Approximately 80% of top performers have some kind of meditation practice, according to Tim Ferris, who gained close access to a wide variety of such people due to the success of his writing career and podcast.
I’ve known that meditation is a critical habit for years but have simply not been able to implement it, until half way through 2017. Here’s how I pulled it off.
It started last “Summer” in London. I was at my good friend Ed’s house and I saw a gadget I’ve been curious about for ages called the Muse.
The Muse is a four-point, consumer grade electroencephalograph (EEG), which means it reads brain waves. There are a few categories of brain waves (alpha, beta, gamma, delta, theta) which correspond to different types of brain activity. Muse feeds what it detects in terms of your brain waves via Bluetooth to your mobile, which passes them back into your brain via your earphones as sound. This might be better explained with a diagram (excuse the scribbles):
The app has a few different options in terms of scenes, like rain, city, ambient music (my personal fav) etc. What is common among them is that when the EEG detects mental activity, the sounds become more noisy, the more quiet your mind, the less noise you will hear.
What this allows you to do is train your brain to enter a calm state by feeding back to you (effectively reminding you) that your mind is busy, and to empty it. With conventional (“low tech”) meditation practices you have to catch your mind wandering yourself and bring it back to your breath or emptiness. The neurofeedback from the Muse simply helps you with this process, which I believe accelerates your meditation progress and practice.
So how did this device make me create the habit?
One of the main ways is that by having the gadget in my field of view, it reminds me to pick it up and use it. Also since the app tracks and trends your usage, it makes you want to “beat your scores”, improving and pushing your limits. This comes back to the principle of “what gets measured gets managed” and also gamification.
I started with baby steps, going for short sessions of 3 to 5 minutes, and having the device for 2 weeks I had meditated more than in the previous 2 years. And now, 5 months later, I’m up to a total of 10 hours of meditation, and am currently pushing 15-20 minutes per session.
According to my understanding, this is one of the most powerful habits that you can implement across all areas of life, from mitochondrial energy support to mood, sleep and concentration. I would strongly recommend the Muse as something which has worked very well for me. Let me know your thoughts!