ROHAN GUNATILLAKE

Standing at the door of the airplane, a new thing called “snow” swirling around her, Rohan’s mom is about to take a momentous step – making a life change that reverberates down the generations. A meditation about the steps we take when the outcome is uncertain.

DR. MARLA SPIVAK

Before becoming a MacArthur-winning entomologist, Dr. Marla Spivak is adrift – first as a young woman in search of direction, then deep in the Amazon, severely ill and fearing death. Time and again, it’s the hum of bees that shows her a path forward. 

MILANA VAYNTRUB,
Actor, activist, comedian

Growing up, Milana Vayntrub has a tender but challenging relationship with her father: All their happy times together end with him getting back on a plane. What might it mean to forge a new kind of intimacy?
What she learns: How to make right what was once wrong

MICHAEL IMPERIOLI
Actor

You might know Michael Imperioli as Christopher Moltisanti from The Sopranos and The Many Saints of Newark. But before all that, he was a 17-year-old kid, adrift, curious about acting. His parents give him an enormous gift: they trust him.
What he learns: It’s your life

RUSS ELLIS
Sociologist

Russ Ellis has led the kind of life they write books about. But as he reveals in this episode, even the fullest life can be haunted by a single event half a century earlier.

MARIANN BUDDE
Bishop 
of the Episcopal Diocese in Washington, DC

Crisis can descend on you in unexpected places – and so can clarity. All that’s required of you is to be there for it, and to stretch yourself in ways you hadn’t expected. Mariann Budde tells of three defining moments of struggle and grace.
What she learns: Finding yourself in what’s easy, not just in what’s hard

ROHAN GUNATILLAKE

The idea of a meditation retreat is deeply romantic. But the reality can be very different. Join our host Rohan Gunatillake on his first retreat, at a monastery in the English countryside, where he locks in to his meditation practice for the first time – and on the same night, almost gives it up altogether.

RANDALL PARK
Actor, writer

Boy meets girl, girl notices boy’s squirrel painting, boy and girl fall in love. The plot of a Hollywood romcom? Not even close. But when struggling actor Randall Park meets the person of his dreams at an LA party, it’s the start of an epic love story.
What he learns: How we grow in relationships

ROBIN ARZÓN
Peloton superstar

Join Robin Arzón on the longest run of her life: the Florida Keys 100 Ultramarathon. As difficult as it is to run 100 sweaty miles in the South Florida heat, far more challenging is the mental fortitude to keep doubt at bay.
What she learns: When to think big, when to think small

KAYWIN FELDMAN
Dirctor, National Gallery of Art

Arriving in a strange town, disoriented and desperate to crawl into bed, Kaywin Feldman realizes she is just steps from an eight-century-old art treasure: a small chapel covered floor to ceiling with frescoes. She wanders inside, and the course of her life abruptly changes.

DR. LAURIE SANTOS
Professor and 
podcaster

Journey with Dr. Laurie Santos to an island in Puerto Rico where she is one of only a few people among thousands of monkeys. The company of non-humans, it turns out, can help us better understand ourselves.
What she learns: To look for unlikely teachers

JOEL McHALE
Comedian and actor

As he sits with his wife in pediatric cardiology unit, Joel McHale is struggling to feel anything but helpless. His infant son has been born with two holes in his heart; an operation is underway to repair them. In that moment, Joel begins to see the unpredictable journey of parenthood that lies ahead. 
What he learns: Life’s randomness — and perfectly random miracles

DAVID DUCHOVNY
Actor

Years after graduating, actor David Duchovny realizes that what he mistook for dislike from a teacher was in fact an encouragement to go his own way, in his own time.
What he learns: The importance of giving ourselves time

ROHAN GUNATILLAKE

The heart of storytelling is a journey, across time and place. In these four short stories, travel to a remote and lonely farm … a village alive with family … an island teeming with unique life … and a city street that suddenly begins to feel like home.

PAOLA ANTONELLI
Curator, MoMA

Struggling to make a decision that will shape the rest of her life, a young artist returns to the place where she feels most true to herself: the sea.
What she learns: The courage to make a change

ROHAN GUNATILLAKE

Loving football – specifically loving England’s team during a cup final – means resigning yourself to heartbreak, over, and over, and over. In this meditation, Rohan Gunatillake explores the singular anguish routinely visited upon dedicated fans of a favorite team. Within a mindful life, that anguish can become its own kind of beauty.

CAL RIPKEN JR.
Baseball Hall-of-Famer

Legendary shortstop and third baseman Cal Ripken Jr. holds the record for the most consecutive games played. But just showing up was never an end in itself – it’s how he showed up that distinguishes his legacy.
What he learns: How to show up for others

ROHAN GUNATILLAKE

All our problems haven’t magically vanished after the dark year gone by, but perhaps we’ve begun a new chapter, a slow re-awakening. In this collection of short stories, Rohan finds moments from four storytellers – Diana Nyad, Nalini Nadkarni, Franklin Leonard and Florence Williams – that explore the singular moments that set us on a new path.

