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Meditative Story

Meditative Story combines extraordinary human stories with meditation prompts embedded into the storylines — all surrounded by breathtaking music. Think of it as an alternative way into a mindfulness practice, through vivid stories and cinematic music and production values. Meditative Story is an original series produced by WaitWhat and supported by our members. Our community tells us that they listen to the same episodes over and over again, and according to data provided by Apple Podcasts, Meditative Story may have the highest engagement of any podcast in the world. And that makes us proud!

Weekly hand curated podcast episodes for learning

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The best episodes ranked using user listens.

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Stories of new beginnings

As we transition into a new season, and look forward to a new year ahead, we’re sharing these five short stories of people in motion. Listen for stories of birth, creative rebirth, and stories of starting over. Because the human spirit can continually find a new way to begin again. Featuring stories from writer and midwife Elizabeth Lesser, cowboy poet Waddie Mitchell, country singer/songwriter Mickey Guyton, musician Andrew Bird, and the Reverend Otis Moss III.Look forward to Season 3 of Meditative Story, coming in early December with all-new stories and storytellers.Subscribe to the Meditative Story newsletter at http://eepurl.com/gyDGgD.

31mins

18 Nov 2020

Rank #1

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Starting the story of my life again, by Keith Yamashita

Fluent in cheating time to squeeze productivity out of every minute, entrepreneur Keith Yamashita recounts the frightening details of a devastating stroke as it is actually happening, and discovers the second part of his life. It isn't a medical recovery. It’s an awakening. 

26mins

19 Nov 2019

Rank #2

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Life and love and the moment, by Arianna Huffington

A glossy picture on the cover of a magazine. That’s all it takes for a teenage Arianna Huffington to decide she’s going to leave her family and home – and the activity and warmth of her mom’s kitchen table – to start something new. Without speaking the language, or even knowing how to get there, Arianna decides she’s going to start a new life in a new place, propelled forward by her mom’s wise sense that life isn’t about winning or losing, it’s about having the adventure.

23mins

6 Aug 2019

Rank #3

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I let go of my plan – and found myself, by Krista Tippett

Sitting around tables with arms experts, moving missiles around a map of Europe as if it were a gameboard, On Being's Krista Tippett grabs the moment to dislodge herself from the exhilaration of power. The journey that ensues leads her to a remote cottage in Spain where a chance encounter with a retired accountant, Robert, creates the space to redirect her life forever. Read Krista's book "Becoming Wise."Learn about The On Being ProjectSign up for the Meditative Story newsletter.Follow us on Twitter and Instagram.Read the transcript for this episode.

28mins

10 Sep 2019

Rank #4

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To visualize ... and then make it so, by Larry Jackson

In a tiny studio in Tampa, Florida, with new-to-the-scene Jennifer Hudson and a Pomeranian dog named Grammy, young music producer Larry Jackson begins to feel the heat. It’s his job to not only make music, but to make hits. And it’s not happening. From an early age, Larry has had to scramble to make things happen for himself – and chance luck has made him a bit superstitious. The creative process can be terribly disheartening when the elusive spark never comes. Sometimes the power of believing – of willing something into reality – is all we have. And that's where Larry's journey begins.

23mins

13 Aug 2019

Rank #5

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Our tiny meaningful lives in the vast universe

In this classic episode, while working on an experiment to measure the age of the universe, astronomer Michelle Thaller is reminded once again about both the impersonal immensity around us, and the deeply personal significance of each one of us.

