Meditation is not just about sitting for our meditation sessions and doing our practice. There is a lot more to that which is required to succeed with it and enrich our lives with it. We need to go the extra mile and try to learn more and understand our practice better through reading meditation books, listening to meditation podcasts, and watching as well as listening to meditation talks from experts in the area.
Working with such resources even as we meditate frequently helps us get new insights and perspectives of different aspects of meditation and allows us to meditate better and feel fulfilled by the practice. Meditation experts have so much wisdom to share with us and if we listen keenly and take their message to heart, we can totally transform our lives.
With that said, here are the top 15 meditation talks you should consider listening to if you look forward to bettering your meditation practice and the overall quality of your life.
Best Meditation Talks From Experts to Inspire Your Practice
1. Transform your mind change the world by Sharon Salzberg
This is a talk aimed at helping people understand the real benefits of meditation, how to get a good feel of it, and understand how convenient it actually is to do it. Sharon Salzberg explains the many negative emotions and cognitive effects we often struggle with and how meditation helps to alleviate them.
Sharon Salzberg is a well-known meditation author and co-founder of the Insight Meditation Society. She also hosts a podcast channel called The Metta Hour, where she has insightful talks and interviews with the movers and shakers of the meditation and mindfulness, and self-improvement industry at large. She has written more than 10 books including “Real Happiness: A 29-Day Program to Realize The Power of Meditation” which became the New York Time’s bestseller.
2. How meditation can reshape our brains by Sarah Lazar
This is a deeply scientific talk about how the practice of meditation changes our brains. Sarah Lazar explains the different regions that meditation affects, and the cognitive functions associated with those functions, and how they change as well.
Sarah Lazar is a neuroscientist, an assistant professor in Psychology at Harvard Medical School, and also works in Massachusetts General Hospital as an associate researcher in the department of psychiatry. She focuses on yoga and meditation and how they help in clinics as well as self-improvement techniques for everyone. She has been featured on many popular news and health platforms including CNN, The New York Times, WebMD, and USA Today.
3. All it takes is 10 mindful minutes by Andy Puddicombe
This is a talk that explains how we can take as little as 10 minutes to do mindfulness meditation and how much of an impact it can have on our lives. Andy Puddicombe also goes ahead to explain how we can make this practice easy and straightforward without having to be worried about the other complicated aspects like using incense and other resources to optimize the overall experience of the practice. In essence, he talks about the benefits of mindfulness, how we can work with it at the bare minimum and how we can improve the quality and overall experience of our lives with its help.
Andy Puddicombe is a well-known figure in the meditation and mindfulness space. He is the co-founder of Headspace, a mental health app that is based on offering resources for meditation, mindfulness, and other aspects of self-improvement to the users and helping them establish a long-term meditation routine. He is also a meditation and mindfulness expert, and public speaker who decided to go to the Himalayas to learn deeply about meditation. He was later ordained as a Tibetan Buddhist monk and then went to London where he would later found the digital company, Headspace, with his partner.
4. The technology of the heart by His Holiness the Karmapa
This is a talk where His Holiness the Karmapa shares his life story. He talks about how he used to live a normal life with his family and how all of that changed when he was found to be the next Karmapa at the age of 7. He also shares his experiences as the Karmapa and how it has been for him over the years. His experiences carry deep wisdom of looking at things differently and how to understand not just the technology of things that the technological evolution we are having across the world but also the technology of the heart and how that can better our lives.
His Holiness the Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje was very young when he was taken from his home in Eastern Tibet to be groomed as the next Karmapa. It seemed like everything in his life had been laid out. He is said to be the reincarnation of another revered figure in Tibetan Buddhism. He leads the Karma Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism which is said to be 900 years old.
5. Be here now by Jon Kabat Zinn
This is a talk that was published in the YouTube channel called People in Pain Network a couple of years ago. It goes deep into the topic of mindfulness and defines what it is, how it works, and how we can cultivate it in our lives in the best way possible. The talk is given by Jon Kabat Zinn. He describes the present moment and our awareness of it at length and how to experience the here and now despite the nature of the mind that distracts us from it.
