Meditative Story

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 produced by WaitWhat in partnership with Arianna Huffington’s Thrive Global. 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! Thank you, Salesforce, for sponsoring Meditative Story.

Have faith, but tie your camel first, by Wajahat Ali
Jul 29 • 31 min
It’s early morning. A hotel room. Wajahat Ali, playwright and author, is traveling for work when he gets a call from his wife – she’s sobbing, panicked, heartbroken. Their tiny daughter, Nusayba, has been diagnosed with Stage IV cancer. And time stops.…
What my father gave me, by Shawn Colvin
Jul 22 • 35 min
Shawn Colvin grows up in a dangerous house. There’s a dad with a hair-trigger temper. But there’s also a dad who builds things, and who plays music, who teaches Shawn how to play a guitar. Years later, an out-of-the-blue phone call gives Shawn the…
Where the water takes me, by Donald Miralle
Jul 15 • 27 min
Twenty-four long miles into a grueling paddleboard competition, photographer Donald Miralle sights the buoy that tells him he’s just a few miles from home. But what should offer a sense of relief provokes a feeling of dread. His body shuts down, his…
Creating my own sanctuary, by Angela Ahrendts
Jul 8 • 30 min
The strawberry field past the maple tree. A hidden nook beneath the stairs. The magical hour before anyone else is awake. Throughout her life, Angela Ahrendts has sought out sanctuaries – sacred spaces to reconnect and to dream, quiet moments to visualize…
America’s jam session, by Pastor Otis Moss
Jun 23 • 38 min
As Senior Pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, Otis Moss carries the torch for generations of church and civil rights leaders, including his own father, a regional director in the SCLC, and a friend of Dr. Martin Luther King. But it is…
A more spacious response to life, by Judith Grisel
Jun 17 • 36 min
Judith Grisel is an internationally recognized behavioral neuroscientist and professor of psychology known for her research on the role of the brain in drug addiction. She is also a former addict. Years into her sobriety, Judy still labors to escape the…
There’s no one way, by Gretchen Rubin
Jun 9 • 30 min
Gretchen Rubin is an expert on happiness, and she’s spent her career helping people build the habits to achieve it. But she assumed that if something works for her, it should work for just about anyone. A series of chance encounters, and a healthy helping…
A meditation to welcome change, by Rohan Gunatillake
Jun 3 • 15 min
For many of us, the days are stretching out, copies, duplicates of one another. But there is change happening around us, time is moving forward. This meditation, led by host Rohan Gunatillake, is about noticing that change – outside and within. Mediation…
Giving birth to a wiser self, by Elizabeth Lesser
May 27 • 31 min
One icy morning on a Vermont farm, Elizabeth Lesser is witness to a miraculous thing: the birth of a bleary, bleating baby lamb. Years later, as a midwife, she is still filled with this sense of awe and wonder at every birth. It’s through that process of…
Listening to the space around you, by Andrew Bird
May 20 • 31 min
The chaotic nature and noise of life as a musician — touring from city to city — eventually erodes Andrew Bird’s ability to hear the music that is really inside of him. In a courageous effort to understand the faint calling of sound playing in his head,…
Tracking the path of the sun, by Lehua Kamalu
May 13 • 28 min
Lehua Kamalu captains a vast, double-hulled ocean canoe crafted to the exact specifications of the seafaring vessels used by her ancestors. She and her crew are making a 2,500 mile journey between Tahiti and Hawaii, the same one original settlers of the…
I let go of my plan — and found myself, by Krista Tippett
May 5 • 27 min
Krista Tippett’s early years aren’t what you’d expect knowing who she is today. As a journalist and political aide in divided Berlin in the ’80s, she led a life of importance, where she was surrounded by power, where every decision mattered. But when a…
When words fail, by Thomas Chatterton Williams
Apr 28 • 31 min
American cultural critic Thomas Chatterton Williams is deeply in love with his French wife, Valentine. Accustomed to exquisite command over the English language, Thomas loses agency over his life when he and Valentine move to Paris. And when they welcome…
Changing the soundtrack of our lives, by Jule Hall
Apr 22 • 30 min
Jail has a way of warping time. Changes on the outside world are locked away from those inside. Upon his release after serving 17 locked-up years, Jule recounts the moment he first sets eyes on a smartphone. The prison noises he is escaping — the yelling,…
Loving our living world, by Carl Safina
Apr 14 • 31 min
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…
Trust the world to show its goodness, by Shea Hembrey
Apr 4 • 25 min
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…
A meditation for the moment, by Rohan Gunatillake
Mar 31 • 18 min
None of us has ever faced a moment like this. It is heartbreaking and exhausting and ever changing and yet … days seem to blur together. In this Meditative Story, there is no storyteller – but there are stories. Host Rohan Gunatillake is here with a…
Our tiny meaningful lives in the vast universe
Mar 21 • 28 min
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.