28mins

21 Mar 2020

Rank #6

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Through friendship, a better version of myself, by Reid Hoffman

How do you find joy in your life? For entrepreneur, venture capitalist, and author Reid Hoffman, it’s through the act of genuine, honest, and intimate conversations with friends. Once a self-described misfit, in college, Reid finds his place. He connects with people who share not necessarily his interests but his curiosity, and his dedication to asking big questions. It is in asking the big questions, in discussing the answers, that Reid learns and grows – and begins to discover the meaning of his life.Sign up for the Meditative Story newsletter, to get an episode reminder and a meditation in your inbox each Saturday: http://eepurl.com/gyDGgDFollow us on Twitter and Instagram:https://twitter.com/MeditativeStoryhttps://www.instagram.com/MeditativeStory/

28mins

13 Jan 2020

Rank #7

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Surrendering my old identity — and finding myself, by Catherine Reitman

As an actor and a new mom, Catherine Reitman felt pulled between two competing identities. To capture her frustration, her sadness, her truth, she wrote it all down. In sharing her darkness, she found a way to turn a light on for someone else.

27mins

14 Nov 2019

Rank #8

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Creating space to stand in truth, by Susan David

Psychologist and author Susan David invites us into the sad days after she loses her father as a child – and the kind teacher who helped her carve out space to feel her grief and sadness honestly. It's a lesson she takes into her own journey as a parent."When we truly see ourselves, we’re more able to see others too." – Susan DavidSign up for the Meditative Story newsletter, to get an episode reminder and a meditation in your inbox each Saturday: http://eepurl.com/gyDGgDFollow us on Twitter and Instagram:https://twitter.com/MeditativeStoryhttps://www.instagram.com/MeditativeStory/

32mins

10 Dec 2019

Rank #9

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Our tiny meaningful lives in the vast universe, by Michelle Thaller

Renowned astronomer and science commentator Michelle Thaller shares a story about cosmic awe and deep connection — both to our fellow human beings and to the universe around us.Sign up for the Meditative Story newsletter.Follow us on Twitter and Instagram.Read the transcript for this episode.

28mins

20 Aug 2019

Rank #10

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Learning to see what is in front of me, by Siri Hustvedt

To truly see what is right in front us, requires the practice of looking, of careful and sustained attention – without expectation or judgment. Join author and essayist Siri Hustvedt on an hours long trip to the museum spent in front of just one painting. And discover more than just what's on the canvas.Sign up for the Meditative Story newsletter, to get an episode reminder and a meditation in your inbox each Saturday:http://eepurl.com/gyDGgDFollow us on Twitter and Instagram:https://twitter.com/MeditativeStoryhttps://www.instagram.com/MeditativeStory/

20mins

3 Dec 2019

Rank #11

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Adapting to life's unexpected nature, by Forrest Galante

Jackals and leopards in the fields. The sound of a lion’s roar. Majestic African bush elephants outside the front door. This is childhood for Forrest Galante as a kid growing up on a farm in Zimbabwe. He’s adventurous and instinctive and connected to the living earth. But a sudden move to the U.S. puts him in a completely new territory. In discovering this new urban world in front of him, Forrest learns that the key for all of us, to key to survival, is to adapt.

31mins

17 Mar 2020

Rank #12

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How to find – and feed – your passion, by Danny Meyer

Restaurateur Danny Meyer takes us back to where it all began for him: a family trip to Europe and a simple plate of pasta. That memorable meal sparked a lifetime practice of discovery that continues to feed his creativity and his soul.Sign up for the Meditative Story newsletter.Follow us on Twitter and Instagram.

21mins

24 Sep 2019

Rank #13

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The art class, by Jay Shetty

"Why?” asks an insistent high school art teacher. “Why? Why? Why?” Staring blankly back, a young Jay Shetty has nothing to say. It’s an art project, it's just homework. A collage. It’s just … layers. The next day in a subway station, Jay's chance encounter with an ad peeling off the wall unlocks the truest answer. What he discovers that day about himself carries forward into college, when Jay meets a fellow student who's consumed by negativity and pain. There, the art project from so many years ago comes in handy in ways he never anticipates.Read Jay Shetty's book Think Like a Monk (listen to Think Like a Monk as an audiobook read by Jay).Jay hosts the podcast On Purpose with Jay Shetty.Sign up for the Meditative Story newsletter, to get an episode reminder and a meditation in your inbox each Saturday: http://eepurl.com/gyDGgDFollow us on Twitter and Instagram:https://twitter.com/MeditativeStoryhttps://www.instagram.com/MeditativeStory/

