Season 1, Episode 68

The Awakened Brain with Lisa Miller

Join us on a profound journey in this episode of the Conscious Fertility Podcast, as we welcome Dr. Lisa Miller, author of two books; “The Awakened Brain,” and ”The Spiritual Child”, to explore the profound connections between spirituality, consciousness, and fertility. Dr. Miller opens up about her personal struggles with infertility and the beautiful path of adoption, illustrating how these experiences served as gateways to spiritual awakenings and deep, meaningful synchronicities. She challenges the conventional views of fertility, advocating for an understanding of it as not just a physical phenomenon but a deeply spiritual experience.
Discover how to tap into your ‘awakened brain’ to access higher states of consciousness and connect more deeply with your higher self. Dr. Miller shares enriching insights from her groundbreaking research, emphasizing that spirituality is a core aspect of our human nature and has the potential to transform our lives. Whether you’re facing fertility challenges, general depression and addictions or seeking to deepen your spiritual awareness, this episode offers valuable perspectives on how to nurture your spiritual health and recognize the signs the universe might be sending your way.

Key Takeaways:
● Understanding Challenges as Spiritual Opportunities.
● The Power of the Awakened Brain.
● Cultivating Spiritual Awareness.
● Interpreting Synchronicities.
● Redefining Fertility.

Watch the Episode

Read This Episode Transcript

Lorne Brown:

By listening to the Conscious Fertility Podcast, you agree to not use this podcast as medical advice to treat any medical condition in either yourself or others. Consult your own physician or healthcare provider for any medical issues that you may be having. This entire disclaimer also applies to any guest or contributors to the podcast. Welcome to Conscious Fertility, the show that listens to all of your fertility questions so that you can move from fear and suffering to peace of mind and joy. My name is Lorne Brown. I’m a doctor of traditional Chinese medicine and a clinical hypnotherapist. I’m on a mission to explore all the paths to peak fertility and joyful living. It’s time to learn how to be and receive so that you can create life on purpose.

Today on the Conscious Fertility Podcast, we have Dr. Lisa Miller, psychologist and clinical scientist, and I’ve been looking forward to this conversation after reading her book, the Awakened Brain, and I’ve been wanting to share this to you, my listeners, I want to give you appropriate introduction because Dr. Lisa Miller has done a lot. She has studied a lot, and I think she’s going to bring a lot of credibility to this idea of consciousness and as she calls it, the awakened brain. So let’s just share a little bit about Lisa and then we’re going to go into our conversation and I promise you it should be a fun discussion today. So Dr. Lisa Miller. She’s a New York Times bestselling author of the Spiritual Child and a professor in the clinical psychology program at Teachers College Columbia University. And her latest book, which I just mentioned, which I highly recommend, is The Awakened Brain, the New Science of Spirituality, and Our Quest for an Inspired Life.

And why I’m so excited to have Dr. Miller on our podcast today is hopefully she’s going to share about spirituality and consciousness through the lens of science, which is always nice to bring the science in for our skeptics or those that are just not sure this is the path to go. Now you should know she’s the founder and director of the Spirituality MINDBODY Institute, which is the first Ivy League graduate program in a research institute in spirituality and psychology. And she has held over a decade of joint appointments in the Department of Psychiatry at Columbia University Medical School. Her innovative research has been published in more than 100 peer-reviewed articles in leading journals. Dr. Miller is editor of the Oxford University Press Handbook of Psychology and Spirituality, founding co-editor in chief of the A Journal of Spirituality in Child Practice in Clinical Practice Apology, and an elective fellow of the American Psychological Association, the A PA and the two-time president of the A, a Society for Psychology and Spirituality. She’s a graduate of Yale University and University of Pennsylvania where she earned her doctorate under the founder of Positive Psychology, Martin Seligman. I didn’t know that. And she has served as principal investigator on multiple grant funded research studies. And her website is Lisa Miller phd.com. Lisa, welcome to the Conscious Fertility Podcast.

Lisa Miller:

I’m so delighted to be here and very grateful for the conversation that you’re holding right there in the middle of our society and in the right corner of health and wellness because health and wellness is actually a spiritual event, right?

Lorne Brown:

Good. Well, we’re going to learn about the science behind that as well. When we connected and read your book, I was thinking of the people that I get to see and on our podcast we have those. Obviously they’re wanting to grow their family, and then there are those that come just because they’re looking for peace and happiness and the car, the spouse, the job, the money, none of that has fulfilled them and they’re struggling and they’re looking for another way and they’re learning about consciousness or awakened brain to help them heal. But some of them just need some scientific perspective behind it. It’s too little out there for them. And when I read your book, I felt it was quite grounding when you brought in some really good clinical science on this topic. But really what really excited me, and I don’t know if you know this story, Lisa, but I love to read on this topic and I came across your book, the Awakened Brain, and I’m reading it, and then I learned of your story of your fertility journey. And I really thought that it would connect to our listeners and I’ll share that since I read your book. I’ve recommended to multiple patients and they all have felt uplifted and hopeful after reading your book. So thank you for writing that book.

Lisa Miller:

Well, as you say, the impasse in our lives that led to a very meaningful awakening was infertility in our lives, meaning my husband and I, we struggled for five years with infertility. And I’ll tell you that when it started out, I didn’t think much of it. In the first six months I was 30, I thought there’s absolutely no reason that we can’t conceive a baby. And in fact, it never dawned on us for a second that we would have any troubles conceiving. My husband’s idea was very sweet. He’s like, we’re going to go off. We’re going to go to St. Martin, the Caribbean. We’re going to take a three day vacation, and when we’re back, we’ll be parents. So what we did, we went off to St. Martin, we stayed in this beautiful little hut overlooking the water. We had a romantic weekend and within a month it was clear for us, no baby.

So my husband said, okay, who gets one for one? We’ll go to a very spiritual city. We’ll go to Sedona. So we went off to Sedona, Arizona, and had a beautiful time in the deep red, magnificent land, sacred land. Again, a very romantic weekend. And within the month, no baby. And after about six months of this, I started to get this dreadful, just creepy feeling. At first, I pushed it away. I didn’t even want to entertain the possibility if we were healthy, he’s healthy, I’m healthy. We’ve never had any major impasses in our lives, thank God, why would this happen? But then after a year, we had to start to say, you know what? Let’s just get checked out. So we went to an infertility doctor and he said, you’re healthy and he’s healthy and there’s no reason you shouldn’t be getting pregnant, but we can help you get pregnant.