Wayne Little
Nurse

Inspired to become a nurse, Wayne Little is starting to wonder if he’s taken the wrong path … until he meets a mentor who helps him to understand the mission, and the calling, of a life in healthcare. Years later, in the middle of a global pandemic, he calls on those lessons he learned so long ago.

S.G. Goodman
Singer/songwriter

As a young girl, mowing her neighbor’s lawn in the Kentucky heat, S.G. Goodman learns many important things: how to avoid running into the chain-link fence, the art of blowing the grass away from the house … and the way these small, regular acts of community become the glue holding the world together.

ROBERT REICH
Economist

In a story he’s never told before, Robert Reich shares the pivotal moment when he turns his economist’s eye on his own life, and realizes: It’s fallen out of balance. On a muddy cross-country field, watching his older son run through the rain, he realizes what he must do to fix things.
What he learns: To create space for the truly important

ROHAN GUNATILLAKE

In a meditation for all the senses, Rohan guides you into a relaxed state that will quiet your mind and help you drift to sleep.

THOMAS PAGE McBEE
Journalist and amateur boxer

In a quest to define masculinity on his own terms, writer Thomas Page McBee trains to become the first transgender man to box in the ring at Madison Square Garden.
What he learns: When to advance, and when to drop back

TRI ROBINSON
Pastor

In the morning, Idaho pastor Tri Robinson herds cattle and mends fences; in the evening, he writes sermons for his growing congregation. But the two parts of his life don’t feel connected. What is he doing, as a leader, to help preserve the precious creation called Earth?
What he learns: To choose what’s right

MAX RICHTER
Composer

As a young composer, Max Richter is searching for his voice, the sound of a music that is uniquely his. But what he has is only a box of fragments, half-formed questions. He sits with them, he thinks on them, he lets them mature – and then he realizes: This is exactly the music he wants to make.
What he learns: The beauty between modes of being

BRIAN AND SCOTT NICHOLSON

Twins Brian and Scott Nicholson are dancers and choreographers on tour with Ariana Grande. But when an unimaginable tragedy strikes, that energy is shattered. Until they realize – they must keep moving. Together.

TONY TJAN

Tony Tjan grows up in the cold and dramatic landscape of Newfoundland, where snow piles high and storms rage – but the neighbors always keep a door open to help one another.

OMAR WASOW

Omar Wasow had a fabulous life as a reporter and tech expert, but an important piece of unfinished business from his college days kept nagging at him. Why did this one-time gifted kid struggle to complete something that mattered to him? Why couldn’t he even get started?

ROHAN GUNATILLAKE

Love sneaks up on us. It’s a sudden awakening from the mundane. It’s divinity in the everyday. In this special episode, Rohan shares a trio of stories about his love, Lucy. The childlike purity and sweeping hold of love will wash over you in this intimate listening experience from Meditative Story’s very own Rohan.

ANGELA AHRENDTS

After a series of bold choices, legendary executive Angela Ahrendts realizes that with each new day she has an opportunity to discover a new sanctuary – and that the truest sanctuary is the one within us.

DAVID WHYTE

As the wind howls around his camping caravan on a remote Welsh farm, poet David Whyte sits at a table, trying – and failing – to write. But just outside, invisible and unexpected, is someone who offers him help – and friendship – at the exact moment he needs it.

MICHAEL IMPERIOLI

When actor Michael Imperioli is 17, he makes an impulsive move: on the day he’s supposed to drive up to college, instead he takes the train down to New York City and signs up for acting classes. Later, Michael realizes that the courage to trust – in your instincts, in your teachers, and in one another – is what forms the foundation for a brave, creative life.

MAJORA CARTER

As the youngest of 10 kids, Majora Carter is used to being a little bit invisible, shyly watching the world around her as she draws with her crayons. But her first-grade teacher sees that she has a special talent for art and encourages her to share her gifts. Years later, Majora realizes she can return the favor.

FRANKLIN LEONARD

Filmmaker Franklin Leonard encounters plenty of dramatic moments as he seeks to follow his creative dream. But those big moments, he comes to realize, aren’t what will change him into the person he truly wants to be.

FLORENCE WILLIAMS

Writer Florence Williams, grieving the loss of a long marriage, finds herself in Tulsa, Oklahoma; she’s come to sit with Penny, her former mother-in-law, who is dying of cancer. As Penny begins to withdraw from the world, she has one final question for Florence, and one final piece of advice.

NATE BERKUS

When young Nate Berkus pushes open the door to his new bedroom, an unfinished space in his family home, he doesn’t know it yet – but he’s opening the door to a new vision of what his life can be. A life that he can design for himself. Because sometimes, choosing a new paint color is shorthand for choosing a new path.

