Stress cripples modern society. Not in the obvious, limping way of a dislocated leg, or a broken arm. Stress paralyzes the mind, a thousand anxious thoughts processing at once. Many people use guided meditation apps to help ease their anxieties. Meditation in VR takes it to another level – with great benefits for the user.
There are VR meditation videos on YouTube, or guided meditation apps on VR headsets. What works? What are the benefits of VR meditation? And how is it different from normal meditation?
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What is meditation in VR?
Meditation in VR is the use of VR headsets (Oculus, HTC VIVE, Google Cardboard etc.) to focus the mind and reach a mentally calm state of being.
The process is similar to normal meditation techniques. The user sits down, enters a tranquil state of mind, and follows their breathing in and out. The aim is to focus on the breath without changing its pace or intensity; if the mind takes a walk, pull it back on the breath. This improves concentration, whilst easing the mind of stress. Scientists widely report the health benefits.
This means eyes are usually closed, creating a panel of darkness which acts like a tapestry where thoughts can float across. There are no external inputs, nor shifting pictures. With meditation in VR, the user is surrounded by an environment which contributes to the experience.
What guided meditation VR apps are there?
Cubicle Ninjas made Guided Meditation VR, a popular VR app. The app is diverse with 22 environments to sit and meditate in, like the moon, or other spots to rest under the stars. The content can be customised, drawing from experts to create relaxing experiences for the user.
I used the app, and it placed me on the moon. It was peaceful, calming, and overall very fun. I sat there for a long time, absorbed by the setting, and felt my mind calming with time. When I took my Oculus off, the world was quiet.
This is a great way to start out with guided meditation in VR, and it is available on all major platforms (HTC VIVE, Oculus Rift, Oculus Go, Gear VR).
VR mindfulness and the future of meditation
This topic means a lot to me personally as I work in London. Work can be fast, and overwhelming, and meditation grants context to the chaos.
The modern life has two lives. One is the work life, with a stream of chattering emails, meetings, and plans of increasing complexity and depth. Work is not noise, but a thousand soft voices speaking simultaneously. This sucks energy from the second life, sapping energy until the home life is a person curled on the sofa watching Russel Howard on a Friday evening.
VR mindfulness can help with this, giving context and helping people deal with the stress of everyday life. A calm outlook can solve the principle issue of modern city life. After my positive experience, I highly recommend donning the headset and having a go.