How God Works: The Science Behind Spirituality


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Episodes: 37


While religion and science often seem at odds, there’s one thing they can agree on: people who take part in spiritual practices tend to live longer, healthier, and happier lives. The big question is: Why? In the “How God Works” podcast, professor Dave DeSteno takes us on a journey to find out – one that combines cutting edge neuroscience with ancient wisdom.

He’ll speak to leading scientists, spiritual teachers, and religious leaders to explore what we can learn from faith practices ranging from meditation and prayer to psychedelics and fire-walking. He’ll look at how we can adapt and use spiritual practices in our own lives, whatever our beliefs -- including none at all.

By working across boundaries that usually divide people – science versus religion, one faith versus another – we’ll find new ways to make life better for everyone.

Episode Date
Moving Beyond Us vs Them

Hate and prejudice based on ethnicity, religion, gender and sexual orientation are all too common in our world. But are we doomed to be this way? Or is it possible to create a world where cooperation and peace are the norm?

Join Dave as he talks to NYU professor Jay van Bavel about the deeper mechanisms at work when it comes to group conflict (and how to avoid it), and with Zen Buddhism teacher Larry Ward about how the teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh and the Plum Village Tradition can help all of us to heal and foster a more equitable and caring world.

Jay Van Bavel is co-author (with Dominic Packer) of The Power of Us: Harnessing Our Shared Identities to Improve Performance, Increase Cooperation, and Promote Social Harmony. Find out more about Jay’s work on his website.

Larry Ward is a co-founder of The Lotus Institute and host of the podcast Beyond the News, which explores current events through the lens of Buddhism and neuroscience. He is also the author of America’s Racial Karma: An Invitation to Heal.

The gathas heard in this episode are taken from Thich Nhat Hanh’s book Peace Is Every Breath: A Practice for Our Busy Lives. Dave also makes reference to the 14 mindfulness trainings, which can be found in the book Interbeing, 4th Edition: The 14 Mindfulness Trainings of Engaged Buddhism.

May 28, 2023
Sacred Sound

Music has the power to transform and connect us, no matter our native tongue. In many ways, it's a language unto itself. It ties us to places. It heals us, promotes compassion and empathy.  It unites us not only to each other, but according to many people, perhaps even to something greater.

On this episode we’ll take a look at what’s going on in our brains and bodies when we sing sacred songs together... or listen to jazz. And why from Jewish nigunim to John Coltrane, music can deepen our connection with the divine, each other, and even with ourselves.

Episode guests:

Dr. David Michael Greenberg is an award-winning American psychologist, social neuroscientist, musician, and entrepreneur. Find out more about his work on his website.

Rabbi Deborah Sacks Mintz serves the Hadar Institute as Director of Tefillah and Music. Find out more about her, and her music, on her website, or listen to her on Spotify, Bandcamp, Apple Music, or YouTube. Find out more about Hadar’s Rising Song Institute here.

His Eminence The Most Reverend Archbishop F. W. King D.D. is a leader and co-founder of the Saint John Coltrane Church in San Francisco.

May 14, 2023
The Flow of Craft

What do we get out of making things with our hands? Traditions the world over incorporate crafts into their religious practice, and for secular people, that experience of getting “in the zone” while weaving or working with wood or clay can also feel meditative, even spiritual.

So maybe it’s worth asking: Is there a craftsperson in all of us that we should occasionally step away from our devices to nurture? And could craft, even for the non-artist, be a way to connect with spirituality for us all?

We’ll talk to Claremont Graduate University psychologist Jeanne Nakamura about what characterizes the experience of “flow” that so many makers experience while they work. And we’ll talk to Stuart Kestenbaum, poet and former director of the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, about how people of all skill levels can benefit from working with their hands.

We’ll also hear from two renowned makers: Tlingit glass artist Preston Singletary and Tibetan mandala master Losang Samten.

To learn more about Jeanne Nakamura’s research on flow, click here. And have a look at this TED Talk by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, the founder of the study of flow.

