Sharon Salzberg – Metta Hour – Ep. 104 – Dr. Judson Brewer

Sharon Salzberg - Metta Hour - Ep. 104 - Dr. Judson Brewer

For episode 104 of the Metta Hour Podcast, Sharon speaks with friend and colleague Dr. Judson Brewer MD PhD.

Dr. Judson Brewer is a thought leader in the field of habit change and the “science of self-mastery”, having combined over 20 years of experience with mindfulness training with his scientific research. He is the Director of Research and Innovation at the Mindfulness Center at the School of Medicine at Brown University, and a psychiatrist and internationally known expert in mindfulness training for addictions, Dr. Jud has developed and tested mindfulness programs for habit change, including both in-person and app-based treatments for smoking, emotional eating, and anxiety and he is the author of “The Craving Mind.”

In this episode, Sharon and Dr. Jud speak about how Dr. Jud came to the path of mindfulness and meditation while in medical school, and how that evolved to become a cornerstone of his work. They speak at length about how the brain behaves in various states of connection, disconnection, lovingkindness, or loneliness and how this affects our ability to make choices freely. Dr. Jud also shares some of his work related to cravings and addiction, and rewards-based learning. The podcast closes with Judson leading a 5-minute guided meditation on connection. To learn more about Judson’s work, visit:

Through the Window of Suffering

Judson shares how he came to the world of meditation. He describes how his practice has influenced his research into mindfulness.

The Craving Mind (9:30)

Sharon and Dr. Jud explore the growing societal issues of loneliness, addiction and a sense of disconnection from one another. They discuss the research that exists around addiction and unhealthy patterns of thought. Looking at the way in which contemplative practices like lovingkindness offer a path out of suffering.

“My lab has been looking at brain regions that are involved when we are caught up in a craving or even in rumination. All of that stuff activates a self-referential brain network. People are reporting that that activation actually correlates with a closed quality of experience.” – Dr. Judson Brewer 

Reconnecting (19:20)

How does our collective disconnection manifest in the outside world? Dr. Jud and Sharon discuss the correlation between this reported sense of disconnection and a growing sense of fear and hostility around the world. They reflect on the practices that give us the perspective to break away from these cycles of separateness.

“We can look to see what it feels like when we turn away, versus turn toward. We can see what it feels like when we hold back on compassion versus when we let it loose.” – Dr. Judson Brewer 

Where We Connect (43:00)

Dr. Jud closes with a 5-minute meditation practice focusing on our different levels of connection.

Explore the art of mindful connection with Sharon and Krishna Das on Ep. 77 of the Pilgrim Heart Podcast

Sharon Salzberg - Metta Hour - Ep. 104 - Dr. Judson Brewer

This podcast was made possible by our friends at 1440 Multiversity!
This October 4 – 6, enjoy a week-end devoted to the pleasurable experience of health and well-being through the flowing, meditative movements of qigong with internationally renowned qigong master Robert Peng. 
Visit to learn more.


Images via Dr. Jud and Shutterstock