Passion Struck with John R. Miles

Dr. David Vago on Self Transcendence – How to Experience Personal Growth and Awakening Through Meditation and Meta Awareness

April 12, 2022

Dr. David Vago on self-transcendence - how to experience personal growth and awakening through meditation and meta-awareness | Brought to you by Babbel (

David Vago, Ph.D., is on a mission to alleviate suffering and improve well-being through investigating connections between the mind, brain, and body. He is a Research Associate Professor and Director of the Contemplative Neuroscience and Mind-Body Research Laboratory in the Department of Psychology at Vanderbilt University. He is part of the faculty for the Vanderbilt Brain Institute and Vanderbilt Institute for Infection, Immunology, and Inflammation. Dr. Vago maintains a research associate position in the Functional Neuroimaging Laboratory, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, and is also Research Lead for the mental health and well-being platform, Roundglass, and a Mind and Life Institute Fellow. Over one million people have viewed Dr. Vago's Ted Talk on self-transformation.

How Self-Transcendence Impacts Your Self-Identity

Self-transcendence is the idea that there is something to transcend the self as if the self is something that is created through time. Over time, you have certain thoughts and emotions that construct your self-identity. It is a clinical model of self-reification, right conditioning, and habit formation. It all leads to how we conceptualize our identity, our needs, wants, fears, expectations, attitudes, and values. It is how our whole worldview is constructed. And so what meditation does, is it allows you to create a distance with those thoughts to find your greatest peace.

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Links from the Show:

  • Buddhism and Equanimity - MR Tom, DR Vago - The Virtues in Psychiatric Practice, 2021. This edited text describes the use of positive psychology and contemplative practices in the context of psychiatry.
  • How meditation changes the brain: A neurophilosophical and pragmatic account. DR Vago - Routledge Handbook on the Philosophy of Meditation, 2022 This Handbook on the Philosophy of Meditation provides a comprehensive overview and analysis of the state of the field of the philosophy of meditation and engages primarily in the philosophical assessment of the merits of meditation practices.
  • Yaden, D. B., J. Haidt, R. W. Hood, D. R. Vago, and A. B. Newberg (2017). "The Varieties of Self-Transcendent Experience." Review of General Psychology 21(2): 143-160. [Link]
  • Vago, D. R. and D. A. Silbersweig (2012). "Self-awareness, self-regulation, and self-transcendence (S-ART): a framework for understanding the neurobiological mechanisms of mindfulness." Front Hum Neurosci 6: 296. [Link]
  • Vago, D. R. and F. Zeidan (2016). "The brain on silent: mind wandering, mindful awareness, and states of mental tranquility." Ann N Y Acad Sci 1373(1): 96-113. [Link]
  • Davis, J. H. and D. R. Vago (2014). "Can enlightenment be traced to specific neural correlates, cognition, or behavior? No, and (a qualified) Yes." Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. [Link]
  • The Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell
  • Transcend by Scott Barry Kauffman

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-- John R Miles is a serial entrepreneur and the CEO and founder of Passion Struck. This full-service media company helps people live intentionally by creating best-in-class educational and entertainment content. John is also a prolific public speaker, venture capitalist, and author named to the ComputerWorld Top 100 IT Leaders.

John is the host of the Passion Struck Podcast;  a show focused on exploring the mindset and philosophy world's most insightful people to learn their lessons to living intentionally and becoming the masters of their own life and destiny. Passion Struck aspires to speak to the humanity of people in a way that makes them want to live better, be better and impact.

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