I’m in a vast open space under a beautiful Bodhi tree, the green-leafed branches stretching towards the heavens. I am calmed immediately, welcomed by chirping birds and nature sounds.
The living color of the environment swirls around me, and I’m greeted by a soothing voice that is my guide throughout a deeply serene yet invigorating acid trip through the cosmos. The disembodied voice, emanating from a floating Being/Shape that gently pulses through geometric formations, ushers me through a chakra fueled journey into Consciousness.
Deepak Chopra Creates a VR Meditation Experience With Wevr
In reality, there is no Bodhi tree and I am not actually on a psychedelic chakra color-fueled ride. I am at Wevr headquarters in Venice sitting under palm trees and the gentle light of the setting California sun.
The voice belongs to Deepak Chopra and I’m one of a handful of Los Angelenos embarking on an internal expedition into Awareness at his premier for a virtual reality guided meditation experience he has produced in conjunction with his son, Gotham Chopra, and LA VR studio, Wevr.
A world-renowned speaker and pioneer in the field of mind-body healing, Deepak Chopra is a medical doctor as well as best-selling author – over 20 of his 80+ books are New York Times best sellers. As a highly-visible advocate of alternative medicine, Deepak knows that the therapeutic applications of virtual reality are well-documented in academia (as examples, the University of Washington has proved VR can be as effective as morphine as a pain treatmenttool, and USC uses VR-based exposure therapy tools to assess and treat PTSD).
Deepak’s goal with mixed reality technology is to further therapeutic tools and reduce our reliance on pharmaceuticals, predicting that eventually doctors will be prescribing VR experiences instead of pills.
To establish objective evidence that this specific VR meditation experience is beneficial to users, it will be added to select retreats at the Chopra Center in San Diego, which provides an “integrative approach to total wellbeing through self-awareness, and the practice of yoga, meditation and Ayurveda.” In order to collect health data on participants before and after the wellness retreat, Deepak says they will “measure such biomarker metrics as blood pressure, brain waves, inflammatory markers, and cortisol levels.”
Deepak also aims to get this initial mixed reality wellness product (as well as future projects) in the hands of the general public. He wants to have this VR experience featured in hotel lobbies, hospitals, doctors’ offices, wellness centers, and airports (to soothe the “harassed traveler”).
Deepak is also a big proponent of epigenetics (the study of how gene expression can be changed without altering the underlying genetic code). He says that “every experience you have changes your biology… if we can create experiences of joy, of love, compassion, empathy, equanimity – what the Buddha called the Divine emotions – we’ll change people’s biology [for the better].”
This meditation experience is called Finding Your True Self and it is strikingly well-done. Wevr creative director Luis Blackaller described Deepak’s famous calming voice as “the anchor of the piece… it has this Pied Piper kind of quality, and [he] knows exactly what to say to take you on the journey [into awareness].” Expressing Deepak’s voice as a fluctuating Being/Shape, and “taking the human [body] away helped us disconnect and do something different.”
Gotham Chopra, as a filmmaker, brought his focus on imagery to the forefront of the production, and together they bridged color therapy with the traditional imagery of the Hindu chakras in a unique way.
Deepak Chopra exposing his enormous existing global audience to virtual reality is a huge asset to the mixed reality industry in general and the Health and Wellness VR/AR niche in particular. The marriage of ancient meditation techniques and imagery with cutting edge technology is not new to Deepak. With Oprah Winfrey, Deepak has brought online meditation to over 6 million people around the world. Now, he wants to bring VR meditation to a billion people.