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SpiritualVR is now NewPathVR!

neurons

It was an innocent question, but one I’d heard posed one way or another too many times. “Aren’t you the people who do the Bible in VR or something?” While a worthy project, it’s not we’re doing.

As someone who has spent their whole career in communications, I realized I was failing in positioning the company successfully, despite my many efforts. Months into the branding and promotion and hundreds of conversations thick into the business, we were still being misunderstood by some people as a purely religious company.

SpiritualVR began as a development and publishing company with the goal of body, mind, and spiritual learning and health. Although our goal was always self-improvement and spiritual exploration, we were often misunderstood as a religious organization. I believe this is because the very word “spirituality” carries a different connotation to each person. The official definitions can’t even agree with one another.

Google:
spir·it·u·al·i·ty
spiriCHo͞oˈalədē/
noun
1. the quality of being concerned with the human spirit or soul as opposed to material or physical things.

Merriam-Webster:
spirituality
plural spiritualities
1. something that in ecclesiastical law belongs to the church or to a cleric as such

Dictionary.com:
spirituality
[spir-i-choo-al-i-tee]
noun, plural spiritualities.
the quality or fact of being spiritual.

And the list goes on. Words have both qualitative and a connotative value. The connotative value is where we get into trouble. If I say the word “chair”, you connote an image of a certain type of chair, because you have your own past experiences and definitions to make up your meaning of what “chair” means to you. It might mean any of the following.

chairs2

It’s the same thing with most words, including “spirituality”. It could mean Buddhism. It could mean nature. It could mean church. It could mean music. It could mean yoga. It could mean chakras. We found ourselves spending a lot of time explaining “what spirituality meant to us”, and not nearly enough time focusing on how we were going to “bring wellness to VR”. We’ve always believed in the transformational power of VR for personal growth. I think now, in the letting go of the name, we will actually be able to do what we set out to.

Buddhists practice the principle of “non-attachment”, surrendering and relinquishing misguided preconceptions that will allow us to experience the essential peace that is within.

Zen teacher John Daido Loori said,

"[A]ccording to the Buddhist point of view, non-attachment is exactly the opposite of separation. You need two things in order to have attachment: the thing you’re attaching to, and the person who’s attaching. In non-attachment, on the other hand, there’s unity. There’s unity because there’s nothing to attach to. If you have unified with the whole universe, there’s nothing outside of you, so the notion of attachment becomes absurd. Who will attach to what?"

And Unity there is. It was the only sound choice for our prototype. ;)

A prototype built by our CTO, Eiran Shalev, proved methods from our Active Psychology library and the cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) exercise for which we realized there were much wider applications. We now see the larger opportunity to help people build their emotional skills to help them thrive in both personal and professional lives.

Technology’s promise has always been to make life more convenient — everything better, and faster. Yet what’s really affecting us, killing us in fact, if not at the very least damaging our quality of life and holding us back from reaching our true potential, are our stress factors and emotional issues. Twenty-five percent (25%) of all U.S. adults have a mental illness and nearly 50 percent of U.S. adults will develop at least one mental illness during their lifetime. But only 44% of adults with diagnosable mental health problems and less than 20% of children and adolescents receive needed treatment.

That’s 180 million people missing the psychological support they need, a need NewPathVR is eager to address.

We aren’t abandoning the mission of SpiritualVR, however, we see the impact of the problems of the unwellness epidemic, specifically around stress and behavioral health, contributing to our disastisfaction, and a 10-15% decrease in economic output. We believe we can change this and help improve health outcomes, through virtual reality.

Stay tuned.

It’s a new path. It’s going to take us somewhere better.

— NewPathVR

Virtual Reality and the Psychedelic Forests it Could Let You Visit

tree1

There are a lot of things in this world that everyone should see but never will. The Grand Canyon is an incredible place, one that all humans should bear witness to at least once in their lives, yet the vast majority never will. There are plenty of similar locations that are unfortunately the same. Landmarks and natural locales are rarely seen by the masses that they should be, but with virtual reality, that could one day change.

One of the most lauded capabilities of virtual reality is how it can practically transport you anywhere in the world. You can live in Louisiana yet experience the scope of the Great Wall of China, and from the comfort of your own home. That said, is it any surprise that virtual reality can be used for nature experiences as well? 

One of the most massive tree species in the world is the Great Sequoia. These trees are thousands of years old, most of them predating the Roman Empire. They’re dozens of stories tall and so wide that ten or more of any other tree could probably fit inside of them. In short, they’re incredible, yet many people will never be able to see them. At least, not without virtual reality.

This particular experience has been constructed specifically in London. It’s a combination of virtual reality and a physical set. With the VR goggles you see the massive breadth and scope of a Giant Sequoia, but thanks to the physical set you can feel it as well. You can even push your face through the outside of the tree, allowing you to see the inside of it as well, making for one heck of an educational experience if nothing else.

You even get to follow the path of water throughout the tree, which means you get to ‘levitate.’ Naturally disorienting since it looks like you’re floating but are in fact not moving at all, this may be the real reason they had a physical set for you to hold onto. Either way, while this particular experience is highly specific towards one thing, it speaks volumes about how virtual reality could be used in the future.

Maybe you could soar over the Grand Canyon (terrifying though it may be), or visit foreign castles and landmarks from any vantage point you want. The options are almost limitless, and perhaps that is what the true beauty of virtual reality is. It can put the whole world at your fingertips. Let you explore things that you never would have been able to experience otherwise. Virtual reality is still in its younger stages, and it has a lot farther to go before it reaches the no doubt astronomical expectations of society. But the best part of it all is that those expectations are not out of reach. They’re ambitions well within in reach rather than dreams, as we can now use virtual reality to see the world and beyond no matter where we are.

