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The Awakened Brain: Lisa Miller, PhD On The Neuroscience Of Spirituality

By January 10, 2022January 9th, 2023No Comments
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Episode #654



The many benefits to cultivating a spiritual practice are obvious to those with experience—but it’s a pursuit too long dismissed by skeptics and scientists. That is, until now.

Recent research in neuroscience, genetics, and epidemiology now establish that humans are not only universally equipped with a capacity for (and inclination towards) spirituality, but that our brains, when so awakened, become more resilient and robust—and our lives more meaningful and content.

Here today to discuss the emerging and fascinating ‘science of spirituality’ is the woman who helped pioneer it, Lisa Miller, PhD.

A leading generational psychologist on the benefits of spirituality, Lisa is a graduate of Yale University and the University of Pennsylvania, where she earned her doctorate in psychology. She is currently a professor of psychology and education at Teachers College, Columbia University, and is the Founder and Director of the Spirituality Mind Body Institute, the first Ivy League graduate program and research institute in spirituality and psychology.

Dr. Miller is widely published in leading academic journals, has appeared on CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and Weekend Today as an expert, and her first book, The Spiritual Child was a New York Times bestseller. Her latest work (and the focus of today’s discussion) is The Awakened Brain, a groundbreaking exploration of the neuroscience of spirituality that sets a bold new paradigm for health, healing, and resilience.

“We don’t make our way in life, we discover it.”


My exchange with Dr. Miller is centered on the intersection of hard science and spirituality—what neurology, neurobiology, genetics, epidemiology, and psychiatry can tell us about the mental health benefits of cultivating your own awakened brain.

I think you will find her work fascinating, full of counterintuitive findings and practical advice on the many concrete ways to access your own innate spirituality—and more importantly, how this can be deployed to enhance things like grit, optimism, and resilience.

In addition, we explore the many ways you can leverage the awakened brain to insulate yourself against addiction, trauma, and depression.

Ultimately, this is a conversation about how to build a life of greater joy and enhanced personal fulfillment to better thrive and contribute to the greater well-being of all.

The visually inclined can watch it all go down on YouTube. And as always, the podcast streams wild and free on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

An intellectual delight from start to finish, I thoroughly enjoyed talking to Dr. Miller, and I sincerely hope you enjoy the listen.

Peace + Plants,

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