Find out about Haystack Mountain School of Crafts’ programs here, and read about Stuart Kestenbaum’s work as a poet here.

Visit Preston Singletary’s website to learn about his practice and see some of his work. See some of Losang Samten’s mandalas and learn more about his story on his website.

Apr 30, 2023
God is Green

Were the Earth and all its resources created just for our benefit? Do plants and animals exist solely for us to consume? Or should we be viewing our role on this planet differently? When it comes to protecting the environment and addressing climate change, religion has had mixed results. Why is that?

With Earth Day almost upon us, we thought it would be the perfect time to take a look at how religion plays into our relationship to the Earth. We’ll talk to psychology professor Jesse Preston about how the way religious people practice their faith may influence their environmental attitudes and behavior. And we’ll speak to the Reverend Dave Bookless about the theological case for Christians to go green and how to make environmental action a spiritual practice.

Jesse Preston is an Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Warwick. Learn more about her work here.

As the director of theology at A Rocha International, Reverend Dave Bookless is helping to advise and lead many Christian-inspired environmental projects around the globe. Learn more about what he does here.

Our show website is now live! You can check out our full catalog of episodes, read transcripts, and get updates on upcoming live events.

Apr 16, 2023
The Power of Awe

Awe fills us with wonder -- we feel small in the face of things that seem vast, inspiring, almost beyond comprehension. So it makes sense that spiritual experiences often inspire awe. But new science is showing it can also work the other way around.

Awe from any source -- nature's beauty, art and music, even others’ noble acts -- can actually nudge us toward becoming more spiritual -- toward believing in the divine. And along the way, awe offers a host of benefits to support us. From reducing stress, to improving health, to even reducing loneliness, awe soothes our souls, and if we're open to it, pushes us to connect with something greater.

Dacher Keltner is the author of Awe: The New Science of Everyday Wonder and How it Can Transform Your Life. Find out more about the book and Dacher’s work here.

To find out more about Piercarlo Valdesolo’s research, visit his website.

Apr 02, 2023
Season 4 Trailer

Season 4 is coming on Sunday, April 2!

Can learning to experience awe more often be good for us? Does learning to make pottery, sing in a choir, or play a group sport give us some of the same benefits as being part of a religious community? Does being Christian make you more or less likely to taking a stand on climate change? What does Buddhism have to teach us about healing the divisions in this country? And do spiritual traditions hold any answers for addressing the massive mental health crisis among teens and young adults today?

Join us this season to find out.

Mar 26, 2023
From The Happiness Lab: Yoga of the Mind

While we’re working on Season 4, we wanted to share a special episode from another podcast we love, The Happiness Lab.

On The Happiness Lab, Dr. Laurie Santos explores all the ways we get our happiness wrong and what we can do to really feel better. She walks through the latest evidence-based strategies for improving your mental health, sharing practical advice on what will really bring more joy.

In this episode, Laurie looks at what a centuries-old Sanskrit text, The Yoga Sutras, can teach us about improving both the body and mind. The author, Patanjali, makes clear that the poses and stretches are only part of the picture - we also need to be kind, contemplative and grounded. Jessamyn Stanley (yoga teacher and author of Yoke: My Yoga of Self-Acceptance) takes Laurie through Patanjali's text, saying its lessons "can be applied in every circumstance, no matter who you are or where you are."

Hear more from The Happiness Lab at

Mar 20, 2023
How to be a Great Ancestor

What do we owe future humans? In principle, it seems obvious that we should do what we can to make life better for the generations that follow, just as our ancestors did for us. But while most of us agree that doing this is the right thing, it can be hard to put into practice while also avoiding some of the pitfalls that often afflict growing philosophies like effective altruism and longtermism.

Join Dave as he speaks to Harvard psychologist and philosopher Joshua Greene about what drives our moral instincts, and to futurist Ari Wallach about how tapping into spirituality and emotion can help us become better ancestors to those yet to be born.