Reaching Religion

explore religion1

Virtual reality is hitting practically everything in existence right now. From entertainment to exploration and beyond, it seems like there’s nothing virtual reality won’t have a hand in. But will it have a place in religion? Before any cries of blasphemy are made, it would be prudent to consider how virtual reality could affect religion, and maybe even make it more immersive and tangible for some people.

Virtual reality could be used in many ways to alter how religion works in society, and one of the most prominent ways it may do this is through travel. Almost all religions have sacred places. Jerusalem, Mecca, and the like are just a few examples of holy locations that are sacred to certain religions. Many followers of those religions would like to visit those places, and in some cases they are technically required to.

But unless Mecca is just a hop and a skip away, it’s not easy to get there. Not only is it time consuming, in some places in the world dangerous, but expensive as well. With virtual reality, pilgrims may be able to visit their holy location without ever actually leaving their own country. Whether or not this would be accepted as equivalent to a real physical journey is particular to each religion, but the point still stands: virtual reality could allow pilgrims to essentially visit places of religious importance.

But it could also be used to teach. The majority of religions have a holy book or something similar that details the past of that religion, as well as their doctrines and beliefs. While reading them from a page is certainly one way to learn, what if you could actually be there? How would it feel to sit at the feet of Jesus or Mohammed or any significant religions figure as they taught their message? Without a doubt, it would be a very different kind of experience, and may even help followers feel more attuned to their religion as they get to physically see figures of importance.

84 million Americans attend church weekly but that number is declining for a number of reasons, says Pew Research in their 2015 report on America's Changing Religious Landscape. Virtual reality offers a way for people to connect spiritually, from home.

These are just a few of the ways in which virtual reality could influence religion. Without a doubt, some religions will not accept the idea of incorporating technology into their means. Others may accept it with open arms. Either way, the potential is extremely vast, and in the end virtual reality will likely become a major part of various religions, limited only by the ingenuity of the programmers that work on it. Only time can tell how much of an influence virtual reality could have on our churches, synagogues, and mosques, but it’s an exciting anticipation that will no doubt bring some great wonders and marvels along with it.

A Better You with a Virtual Reality Workout

workout2

Anyone that’s in the know about the newest advancements in technology knows about virtual reality. It’s an extremely exciting piece of work, mostly because the versatility of it seems to be almost endless. There seems to be no limit to what can be done with virtual reality and a bit of innovation. But if there’s one place people would think virtual reality has no place, it’s in the gym. After all, how often do we see the physical and the technological mix like that? But virtual reality not only has a soon to be place in workouts, it may even make them better, through coaching, simulation, and motivation.

This is a statement that probably makes a lot of people skeptical, and it should, but there is some very real truth to it. If you’ve lived for more than a few years, it’s practically guaranteed that you’ve heard the saying ‘mind over matter.’ This saying is used all the time in exercise and workouts, though for some reason it’s usually the people that aren’t working out that say it to you.

Ironic as that is, the motto is still very true. Humans can push themselves beyond their limits with willpower, but willpower is affected by many things. Sometimes it’s outside motivation. Sometimes just hearing someone say they believe in you is enough to get through those last twenty pushups. Sometimes it’s the finish line. Being able to see the end can make it easier to reach it.

Needless to say, these are things that don’t really exist in the gym. Unless you have a really supportive partner, you probably don’t have anyone around saying you can do it near the end of your exercise. And on the treadmill, the only signs of progress and a finish line are the digital numbers on the dashboard, which are hardly motivating.

So let’s add virtual reality to the equation, and explore what that could change. To start, you could have a virtual reality coach in your workout, allowing you to follow a regimen in the gym while still receiving support and motivation from them. And for the treadmill: well, would it be nicer to run through a forest or a beach, or do you like staring at the same white wall for thirty minutes? If you could run through an environment that’s actually nice and maybe even relaxing, you are several times more likely to go through with the whole run, and maybe even beyond what you had planned.

In short, can virtual reality make you physically stronger, more fit, faster or grant you more stamina? Maybe! It can certainly amplify that aforementioned willpower. How it does this can be different for everyone because we all draw motivation from different sources, but either way, the fact remains that virtual reality can make workouts more tolerable at the very least, and even enjoyable at best. Doesn’t lifting weights in Tibet or flying through space sound much nicer than the gym? These environments are not far from reach, they are well within grasp of the average consumer in the next 5 years, you'll see virtual reality in gyms within the next 1-2 years and fitness apps available for VR headsets as soon as this year. You'll see full-body haptic feedback suits and apps that measure your heart rate too.

Drop and give me 20 - million! Because there are 20 million ways VR is going to change fitness.

SpiritualVR is now NewPathVR!

April 04, 2017

It was an innocent question, but one I’d heard posed one way or another too many times. “Aren’t you the people who do the Bible in...

Read more

Virtual Reality and the Psychedelic Fore…

March 24, 2017

There are a lot of things in this world that everyone should see but never will. The Grand Canyon is an incredible place, one that all humans should...

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Reaching Religion

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Virtual reality is hitting practically everything in existence right now. From entertainment to exploration and beyond, it seems like there’s ...

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A Better You with a Virtual Reality Work…

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Anyone that’s in the know about the newest advancements in technology knows about virtual reality. It’s an extremely exciting piece of w...

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