The Norman Transcript

Headlines

December 11, 2013

Sparq Labyrinth meditation tool helps computer users relax

NORMAN — After hours of studying or during a lull at work, computer users may visit Facebook, Reddit or a number of other Internet websites for mindless fun. But visiting social media websites does not enhance productivity or counteract stress as well as Sparq Labyrinth, creator Matt Cook said.

Sparq is an interactive mindfulness tool designed to counteract stress and promote wellness in computer-centric work and school environments.

It made its debut on Nov. 17 at the University of Oklahoma. Labyrinth meditation, as engaged by Sparq, is a full-body-engaging activity. Traditionally, labyrinth meditation was used in monasteries by monks but has since been documented to reduce stress and anxiety in hospitals, schools and prisons.

Cook said while in graduate school at OU, he was looking for ways to apply ideas of philosophy to the library environment. Libraries engage cognitive abilities. However, more libraries are full of books that are never read.

Instead, libraries like Bizzell Memorial Library on OU campus are full of students with laptops, iPads and smartphones.

Cook said Sparq utilizes technology but engages the whole body to combat fatigue, which can occur from staring at a computer for many hours and only using one’s eyes and hands.

Cook, who had meditated some before the development of his mindfulness tool, said meditation can take a lot of time and training, but the opposite is true of Sparq, which makes it appealing.

“You can walk into it without any training,” Cook said. “It’s distracting but not frustrating. It distracts from stress and takes less than five minutes in and out.”

Sparq users can choose from six labyrinth patterns, each of which represent various cultures, including medieval Europe, Celtic, ancient India, Serbian, Native American and a literary labyrinth inspired by the “Lord of the Rings.”

At the meditation tool’s current location, explanations about each culture along with suggestions about what users should think about while moving through each labyrinth are displayed on the wall.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Headlines
  • Oklahoma City Memorial Bombing museum gets tech boost

    OKLAHOMA CITY — A memorial and museum built to remember the worst act of domestic terrorism on American soil is in the midst of a $7 million upgrade so it can better portray how different the world was when Timothy McVeigh blew up the ...

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Is Okla. backing off accountability?

    One by one, K-12 education reforms passed in previous years by Oklahoma lawmakers are being targeted for weakening or repeal....

    April 19, 2014

  • Hope Trunk travels to Norman

    The rustle of paper could be heard as students meticulously folded one crane, then another and another Friday afternoon. After reading the inspiring story, “Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes,” Cleveland Elementary School fifth graders ...

    April 19, 2014

  • Congressman Cole reflects on recovery

    Congressman Tom Cole’s home in Moore was not hit by the May 20 tornado but it came pretty close. His wife has made it clear she wants a saferoom, he said. In a visit to the Transcript on Friday afternoon, Cole talked about tornado ...

    April 19, 2014

  • Gaylord to get $35,000 grant for poverty project

    A team from Gaylord College is among the first winners in a national competition to fund innovative news experiments that serve communities, the Online News Association has announced....

    April 19, 2014

  • U.S. puts off pipeline decision

    WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is putting off its decision on the Keystone XL oil pipeline, likely until after the November elections, by extending its review of the controversial project indefinitely....

    April 19, 2014

  • Garage sale to benefit Team Jamie’s Crew set

    A garage sale to benefit Team Jamie’s Crew will start at 9 a.m. today at 1510 Melrose Drive....

    April 19, 2014

  • Sonic plans expansion

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma-based Sonic Corp. plans to open 1,000 new drive-in restaurants nationwide over the next 10 years, expanding the chain by about 30 percent, the company said....

    April 19, 2014

  • Singing Sooners show set

    The University of Oklahoma School of Music presents the Singing Sooners Spring Show at 8 p.m. Friday, April 25 in the Sharp Concert Hall, Catlett Music Center. Jim Graves and Stephen Ziegler serve as directors for the group....

    April 19, 2014

  • Study: Half of jailed youths have injury

    NEW YORK — About half of all 16- to 18-year-olds coming into New York City’s jails say they had a traumatic brain injury before being incarcerated, most caused by assaults, according to a new study that’s the latest in a growing body of ...

    April 19, 2014