In the beginning the voice guidance guides you into setting up your space, settling in comfortably, letting go of tension, and generally feeling grounded and relaxed. I find that a good way for me to go to that place, is to do a breath hold, and letting that go with a somewhat explosive pfffffffff via the mouth.
Then the tree launch sequence starts, where you set and SoundSelf learns the base rhythm for the later session. So I set the base rhythm there with an unhurried but deliberate, deep full-belly nose inhale (my natural rhythm seems ±5s, yours may differ) and long deep resonating ohhhmm tone out via the mouth (±30s).
This will be the rhythm I fall back to in the later process, the metronome that SoundSelf will also be repeating to you in your own voice.
Power (breathing) up
The basis of supercharging the experience, is first some over-ventilation: forced quick in- and exhales for a short period.
Although the details of the technique (in/out via nose or mouth) do not matter that much for this purpose, I suggest that you focus on the exhale via your mouth, and inhale 80% in via your nose. This matches the rest of the breathing patterns, activates your system but does not panic it, and it is generally a good idea to prefer nose inhales.
Do these quick breaths to taste: to the moment where you feel more energised/tingling, a bit or even a lot further than that if you are more experienced with breathwork. I end up doing 10-40 breaths usually.
Everyones’ mileage can vary, but the big trick with this experience seems to be what you do right after this power up breathing. Think of going right back into toning (you may notice that you can exhale and thus tone longer because you have exhaled a lot of CO2).
But you can also immediately fully exhale, hold empty until you feel the clear urge to breathe in, nose inhale and go back to breathing. This one is my current favourite.
This looks like this:
Bringing it to a grounding close
At the end, give yourself some time to get back to grounding. Lay down and let your body integrate, then take some grounding breaths like so.
I like anchoring this experience to a trigger, so that I can come back to the sensation with that word/gesture.
Future things to try
There are of course many further things to try, like making different sounds (I’ve started experimented with mantras), exogenous chemical influence, and tactile experiences like the SubPac/TacSuit (going towards EMDR?).
Doing SoundSelf with psylocibin (“magic mushrooms”), LSD or other ‘real’ psychedelics… I doubt will be that interesting or smart at a dose that gives an internal psychedelic experience. Robin has tried that experiment and sweetly came to the conclusion that the internal experience from the psychedelics is more interesting. And that the magic goes away if you know how SoundSelf works like he does. I’d also think that it is probably not a good idea to have a VR headset strapped to your head with a full psychedelic (not a great setting), and the visuals might be a bit extreme on a screen. To be clear: not advised.
Micro-dosing… maybe. Let me know? Alcohol… pretty sure not.
SoundSelf play is both a very relaxing zone-out self-care moment for me, as well as a deepening tune-up of meditation and breath work. I’ve been starting my day with a cup of coffee and a 15-20 minute SoundSelf session, and often end the day with 40 minute one.
I feel relaxed and clear for the whole day from this, and it is nurturing something deep in me.
SoundSelf is labelling itself as “a technodelic” and that seems like the best way to describe this unique new experience (in the VR domain): somewhere between an old-school Winamp-like sound visualisation and a psychedelic experience.
I highly advised you try it, not in the least as it gives a taste of meditation and/or psychedelics, while keeping legal wherever you are ;-).
A long history with SoundSelf
I’m a huge, long-time fan of SoundSelf: when way back in 2016 I heard about this VR-generated almost-psychedelic software being in its alpha stages, I bought a Kickstarter Oculus Rift CV1 setup just to experience this myself.
From that moment on I’ve been ‘playing’ SoundSelf from that “I’ve got something cool” demo phase, through the kickstarter phase in 2017, to a chance meeting with Robin in 2019 where I got to tell him I bought the Oculus for the experience and he told me he wrote it, to investing in Andromeda Entertainment to bring this to the world, to now the big launch into the wide world in April 2020. So you could say I’m quite invested and experienced in SoundSelf.
‘Play’ is simple: start SoundSelf, sit or lay back, and tone (drone ‘ooooohhhhhmmmm’).
A SoundSelf session is both a very relaxing zone-out self-care moment for me, as well as a deepening tune-up of meditation and breath work. I’ve been starting my day with a cup of coffee and a 15-20 minute SoundSelf session, and often end the day with 40+ minute one. I feel relaxed and clear for the whole day from this, and it is nurturing something deep in me.
There is research showing SoundSelf helps go into medium altered states . My experience is not a full blown psychedelic experience, but there is definitely a losing my default mode network/ego, and relaxing into the quieting down from the toning and breathing (vagal nerve stimulation). It definitely is also a good breath exercise.
I’ve been making recordings using the Muse as brainwave measurement device, but it is quite a bit of data so I’ll analyse them later. Quick and dirty measurement using the Muse in normal meditation mode does show way more neutral and calm then in normal state, and obviously more activation than in the Zen no-mind meditation that Muse aims you towards.
Practicalities: VR headset not needed
A frequent question I get from people wanting to experience SoundSelf, is whether you need to have VR goggles? The answer is simply: no.
But… the more immersive you can make it, the better. So ideally you set yourself up such that:
The visuals take up as much as possible of your visual field: use a big screen or projector, sit close to it, have the surrounding visual side be dark and non-distracting.
You can relax into the sensation, ideally recline back a bit or completely.
You can feel the base. The audio needs to play on a headset, but a body-shaking subwoofer is a great addition. I have a SubPac that works great for it, but I guess that if you keep it to the low tones, an external subwoofer will work too.
If you consider getting a VR headset for this (like I did), consider the HTC Vive (or presumably even better because of the bigger field ov view: the Steam Index), over the Oculus Rift, as the newer headsets have less screen door effect and more pixels.
Practicalities: Running on MacBook
The visualisations are fairly CPU and GPU intensive, so even though it works on MacBook, it really needs a recent high-end one. Currently there is a strange quirk with the microphone and the access control on it by MacOS. This means that if SoundSelf does not ‘hear’ your microphone, try not starting it via Steam but directly start the application. You can tell you are starting it the right application if you see SoundSelf green eye icon, not the blue Steam gear. On the MacBook you’ll want to disable the ‘strobing’ feature, as the lower frame rate makes it look bad.
I have been really enjoying the Pilot FriXion 4-colour pen to make notes and graphs. The pen not only has a 0.5mm fine tip in 4 colours, but the FriXion also allows “erasing” the text by friction.
This is not happening by abrasion like pencils are erased, but by heating up the ink.
I read in a review of the pen that someone left the pen in the sun in the car and now the ink was blank as one would expect. But there was a response suggesting leaving the pen in the freezer “to restore the ink” which was surprising. So I thought about trying it out and put the paper in the freezer and lo and behold it indeed came back:
As one of my math professors convincingly argued in a time I was still quite impressionable:
17+ Million clear headed Dutchies can not be wrong. All those cola-advertising-indoctrinated ones can.
Sinterklaas is on December 5th, Santa Clause is December 25th. Clearly the first is the first.
If that is not convincing, Sinterklaas existed before the American culture that promotes Santa Clause existed. Again, the first is clearly the first, is clearly the correct one
The elder Sinterklaas spends his off-time in a warm climate (Spain). The elder Santa Clause goes and hides on the North pole icecap. If you could fly anywhere anytime at several times faster than the speed of sound (to deliver all the packages), without breaking the sound barrier, and you were an older gentleman, where would you go?
I do like this company’s consciously over the top branding. I’ve heard from a reliable source that they are on purpose stereotyping themselves. Love it, some nice conscious spiral dynamics blue “we vets!” to have orange financial result, for once not pampering to the childish version of green that is going around now.