And we started down the path. We first did I UIs, and after a few I did conceive and we were so excited. My husband was so excited, and I’ll never forget going in for the, I guess it was probably the eight week appointment for the ultrasound, and she was gliding the wand over my abdomen. She stopped and she repeated the scan and she stopped. She turned off the machine and said, the doctor will talk to you. And I got a sinking feeling that this was not the news I hoped to hear. The doctor invited me into her office, sat her down at the big wood desk, and she told me the heart had stopped. The baby was not going to survive. My body would wash this out. The sinking feeling as horrifying as it was when I’m honest with myself, was not a surprise. Two nights before I’d had a dream and a dream took place deep in the night, deep in REM sleep. I was in my childhood kitchen where as a little child, I followed my mother around at the knee, as she’d cleaned the dishes and cooked the food and stood over the stove.

I’d followed my mom around and there we were back in her kitchen, the maternal kitchen. But instead of mom, my mother at the sink, it was me at the sink. So I was the mother in the kitchen, and suddenly in this dream, I dropped to my knees with a deep bereavement, a sorrow I’d never felt in this dream, and said in my own mouth, he’s dead. And I never got to know him. And I knew the baby was not going to live and there had been a boy. So that was an enormously painful start to what was an even more painful year ahead of a journey.

Lorne Brown:

So you had a dream that you lost the baby and then it went on and you miscarried that

Lisa Miller:

Baby days later. Yeah. Okay. Wow. Well, so probably at that time the baby had died, but two days later when I was receiving the ultrasound, the technician froze, told me to go see the doctor, and the dreaded news came. And the reason it was so particularly painful was that this had come after a year and a half of trying, if you will note the word, trying a year of trying ourselves, six months of trying with I UIs. And my friends have kind of said, oh, so sorry, but you conceive, you’ll conceive again. That baby’s not a keeper. They had had small miscarriages, but they all conceived again within three or four months. And when we started down the road again with the IUI’s, we did not conceive. So we stepped it up to IVFs and I was getting a little bit defeated. So I researched people who had the highest rates of IVF conception and found the one in our state with the highest rate of IVF conception, went off to see him. And again, he said, you’re healthy, your spouse is healthy. We can get you pregnant. So three cycles in, three cycles of IVFs, no baby. But right about this time as we were starting with each failed cycle to feel pretty, not just disappointed, despairing Lauren, I would say we were despairing.

Lorne Brown:

They compare infertility and miscarriages to the disparate describing to getting a terminal illness diagnosis like cancer. So I get when you say how despairing this is,

Lisa Miller:

I would say that each failed IVF felt like a funeral, not because somehow in my brain I made it into that, but because in real life, in fact, when the little embryo dies, it is a little death. And that little tiny baby, that little embryo, or maybe it was a few cells at that point died. And that was our tiny baby conceived child that died. And it was heartbreaking. It was absolutely heartbreaking. And our friends started to notice that we seemed depressed. Our friends started to notice that we were, well, I’ll tell you, when I was invited to baby showers, it was excruciating. Like all those cute little pink outfits and everyone else is conceiving naturally, and it was unbelievably painful. But at this moment, the worse it got, the more I started noticing that people were showing up for us. And sometimes it was people we knew well, like my grandmother or my mother.

And sometimes it was people that I’d never met in my life. So I’ll share with you a few stories that I consider to be profoundly synchronistic. Two events that are mechanistically unrelated, but are part of one deeper self-evident truth, a synchronicity. So I will share with you that this was after probably the fifth IVF. And this IVF was particularly painful. We had found the team that invented IVF on sea urchins, and they were the world experts. They’d come up with this process, we’d shown up in a different city for this purpose. The doctor slapped my husband on the shoulder warmly. He was a wonderfully warm, good man, and said, we will get you pregnant. Said you’re healthy, you have good sperm, you have good eggs, you’re young, you’re in your we’ll get you pregnant. So we did the procedure and out of solidarity, my husband was on bed rest with me following the implantation of the embryos.

And there we were lying in. We treated ourselves to the nicest hotel in town just for that one night and grabbed at the nicest hotel, the remote to the TV as we were stuck there on bedrest and started pushing the button and learned it would not move. So my husband walks over to the tv, he gives it a twist. It will not move. There is one channel on the overpriced TV as we watch, what is the one show that we must see? It’s a documentary of a street child, a little boy, probably about eight years old, who lives in a huge trash heap, abandoned by an orphan. And through the translator, he says, I don’t care that I live in a garbage dump. I don’t care that I can’t go to school, but it hurts so much to not be loved that I sniff glue to make the pain go away.

So there we were on our fifth or seventh IVF, totally depressed, completely and mourning. And we were being told this little guy the whole time needed parents. It hurt him so much to not be loved. And we were in pain for not having a child. My husband looked over at me and said, can’t you see there’s a child out there for us? And it became clear that in our path for us, there was indeed a beautiful soul somewhere out there that we needed to find. How do you do that? And at the same time that it was clear there was a soul out there, I absolutely could not let go of the hunger to carry a child biologically as well. The more comers, the better. So we set out on this journey where we continued. I could not stop trying I-V-F, I-V-F, I-V-F, but at the same time opened up the adoption process. And I thought, okay, there’s a soul out there for us. How are we going to find this little soul?

Lorne Brown:

So at this time you’re still doing IVF and you’re also now in the adoption process.

Lisa Miller:

Yes, exactly. So we go to bed a few weeks later, deep, deep in sleep in our home side by side, my husband and I, Philip and me. And suddenly I wake up in the middle of the night, I’m brought to sit 90 degrees. It sat up straight. And Lauren, before my eyes in the deep thick of the night, there was this bright numinous quality that opened up. It was an opening of space and a very, very loving, strong, serious presence came and said, if you were pregnant now, would you adopt? It was a profoundly sacred and serious presence. And this was not a dream. It was a mystical experience in a waking state. And it’s not at all to be confused with hearing voices or anything. It’s not like you think you heard it like someone knocking at the door. It’s a profound presence that is audible in your mind’s eye.

