Being Well Podcast: Self-Transcendent Experiences
May 25, 2020

What does it mean to “transcend the self?” Today Dr. Hanson, Forrest, and Dr. David Yaden explore self-transcendent, or “peak,” experiences, which the famous psychologist Abraham Maslow defined as “moments of highest happiness and fulfillment.”

About our Guest: David Yaden is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Johns Hopkins Medicine who studies the varieties of spiritual and self-transcendent experiences from the perspectives of psychology and cognitive neuroscience. Specifically, he’s interested in understanding how these experiences can result in long-term changes to well-being and how they alter the fundamental faculties of consciousness.

If you’ve had a self-transcendent experience you would like to share, visit David’s website The Varieties Corpus. Data collected from the site is used for scientific research or public education.

Read David’s paper on The Varieties of Self-Transcendent Experience here. 

Key Topics:

  • 3:00: The two key characteristics of self-transcendent experiences.
  • 4:30: “Everyday” versions of peak experiences.
  • 8:00: Self-transcendence and psychopathology.
  • 11:00: David Yaden’s account of self-transcendence.
  • 13:50: The lasting impact of peak experiences.
  • 17:00: Is there a “place” where self-transcendence occurs in the brain?
  • 20:45: Making use of peak experiences.
  • 28:00: Should we seek peak experiences out?
  • 36:00: Relaxing the sense of self.
  • 41:30: A message to your younger self.
  • 43:30: Recap

Share this episode on:

Support the Podcast

Special Offers from Our Sponsors


Finally get that project off the ground with Squarespace! Head to squarespace.com/beingwell for a free trial, and when you’re ready to launch use coupon code BEINGWELL to save 10% off your first purchase of a website or domain.


Want to sleep better? Try the Calm app! 

Visit calm.com/beingwell for 40% off a premium subscription.

Join Dr. Rick and Forrest Hanson every week on the Being Well Podcast for lively and thought-provoking conversation and practical tips for being happier, building inner strengths, and getting the most out of life.

Get Rick’s Free Weekly Newsletter

Get a weekly practice and the latest Being Well Podcast delivered right to your inbox.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Ask Rick and Forrest a Question!

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Recent Episodes