head

The Buddha said, “Just as a monkey swinging through the trees grabs one branch and lets it go only to seize another, so too, that which is called thought, mind or consciousness arises and disappears continually both day and night.”

‘Monkey Mind’ is just one of many things that can distract you while meditating. Others include itches, drifting off to sleep, muscle twitches and spasms, external noise, thinking about how you are feeling, and so on. Rest assured, in time, these will become far less of a concern during your practice and can be overcome by simply noticing them and letting them pass and fade away.

Although accumulating points and birds on the Muse app is fun and motivating, I should stress that, by far, the most important aspect of meditation is consistency and the subjective experience, which includes conscious awareness, feelings, inner awareness, phenomenal consciousness, qualia, and subjective awareness. You can learn more about the subjective experience here.

Every person’s meditation experience is different, and it is not a competition. Some of my profound practices have produced data showing vastly more interruptions than birds and a very low calm percentage; it is the same when I decide to experiment. My advice is not to be driven by the numbers; see them as a signpost pointing you to the right path.

A man meditating in a field in the Lotus position

Varying how my wife and I meditate has proven beneficial and significantly boosted our enjoyment. We purchased an infrared sauna blanket, and my wife will often don her Muse and a Kasina and meditate inside it. She will also do something similar sitting in front of a red light therapy panel or lying in the garden while doing grounding.

In my quest to learn more, I regularly engage with highly proficient and experienced meditators who have benefited from the teachings of the most lauded meditation masters, visited far-flung monasteries, and stayed at dedicated retreats. Personally, I have never felt a need to do this; for me, online research and the Muse system have been enough (at this stage of my journey).

Whether it is based on maintaining a tradition or first-hand experience, many I speak with seem convinced that postures such as the Lotus, Seiza, or Burmese positions are vital.

My approach is somewhat different; it is the most comfortable position for me at the time, whether it is leaning against a rock, sitting upright on a bed with my legs out, or lounging on a sofa. When I examined my brain wave data, I did not find a traditional seated position to be more beneficial than any other comfortable position.

Another thing that I probably do differently is that I do not need to ‘ready’ myself using breathing techniques, etc. I am a sit/lay in a comfortable position, put on a Muse headset, click start on the app, and ‘away we go’ type of meditator.

The Types of Meditation
Over the years, I have experimented with pretty much every type of Meditation: mindfulness, transcendental, loving-kindness, focused, Zen, etc., and I have found all of them beneficial.

Not keeping to one style or adopting a traditional or formulaic approach hasn’t held me back in the slightest.

During the past two years, I’ve experienced most, if not all, the Jhanas (Dhyanas), found techniques that allow me to switch between my left and right hemispheres and discovered ways to boost individual brainwaves, including experiencing delta waves while conscious. According to data, I can even be in a meditative state when staring at a wall or nature with my eyes open.

An image representing lucid dreaming

After countless hours of meditation, there are many aspects that I have yet to fully experience and master, which encourages me to keep exploring. The main area where I struggle is learning to lucid dream, which my wife finds surprisingly easy.

When I am in a full meditative state, I experience a feeling of pure relaxation and contentment mixed with silence and nothingness. When my wife asks me to describe it, I tell her, “It feels like I am touching heaven”.

A hand reaching out to tough heaven

Changes and Reawakening Hidden Powers
As my wife and I have progressed along our meditation journey, we’ve noticed many changes. Aside from the expected and obvious benefits, such as being less stressed and the urge to spread joy, love and happiness, we feel we have better foresight and intuition.

Our egos have also become much less of a factor in our lives; we do not feel the need to prove ourselves or gain validation from others. Our ability to take in and retain new information has also improved greatly, and we feel that we are able to better understand the ways the world works and see it in a clearer light.

Another positive aspect of long-term meditation is that we are unwittingly drawn to others who are on the same journey. Almost always, these are calm, caring, and considerate people.

It is like having a secret power reawakened inside you that gives you the ability to feel the calm and contentment in others and sense genuinely good auras.  This newly discovered ability has also made it easier for us to spot those hiding behind a facade, using fakery and gaslighting and people whose focus is only on what they can get.

An older woman on a bench with a kind and good aura

The difference between those who embrace mindfulness and those who do not is that you are much more likely to experience authenticity from those on a ‘true’ journey of awakening as they are not being influenced by their egos.

Although our newly discovered ‘power’ has resulted in us spending less time with people socially, it has not diminished our enjoyment of life; in fact, we regularly tell each other we feel more content than ever.

Other changes in us include becoming significantly more creative and developing stronger insight and intuition, which gives us more confidence in our decision-making.

Although we do not view spending less time with people in a social environment to be negative, I don’t want it to appear that we have become ‘hermit-like’ and deliberately shy away from others. I am what many consider to be a friendly person, and I make it a point to interact with everyone I come across, particularly while out walking; it is something engrained in me.