And I said, in such a presence, so sacred and transparent, I said, no, no. I said, I can feel I’m becoming the type of person that would love an adopted child as much as one I carried. But right now, no. And the presence started to back off and very gently, it wasn’t judgmental, it wasn’t harsh, it just removed, stepped back time and space gently folded in. So we continue on our path and the synchronicities augment. They heat up, the momentum starts rolling. I’m taking a bus after now we’re up to probably the ninth, failed in vitro. I’m feeling particularly depressed. I have to go to work, but I couldn’t pull myself up at 8:00 AM. I couldn’t pull myself up at 9:00 AM It is 11 in the morning and I’m taking the bus up Broadway from our apartment to work at Columbia Medical School. The bus is empty at 11.

I’m sitting in the back and sure enough, a most unique gentleman steps on the bus. And I think that’s a unique gentleman. But basically I’m feeling another failed IVF. Will I ever carry a child? Are we ever going to be parents? I was quite depressed. Is my life worth living if I can’t carry a child? I was quite depressed. The gentleman walks on and I cannot believe it because I’m not feeling up to it. He’s walking towards me, a whole empty bus. And the gentleman’s quite extraordinarily unique walking towards me, I think, oh no. And sure enough, Lauren, he walks the entire length of the bus. He plops down next to me and he looks at me. He is like, you know what lady you look like? Just that type of lady that would go all around the world adopting kids.

Lorne Brown:

You can’t make this stuff up.

Lisa Miller:

I could have never written something. And then at the next stop, he gets off and he’s gone. Who is he and who sent him? I go another 20 blocks up to work. And this is the type of synchronicity, heating up. And my mother calls, my mother is one of my trail angels in life, a guide who I would say directed by God, whatever your word is, the universe, Hashem, Allah, but who we are to one another. And she shows up and she says, I’ve just got to call you. She says, normally I get very annoyed when people don’t pitch in. My mom likes to help out the community volunteers. And this woman I’ve been working with wasn’t really pitching in, but I didn’t want to say anything because you know what? She just adopted the most beautiful little boy, we’ll call him little John Paul. And she adopted little John Paul from Russia. And I just wanted you to know how cute and sweet little John Paul is, and he’s full of laughter. Okay? Just had to let you know by. That’s the very light touch. So there’s a child out there for you lady, you look like just that type. And there’s little John Paul who came from Russia. I mean, connect the dots. I mean, it’s such a gift. It’s so vivid. It’s like a neon sign

Lorne Brown:

If you’re open because you had that awakening experience where you experienced the presence and then those opportunities are always there, but now you’re open to it. So start because you start to see all these synchronicities, and as you said, the momentum heats up. You start to see more and more of them, and they’re kind of, it’s like these outstretched hands come through the heavens and start to guide you and open up doors you didn’t know existed, right?

Lisa Miller:

Yes. And that is the most important information that we have. That is exactly what we need to know. That is our roadmap. This information, the blessing that comes through the embrace and the guidance of the divine hands. And it can come through direct knowing, through prayer, a mystical experience and meditation. And it can come from our trail angels, who we are to one another. So okay, mystical experience comes back and it starts the same. I wake up in the middle of the night, I sit up straight, time and space open. There’s the Newman presence, the profoundly sacred presence. And the questions asked a second time, and I say, I can feel I’m getting closer. I’m aware. I can feel there’s this.

Lorne Brown:

The question again is, would you adopt? Is that the question that’s asked? Again,

Lisa Miller:

The identical question, if you were pregnant now, would you adopt? And I could feel that I was evolving into someone who would say yes, but that in truth, I wasn’t there yet. And so I was honest. I said, I can feel I’m becoming someone who would say yes, but no, not now. And the presence gently recedes. Again, it was nonjudgmental, but it pulled back and left. And there I was infertile, no baby. But two doors opened the path to adoption and still the many IVFs. So little John Paul was adopted from Russia. We followed those leads and found ourselves with the rabbi’s daughter who had brought hundreds of babies to the United States and Canada to make whole families. And there we were sitting with her in a medium-sized city. And we didn’t need to go in person, but I had to see her eye to eye.

And she looks at us and she says, okay, tell me what you want. And I looked around all of these families that she’d created photos on the wall, some with little children, four or five years old, some with little babies, only six, eight months old. And I said, I don’t care what race this child is. I don’t care if this is a boy or a girl, but please, this is our first child if we can have a child who can love a loving child. And my father, I’ll tell you, Lord, my husband leans in, he kind of shoulders me out just a bit. And he says, yeah, all that, but kind of a girl.

And then I lean it over him, we’re two Liams edging for her attention. And I said, yes, but a child who can love with that, we leave the adoption agency and head out. And it was quite remarkable. Lauren, just around that time, I got a call. My name is Lisa Jane Miller and I got a call from Big Jane, my elder cousin, both of us named for a great aunt and Big Jane called and said, little Jane, I know you’ve been looking for your child, and I know it’s been hard for you. And this has been my sort of frank, honest, older cousin. I mean, she gave me our bodies ourselves when I was young. She told me the things that you’re not supposed to know as a child about what’s going on in the extended family. She was the source of real information. This time. She said there’s a healing ceremony.

She was out in South Dakota and I’ve gotten permission for us both to come. I’d like you to come, it’s next week. So Lauren, I canceled all of my appointments at Columbia, all of my academics, all of my, and I got on a plane and I flew out to South Dakota and I found myself at a healing ceremony. And healing is not just the cut that needs to heal, the virus needs to go away. It’s healing of body, mind, and soul in the way that you know it, this healing of all the monos view, body, mind, and soul. And one by one, the members of the Lakota community stood up and told their story for which they’d come. And one person told the story, who was the chief in front of the whole community, pounded his heart and said, my son pounded his heart again, my son who was adopted and the name for the Lakota line, he went on to speak of his son.