Find out more about Joshua Greene’s work, including how to buy his book Moral Tribes: Emotion, Reason, and the Gap Between Us and Them, on his website. Also, check out Giving Multiplier, a donation system Josh co-created based on research about how to improve charitable giving decisions.

Ari Wallach is the author of Longpath: Becoming the Great Ancestors Our Future Needs. Find out about the book and Longpath in general here. You can also read Ari’s article for Wired about addressing short-termism, or watch his TED talk.

Other interesting readings on the topic for this episode: The Big Thing Effective Altruism (Still) Gets Right, by Ezra Klein for the New York Times, and Effective altruism gave rise to Sam Bankman-Fried. Now it’s facing a moral reckoning, by Sigal Samuel for Vox.

Feb 05, 2023
Grief: Moving Through Loss (2022)

Sooner or later, most of us experience grief from losing someone we love. It’s always painful, and sometimes even debilitating. But there is plenty we can do to help ourselves and others be resilient. Join Dave as he talks with Columbia University psychologist George Bonanno and Rabbi Angela Buchdahl about ways to promote a healthy mourning process and find a path back to life.

George Bonnano’s book The Other Side of Sadness: What the New Science of Bereavement Tells Us About Life After Loss, is available on his website. Find out more about Rabbi Angela Buchdahl here.

Jan 22, 2023
Uniter or Divider? Explore Religion in Modern America. A How God Works Live Event.

If you ask people what they think about religion, you often get one of two answers: Religion is the source of war, violence, abuse, and hypocrisy OR a route to love, kindness, tolerance, and mercy. Put another way, it’s either what divides us or it’s the thing that can actually bring us together. In a country deeply divided over social, political, and moral issues that seems to be moving further apart by the day, the answer’s not likely to be a simple one.

How God Works held its first live event in December to explore just that. Why does something that has the potential to connect us so deeply also have the ability to divide us so profoundly? And, regardless of what we believe, is there something we can learn from what religion gets right to find a way to come together?

In a wide-ranging and often moving discussion, Dave spoke to a panel of leading spiritual thinkers and social scientists who have experienced both sides of the issue, including Central Synagogue Rabbi Angela Buchdahl, award-winning author and Christian Historian Diana Butler Bass, The University of North Carolina’s Deepest Beliefs Lab director Kurt Gray, and The Aspen Institute’s Religion and Society Program’s executive director Simran Jeet Singh.

This podcast episode is an audio recording of the event in its entirety. If you’d rather watch than listen, a video of the event is available here.

Jan 08, 2023
A Holiday from Tech Addiction

Time with family, friends and loved ones is supposed to be at the center of the holiday season… but in our screen-dominated world, how many of us can say that’s still true? Our devices are purposefully designed to monopolize our attention and make themselves hard to put down. So even though we know that spending too much time staring at screens is bad for us, the addiction can be hard to break.

With the New Year almost upon us, why not try to make a new start? Join Dave as he tries to put down his phone and find a little spiritual renewal with advice from marketing professor Adam Alter and Tech Shabbat advocate Rabbi Sydney Mintz.

Adam Alter is the author of Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked. To find out more about Adam’s work, including his forthcoming book, Anatomy of a Breakthrough, visit his website.

In addition to serving as the Rabbi of Temple Emanu-El in San Francisco for 25 years, Sydney Mintz is also an activist, writer, and performer. Find out more about the many projects she’s involved in on her website.

Find out more about the ideas behind Tech Shabbat in Tiffany Shlain’s book 24/6: Giving Up Screens One Day a Week to Get More Time, Creativity, and Connection. To learn more about the spiritual aspects of Shabbat, Rabbi Mintz recommends reading The Sabbath, by Abraham Joshua Heschel.