28mins

2 Mar 2020

Rank #14

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Finding a way in, by Sinéad Burke

How to teach a classroom full of "difficult" kids? By meeting them where they are, and finding a way in. This is something that Sinéad Burke sees every day in her teaching career. Her own life experience has taught her how to turn everything that excludes someone into something that includes, by looking for that common ground we all have with one another. What can you do to build a way in for someone?Sinéad Burke is the host of her own amazing podcast: As Me with Sinéad Burke. Listen: https://www.lemonadamedia.com/show/as-me-with-sinead-burke/Sign up for the Meditative Story newsletter, to get an episode reminder and a meditation in your inbox each Saturday: http://eepurl.com/gyDGgDFollow us on Twitter and Instagram:https://twitter.com/MeditativeStoryhttps://www.instagram.com/MeditativeStory/Read the transcript for this episode:http://podcast.meditativestory.com/p/29

30mins

7 Jan 2020

Rank #15

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One envelope at a time, by Hannah Brencher

When's the last time you hand-wrote a letter? Author Hannah Brencher shares a simple story about the value of connecting on paper.

26mins

29 Oct 2019

Rank #16

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Trust the world to show its goodness, by Shea Hembrey

Shea Hembrey is 5 years old, walking along the road to his farmhouse on the edge of the Mississippi River Delta, where the floodplains meet the Ozark Mountain foothills. The undulating hills surrounded by dense rows of oak, sassafras, sugarberry, and persimmon trees. He spots a pale, smooth-polished fleck: an egg! “This is a baby bird,” he tells his parents. “And I’m going to hatch it.” From that point forward, his willingness to be patient – to let what is already there reveal itself – opens up the world to show its goodness. We all possess this kind of wonderful intuition, but you must pay attention to that knowing feeling and start to trust it.Sign up for the Meditative Story newsletter, to get an episode reminder and a meditation in your inbox each Saturday:http://eepurl.com/gyDGgDFollow us on Twitter and Instagram:https://twitter.com/MeditativeStoryhttps://www.instagram.com/MeditativeStory/

25mins

4 Apr 2020

Rank #17

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Navigating life in my own skin, by Zenju Earthlyn Manuel

In precisely chosen words, the writer, artist and Zen priest Zenju Earthlyn Manuel tells a story from her girlhood, a road trip from LA to Louisiana in 1957. While five-year-old Zenju sits in the back seat dreaming of cowboys, her parents navigate an altogether different landscape. From them, from the trip, Zenju now believes she’s learned how to find her way in the world, in her skin.

29mins

22 Oct 2019

Rank #18

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Hitting the open road to find my way home, by Peter Sagal

Host of NPR’s Wait, Wait...Don’t Tell Me!, Peter Sagal is wrecked and stuck in the wake of a divorce. Suddenly, he finds himself with two free weeks. In need of a healthy distraction, Peter jumps on his Harley for a long solo trip out west. Though he has a destination in mind, what he finds on those quiet, desolate, curvy roads is a new focus, a new voice. And though his aim was to fill his time, he begins to appreciate the quiet – where he can actually hear himself.

26mins

8 Oct 2019

Rank #19

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Loving our living world, by Carl Safina

We all need to love and be loved, we all want to feel not alone in this world. And this is true for all of the living world, says ecologist and author Carl Safina. Carl has spent his whole life interacting with the wild, from raising pigeons on a Brooklyn rooftop to trekking through the frozen landscape of Antarctica and the vast African savanna. And one thing he’s learned is that humans and animals alike, we’re all striving to connect. We’re all craving to establish bonds, to reach out, and to hold someone close. We all want to be loved – and to love ourselves.

31mins

14 Apr 2020

Rank #20