And I of course noticed that the ceremony had opened with the adoption of a son. The next person spoke. And in a Lakota healing ceremony, no one’s looking at the clock. You think about AA times, maybe 20 in terms of its longevity. Each person spoke. Nobody was rushed. And whether they spoke for 10 minutes or 40 minutes or an hour, no one moved. And after each person spoke, the drums rolled and we listened. And finally after about eight, 10 hours moved to the sweat lodge, the inep, the women in one sweat lodge, the man and another, the woman who introduced herself as she was to initiate the ceremony as the medicine man’s wife asked us in the rapidly heating up inipi to each of us women speak of why we’d come. The first woman said, I have come because of my son. My son. He is 40, he’s not coming home.

I worry for the family. He has two children. I worry he’s into drugs. I’ve come for my son. And everyone listened, completely present and said, yes, understood. The next woman said, I have come for my son. My son is 14 and he’s starting to go out late at night and he’s drinking, and I’m worried he’ll be pulled down the wrong path. Everyone listened. Took that in. We moved around the circle until we got to Big Jane. Right to my left, big Jane Lynn said, I’ve come to bring my cousin Little Jane. I mean to this day, Lauren, it touches my heart so deeply Big Jane said, she has come because she’s looking for her child and I’m wondering if we could help her find her child. And every generous Lakota woman looked right at me, understood and said, and then I was too overwhelmed to speak despite my day job talking all.

And then we started the ceremony. We started the ceremony led by the medicine man’s wife. It was very hot, it was very sacred, and it was very intense. And at the end, it culminated in the prayer sent upward. And this prayer was for every single woman in the inipi and for us, the unity, the oneness of us, the super ordinate up through the top. You could again see it in my mind’s eye. The light moved up through the top of the nep. So that night we got a call. To this day, it’s a miracle. It’s such a blessing. We got a call. It was a call that came from the other side of the earth. It came to our machine in New York. I was in South Dakota, and the call was, we found Miller’s child. We have found the miller’s child. We know Mr. Miller wanted a girl, and we can find you a girl. There’s many wonderful girls, but this is Miller’s child. And this is a son.

Lorne Brown:

And this goes on to your answering machine in New York while you’re at the healing.

Lisa Miller:

Well, it’s sleeping in my bed in South Dakota that night.

Lorne Brown:

So you’re not aware of it at this point in time, but during, I love this, that beyond space and time. So this is one of those other synchronicities that you’ve experienced or miracles as we can call it,

Lisa Miller:

A sacred miracle. And our son, well, our son had been found. So very soon thereafter, his video comes and here’s this radiant little boy. He’s from an orphanage right now in Russia, and he’s going, da, da, da. And he’s all excited. He’s a tiny little boy. His arms around the nurse. And I fell in love. I felt a soaring love in that instant that I had never felt. I felt a love that was beyond words. It was an ultimate love. I became a parent when I saw this little boy. It was like the sun itself radiating through him. And that night, the presence came the third time, space, and time opened. The Newman is a presence. The very loving, still strong and sacred and profound presence. If you were pregnant now, would you adopt? Absolutely. I have found my spiritual child. And then that night we conceived naturally, naturally who I call the spiritual twin.

Lorne Brown:

Spiritual twin. Oh, your adopted child and the one that you conceived the same at the same time.

Lisa Miller:

Yes, yes, at the same time. They are spiritual twins. And I can’t tell you how meant to be we are. God makes families use your word, Hashima, law, spirit, the universe, Jesus. God makes families. And your spiritual child comes and it’s not just about you as the parent and the child. It’s about the constellation, these siblings, these spiritual twins are meant to be. And there were a number of synchronicities around that as well. I share in the awakened brain a number of profound synchronicities on how these two children were meant to be siblings, but they couldn’t have been who they were. Had they come any other way.

Lorne Brown:

It happened the perfect way for you and for them

Lisa Miller:

And for them. And I realize that fertility is not just in the body or in the uterus or the ovaries or in this firm. God makes families. There is a deep sense in which fertility is in spirit, it’s in God, it’s in the enlivening and opening up of who we are to our higher power.

Lorne Brown:

So using the term higher power in this divine presence. I want to go a little with your science background to explain how people can cultivate this and just some of the stuff that led you to your research. But there’s a few things you said that I’m thinking of my listeners that they’re going to have questions and I’m curious how you would respond to this. So one is you’re saying God creates families. How do you answer them? Somebody says, well, I don’t have a family, so am I being punished by God? Or why isn’t God giving me a family? So I’m curious how you would respond to that because the big part of the Conscious F Chili podcast and the conscious work I do in my practice is my intention is that through this process and this awakening that people can experience that they’re going to be okay whether they have a child or not have a child. The desire doesn’t go away, but they’re okay, right? They have that peace because they’ve tapped into that higher self. But you mentioned God creates family. So I’m just curious. I can hear the voices in my head, not the kind that you heard from the presence, but I mean I can imagine people taking that and perceiving that maybe not in the most healthy conscious way. So I’m curious how you’d respond to that.

Lisa Miller:

So I’ll share with you two thoughts. The first is, this is a story about finding our family for us and our path. And this is a story of awakening that comes through the impasses where everything that I call perceived through our achieving awareness, the part of our brain that plans and strategies and has tactics runs up against a hard stop. So my husband and I had the careers we wanted. We were living where we wanted. We were fine. And the only thing we really cared about at that point was having a family. And we could not control that. And when we run up against the borders of human control coming into life, coming out of life, being sick, we don’t pull the strings of ultimate reality. And that process of an ego death, the relinquishing of control, that realizing that there are limits to our achieving strength, that we are not mighty Mouse opened up a deeper seat of perception, which I call our awakened awareness that is built into every single one of us.

We have a brain that can do this through which we actually start to perceive that we are not narrowly makers of our path, but discover our journey. We opened up a dialogue with the force in and through life that guides us, that loves us and holds us, that is there whether or not we get what we want or don’t get what we want. We are all on a quest. And it’s a quest where we have to show up, but we don’t control it. We’re in dialogue with a greater force. So that process of awakening, I consider an abundant life giving really foundational to who we are, a process of emergence. And it’s there whether or not there is literally a child in the house that is a process of awakening, of life, givingness of fertility, where there is now, I would also say in that state of being, in our awakened state of being, we realize that we are loved and held and that we are never alone.

