In my previous post I outlined my first meditation-tech investment which was the Muse neurofeedback device.
In this post I will be discussing my second investment, the Inner Balance Heart Rate Variability (HRV) trainer from HeartMath plus some conclusions from my practice.
HRV training is practiced by many of the gurus of the biohacking scene such as David Asprey and Ben Greenfield, as well as high performance individuals I’ve been coming across such as Adam Robinson , Josh Waitzkin Adam Fisher and Jamie Wheal.
Thanks to using both of these devices and the time I have spent practicing, I can feel a significant change in my ability to enter a calm (parasympathetic) state on-demand. Those of you who know me will agree that I am of a relatively intense disposition. Exercising the muscle of my parasympathetic nervous system is a valuable and powerful skill for me, and this is only the beginning.
In the recent books I have read on meditation (Altered Traits and The Joy of Living), meditation practitioners with 50,000+ hours are studied and mentioned often. This makes my 20 hour achievement seem a somewhat trivial but you have to start somewhere!
The main point is that it feels great to have finally implemented the habit, and I cannot emphasize how much I recommend this to everyone.
In terms of specific meditation techniques, I have been trying:
- Focusing on the breathing
- Guided meditations from Sam Harris / Tara Brach
- Mindfulness meditation, “watching the thinker”
Here are some results, comparing my HRV training last October 2017 (when I just started) against this October 2018.
There is another type of meditation mentioned often in the two books I just read called “Loving Kindness” meditation, this is where you apply your consciousness to having positive compassionate thoughts towards different human targets, starting with the people you love most but eventually extending towards the people you hate!
I am yet to try this one however I can see how this technique would improve your mood and wellbeing. Will keep you posted about that one.
One of the main weaknesses I have found using my hi-tech meditation approach is that my mind gets occupied by the feedback. For example, with the HRV training I constantly find myself watching the Coherence score and trying to increase it. The peculiar thing is that you could say that this is the whole point training the capability, to figure out which feelings and states inside my consciousness translate into an improvement in HRV, which means that I’m in a more calm state, however does this mean that I’m defeating the purpose of emptying the mind and experiencing pure, unadulterated consciousness? This question is to be meditated upon!
Another weakness is with the Muse itself. I feel no significant difference from one session to another, however sometimes the gadget reads my brain state as very active, only managing a matter of seconds in calm state, other times it reads my state as calm. This seems a bit strange and it might be due to different placements on my skull.
I can’t wait to plug directly into the technology, the main problem with EEG is the thick skull gets in the way of the signals which really makes the reading low quality.
Kurzweil says that reliable Brain Computer Interfaces will emerge around 2033 so not so long to wait there. I would say that estimate is conservative, especially since he is predicting strong AI emerging in 2029!