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The Awakened Brain: The New Science of Spirituality and Our Quest for an Inspired Life

Emily Porter

August 13, 2021

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In her new book, The Awakened Brain, Miller shares the results of the scientific research she has conducted finding that individuals with a spiritual or religious belief or practice have happier and healthier lives, as well as healthier brains.

The Awakened Brain: The New Science of Spirituality and Our Quest for an Inspired Life by Lisa Miller, PhD, Random House 

Interning in different mental health wards earlier in her career, Lisa Miller noticed how a patient’s demeanor would change once religion or spirituality came into the picture. Instead of focusing on a past trauma that had the individual reliving their darkest moments repeatedly, they would seem suddenly transformed. This sent her on a path to her life’s work at the intersection of psychology and spirituality and a passion for finding the science of the awakened brain and its role in living an inspired life.  

Miller is today a Professor of Psychology and Education, and the Founder of the Spirituality Mind Body Institute at Columbia University. In her new book, The Awakened Brain, Miller shares the results of the scientific research she has conducted finding that individuals with a spiritual or religious belief or practice have happier and healthier lives, as well as healthier brains.   

The high-spiritual brain was healthier and more robust than the low-spiritual brain. And the high-spiritual brain was thicker and stronger in exactly the same regions that weaken and wither in depressed brains.  

It is likely you know someone with a mental health issue, or are even suffering from one yourself, whether it be depression, anxiety, substance abuse, chronic stress, or something else debilitating to your everyday life. When living an inspired life we can tap into our optimism, and our perspective on our surroundings and circumstances can alter. The Awakened Brain is based around Miller’s research on how religion and spirituality contribute to a more inspired and healthy life, sharing how Miller awakened to it in her own life and advice on how to find it for yourself.  

Most of us think almost constantly about the future, always preparing for another life obstacle or deadline. When living an inspired life, we can tap into our optimism and our perspective on our surroundings and circumstances can alter. We will always have day-to-day tasks and struggles, but it is becoming more accepted that our life's purpose is about finding an existence that gives us meaning, and not just about working all day and night, which sometimes seems expected here in America. As Miller writes: 

It made intuitive sense to me that we essentially live in two different realms—the everyday world where we buy groceries and commute to work and bicker with our partners and watch the leaves change in the park; and the transcendent world that’s bigger than any individual life, and to which we each belong.  

Through Lisa Miller's book The Awakened Brain, we enter a dialogue that encourages us to tap into our own spirituality to begin living a more meaningful and happier life. It is a wonderful read to guide us on this path we are all trying to decipher. 

About The Author

Emily Porter is our Communications & Publicity Manager who loves conversing with the wonderful authors we work with. A film photographer and long-time film industry nomad, she has had a constant love for books throughout her life. When not at work she enjoys curling up with her cats, adding to her bookshelves, practicing yoga, and photographing new landscapes. Travel. Cats. Coffee. Tea. Film. Books. RadioLab. National Geographic. Patti Smith. Dinosaurs.

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