ROHAN GUNATILLAKE

In telling three short stories from his life as a meditator, host Rohan Gunatillake explores the way a few simple words of wisdom, said at the right moment, can build your strength and resilience for a lifetime.

ADAM GRANT

Standing at the edge of the highest diving board at the aquatic center, a young Adam Grant tries and tries, and tries to leap off. Grant, now a famed organizational psychologist, shares how a wise diving coach helped him outsmart fear – and take the leap.

SAM HARRIS

As a young man, facing two great tragedies, Sam Harris falls into a deep sadness. But in a chance experiment, Sam stumbles on a breakthrough that gives him the ability to think more clearly about every experience, good and bad.

AASIF MANDVI

When Aasif Mandvi contracts tinnitus (nonstop ringing in the ears), he has to come to terms with his own vulnerability and the unpredictability of life — and helps him imagine a world with more possibilities.

JAI PUNJABI

Hoping to preserve the recipes of his beloved family dishes, Jai Punjabi returns to his parents’ home in Bombay and discovers that the secret lay not in the ingredients, but in a way of being.

KAYA HENDERSON 

Falling short of her own exacting standards, Kaya Henderson reframes her perspective on failure, and turns what feels like the end of the road into a provocation to push on.

GINGER ZEE

Ginger Zee’s passion for adventure belies an emotional turmoil that’s been churning since childhood – until, on assignment in Nepal, she finally lays claim to the pain she’s long denied.

CAL RIPKEN JR.

Hall of Fame baseball legend Cal Ripken Jr. holds the record for the most consecutive games played. But just showing up was never an end in itself – it’s how he showed up that distinguishes his legacy.

WADDIE MITCHELL

Growing up on his father’s ranch, Waddie Mitchell learns that adventure and freedom aren’t things to seek elsewhere, but are embedded in the raw materials of his own life.

ANGELA AHRENDTS

After a series of bold choices, legendary executive Angela Ahrendts realizes that with each new day she has an opportunity to discover a new sanctuary – and that the truest sanctuary is the one within us.

PASTOR OTIS MOSS

Pastor Otis Moss shares a timely, deeply personal story about the American jazz narrative – how a disparate and diverse people who are not supposed to make music together do – and do so beautifully.

GRETCHEN RUBIN

A series of chance encounters, and a healthy helping of curiosity, helps happiness expert Gretchen Rubin realize that maybe there isn’t one path to a meaningful life – just the path that works for you.

ANDREW BIRD

Looking for space to recalibrate, singer-songwriter Andrew Bird heads to his family’s desolate farmhouse. It’s there that he begins seeing, sensing, and hearing new music.

FORREST GALANTE

Chimps in the house, elephants at his door. Forrest Galante grows up in Zimbabwe, steeped in the natural world, but a sudden move to the U.S. puts him in foreign territory, where he has to rely on completely new skills to survive.

LINDSEY STIRLING

Violinist Lindsey Stirling sits by the campfire, mesmerized by the best storyteller she’s ever heard: her dad. In those moments she realizes the ultimate power of storytelling: connection.

JAY SHETTY

A young Jay Shetty taking an art class is inspired by a perceptive teacher to dig deeper into the layers of his work — and in so doing reveals the layers inside himself, and inside us all.

PAOLA ANTONELLI

Struggling to make a decision that will shape the rest of her life, a young artist returns to the place where she feels most true to herself: the sea.

STEPHEN KUUSISTO

A small boy on a ship, born blind, navigates the vessel and the world around him through sound; as an adult, he shares the continuing beauty of listening for small wonders.

Krista Tippett

In the midst of the Cold War, a young security analyst steps away from the tables of power, and finds herself in an island garden, reconnecting with what truly matters to her.

THOMAS PAGE MCBEE

In a quest to define masculinity on his own terms, this writer trains to become the first transgender man to box in the ring at Madison Square Garden.

Dan Harris

Broadcaster Dan Harris shares a candid look at his attempts to connect more with his son, Alexander, on their first father-son trip.

MICHELLE THALLER

While working on an experiment about the age of the universe, an astronomer is reminded once again about both the impersonal immensity around us, and the deeply personal significance of each of us.

Larry Jackson

Working late nights in the studio on a project that feels like it’s going nowhere, a young music producer learns the clarifying power of setting audacious goals.

ARIANNA HUFFINGTON

Arianna Huffington takes us on her journey from Athens to Cambridge, and shares a lesson she learned from her mother of embracing life’s journey without being attached to the outcome.

PICO IYER

Stuck on a long layover in Japan, a young writer steps out to see the city – and finds himself feeling at home, for the first time in his life.

LUCY KALANITHI

While grieving her husband, a young mom helps their daughter build a relationship with him that is based on joy as well as loss.