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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

Average Customer Ratings
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A lot of fact, not much technics

A lot of info about meditation not much about to really practise.

Clear and energetic narrators

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great listening!!

another great podcast by you guys. loved everything I learnt about meditation and the brain! you two work so well together please do more!!

1 person found this helpful

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its time to start meditation!!

loved it! so interesting, real eye opening about the benefits of relaxing the mind and getting out of our heads

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Clapping, white noise, busy and rushed.

When you sit down to listen to a book on meditation/mindfulness the last thing you expect is a rushed book full of busy background noise. I'm sorry but I found this anexiety forming.
It was just horrible, I have been meditating for years and this is the worst I have ever come across. Learning mindfulness should. be a calming and life changing experience not speed read, background sounds and that constant clapping

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  • Mj
  • 10-04-2021

Light but inspiring

All guests & hosts spoke about very interesting aspects of meditation. Like the way they spoke of 'just startubg' an old habit again & again if u have to.. (like exercise) Timely after getting back to my laps this morning after 6wks prioritising uni study, feel great after btw)

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Learnt something new

Having unsuccessfully tried meditation a number of times - and a few doctors try to explain (badly) how to do mindful meditation - the biggest revelation was that the losing concentration and bringing awareness back to meditation IS beneficial. That actual - and inevitable - act of noticing IS exercising your grey matter. This had never been clarified before. I also enjoyed learning more of the science and history of meditation. I did find however, a number of occasions where background sound effects were added to set a "scene" during the narration, which simply didn't translate when listening as they might have visually - e.g. crowd noises. They just were a distraction, and sometimes too loud, and I missed parts of the narration. There was also a couple of times where people mumbled, or what seemed like "inside" jokes were told - added to the lower performance rating.

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Great but missing " how to "

Very informative. Well presented. Learned a lot. Was just missing some exact techniques of meditation.

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  • DDD
  • 01-07-2020

surprisingly amazing

This surprisingly turned a topic that has the potential to be very boring into something fun, exciting and original. I felt compelled to listen to the next installment after each episode. In short, amazing!

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good start

Easy listening. Genuinely nice presenters. Probably should have discussed a bit more of the data if they had a 'scientist' on to help the sceptics. Could have added how to get started and a few tips or resources.

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Love the set up

I have ADHD and I find the frequent clapping sound effect really jarring, otherwise awesome.

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  • Steve
  • 13-09-2020

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
  • 05-09-2020

Surprising

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

3 people found this helpful

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  • Mtlnative
  • 07-04-2022

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
  • 21-03-2022

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.

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  • Rihards D
  • 20-11-2018

Best introduction on why we should meditate

As title says - these shorts are the best material I've found so far on why we should meditate.

Performance were great, guests were great, though not a fan of Dan Harris, listened to his book 10% happier, so much ego, and it feels like he does everything just to promote his books and his app, a salesman, at least he admits that he can be an ass. Listened for some 3h and still he did not get to the point in his book.

In contrast - this podcast, it was very nicely explained why meditation is great for us in just 2 hours, with lots of scientific research backing and entertaining presenters. I think that this podcast could be great for everybody, good chance that there could be learnt something new, even for seasoned meditators and it's free for members! Very well done!

41 people found this helpful

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