Guided Meditation VR is a new virtual reality app for the HTC Vive that lets you meditate in simulated environments while listening to different tracks. A limited version is available for the Samsung Gear VR headset as well.
Similar programs represent the latest trend in virtual reality which has opened the way for developers to experiment in several different fields. Before that, mobile apps for meditation offered great help to those seeking some mindfulness on the go.
The technology may enhance the overall experience or jeopardize the final objective of it all, according to experts. Specialists agree that practicing the real thing is always preferable to other alternatives, but VR offers a unique new approach to meditation.
Meditation in VR may encourage people to do pick it up
Cubicle Ninjas, the developer studio of Guided Meditation VR, argues the technology may help some people who are skeptical about trying out meditation at first. Sitting in a room alone can be boring, so why not going to a beach or a mountain instead?
“YOU CAN MEDITATE ANYWHERE, BUT AT THE END OF THE DAY, THE ABILITY TO ACTUALLY GO TO A VIRTUAL WORLD AND TAKE A BREATHER LOWERS THE BARRIER TO ENTRY, AND I HOPE GETS PEOPLE MORE EXCITED,” said CEO Josh Farkas.
The head of the studio also said meditating in a virtual setting helps people “feel the emotional weight” of a different place. Harvard researchers have found that it also helps with memory, empathy, and learning. Meditation is trendy again in the business world and also among celebrities.
Is VR really the best environment to meditate?
Experimented meditators like the ABC News reporter Dan Harris argue technology can certainly enhance the experience but that simulating environments in VR kind of defeats the purpose.
Harris says part of the meditation exercise involves using one’s mindfulness to envision the surroundings. Giving people these virtual spaces can turn out to be detrimental if they take that part for granted and never learn how to create places with their minds.
Farkas disagrees with this perspective, saying that virtual environments are perfectly valid and quite helpful for people in the business world who just don’t have the mindset and time to fully engage in this process.
A nice middle ground between the two visions is that apps like Guided Meditation VR can take further the concept behind their names. Offering guidance with a virtual guru could be even better than just listening to tapes with steps like it is now.