So I’ve heard the term family used in very big ways. My family is my sisterhood. This group of women that I am very, very close with. My family is this intentional community that we’ve created. My family is so in a world where we’re aware that we show up for one another, we’re guided into the path of one another in an abundant, fertile way. Suddenly the family of life, the family of humanity, the family that is brought to us can be here is the elder who lives next door. That’s become a mother to me. Here are these three kids whose parents work all the time and they love to come home to my house after school. And I’m like an aunt to them. There’s so many ways that our lives become full and abundant with deep enduring love and connection with one another. So let’s enlarge what it means to be family.

And then finally, if you literally want to be a parent with a child in your house, there are half a million kids in foster care and 20 million kids around the world that would love you to be their mother or father. So in truth, there is a spiritual child. Therefore, if you want to expand your view, and what I discovered in our path, in our quest was that in time and space and where souls land, any soul could have been your child and you could have been anybody’s child in a bigger view, we’re souls on earth. But if you’re open to this journey, your spiritual child and you we’ll find each other. We showed up in Russia, and there I am in front of the judge, pregnant. Pregnant, right? And everyone’s like, are you still going to Russia? Are you still going to adopt this baby?

I’m like, of course I yet this is our spiritual child. And there I am in front of the judge and I’m wearing big baggy clothes because sometimes there’s funny ideas about who deserves the baby and who doesn’t. If you’re already pregnant, want anybody to know I’m pregnant, I want to bring this baby home, our spiritual son. And normally Lauren, there’s a two week waiting period for your baby. They want to check you out, they want you to come back. But through the translator, the judge says, are you prepared then to come back in two weeks? And through the translator, I say, please, to this day, please let me take my child home. I said, this is my spiritual child and I want to take him home. And I look up and the judge has tears in her eyes. She understood this is our spiritual child.

She takes her gavel, slams it on the bench and says, I wave the waiting period. So our son came home within a few days that the summer that fall was nine 11. Had we been stuck, he would’ve been stuck. Adoption froze for a very long time around nine 11. So it was a miracle the whole way through. Who were the trail angels? My mother, the guy on the bus, the judge. There were trail angels lining the path. And when we brought our son, who we named Isaiah for one world home, they took us to the front of the airplane and gave us champagne. Everybody loves the formation of true parenthood and child. It was like going to Mecca. It was an absolute rimage.

Lorne Brown:

Beautiful story. And you ended up with your family’s three children, one adopted, and two that were biological that you conceived. Yes. And it reminds me when just you’re at the healing ceremony and at the same time you get the voicemail that you’ve been approved, they found you a child, and then you have your son, and then you have the, it’s a two week wait and they waive it. It reminds me, and I think you use the word kind of like God creates families. There’s a surrender. You can’t do this. You use the term the achieving awareness versus awaken awareness. So the achievement would be ego driven. The awaken is this innate higher self. I guess you’re going to describe that hopefully in a minute. And I often describe that when we’re fighting with reality, when we’re trying to make things happen, which is a human experience, so we’re going to do that, but it can add resistance into the field and we don’t have so much free flow, flow and receptivity.

And when we can find a way to surrender, I believe there’s two ways. One is you fight with life and it gets exhausted and you’re brought to your knees. So you’re forced to surrender or you can read your book and develop and cultivate ways to surrender with intention. And that lowers the resistance. And now you have flown the receptivity to this higher self. And what I share with this conscious work is one of two things is my experience will happen. One is your perception of the situation will change. So the situation can still be something you don’t desire, but you’re at peace with it, right? Your perceptions change. Or two, the external environment changes like a miracle. And your example of the external environment, you got the call that they found your son and the judge right then in there said the wait is over. So guess

Lisa Miller:

The red carpet rolled

Lorne Brown:

Out, the red carpet rolled out. And because if the judge didn’t say that, the only other opportunity is can your perception change? Can you be at peace in that situation where you don’t have the child, you have your son, right?

Lisa Miller:

It’s a dialogue with the force through life, right? So we need to show up. We can’t just throw in the towel. And we are guided, we are loved and held, and we are guided and we’re guided through direct mystical experiences and prayer and meditation. And we’re guided through who shows up when and where, not. Why is this happening to me? Why is this happening for

Lorne Brown:

Me? And that question will change your perception when you go from somewhat victim, it’s happening to me to accountable and responsible. How’s this happening for me? And where’s the opportunity? And this leads to I guess some of the research you’ve done and the questions I have. Because infertility, the death of a loved one, diagnosis of terminal illness, financial, disaster, divorce, all these can act as wake up calls and an opportunity to heal and have the awakened brain. And so when you share your story, somebody may say, well, you had this experience where you connected to, I’ll call it the higher self and presence. And you clearly heard questions and had this communication with this. Is this a gift? You’re born with this. Is this something that only Dr. Lisa Miller has? Is there a genetic component to it? Is there a part that we can nurture and cultivate for those that are listening like, Hey, I’d like to not suffer. I would like to tap into this force. So do you have some science behind this as well? I know you do. So I’d like to hear a little bit about your research and how you can answer that.

Lisa Miller:

And to your point, Lauren, people often say, well, okay, but am I spiritual? Am I spiritual too? And the answer is absolutely a hundred percent yes. You are spiritual. What I know through the lens of clinical science as a 20 plus year professor at Columbia University as a scientist who’s published over a hundred peer review articles in American Journal of Psychiatry, jama Cerebral Cortex, top peer reviewed journals, is that every single one of us on earth is an innately spiritual being. No one’s passed up. We are all given from day one, a deep seat of transcendent awareness to be in relationship to this great force in us, through us and among us a loving guiding universe. And again, every one of us is born not with this capacity necessarily to believe, but to, there’s a seat of perception in our brain in what I call the awakened brain.

What is it and what does it look like? How do we know this? So we have looked at MRI studies and genetic studies, we’ve looked through every lens we can get our hand on within clinical science. And what we see is that there is a heritable endowment in every one of us. We are born all of us with an innate ability to perceive a transcendent relationship in the presence of that guiding loving force in our love for one another when pulling trail angels synchronicities. This is how relational spirituality vertical to our higher power and horizontal to one another, including fellow living beings, is built into us. What does it look like through the MRI we published in the cerebral cortex and then in a follow-up, this is 10 years of studies. The neural correlates in every single one of us with which we are endowed. And what do they look like?

