The Norman Transcript

University

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
University
  • Solar cars 7 Solar cars use Norman area during pit stop

    Flat, low to the ground with reflective panels and bright colors, these moving vehicles look more like cartoon spaceships than solar race cars. But these funny looking cars represent exactly what the American Solar Challenge (ASC) ...

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Digital storytelling workshop to help tornado victims

    Looking for ways to make use of the University of Oklahoma Writing Center’s services in the community, the center has developed the digital storytelling workshop “Survivors in Motion” to help last year’s tornadoes survivors....

    July 16, 2014

  • Free concert to feature Corey Smith

    Corey Smith, born and raised in Jefferson, Ga., will heat up the summer scene with a free concert at 8 p.m. on July 18 at the University of Oklahoma....

    July 11, 2014

  • OU showcases family treasures exhibit

    An exhibit consisting of 12 panels with the best practices on how to care for items — including textiles and recordings such as cassettes and family videos — is on display through July 10 in Beaird Lounge on the second floor of Oklahoma ...

    July 9, 2014

  • Sam Noble Museum awarded reaccreditation

    The American Alliance of Museums in Washington D.C. awarded the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History reaccreditation in 2014 for the fourth consecutive time. Accreditation offers a wide variety of benefits, including increased ...

    July 5, 2014

  • Emotional Brain set as July’s Neuro Night Forum topic

    Improving neurological health through education, research and access to care will be the topic of July’s Neuro Night forum at 6 p.m. July 15 at the Fountains at Canterbury, 1404 N.W. 122nd St. A light dinner will be served at 5:30 p.m....

    July 2, 2014

  • Foundation makes $500,000 gift in support of OU libraries

    University of Oklahoma President David L. Boren announced at the OU Board of Regents meeting that The Helmerich Foundation of Tulsa will make a $500,000 gift in support of the renovation of a floor in the Neustadt Wing of Bizzell Memorial ...

    June 25, 2014

  • OU plans to construct new residential college housing

    University of Oklahoma President David L. Boren announced on Monday that planning is underway for new residential colleges for upperclassmen and women....

    June 24, 2014

  • Design phase underway at OU for $12 million shelters

    University of Oklahoma President David L. Boren announced on Monday that MA Plus, which was selected to design OU tornado shelters, is nearing completion of planning for $12 million tornado shelters at OU. The project is an expansion of ...

    June 24, 2014

  • OU law students support classmate with fundraiser

    Inspired by one of their classmates who is battling breast cancer for the third time, first year summer law students at the University of Oklahoma College of Law committed to public service by raising money for the Stephenson Cancer ...

    June 24, 2014