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  • Summary

  • Meditation is everywhere: your mobile phone, clothing stores and even in colouring books. But where does it come from and what even is it? With the help of neuroscientist Ash Ranpura, comedian Alice Fraser explores the science, history and culture behind meditation. On the way we will meet the tiny part of the brain that triggers most of our fear and anxiety, the NBA coach who taught Michael Jordan how to meditate, and the writer who says the best way to cope with our polarised politics is to practice mindfulness.

    This is an Audible Original Podcast. Free for members. You can download all 6 episodes to your Library now.

    ©2018 Audible, Ltd. (P)2018 Audible, Ltd.
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Episodes
  • Nov 9 2018

    Alice Fraser starts this series by telling a story about how the world is speeding up. How did we get to a place where everything is so fast all the time? A place where we have no time to slow down. She chats to Robert Colville, an author who has written about the history of speeding up.

    Ash talks to Brigid Schulte. She wrote a book called Overwhelmed: How To Love Work And Play When No One Has The Time. She says technology and time management are taking over our lives and making us more and more distracted. And that is actually changing our brains. The episode will end with the author and journalist Robert Wright talking about the idea of the red pill in the Matrix. He tells Alice we have deluded ourselves for too long but there is a way out: meditation.

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    19 mins
  • Nov 9 2018

    Alice tells Ash her own story of growing up in a Buddhist family. She says meditation allowed her to consider her emotions more but she doesn’t know why. What is it about that helps us deal with our emotions?

    To answer Ash goes back to Robert Wright who explains why we are so emotional in the first place. He says the main problem is we are not in as much control of our minds as we think. That’s because of evolution. But according to the neuroscientist Sara Lazar it’s also because of something else - this tiny part of our brains that controls our emotional response called the amygdala. Sara explains that meditation provides a pause between experiencing something and reacting this. This insight chimes with Alice’s experience of meditating.

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    24 mins
  • Nov 9 2018

    Alice travels to Cambridge. She understands the experience of meditation but now she wants to know whether it actually changes the brain in any fundamental way. She has her brain imaged by the scientist Barbara Jachs, who is trying to work out the relationship between meditation and brain activity. This is now a mainstream area of science but it wasn’t always that way.

    Ash chats to Daniel Goleman who wrote the book The Science of Meditation. It turns out Dan was one of the first researchers to start studying this idea that meditation can change the brain. The idea was radical back then but a certain scientific theory changed everything: neuroplasticity. This theory has helped scientists realise meditation strengthens brain circuits like doing reps in the gym strengthens your muscles. Ash also talks to Sara Lazar about a pioneering study she did that shows meditation can make fundamental changes to the brain after just 8 weeks of practice.

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    24 mins

What listeners say about Calm World: Introduction to Meditation

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Doesn't help if you want to learn to meditate

Doesn't help if you want to learn to meditate. It's only testimonies.
If you already have decided to learn, you can skip this one.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Sue
  • 2019-02-27

excellent introduction for skeptics!

highly recommend, like push-ups for your brain...
meditation is not clearing your mind but finding focus, again and again :)

2 people found this helpful

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makes it make sense

I loved it! very casual, friendly, honest with guest speaking about their journeys. Thanks to Dan Harris and his honesty, he makes it all make sense.

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Informative

I would say It was informative. I was expecting more of like steps on meditation but I should also say that I was not disappointed.

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really enjoyed it!

really loved the interviews and insights to the evidence. well researched and well put together. Many thanks!

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Great info from the entertaining duo.

I love the podcasts from this duo. always fun, informative and entertaining. I'd listen again and I'd recommend to others.

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A Good Introduction to Meditation

I have been curious about meditation for a while now. I found this a very easy and accessible introduction to the topic. The narrator is were fun, and the information presented seems valuable. If you want a quick introduction to the topic, it's worth the listen.

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loved it

I found it interesting. A great listen for beginners who are skeptical. I'm a beginner that meditation has helped.

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A "comedian" discusses meditation

So this is just all bad, from my point of view. Turns out I didn't pay for this, and I still checked to see if I could return it.

This plays out more like one of those awful 20 TLC shows where the hosts are bumbling morons who try and figure out what something is. The music. The very lame jokes that drag everything down. I am truly disappointed if someone else gets this hoping to learn something about meditation.

It's free, and I still don't recommend it.

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Interesting

This audio show is very interesting and informative. I liked the co-hosts and I enjoyed the clips they had of experts in the field of meditation.

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  • Steve
  • 2020-09-13

Presented in a light and entertaining way

The series presented potentially boring information in an entertaining way that had me listening to one episode after the next until I finished it. Unlike most books or presentations about meditation, it doesn't try to actually lead you through a meditation. Instead, it focuses on the scientific, religious, and cultural aspects of meditation, while nudging you to give it a try.

If you enjoyed Alice Fraser on this presentation, check out her special brand of comedy show called "Savage" on Amazon Prime Video. I promise it won't be what you expect!

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  • melanie cos
  • 2020-09-05

Surprising

I was attracted bully calm more than by meditation. And it ends up being Interesting, dynamic, fun and I want to know more!

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  • Mtlnative
  • 2022-04-07

Very good

I liked that they brought the subject of meditation down to a layperson’s level: it’s not mysterious, it’s something we probably already do but just not consciously and we should do more of it.

My only quibble, and that’s probably because I am a Boomer and they are Gen Z, is that they speak so fast in a prediction that is about slowing down and being more thoughtful. I liked them but just found the pace a bit frenetic.

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  • Jessica
  • 2022-03-21

Great Series! Good Introduction to meditation

I liked the set up of this series, great speakers, not super annoying background music. I like they way they hit on the scientific research behind meditation, the interviews with people that use it... overall, I walk away feeling like I learned much about meditation and that it doesn't have to be hours of my time each day to be beneficial and there are different ways to meditate. It gives me a foundation and an interest to try I out.