If you want to drill down, I’m happy to share a bit. The first is that we all have within us a bonding network, the same bonding network that’s up online when we’re held and loved as a baby and our grandparents or parents’ arms, that bonding network is ignited in a state of perception of the transcendent relationship of our relationship to God or the higher power. The second network in every single one of us is that we are endowed with an attentional network that can shift from the narrow bowling alley of I’ve got to have it. I want that. Here’s my plan. Tactically, strategically, A plus B plus C. What? I didn’t get it. How could I have not gotten it? I did everything right. That is a top down dorsal to a bottom up ventral attention system where the world opens up, the floodlights come back on and suddenly a whole new path.

Many people say their attention is pulled in a direction, something pops. So not only are we loved and held, we are guided. And the third dimension, again in our MRI studies peer reviewed science of our awakened brain is that we are loved, we are guided, and we are never alone. The parietal that puts in and out hard boundaries so that I know that there you are, Dr. Lauren right there in your town. And here I am, Dr. Lisa in my town, and we each have our own zipped up by a body suit. Well, we are distinct. We’re a point, but we’re also part of a wave. As I say to my students at Columbia, we are distinct and we are one Tik, not Han spoke of interven white caps on one ocean, loved, held, guided, and never alone. The trail angels, the guy on the bus who showed up.

This is a seat of perception with which we’re all endowed and it is innate, but the strength of our awakened awareness of our spiritual clarity in our lives is ultimately only one third innate. It is two thirds environmentally formed, which means we have before us the opportunity to cultivate our awakened awareness. And we can do that through service and right action. We can do that through wise healers and guides such as yourself. We can do that through prayer and meditation. And sometimes we’re hit over the head with gifts like mystical experiences. Sometimes the gifts are very wanted like the birth of a child, and sometimes they’re very unwanted like infertility or death or illness and impasse. But there are moments where our achieving awareness of tight control, captain of my shift, maker of my journey grinds to a halt. And we have in those moments the precious opportunity to awaken that is not happening to us, that’s suffering, that thing we wanted that we didn’t get. That’s happening for us. And it’s the beginning of an awakening.

Lorne Brown:

I often share the suffering, which by the way, you never wish for. I wouldn’t wish upon somebody or want the suffering. However, the way this world is set up, it will find you so you don’t have to look for it. Life will give it to you. But that suffering is an opportunity. And I think you talk about it in your book, and it’s been my experience and many traditions talk about that. The suffering can act as a portal to presence to your higher self. So when we resist it, we feed it and it gets more uncomfortable. And when we work with it, surrender to it, then there’s the flow and receptivity to free flow where you connect again to your higher self and you get that guidance and the way you’re describing it, if you’re fighting with it, you’re achieving awareness. And when you finally use, I use conscious work to, I shared with you off camera, my notice, accept, choose again, approach. And this, when you bring down the resistance, you have flow and receptivity. I believe what’s happening is you’re getting in what you would call the awareness. What’s your term? There’s achieving awareness and awakening, awareness, a

Lisa Miller:

Awakened awareness. And we all are built for an awakened awareness. Every vouch is built for achieving awareness. And in truth, we need both. An awakened awareness is our ability to be in dialogue with a loving guiding universe. Awakened awareness shows us our north star and where we’re going achieving awareness is how we implement and lay down our plan. So the part that is awakened can then guide the head on how to implement. But we don’t want to have it backwards where, what do I want? What do I want? How am I going to get it? Moves the heart into craving and yearning. Let the heart as an instrument of knowing, find our direction and then lay down the plan with the head. Lord. May we do in our remaining couple moments a practice?

Lorne Brown:

Yeah, absolutely.

Lisa Miller:

I’d like to invite your community into a practice of awakening. This is a gift that was given to me by the late Dr. Gary Weaver. I always thank my teachers and I now share this forward with you as a moment where based on all of the published peer reviewed science, I invite you to open your own awakened awareness. If you wish, close your eyes, take seven breaths. I invite you into your inner chamber, your eyes closed if you’d like. I invite you to set a table before you. This is your table to your table. You may invite anyone living or deceased who truly has your best interest in mind. Anyone living or deceased you truly has your best interest in mind. And with them all sitting there, ask them if they love you, ask them if they love you. And now you may invite your higher self, the part of you that is so much more than anything you may have done or not done, anything you may have or not have your true, eternal higher self and ask you if you love you. And now finally, you may invite your higher power, whatever word is yours, however you know your higher power

And ask if they love you. And now with all of those people sitting here right now, what do they need to tell you now? What do they need to share? What do you need to know? What do they need to tell you? Now?

Lisa Miller:

 

Lorne Brown:

Ready? Thank you for leading us through that. That was beautiful.

Lisa Miller:

That is your birthright. That is your awakened awareness and that no one can ever take that away. That is your inborn innate spirituality, the transcendent relationship to our higher power, our higher self, and that loving presence in and those who truly have our best interest in mind.

Lorne Brown:

I know we’re going to wrap up soon, and I wanted to bring up something in your research that I found fascinating because it ties into one of your peers, Vanessa Le Point, who’s a psychologist once heard her say how important attachment is to our children because they have been brought up by developmental behaviorists, unconditional love. I love you if you get a’s that they grow up not having their needs met and they grow up having drug addictions, joining gangs, cutting suicide. And she said in one generation, if we could attach to these children, they would grow up feeling whole and connected. This sense of knowing they’re not alone, loved as you’ve put it, and they wouldn’t need to compete, but they’d be more cooperative because they feel connected and we wouldn’t have the gangs and the cutting and the addiction. And in your book you had shared that there’s this coin idea and depression and addiction and this ability for spirituality, awakening.

It seems like it’s the opportunities there in the brain. And if I interpreted that, if you had the structure and the support for awakening, then you would go on that path. And if you don’t, then it’s easy to go into depression, anxiety, but it’s the same place in the brain. I’m just wondering for our last little bit, can you elaborate a little bit about the research and just for those that feel anxiety, feel depression, have addictions to let them know that they actually have that innate ability, capacity to have it the other way, the peace, the joy and love with some guidance, with some support, and you have research to support that.

