Virtual Reality Question & Answer from First Webinar

I wrote a transcript of my question and Andrew’s answer from the first Webinar (Episode 001: Why Night Club? Why Now?). In a subsequent comment I will have additional commentary. :smile: Here is the transcript:

~47:08 minutes

ArthurG: I was intrigued by the paper you co-authored on virtual lucid dreaming. Are you planning to do more work involving virtual lucidity? How do you see virtual reality fitting into Night Club / Night School? For example, in terms of training lucid dreaming or facilitating a practice of illusory form?

Andrew Holecek: Yeah, great question. Yeah, thanks for the segue into that. Arthur’s referring to a paper, I believe it is posted on the site. It’s a study I did with the cognitive neuroscientist Jordan Quaglia. We had a great time doing it, we conducted the study almost two years ago with, I think we had 40 participants, and that was my first [time] coauthoring a scientific paper. And Jordan, who is deep into this, has reached out to me inquiring about, let’s do future things together. So, for sure! Stay tuned on that one.

On a different note, I met with a wonderful gentleman in a program I did in Santa Rosa about a month ago who is a producer in Los Angeles. I met with him, he showed me a demo of a VR program that he’s been working on for quite some time on the bardos, you know, again, this kind of Tibetan approach to death. And I was really impressed—his name is Tom—with what Tom had come up with. And so I will be meeting with him in Palm Springs in a couple weeks, he’s going to come down with his whole setup, and he’s also now I understand in contact with some European scholars that I know and producers over there who I do not know to work with VR in the kind of arena of bardo yoga. And so stay tuned on that one as well!

Those of you who have engaged in VR, obviously Arthur has and he gave a—I believe it was him that gave these really interesting recommendations on the website that I will also definitely explore—VR has tremendous potential. Deepak Chopra, just parenthetically, allegedly when he took off his VR headset for the very first time, the first words out of his mouth [were] “This is going to change the world!” And so VR has tremendous application for the exploration of mind, for the exploration of lucidity. I presented at a conference, an integral conference, a little over a year ago, with Jordan, where we talked about some of the potential applications and implications of virtual reality with an integral perspective.

But I could not agree more with what I feel is coming from Arthur, and that is that there is a truly untapped, extraordinary opportunity in the arena of virtual reality, and we will definitely work with doing whatever we can do along these lines. You know, studies have shown, Jayne Gackenback and others have done some studies showing that in fact virtual reality users have a higher likelihood of lucidity in their dreams, because you’re working with certain very similar kind of bandwidths or dimensions of mind. And when I did VR for the very first time, my first impulse was “this is the closest experience I’ve had in my waking life to a lucid dream.” It was extraordinarily similar, and I’m sure those of you who’ve explored virtual reality can attest to that.

So yeah, there’s so much to say here, and the opportunity of doing something very specifically, we’ll have to see where that goes. These VR programs as you might suspect are very labor intensive, they’re very expensive, and even the reason it hasn’t conquered the world yet is that even getting the headsets, getting the computer setups for the high resolution like Oculus Rift and Vive, which are kind of the top end VR systems, they’re not inexpensive these days. And so, great segue question Arthur, stay tuned. It’s definitely on the event horizon, and we just have to see what the future will hold. But like you, I think we both see the extraordinary potential here. And so I’m completely on board with this, so just stay tuned with that one, OK?


I love this answer. :smile: I’m very interested to hear that Andrew is meeting with this person who is working on some kind of VR bardo yoga experience! Coincidentally I heard an interesting discussion on Voices of VR podcast with another person who is working on a bardo VR experience: VoVR #599: Visualizing Bardo States from the Tibetan Book of the Dead in VR

The VR recommendations I posted, that Andrew referred to above, were in a reply to an introductory post by Allison that didn’t make it through the bardo of forum software transition, so I’ll reiterate them here.

I recommended VVVR and Soft Dissolve.

VVVR (Visual Voice Virtual Reality) is a voice controlled tool for self exploration and well being. It combines virtual reality and audio effects to temporarily free the mind from language and cultivate awareness of the present moment.

In VVVR two people sit across from one another and are represented in the virtual space with corresponding avatars. When either person makes sound it is translated into glowing geometry that flows from their mouth. The vocal audio is harmonically processed and fed back through the headphones. Its texture and volume determine the look and behavior of the flowing objects. The experience is immersive, entrancing and uniquely playful. Users report many therapeutic benefits including reduced social anxiety, relaxation, and elevated mood. [VVVR]

Soft Dissolve is a diffused and enveloping virtual reality environment which invites the viewer to experience a sensation of dissociation. It is an environmental uncanny valley; a mixture of the familiar and the eerie confronting the viewer with unconscious, repressed impulses. Both relaxing and alien, Soft Dissolve will envelop you in a slowly spreading uneasiness. [Soft Dissolve]

Both experiences are available in San Francisco. I was able to try VVVR and can highly recommend it; Soft Dissolve sounds very intriguing but I was not able to make my schedule line up with Claudia Miranda’s (the artist/creator) the last time I was in SF.

I’m very pleased that there is so much interest in, and recognition of, the extraordinary potential of virtual reality in terms of psychological and spiritual growth, and how it can be a useful tool to help with lucid dreaming, dream yoga, bardo yoga, etc.



These sound like exciting options. Thanks for mentioning them. There is VR experience at a nearby mall that I will check out and I’ve looked at consumer-level VR stuff such as Occulus Rift but it is only for Windows PCs (I’m a Mac guy).Seems that the Sony PlayStation4 is the only other option currently on the market, though it isn’t cheap. During the Webinar Andrew touched on Google Glasses and VR headsets that use phones for content. I’ve tried those but they are more like the old ViewMaster reels we had as kids.


I’m excited to check these both out in San Francisco when I get the chance. The potential here is so rich and interesting. I have PlayStation VR and it’s quite easy to link dream applications to these technologies.

There’s a game literally called Dreams coming out on the PS4 that is supposed to have a VR mode. I’m looking forward to “prototyping” one of my own dreams and “playing” it back in the game. It looks like the world creation canvas is limitless…


Are you using PS4 VR?

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@_Barry, Yep! We have a PS4 VR. Very immersive and dreamlike. I always do a state check when I’m wearing it!

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Allison, very cool to hear that you have PSVR! I’ve read a bit about the Dreams program by Media Molecule that you linked to, and I find it quite fascinating. I think it might be useful for recreating nocturnal dreams in a form that can be shared with others, or re-experienced by oneself for further processing or incubation–or just to re-experience a cool dream!

The only unfortunate thing about Dreams for PSVR is that it will almost certainly be forever exclusive to that platform, rather than potentially reaching a larger audience. That said, I’m hoping it will be very successful and inspire other similar programs. I would be particularly interested in hearing about the ease of use of Dreams, and if you think it would be accessible for someone without highly developed artistic skill to use (for creation).


Allison, which programs do you use? I’m trading in my largely unused XBOX-1 for a PS4VR system so any recommendations are appreciated. I tried the pro VR at the mall, but I had trouble with my glasses keeping things in focus. Does the Playstation headset handle glasses well?


This is a nice offering Arthur, thanks for taking the time to do this. More on VR coming, for sure.