Jon Kabat Zinn is a mindfulness expert and the founder of the MBSR (Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction) program that helps people deal with stress using mindfulness. He is also the author of the book, Be Here Now. On top of that, he is a meditation teacher and a professor of Medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.
6. Radical acceptance by Tara Brach
This is a talk that was published on Tara Brach’s main website where she talks about the concept of self-acceptance. She explains how we often view ourselves and our many shortcomings as unworthy of being alive and happy and how we can change that story and accept ourselves more even with the flaws that we have. She shows how we can use meditation and mindfulness to be aware of the kind of people we are and work with that towards acceptance and improvement.
Tara Brach is a psychologist and meditation teacher, who is said to marry Psychology from the West with the Eastern Buddhist spiritual concepts. She is also the founder of the Insight Meditation Community of Washington DC, which makes among the largest meditation centers in the US. Together with Jack Cornfield, they lead a program called Awareness Training Institute that teaches online courses based on compassion and mindfulness. She has also published many books including Radical Acceptance, Trusting the Gold: Uncovering Your Natural Goodness, and True Refuge: Finding Peace And Freedom in Your Own Awakened Heart.
7. Mindfulness: What it is and is not by Joseph Goldstein
This is a very elaborate talk on mindfulness. Joseph Goldstein discredits many of the myths around mindfulness that exist and helps us to understand what the practice is really all about and how we can make the most of it. There is also a short but effective mindfulness practice that he introduces that can help anyone who hasn’t done mindfulness before to get immersed in it easily and get a feel of what mindfulness is like. Towards the end of the talk, Goldstein takes a couple of questions from the audience that tackle some of the most difficult aspects of mindfulness and provides some insights rarely shared out there.
Joseph Goldstein is a meditation teacher and co-founder of the Insight Meditation Society. He is also an author of many books such as Mindfulness: A Practice Guide to Awakening, Insight Meditation: A Psychology of Freedom, Seeking The Heart of Wisdom: The Path of Insight Meditation, One Dharma: The Emerging Western Buddhism, and 7 Treasures of Awakening: The Benefits of Mindfulness.
8. Mindfulness and neural integration by Dr. Daniel Siegel
This is a talk on how schools can with technology to help kids with self-regulation using mindfulness and neural integration. He goes on to discuss the connection among 3 things, which include the brain in our heads, the mind (which is different from the brain) as well as its connection to the brain and body, and relationships. Some of the other interesting topics he touches on are the self and how kids can learn that emotions are manageable and mentionable.
Dr. Daniel Siegel is the executive director of the Mindsight Institute, which is an organization that is focused on providing education on mindsight development in people individually as well as groups of people like communities and families. Moreover, he is a co-director and founder of the Mindful Awareness Research Center at the University of California (UCLA) and a psychiatry professor at the school of medicine at UCLA.
9. General mindfulness: The art of stillness by Pico Iyer
This is an eye and mind-opening TED talk on finding the time and being still amidst all the chaos in our lives. The talk, having come from Pico Iyer who is someone who has traveled all over the world and written about travel, is quite insightful considering he encouraged people to find time to be quiet with themselves and aim to travel nowhere rather than be all over the place, allows us to appreciate the time we have for ourselves and make more of it for our personal improvement and overall well being.
In the talk, we learn that with the help of mindfulness, we can become still and quiet, mentally and physically, and get to tap into the infinite peace, calmness, and inner harmony that lies within us.
Born in 1957 in Oxford, United Kingdom, Pico Iyer is a well-known travel writer whose work is mainly focused on travel and different aspects of it including culture. He has written award-winning books such as The Man Within My Head, The Art of Stillness: Adventures in Going Nowhere, The Lady and The Monk: Four Seasons in Kyoto, and The Open Road: The Global Journey of the Fourteenth Dalai Lama.
10. Mindful movement by Ross Sargent
This is a talk on how mindful movement changes our lives. The speaker gets to talk about the things he has learned from moving his body in a mindful way. He also shares lessons on how science is aligned to the experiences he has had as someone heavily involved in mindful movement, and the predictions of the future on what science might become in this area.