Lisa Miller:

Yes, two thirds of people who recover through AA do so through a strengthening of a relationship to the higher power and radical love and acceptance towards one another. Those are the two forms of relational spirituality with which we are all endowed in the awakened brain. You are born from day one to be able to hand it over to the higher power. You are born with an awakened awareness to be able to see, feel, and know the presence of the higher power and not have to go at it alone and to show up and be shown up for by other people. So you’re absolutely right and the data’s overwhelming. A strong personal spirituality, someone says, I turn to God for guidance when I have a tough decision to make. I ask my higher power. My family, my friends are sacred to me daily spiritual awareness versus I don’t really know what you’re talking about. Maybe there’s something going on out there. Will that be the difference? It’s a standard deviation above compared to below. The mean in a personal spiritual life is associated with an 80% decreased relative risk of addiction in late adolescents, 18, 19, 20 year olds who are going through the window of risk for lifetime onset

Lorne Brown:

18 to 21, that’s the window where they have the opportunity to addiction drugs,

Lisa Miller:

Even 16. So right in this period where we are at risk, really it’s the trailhead and there is no time in our life where we are as exquisitely sensitive. We are growing spiritually. There’s literally a biological body, mind and soul growth spurt from middle adolescence, late adolescence to emerging adulthood. We see this in longitudinal twin studies. What is my meaning? What is my purpose? And I don’t mean am I going to be a doctor or a teacher? I mean as a soul on earth, what is my purpose and how poor we are to one another as boyfriend, girlfriend, parents, these deep existential questions, they can be given voice very articulately by some teens. Some will say, existentially speaking, everything’s stupid, everyone’s phony. That’s the next existential comment. This struggle is hardwired in us and it is beckoning to awaken. We can walk with our teens through this process of awakening.

We can say, wow, I remember when I was really depressed at 19 and I didn’t know if God existed and I didn’t know if life had any meaning and my boyfriend broke up with me and I didn’t know if love was real. I remember this and I’m here to walk with you. What does your deep, deep inner wisdom say? I wonder if you might want to take a walk in nature with me. Hey, I wonder if you’d guide us in a prayer or a meditation and see what comes when we let them drive the bus because it’s their journey. We can’t do it for them. We see that the developmental depression, the struggle, the angst, the hardwired, what is the point of it all? And everybody’s phony and ugh, look at society. That outward pointing finger is actually a call to open the spiritual heart to awaken.

Lorne Brown:

And it happens again. You shared in midlife because when you asked me the question, I started thinking, and I’m seeing so many people in midlife and one of my clients who’s going through a major shift and spiritual awakening and is doing his work. I had asked just about his childhood a bit, and he had addiction in that age gone, not an issue, and now he’s a midlife and it’s a different story narrative, but it’s the same thing that’s going on inside. And so I just wanted to have you clarify that. It’s kind of like the energies behind it, right? It happens in that teen to twenties, and then it happens again. Midlife, you have another opportunity. There’s another spiritual awakening happening. So for those of us, what’s coming into my clinic, people are suffering saying, I just don’t feel motivated to work.

I don’t feel like I have a purpose. I feel like a phony. There’s just all this feeling that’s coming up, all shame, guilt. And to me, we have a collective awakening, which means there’s an individual awakening, but it’s happening on a collective level. I think for a while, individuals were having their awakening. People would do their 40 years of meditation, their awakening, but I feel like it’s like the Internet’s no longer dial up. We’re on a high speed internet. So we’re all kind of connecting and awakening, and I’m seeing people come in. I’ve had my experiences and continue to have them. And it’s an opportunity, as you say, how’s this happening for me? And to heal and to connect to that higher power,

Lisa Miller:

All the heals, yes. And our individual path, as you say. And collectively, I entirely resonate with what you’re saying, Lauren. I think we are having a collective awakening in the individual path. There are three bridges. The first is emerging adulthood. What is my meaning, my purpose? What does it feel like in my heart to feel God’s presence or the universe or the spirit? What is it all about? I want to know what a meaningful life is so I can live one. The second bridge isn’t midlife. It’s no longer what is my meaning and purpose as am I living out my real meaning and purpose? What kind of parent am I? How do I treat my employees? What is my spiritual footprint going to be? And I don’t mean my name on a building. I mean my living legacy. What am I building here on earth, spiritually? And then the third bridge is this elderhood. What do I want to clean up? What do I want to live on? What do I want to have imparted to my children and grandchildren? These are all profoundly spiritual moments and they’re hardwired into us.

Lorne Brown:

Well, that part’s important, so they’re hardwired. So these phases are going to happen, and that’s when you have the opportunity to awaken. If you haven’t already earlier,

Lisa Miller:

You can awaken at any moment. This is our birth ride, but we are given tremendous opportunity in the developmental depressions, the existential struggle of emerging adulthood. Every time we grow spiritually, our vessel expands. It can feel half empty if we struggle. Well, no longer what is my meaning and purpose? Am I living my meaning and purpose at bridge two and bridge three? How am I imparting this sacred earth? My ultimate meaning and purpose? Bridge one, two, and three, body, mind, and soul are built into us. We can’t get around them, but we underestimate them. In our North American culture, we call them sophomore slump or midlife crisis, but these are actually portals of tremendous sacred growth If we say yes and do the work and take this journey that enables us to inherit the next mantle of our lives.

Lorne Brown:

Beautiful. I want to thank Dr. Elisa Miller for writing your books, the Spiritual Child and the Awakened Brain. And if this topic interests you, if you’re like, Hey, I don’t want to suffer and wait, there’s something innate in me that I can cultivate, then check out her book The Awakened Brain. And I just really appreciate how you share the science. Many of you have heard how I talk about when we enter presence, we get into the whole brain. We go from the high beta, which I guess Lisa’s calling the achieving brain into this alpha brainwave I call presence, which she’s calling the awakened awareness. And that’s where you get the flow and receptivity and you connect to something and it starts to flow through you. And I often say inspired thought comes into you, which leads to inspired actions. So right action can follow right thinking. I guess that’s the part I want to ask you. I get this as a common question. I think I can guess your answer, but people often say, if I tap into this and I have this love and I feel fulfilled, then my achieving brain’s offline and I’m not going to want to do anything. I won’t feel motivated. I won’t do my work. I won’t do that. Is that a myth?