Dec 25, 2022
How to Forgive

‘Tis the season for giving and…forgiving. But while forgiveness is something to which we often aspire, it can be harder than it seems at times. It's human to feel the tension between the urge for revenge and the intent to forgive, especially when the hurt or betrayal is great. That tension shows up in many religions too, though forgiveness usually wins. But it’s not just a religious ideal, it’s also a biological necessity.

We’ll talk to evolutionary psychologist Michael McCullough about the evolutionary case for forgiveness and why it’s a show of strength, not weakness. And theologian Miroslav Volf about the Christian foundation for forgiveness, and the tools religion can offer when forgiveness feels impossible.

Michael McCullough is a Professor of Psychology at UC San Diego. He is author of the book Beyond Revenge: The Evolution of the Forgiveness Instinct. Find out more about his work on his website.

Professor Miroslav Volf is founder and director of the Yale Center for Faith & Culture. Read his book, Free of Charge: Giving and Forgiving in a Culture Stripped of Grace, and listen to the Center’s podcast For the Life of the World.

Dec 11, 2022
How God Works Live Event!

Join us for the very first How God Works live event this Wednesday, December 7th at 7:30pm, at The Greene Space in New York.

For tickets and more information, click here.

If you can’t make it in person, not to worry, we’ll be livestreaming the event here.

Dec 04, 2022
How to Fix Work

Work is becoming a “religion” for many people these days. It’s worship of the efficient, productive, and almighty dollar. But that doesn’t make people very happy. And organizations filled with miserable employees aren’t ideal for making the world a better place either. Can anything be done to fix it?

We’ll talk to Sacred Design Lab co-founder Angie Thurston about how to make workplaces more spiritually nourishing, and to theologian and consultant Curtis Chang about what it means to align the values of a business with a spiritual tradition. We’ll also talk to business professor Subi Rangan about how CEOs and managers can balance profit with doing good. 

Visit the Sacred Design Lab website to find out more about Angie Thurston’s work, including publications on how secular spaces are fulfilling spiritual functions, and how to design more soulful workplaces. Visit this link for more information on the Harvard Business course The Spiritual Lives of Leaders.

Learn more about Curtis Chang’s faith-based consulting work here, and check out the podcast he co-hosts: Good Faith.

To find out more about Subi Rangan’s work, visit his website and check out the group he initiated, The Society for Progress.

Nov 27, 2022
Religion and Robots and AI…Oh My!

Can you pray with a robot? Will people worship AI like a god? It's not science fiction. It's starting to happen now. But what does it mean if robots become priests, or AIs start offering ethical advice? And how do we know when to trust them?

We’ll talk to MIT social roboticist Cynthia Breazeal about how technology can manipulate our minds and emotions for good or ill, and with religion professor Robert Geraci about how technology is being used in religion, and why AI may need some spiritual training itself.

Watch Cynthia Breazeal’s TED talk here, and find out about her work on the MIT Media Lab website. Find out more about Robert Geraci’s work on his website.

Meet the robots: Nexi, Mindar, and SanTO.

Nov 13, 2022
Making God Real

Have you ever heard a voice, seen an image, or felt a presence around you that you couldn’t explain? If you have, you’re not alone. More people than you might think report having these kinds of experiences. For some, it can be easy to write these off as tricks of the mind. But for others, especially the religious and spiritually-inclined, these events are often transformative and can profoundly alter the way they feel about their faith.

So how is it that gods come to feel real to people? What do these experiences do for those who have them? And why, sometimes, does it feel like the supernatural world is connecting with us out of the blue?

Episode guests:

Tanya Luhrmann is an anthropologist at Stanford University. Find out more about her book, How God Becomes Real: Kindling the Presence of Invisible Others, on her website, where you'll also find links to her other writing and media appearances.

Michael Ferguson is a neuroscientist at Harvard University. Find out more about his research and teaching through his website.

Reverend Liz Milner is ordained in the Episcopal Church. She works with prison inmates in northern California.

Oct 30, 2022
How God Works Live Event!

Join us for the very first How God Works live event on Wednesday, December 7 at The Greene Space in New York.

