The Awakened Brain Book Summary By Lisa Miller

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The Awakened Brain (2021) by Dr.

Lisa Miller is an inspiring book that unlocks the science behind spirituality.

She explains how we all have a spiritual capacity within us, one that can be accessed to cultivate resilience and health, while discovering the hidden connections between our lives and the world around us.


Miller spent years researching and studying this mysterious topic, before finally revealing her findings in this marvelous book.

She combines the latest scientific advancements with her own personal journey to uncover the hidden impacts of spirituality on mental health and well-being.

If you're looking for insight into your own spiritual capabilities, or ways to strengthen connection with life and yourself, then this book is for you!

The Awakened Brain Book

Book Name: The Awakened Brain (The New Science of Spirituality and Our Quest for an Inspired Life)

Author(s): Lisa Miller

Rating: 4.5/5

Reading Time: 21 Minutes

Categories: Psychology

Author Bio

The Awakened Brain is a book written by acclaimed author Lisa Miller, PhD.

She is currently a professor of psychology and spirituality at Columbia University, with appointments in both the Teachers College and Department of Psychiatry in the Medical School.


Miller's work on spirituality is also supplemented by her best-selling book, The Spiritual Child.

Her deep knowledge and dedication to sharing information about spiritual growth has made her one of the most sought after experts in the field today.

Discover How Spirituality And Depression Are Two Sides Of The Same Coin And How To Awaken Your Brain To New Spiritual Awareness


It’s possible to awaken your innate capacity for spiritual awareness, and Dr.

Lisa Miller has assembled decades of scientific research and clinical work to show you how.

She believes that the key is understanding that depression is not something to be feared or ignored, but rather a calling to engage with a higher consciousness.

By exploring the science of spirituality and uncovering the biological capacity inherent in spiritual awareness, Miller helps you understand how it can open up brand new ways of seeing the world.

She explains that spirituality and depression are two sides of the same coin, why spending time in nature can be so healing, and ultimately how to awaken your brain to greater spiritual awareness.

With Dr.

Miller’s guidance and insight into this powerful concept, you too can awaken your spiritual capacity for healing and understanding.

The Surprising Mental Health Benefits Of Spirituality: Dr

The evidence is clear: spirituality can be a powerful protective factor against depression.

This was seen in Dr.

Lisa Miller’s research while she was working at Columbia University and poring over the data collected from her study on factors that increase or decrease a child’s risk of developing depression.

Miller compared mother-child pairs who said that religion or spirituality were important to them, versus ones who had no interest in it or differing opinions.

Surprisingly, she discovered that when both mother and child reported having high levels of spirituality, there was an 80% decreased risk for the child of developing depression in comparison to those who had no spiritual beliefs or practices.

This powerful evidence showed conclusively that spirituality plays an important role in improving mental health outcomes and building resilience against depression.

Miller’s landmark research has suggested a new path forward for the treatment of depression — one which emphasizes the healing power of faith, prayer and spiritual connection.

The Innate Biological Capacity To Develop Our Spiritual Selves

The idea that we have an innate, biological capacity for spiritual development is now backed up by groundbreaking scientific research.

In 1997, a study conducted by Dr.

Kenneth Kendler at the Virginia Commonwealth University examined the relationship between spirituality and mental health in adults.

Kendler used twin subjects, enabling researchers to analyze which traits were influenced by environment and which were determined genetically.

He made some key discoveries – namely that spirituality isn’t only passed down through culture but is embedded in our genes.

This means that all of us have an innate capability to access a sense of our own spiritual growth and connection to something larger than ourselves.

The evidence showed that any presence of a connection to spirituality had a protective effect on those suffering from depression, alcoholism or negative events regardless of whether religious belief was present.

Most interestingly, the research concluded that 29 percent of one’s spiritual practices are determined genetically while 71 percent are affected by environmental factors – driving home the point that each person has an innate biological capacity for spiritual development.

Moreover, these findings indicate adolescents may be especially sensitive as their distinction between religion and spirituality tends to blur together more easily as compared to adults.

For seekers out there wondering how they can create their own personal spiritual truths; these findings are encouraging news indeed!

Spirituality And Depression


Brad Peterson found a physiological basis for depression while studying brain images of high-risk individuals with a family history of depression; they had thinner outer surfaces around the right cortex, which is responsible for our perception of self and the world.

Miller then wanted to discover a possible connection between spirituality and the brain.

Brain imaging techniques revealed that spiritual people have thicker cortices in the same regions depressed people have weak and thin cortices.

Moreover, spiritual people who are more prone to depression were shown to have even thicker cortices than those low-risk for depression.

This suggests that some forms of depression could be the body’s biological need for spiritual awakening.

Miller then followed up on an older study where it was shown that those 26-year-olds with stronger personal spirituality experienced twice as much depression at age 16 compared to those without it.

From Miller’s research, it’s clear that our capacity for spiritual development is wired into our biology – although it may be triggered by moments of suffering or struggles – and having a spiritual brain does benefit one’s overall health despite any risk for depression.

And so, we can conclude that when it comes to spirituality and mental health, Depression and spirituality are two sides of the same coin.

