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

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