For tickets and more information, click here.

If you can’t make it in person, not to worry: we’ll be livestreaming the event too.

Oct 23, 2022
Is Burning Man a Party or a Pilgrimage?

Every year, thousands of people head to Nevada's Black Rock Desert for a week at Burning Man. And while from the outside, it might seem like a place for partying, drugs, and debauchery, to many, it offers something deeper, even life changing.

We’ll ask neuroscientist Molly Crockett and Episcopal minister Alex Leach, both burners themselves: Is Burning Man a new type of spiritual gathering? How and why does it deeply move people? And should more traditional faiths aim to have a bit more Burning Man in them? After all, Jesus went to the desert to find himself. Maybe we should too.

For more on Molly’s research, visit her website or read her article in The Guardian. Alex Leach’s camp at Burning Man is Religious AF. Special thanks to Alex for recording interviews and ambient audio for this episode at this year’s Burning Man.

Oct 16, 2022
Season Three Trailer

How God Works will be back with Season 3 starting October 16th! This season we’ll continue to explore some of life’s deepest questions through science and spirituality.  But we’ll also have another big question in mind - What comes next?

Oct 02, 2022
Death: Embracing the Last Transition

As a society that fears death, we tend to avoid the subject. But the key to having a positive end-of-life experience might come in doing just the opposite. On this episode, we’ll hear from philosopher Simon Critchley, Boston-area chaplains Ruth Delfiner, Sarah Byrne-Martelli, and Maude Quinn, and Threshold Choir singer Leigh Davis about what makes a good death, and the many rituals, spiritual or secular, that ease our transition out of this world.

Simon Critchley is the author of many books about death, including The Book of Dead Philosophers and How to Stop Living and Start Worrying. Find out more about his other work, including his most recent book, Bald, on his website.

In addition to her work as a chaplain, Sarah Byrne-Martelli is the author of Memory Eternal: Living with Grief as Orthodox Christians, due out this summer.

Find out about Leigh Davis’s art on her website, where you can also see some of her collaborations with the Threshold Choir. Find out more about the Threshold Choir here.

Threshold Choir Song Credits:

Beyond Weeping

Rest in each breath

Words and Music by Annie Garretson for Threshold Choir

Sung by Dorothy Calvani, Leigh Davis, Winnie Lee & Marcia Picciotto

Calming, Resting, Breathing

Words and Music by Patricia Hallam for Threshold Choir

Sung by Leigh Davis, Mckendree Key & Georgia Elrod

Ocean Breath

Rest Easy

Words and Music by Helen Greenspan for Threshold Choir

Sung by Pittsburgh Threshold Choir

May 22, 2022
Grief: Moving Through Loss

Sooner or later, most of us experience grief from losing someone we love. It’s always painful, and sometimes even debilitating. But there is plenty we can do to help ourselves and others be resilient. Join Dave as he talks with Columbia University psychologist George Bonanno and Rabbi Angela Buchdahl about ways to promote a healthy mourning process and find a path back to life.

George Bonnano’s book The Other Side of Sadness: What the New Science of Bereavement Tells Us About Life After Loss, is available on his website. Find out more about Rabbi Angela Buchdahl here.

May 08, 2022
Midlife: Leaning Into the Change

Data shows that for many people, happiness takes a big dip around 50. But aging doesn’t have to be a crisis if we can figure out how to embrace who we’re becoming rather than hanging on to who we used to be. If done right, midlife can actually be a time of deepening joy and satisfaction. Join Dave as he talks to The Atlantic columnist Arthur C. Brooks and Swami Tyagananda, head of Boston’s Vedanta Society, about how to move into the second half of our life with grace.

To find out more about Swami Tyagananda, visit the Vedanta Society’s website. Click here to buy Arthur Brooks’s book From Strength to Strength and learn about his podcast and other writings.

