How do you find your calm during a busy day? Where can you grab a moment of peace in a time of stress? There's a app for that now — only this one, harnessing the new technology of virtual reality, is particularly immersive. Scientist Walter Greenleaf of Stanford University's Virtual Human Interaction Lab, along with media company Time Inc., launched a mindfulness-focused experience in the LIFE VR app called LUMEN, which uses serene landscapes and meditation practices to combat stress and inspire calm.
LUMEN is Designed as a Self-Guided Meditative Experience
LUMEN takes participants on a self-guided meditation exercise while exploring a bioluminescent forest. The program begins with a deep-breathing exercise, where a voiceover instructs you to inhale and exhale in sync with the throbbing of a glowing 3D geode. From there, participants find themselves on a moonlit landscape with purple mountains and the night sky shimmering with the glow of the Northern Lights.
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Here's a Glimpse of What You'll See & Experience
Writer Michael Gollust tried the app with a high-end HTC Vive headset, and explained to Health.com, “To engage in the environment, you start by directing your gaze toward a seed on the ground. As you focus on it, the seed grows into a tree, with branches reaching to the sky, and as more seedlings appear on the ground, you cultivate the growth of a forest around you. When flower buds burst through the ground, staring at them causes them to pulse and quiver. Once your original tree has fully grown, a directed stare disintegrates it, sending the pieces floating up into the air.”
Gollust goes on to explain that participants can alter the hue of the VR space by aiming one’s gaze at the Northern Lights above and selecting shades of blue, purple, pink, green and yellow from the skyward-color palette.
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It's Not Traditional Meditation, But It Is a New Way To Reach a State of Calm
The app does not claim to help participants reach the traditional state of meditation associated with age-old ritual, tradition, spiritual connectivity and labored-practice. It is, however, an accessible way to experience calm with relative immediacy. Additionally, the app helps practitioners exercise single-pointed concentration, which is a hallmark of many forms of insight meditation.
Lumen is available through LIFE VR’s mobile app for iOS and Android (free), and on Viveport for the HTC Vive ($4.99), which offers a totally immersive experience. For a preview, check out time.com/lifevr.
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Tell us in the comments: How do you find your calm?