Lisa Miller:

I would say it’s quite the opposite. But the guidance and love is enlivening. That there’s this newness, bright, energetic, peaceful, yet energetic presence that says, look through this bright yellow door. When we look through our achieving brain, I want this, I want that. Tactically, I do. You want to do one more practice, last practice?

Lorne Brown:

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, absolutely.

Lisa Miller:

Okay. This is on our own journey, our own road of life that reveals the portholes and the differences between when we use and have used achieving awareness and awakened awareness. So this is your road of life. I’m going to invite you, if you’d like some breaths, clear out your inner space.

I invite you to locate a time where you wanted that red door so badly. It could have been a job, a him, her or them to say yes to you. It could have been an opportunity. You wanted that red door and you did everything strategically to make that happen. A plus B plus C. You got it tactically, and you went for your red door, having done everything right, researched, strategized, laid it out, you grabbed your red door, reached the handle, but stuck. You can’t believe it stuck because you’ve done everything right. That red door was yours. You kick the door, you’re frustrated, shocked, and time depressed, but only because that red door was stuck. You have no choice. You pivot and you pivot thirty, forty, a hundred and twenty degrees. And over there, over there is a wide open yellow door. A bright shining yellow door. You might’ve said, I didn’t know about yellow doors. I didn’t think yellow doors existed. No one spoke of yellow doors. On the other side of the yellow door is someone more right? For you is an opportunity that makes you feel alive is a community where you finally feel you belong as your spiritual child.

That yellow door was not what you had wanted. It was better and better for you and part of your journey and has everything to do with who you are and where you are today. And as you sit back now and you think of that stuck red door in the hairpin turn that led you to the wide open, shining yellow door, was there anyone at that hairpin turn, A healer, a guide?

It could have been a grandparent, a friend that you’ve known who for the first time told you a new story from their life. It could have been someone you met for two minutes on the bus or at the coffee shop, a trail angel giving you information, telling you something to point you synchronistically to the wide open yellow door. And as you sit way back, stuck the red door, hairpin turned trail. Angel in the wide open yellow door. So essential to who you are today. How really are the most important parts of our lives found? Is it narrowly exclusively through tactics and strategy and radical control? Or are we less makers of our paths and at crucial times where life matters most often discovers our journey? Is there perhaps a force in us, through us and among us that guides us if we say yes to the dialogue and finally stuck, red door, hairpin turned trail angel and wide open yellow door. Where in your road of life is your higher power? Where is God? Jesus has a shadow. Allah, the universe. The great force in us, through us and among us, is your higher power in the wide open yellow door and the stuck red door.

Is your higher power in the trail angel and your ability to be an open system and an awakened relationship to all life? Is it possible that you have been on a spiritual path all along on a quest? And when you’re ready, I invite you back.

Lorne Brown:

I hope the listeners enjoyed that. I had floods of these red doors, yellow doors and just brought up so much expansive joy because it was the first time I really realized how that red door led to the yellow door, which was so much better than the red door. And in this case, I got the red door too after. So I had the yellow hand, the red door. I got my desire, but I got so much more than I had ever anticipated when the red door just would nod open. Thank you, Lisa. Thanks for sharing two of those processes for us to tap into that presence, our higher self. And I invite our listeners to check out Dr. Lisa Miller’s website, and that website is Lisa Miller phd.com. We’re going to put that in the show notes. She’s got articles, she’s got other videos up there, and also her two books, the Spiritual Child and the Awakened Brain. Lisa, thank you so much for your time today and for taking my questions. I appreciate it.

Lisa Miller:

Such a joy. And thank you for the healing and love you’re putting into our world. And please come visit me on Instagram, Dr. Lisa Miller. Love to connect. Lauren, this was beautiful. Thank you.

Speaker:

If you’re looking for support to grow your family, contact Acubalance Wellness Center at Acubalance. They help you reach your peak fertility potential through their integrative approach using low level laser therapy, fertility, acupuncture, and naturopathic medicine. Download the Acubalance Fertility Diet and Dr. Brown’s video for mastering manifestation and clearing subconscious blocks. Go to Acubalance.ca. That’s acubalance.ca.

Lorne Brown:

Thank you so much for tuning into another episode of Conscious Fertility, the show that helps you receive life on purpose. Please take a moment to subscribe to the show and join the community of women and men on their path to peak fertility and choosing to live consciously on purpose. I would love to continue this conversation with you, so please direct message me on Instagram at Lorne Brown official. That’s Instagram, Lorne Brown official, or you can visit my websites, Lorne Brown.com and accu balance.ca. Until the next episode, stay curious and for a few moments, bring your awareness to your heart center and breathe.

 

Lisa Miller

Lisa Miller

Lisa Miller, Ph.D., is an accomplished author and professor in the Clinical Psychology Program at Teachers College, Columbia University, known for her bestselling book The Spiritual Child and her more recent work, The Awakened Brain. She leads the Spirituality Mind Body Institute, the pioneering Ivy League institute in the field of spirituality and psychology. With significant contributions to psychiatric and psychological research through over a hundred peer-reviewed articles, Dr. Miller is a respected editor and co-editor for major publications in her field. She has held prestigious roles, including joint appointments at Columbia University Medical School and leadership positions within the American Psychological Association (APA). Dr. Miller’s academic credentials include degrees from Yale University and a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania, where she studied under Martin Seligman, the founder of positive psychology.

 

Where to Find Lisa Miller:

Site: https://www.lisamillerphd.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/dr.lisamiller/

Hosts & Guests

Lorne Brown
Lisa Miller

 Share Episode

ApplePodcast

Spotify

Libsyn

Related Episodes

Extraordinary Awakenings with Steve Taylor

Season 1, Episode 66 Extraordinary Awakenings with Steve TaylorIn this episode we welcome Steve Taylor, a senior lecturer in psychology and renowned author, to explore the profound concept of transformation through turmoil. Drawing from his extensive research and...

Select your currency
USD United States (US) dollar