Apr 24, 2022
Relationships and Marriage (Part 2): Keeping the Fire Burning

To hear Hollywood tell it, good sex is a clothes-ripping race to the finish line, often between people who barely know each other. But the version we’re getting from movies and pop culture isn’t what it takes to build real intimacy, trust, and connection in the long term. On this episode, we’ll talk to Rachel Alba, a clinical sexologist with a master’s in theology, about the connection between sex and spirituality, and why exploring that link may be key to developing a deeper, more fulfilling relationship with your partner, and maybe even the divine.

To find out more about Rachel Alba’s work, visit her website, Sex With Spirit.

Apr 10, 2022
Relationships and Marriage (Part 1): Finding the Right Balance

The definition of a “good” marriage has changed drastically over time and today it seems our expectations for our partner are higher than ever.  We want a best friend, intellectual equal, lover, and for many, a sensational co-parent who can also touch our soul. Which is a lot of pressure to put on one person! On this episode we'll talk to psychologist Eli Finkel, author of The All or Nothing Marriage, about the history, workings, and complications of wedded bliss. We’ll also hear about why the secret to a healthy marriage might not be what you think, and how intimacy might be an important way to meet even our spiritual needs.

For more on Eli Finkel’s book, The All or Nothing Marriage, visit his website.

Mar 27, 2022
Adolescence: How to Build an Adult

When you're a teenager, you're kind of between two worlds. You're leaving the comforts and carefree days of childhood behind and stepping into the challenges and responsibilities adulthood brings. But when exactly should you make that change? And, more importantly, how can rites-of-passage help? Join Dave as he talks with psychologist Leah Somerville and religion scholar Connor Wood to explore the adolescent mind and how rituals can help it learn to “adult.”

For more on Leah Somerville’s work, click here. To read some of Connor Wood’s writing, visit Science on Religion.

Mar 13, 2022
Childhood: Growing the Moral Muscle

Do children need religion to grow into ethical, caring adults? Sixty-five percent of Americans think so, but the relationship between religion and morality is a nuanced one. Join Dave as he talks with psychologist Larisa Heiphetz and Unitarian Universalist minister Leonisa Ardizzone to explore how kids’ beliefs about God and participation in rituals – spiritual and secular – can shape their growing sense of right and wrong.

For more on Larisa Heiphetz’s work, click here or check out the Columbia Social and Moral Cognition Lab. Find out more about Leonisa Ardizzone on her website, and the Fourth Universalist Society here.

Ara Norenzayan’s book, “Big Gods: How Religion Transformed Cooperation and Conflict,” is available here.

Feb 27, 2022
Birth: Getting Off to Good Start

For all the joys a new child brings, it can also be a trying time filled with stresses, worries, and for some, depression. Long before new parents turned to books and blogs for advice, they turned to traditional practices and community for support. Join Dave as he speaks with neuroscientist Lisa Feldman Barrett and psychologist Andi Clements to explore how religious practices big and small can help parents bond with their babies, reduce their stress, and even ward off postpartum depression, AND how anyone can use the wisdom of those practices in their own lives when children arrive.

For more on Andi Clements’s research, click here. Lisa Feldman Barrett’s books, articles and talks can be found on her website.

Feb 13, 2022
New Year, New You, Take 2!

Struggling with your New Year's resolution already? You're not alone! By this time every year, more than 25% of resolutions have already been broken. In this bonus episode, Dave will share three tips to get you back on track.

Jan 30, 2022
Pain: The Benefits of Suffering

Across the world, people accept pain in the name of God. Whether through painful public rituals or private sacrifices, suffering plays a role in many faiths. Join Dave and his guests anthropologist Dimitris Xygalatas and psychologist Paul Bloom to see how extreme rituals improve the lives of both those who do them and those who watch them, as well as why milder forms of suffering may help people find meaning and growth.

For more on Dimitris Xygalatas’s research, click here. Paul Bloom’s books, including The Sweet Spot, are listed here.