Ross Sargent is the managing director, chief instructor, and co-founder of the martial arts company called Cambridge Kung Fu ltd. that trains people on proper mindful movement and tactical advanced martial arts.
11. Why a neuroscientist would study meditation by Willoughby Britton
This talk is more about understanding happiness at a deeper level, that is, beyond the common perception of it being what we feel when we get what we want. It also ventures into contemplative studies and attributes such as attention, compassion, and generosity, and its link to science and medicine. The speaker also touches on meditation and other habits that enhance our minds and lives at large.
Willoughby Britton is a neuroscientist who did her Bachelor’s degree in Neuroscience at Colgate University and also has a doctorate in Clinical psychology. She is also the director of Brown’s Clinical and Affective Neuroscience Laboratory which is based on mindfulness-based techniques for handling anxiety and mood-related disorders and the effects (both neurocognitive and psychophysiological effects) of cognitive training.
12. We can be Buddhas by Robert Thurman
This is a talk about how we can use our inter-connectedness and the lives we have lived in different lifetimes, according to the Buddhist universe, to help us tap into enlightenment and infinite knowledge that we have of things.
At the age of 24, Robert Thurman became the first person from the United States that the Dalai Lama ordained as a Tibetan monk. He, later on, co-founded a non-profit organization called Tibet House that promotes and preserves Tibetan civilization. He also teaches Indo-Tibetan Buddhist studies as a professor at Columbia University.
13. The habits of happiness by Buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard
As the name suggests, the habits of happiness is a talk that is based around true happiness and how to find and keep it in the long term. The speaker redefines the concept and attribute of happiness and goes on to share the simple but life-changing habits that can help us cultivate true happiness in our lives and maintain it for years to come. He explains how we can train our minds in that direction and become genuinely happy, peaceful, and fulfilled.
Matthieu Ricard is a Buddhist monk who put aside his biochemistry career and traveled to the Himalayas to become a monk. He has written different insightful books including Happiness: A Guide to Developing Life’s Most Important Skill, The Quantum and The Lotus: A Journey to The Frontiers Where Science And Buddhism Meets, and a photograph book called Tibet: An Inner Journey.
14. Majesty of the present by Clifford Saron
In this talk, Clifford Saron shares his light bulb moment when he was listening to Joseph Goldstein during a talk given in 1974 about intentions. He also shares his experiences with meditation and the retreats he has attended over the years and explains the physiological effects and benefits of meditation, inward and present-minded reflection, and the thinking process.
Clifford Saron is a neuroscientist who got his Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Albert Einstein College of Medicine in 1999. He specializes in attention training and emotion regulation and is one of the known figures when it comes to meditation and its effects. He is also big on the application of various study methods (both behavioral and electrophysiological methods) that are aimed at humans in aspects like cognition and senses.
15. Mindfulness and healing by Shannon Paige
This talk is more of a life story. Shannon Paige talks about her fight with cancer and how she went through the whole journey and won but also how she was made to feel lucky for having survived cancer, which really took a toll on her peace and confidence. She fell into depression for a while until a doctor came and advised her to consider some methods to get her life back which included yoga. In the process, she made a few discoveries of how connecting with your mind and body can help change the story from worse to much better.
Shannon Paige is a yoga teacher, writer, and founder of several entities including the Bhava Vinyasa for depression and anxiety, Anjali Restorative Yoga, and Om Time Yoga Center.
As you have seen, there is so much value to take from these talks. We get to gain new angles of thought and perception when it comes to meditation, mindfulness, and happiness. And as we watch these videos and rewatch them in the near future, we can learn the exact steps we need to take to get our practice to the next level and also how to live healthy, peaceful, and happy lives.
We encourage you to consider taking notes of the main points shared in the videos, reflect on them and see how you can incorporate them into your life. Learning is one thing and benefiting from the learning and turning the knowledge gained into wisdom requires personal effort. And by looking for ways to apply the knowledge in our lives, we make the knowledge whole.
Which of the meditation talks did you find most inspiring? What was your biggest takeaway message from it that you feel will stick with you for the rest of your life? Please let us know in the comments section. 🙂