Adapting to life’s unexpected nature, by Forrest Galante
Mar 17 • 31 min
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…
Stories my father told me, by Lindsey Stirling
Mar 10 • 26 min
There he is: pacing around the campfire, contemplating, ruminating. Then, with a crooked, mischievous smile, he begins. “Here’s a story…” This is a memory violinist Lindsey Stirling will always carry of her dad, the tireless storyteller, telling the…
The art class, by Jay Shetty
Mar 2 • 28 min
“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…
Riding waves, by Paola Antonelli
Jan 27 • 24 min
One summer night Paola Antonelli, now curator and head of R&D at the MoMA, sets sail off the coast of Sardinia — snaking through the wavy sea with friends. She jumps off the boat, slides into the water, and makes her way to the rocks as her friends hang…
Making humanity appear, magically, by DeRay Mckesson
Jan 20 • 24 min
DeRay Mckesson is one of America’s most recognized and admired activists. But before that, he was a magician. Not the kind who pulls a rabbit out of hat, but the kind who makes communities magically appear out of thin air. Every school DeRay ever attends,…
Through friendship, a better version of myself, by Reid Hoffman
Jan 13 • 28 min
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…
Finding a way in, by Sinéad Burke
Jan 6 • 30 min
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…
My funny, feisty, thoughtful, brave girl, by Lucy Kalanithi
Jan 2 • 19 min
Watching her daughter chase a balloon through a graveyard, Dr. Lucy Kalanithi comes to realize that maybe she can learn from four-year-old Cady. After the death of her husband, Dr. Paul Kalanithi, author of “When Breath Becomes Air,” Lucy focuses on Cady,…
Acting as if you are bold, by A.J. Jacobs
Dec 16, 2019 • 25 min
How do you build rapport with another person quickly? How do you bond? Author A.J. Jacobs shares a Meditative Story about the day he found himself on “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” and how courage to take a risk might just be the best way to connect with…
Creating space to stand in truth, by Susan David
Dec 9, 2019 • 32 min
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.…
Learning to see what is in front of me, by Siri Hustvedt
Dec 2, 2019 • 20 min
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.…
Standing in my own truth, by Moj Mahdara
Nov 25, 2019 • 26 min
No boys. No dresses. As a teen, Moj Mahdara, founder of the fashion media company Beautycon, knows she’s different. And growing up in a traditional Iranian household, she struggles to reveal her own true identity. When two long-term houseguests descend —…
Starting the story of my life again, by Keith Yamashita
Nov 18, 2019 • 26 min
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.…
Surrendering my old identity — and finding myself, by Catherine Reitman
Nov 13, 2019 • 27 min
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.
Allowing sound to reveal life’s wonder, by Stephen Kuusisto
Nov 4, 2019 • 19 min
Author and poet Stephen Kuusisto, who is blind, hears life expressed in sound, the weird and wonderful chance music of everyday life. And he’s able to find meaning, big and small, in it all.
One envelope at a time, by Hannah Brencher
Oct 28, 2019 • 26 min
When’s the last time you hand-wrote a letter? Author Hannah Brencher shares a simple story about the value of connecting on paper.
Navigating life in my own skin, by Zenju Earthlyn Manuel
Oct 21, 2019 • 29 min
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…
Finding permission to pursue my own dreams, by Josh Radnor
Oct 14, 2019 • 25 min
Tuxedo-clad, face covered in makeup, hair slicked and parted in the middle, jumping around a creaky stage, teenage Josh Radnor (now an actor, producer and director) makes a life-changing discovery: He can act. And he loves it. But what to do now? At 16…
Hitting the open road to find my way home, by Peter Sagal
Oct 7, 2019 • 26 min
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…
Finding my own reflection, by Jane McGonigal
Sep 30, 2019 • 28 min
What’s is like to be an identical twin? Game designer Jane McGonigal tells a story of similarity and divergence as she explores the magic of sharing DNA while becoming an individual.
How to find — and feed — your passion, by Danny Meyer
Sep 23, 2019 • 21 min
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…
The perfect photograph I never took, by John Moore
Sep 16, 2019 • 19 min
While filming one day in the Congo Rainforest, legendary photojournalist John Moore pursued the vision of a perfect photograph — a vision that literally brought him to his knees. He shares the magic that can occur when you let go of the desire to control…
I let go of my plan — and found myself, by Krista Tippett
Sep 9, 2019 • 28 min
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…
Fighting my fears – and winning in spite of losing, by Thomas Page McBee
Sep 2, 2019 • 20 min
Author and journalist Thomas Page McBee takes us into the boxing ring at Madison Square Garden, where he finds answers to some of his most profound questions through fighting – and along the way discovers what happens when you stop trying to win.
Building a bond with my son, by Dan Harris
Aug 26, 2019 • 28 min
Broadcaster Dan Harris shares a candid look at his attempts to connect more with his son, Alexander, on their first father-son trip.
This Human Moment: Our small, significant place in the universe, by Michelle Thaller
Aug 22, 2019 • 15 min
For this human moment, join astronomer Michelle Thaller as she contemplates the night sky. We’re such a small part of the universe – and yet so significant within it.
Our tiny meaningful lives in the vast universe, by Michelle Thaller
Aug 19, 2019 • 28 min
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…
To visualize … and then make it so, by Larry Jackson
Aug 12, 2019 • 23 min
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…
Life and love and the moment, by Arianna Huffington
Aug 5, 2019 • 23 min
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…
A home that had been waiting for me forever, by Pico Iyer
Aug 1, 2019 • 20 min
Facing a dreaded 20-hour layover after weeks away from home, Pico Iyer sees his best option is to set out and explore a city he never planned to visit in the first place. Pico’s expectations, like anyone traveling to a new place for the first time, are to…
My funny, feisty, thoughtful, brave girl, by Lucy Kalanithi
Jul 29, 2019 • 19 min
Watching her daughter chase a balloon through a graveyard, Dr. Lucy Kalanithi comes to realize that maybe she can learn from four-year-old Cady. After the death of her husband, Dr. Paul Kalanithi, author of “When Breath Becomes Air,” Lucy focuses on Cady,…
Introducing Meditative Story
Jul 21, 2019 • 4 min
Every week, you’ll receive a different Meditative Story from a storyteller who will transport you to the time and place where everything changed for them — a story you might find yourself relating to deeply. As the story unfolds, mindfulness guide Rohan…