Jan 09, 2022
Giving Alms: Why Everybody Wins

December concludes a season of gifts for many. And while it's undeniably enjoyable to get gifts, it’s not what brings us the most happiness. It turns out GIVING gifts not only makes us happier than getting them, but does so for longer. Join Dave as he speaks with Harvard Professor Michael Norton and Director of Indiana University’s Muslim Philantropy Initiative Shariq Siddiqui to learn more about why giving brings us joy, how many of the world’s faiths have found ways to help us do it no matter the size of our bank accounts, and why it just might make sense to add it to your list of resolutions for 2022.

For more, check out Michael Norton’s book and TEDx talk on giving. Learn about Shariq Siddiqui’s work here.

Dec 26, 2021
Healing Rituals: There’s Power in Belief

A majority of people in the US believe that faith can heal. And while there isn’t any strong scientific data backing the idea of faith healing by divine intervention, there is a growing recognition that faith in the power of a person, religious ritual, or even medicine to heal can play a role in recovery via the placebo effect. Join Dave and his guests science writer Erik Vance and health psychologist Alia Crum to explore the surprising ways belief in placebos can heal, and how, if you’ve ever taken a medication, it’s already worked to your benefit.

For more, check out Erik Vance’s book, Suggestible You. Learn about Alia Crum’s work here.

Dec 12, 2021
Transcendence: Why Chemicals Need Rituals

For centuries, Central and South American cultures have used psychedelics to induce mystical states. And while in the US they’ve mostly been used as recreational drugs, interest in their power to offer a rapid route to transcendence has recently been growing. But in our haste to use these chemicals to alter, and perhaps even heal, the mind, we might be losing sight that with speed comes risk. Join Dave as he talks with author Michael Pollan and researcher David Yaden about the nature of self-transcendent experiences, the science of how psychedelics can bring them on, and the dangers of disregarding centuries of shamanic knowledge about how to use them wisely.

Nov 28, 2021
Gratitude: Why Every Day Should Be Thanksgiving

Most people think gratitude is an emotion about the past. But in reality, it’s all about the future. Science shows it makes people more honest, more generous, and more patient. It strengthens their relationships and improves their well being. You can think of it as a multivitamin for the soul. But, like a vitamin, you need it more than once a year to get the benefits. And that’s why many religions provide ways to embrace it daily. Join Dave and his guests, author Diana Butler Bass and Rabbi Geoffrey Mitelman as they explore ways to make everyday feel more like Thanksgiving.

Nov 14, 2021
Contemplating Death: A Secret for Happiness

COVID-19 has led to what’s being called The Great Resignation. People are leaving their jobs in record numbers, many to find more meaning in life or to spend more time with family and friends. As it turns out, realizing that death might not be as far off as it usually seems just might have something to do with that. Join Dave and his guests, psychologist Laura Carstensen and Catholic priest James Martin, as they talk about why thinking about death can be a useful exercise for improving your life at any time, not just in the midst of a pandemic.

Oct 31, 2021
Meditation: A Key to Kindness?

We all value kindness. But showing it isn’t always easy. Buddhists recognized this problem long ago and developed what may be the world’s first and best tool for cultivating compassion: meditation. While most people in the West see meditation as a technique to reduce stress and anxiety, that’s only part of the story. Join Dave and his guests Buddhist Lama Trungram Gyalwa Rinpoche, meditation teacher Sharon Salzberg, and psychologist Paul Condon to learn more about how and why meditation is a key to kindness.

Oct 17, 2021
Religion's Toolbox

Research shows that spiritual practices tend to make people happier and healthier. The question is: Why? Join Dave and his guests, Casper ter Kuile from the Sacred Design Lab and Katelyn Long from the Harvard Human Flourishing Program, as they explore how “God” works in our daily lives, and what that means for people’s well-being as more and more leave traditional faiths behind.

Oct 03, 2021
Season 1 Trailer

Coming October 3 from PRX Productions.

Sep 26, 2021