Finding Meaning In Life Is About Paying Attention To The Signposts Around Us

Karen Miller’s experience with the mother duck illustrates how spiritual healing can transform our lives.

Through this miraculous event, Miller was able to open herself up to a larger consciousness in the universe and understand its meaningful messages.

Instead of attempting to impose her own meaning onto what had happened, she started paying attention to the synchronicities around her.

Her journey of awareness eventually led her down the path of adoption, something she had not even considered prior to these events.

Miller’s experiences further highlighted the two types of attention humans use in their daily lives: top-down and bottom-up attention.

Top-down attention is goal oriented and focuses on specific tasks while bottom-up is more open, allowing us to see things that we may not have been looking for or expecting.

Bottom-up enabled Miller to perceive the meaningful messages being revealed by life—that motherhood did not need to be limited by biology but could also include adoption and caring for others.

Ultimately, this mindful relationship with the greater universe allowed Miller go beyond her depression and discover true healing through embracing a deep connection with spiritual energy.

The Power Of The Awakened Brain: How Cultivating Your Spiritual Capacity Can Lead To Healing

Through the journey of infertility, Miller discovered the power of an awakened brain.

This is a brain state that allows us to perceive the world in ways beyond our conscious control.

We are able to recognize deeper meanings and synchronicities, allowing us to see how life is reaching out to us.

By entering into spiritual awareness, we can realign with a greater consciousness and start uncovering clues found in our everyday life – from unexpected gifts to documentaries that appear out of nowhere.

These messages guided Miller through her fertility journey until eventually she located a six-month-old boy in a Russian orphanage and then became pregnant naturally with two daughters.

The ventral attention network activated by spirituality enabled her to look past her unconscious processes and understand the profound nature of inner dialogue, both with herself and with those moments created by chance encounters.

The research abounds: spirituality activates the ventral attention network in our brains, helping us make sense of our experiences and open ourselves up to discover potentially life-changing moments that might have gone unnoticed otherwise – just like it did for Miller when she answered the call of the Lakota healers.

Miller’s Research Reveals That Spiritual Experiences Activate Our “Awakened Mind”, Allowing Us To Connect With A Greater Unity And Love

Spiritual Experiences


Laura Miller’s book, The Awakened Brain, is an exploration of the science behind spirituality.

Through many years of research, she found that spirituality protects against depression, addiction, and other mental illnesses as well as being a key part of human development.

More specifically, Dr.

Miller discovered that spiritual experiences deactivate your achieving mind and activate your awakened mind.

To understand how this worked in the brain, her team performed a study where they recorded the brain activity of young adults while they told a story about a stressful event and one about a spiritual experience.

While talking about the stressful event, the brain’s frontal lobe was activated; she calls this the “achieving mind.” This part of the brain focuses on organizing and controlling our lives and asks “how can I get and keep things I want in life?”

In contrast, telling a story about a spiritual experience activated different parts of their brains such as the frontotemporal network (associated with love);the parietal lobe (where we feel unity and belonging);and the ventral attention network (where we see meaning between events).

This is what Miller calls the “awakened mind”– it allows us to be open to receiving information from different sources to better understand our place in life while also feeling more connected and less alone.

The Awakened Brain: How Interconnectedness And Spirituality Promote Well-Being

The concept of an “awakened brain” has been around for centuries, but its importance is becoming clearer and clearer through modern science.


Jacobo Grinberg’s experiments in 1987 at the University of Mexico found that meditation can cause two brains to sync up, with one subject mirroring the other’s brain wave activity.

Separating them into shielded rooms and flashing light into one eye showed that they were still connected – the other participant registered the flashes of light as well, though they hadn’t received any physical input.

What researchers discovered was that connection isn’t limited to just human-to-human contact; it extends to nature as well.

In fact, a particular wavelength known as alpha waves are seen in people who have recovered from depression through spiritual practices like meditation and prayer.

The same wavelengths are present in the environment around us due to our planet’s electromagnetic field.

Studies show that people who report high levels of spirituality benefit more from time spent in nature than those without these beliefs – a sign that cultivating fine awareness leads us naturally towards understanding our interconnectivity with all living beings, from humans to animals and plants, even extending to nature itself.

As we awaken to this greater sense of unity within ourselves and with others, we are able to appreciate our true value and meaning on this Earth.

Wrap Up

When it comes to life’s challenges, the Awakened Brain philosophy encourages us to awaken to something larger: a deep alignment with the universe and the common knowledge shared by all living things.

Through spiritual awareness, we can protect ourselves from depression and anxiety, ultimately setting the foundations for wellbeing in our lives.

Miller’s “three doors” exercise specifically helps build this awakened attention.

It requires that you draw a road on a sheet of paper representing your life, followed by a closed door which represents an obstacle or challenge that was faced, and what opened up after – the open door that revealed new insight, path or connection.

Then, two more doors must be identified and explored in this same way.

The final summary is that when engaged in spiritual awareness, we are better aligned with ourselves, our world and all its complexities which lead us to lifelong wellness.

Arturo Miller

Hi, I am Arturo Miller, the Chief Editor of this blog. I'm a passionate reader, learner and blogger. Motivated by the desire to help others reach their fullest potential, I draw from my own experiences and insights to curate blogs.

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