I constantly remind myself that the person(s) I encounter could be having a difficult time and could use a reason to smile.

Something as simple as a nod, wave, or a few friendly words might be all they need to feel happier or more positive. In the past, I might’ve been offended if someone chose to ignore my goodwill gestures. Nowadays, thanks to meditation, it is like “water off a duck’s back.”

People often describe a journey into Meditation as part of an ‘awakening,’ and in some ways, that is what we are experiencing. Today, I am more inclined to welcome many things into my life that I wouldn’t have a few years ago.

However, as much as Meditation has improved our lives, it is important to stress that it hasn’t removed or muted the tools we need to thrive.

A man wering the Muse S Gen 2 Brain Sensing Headband

Is a Muse headband Essential?
One of the best things about Meditation is that you don’t need anything but yourself to do it. Clearly, technology such as the Muse headbands is fun and very useful, as they can help track your progress. Without one, I view knowing where you are on a meditative journey as little more than a best guess.

The Muse app contains fantastic interactive content, guides, and advice from leading experts. It is also constantly upgraded and added to; earlier this year, in response to customer feedback, the Muse app introduced another excellent feature: specific brain wave tracking, further extending its appeal.

We currently have seven Muse headbands in our home (3 x Muse S and 4 x Muse 2) and use them all. We also frequently combine them with our Mindplace Kasina devices, which produce a combination of audio tracks, binaural beats, and coloured lights displayed via LED glasses to improve relaxation.

A woman on her sofa using the Alpha-Stim

Another product that we have found beneficial in our journey towards calmness is the Alpha-Stim (above). It is a battery-operated medical device that uses cranial electrotherapy stimulation, which involves small, safe electrical currents sent via clips on the earlobes.

When testing the device, we found it significantly boosted our Alpha Waves, which are known for inducing feelings of calm and can help boost creativity.

If you are serious about embarking on the journey towards inner peace, devices such as the Muse headband, the Mindplace Kasina, and Alpha-Stim will save you from much wasted time.

Is there an ‘End Goal’ with Meditation?
If you were to ask most people what they want from life, some would say to be healthy, a few would say they want power and wealth, and others would say they want to find love. However, I am convinced that the majority of people asked would say they want to be happy.

If your goal is only to be happier, then meditation is one of the best ways to achieve it. But with regular practice, it can give you much more. For example, it can help rid you of stress and significantly reduce anxiety. It is fantastic for freeing and opening your mind, allowing you to view and interact with the world in a more enjoyable way. But, above all, in my opinion, the ultimate benefit one can obtain from meditation is contentment.

Although contentment contains happiness, it is important to distinguish the two. Contentment is a much more robust state of mind that can last considerably longer than happiness, possibly throughout a person’s life.

A content bearded older man walking through a forest on a sunny day with his hands in his trouser pockets

Some of the most content people in the world have what the majority consider less. They have found a way to see beyond the ongoing media bombardment telling them what they need to improve their lives. They experience each day in a simpler, more authentic, and honest way and are less troubled by the bumps, hurdles, and stumbling blocks placed in front of them; it is a lifestyle that some of the wealthiest, best-known and most powerful people in the world can only hope to replicate.

Final Thoughts…
Reaching small numerical milestones with Muse has been fun, but it is not the “Be all and end all”. The most important thing is how meditation makes you feel and gaining as much benefit as you can from it. If numbers motivate you to do this, that’s great, but when you become more experienced, you will find that the numbers become secondary.

Meditation has enriched and improved our lives in so many ways, and we regret not doing it sooner. It is one ingredient in a tripartite formula that also includes exercise and diet. While each is hugely beneficial on its own, in combination, they create the perfect recipe for a better life.

Everyone reading this knows how stressful modern life can be and will be aware of the damage it can do to physical and mental health. We do not believe that ‘papering over the cracks’ is the way forward; people need an intangible, near-unbreakable shield to protect them.

The obvious way to achieve that and gain a few superpowers is to meditate, exercise more, and pay much more attention to your diet.

If you have yet to take your first steps towards a better and more enriching life, we say, “The recipe for a more fulfilling life is clear. What are you waiting for?

The suns rays breaking through the cloudsTwo Years of Daily Meditation with the Muse Headband, Has it Changed Us? 2

Paul Godbold

Founder, Editor-in-Chief

Paul is the owner and editor-in-chief of Luxurious Magazine. He previously worked as a fashion model, was in the British Army and created companies in the technology, venture capital and financial services sectors. In addition to writing, he also proofs, edits, designs, lays out and publishes all the articles in the online magazine. Paul is a full member of the Chartered Institute of Journalists.

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