Sharon Salzberg – Metta Hour – Ep. 174 – Scott Barry Kaufman, PhD

Sharon Salzberg – Metta Hour – Ep. 174 – Scott Barry Kaufman, PhD

For episode 174 of the Metta Hour, Sharon speaks with Scott Barry Kaufman, Ph.D.

Scott is a cognitive scientist and humanistic psychologist exploring the mind, creativity, and the depths of human potential. He is the founder and director of the Center for the Science of Human Potential and the author of several books, including “Transcend: The New Science of Self-Actualization.” Scott is also the host of The Psychology Podcast, with over 17 million downloads.

In this conversation, Scott and Sharon speak about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and Scott’s revamp of the model in his recent book, “Transcend,” which was released in 2020. Scott discusses the metaphor of a sailboat to represent his model of self-actualization. Sharon asks Scott his thoughts about the overarching processes of moving from contraction to expansion in life and his approach to personal growth and transcendence from a modern psychological point of view. They also discuss the popular wellness trend, Toxic Positivity, and Scott’s response to this phenomenon, Tragic Optimism: the ability to find meaning in any form of suffering. The episode ends with Scott leading a short guided growth challenge exercise to bring the conversation to a close.

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Transcend: The New Science of Self Actualization

Welcoming cognitive scientist and humanistic psychologist, Scott Barry Kaufman, PhD, to the Metta Hour, Sharon invites him to share how he began taking interest in exploring the mind, creativity, intelligence, psychology, and human potential. Speaking to his new book, Transcend: The New Science of Self Actualization—a modern reimagining of Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs—Dr. Kaufman shares the pivotal impact that Abraham Maslow’s teachings of self actualization had on his life.

“If you can enter the growth realm, it’s like replacing a cloudy lens with a clear lens, it’s like opening up and expanding to the unknown. You’re not being driven by fear, but you’re driven by a spirit of exploration.” – Scott Barry Kaufman, PhD

Sharon Salzberg explores the psychology of attention, stress, and mindfulness, on Ep. 165 of the Metta Hour
Contraction & Expansion // Default Mode Network (17:28)

Looking into states of contraction and expansion, Sharon asks Dr. Kaufman to elucidate how we can move past states of fear and guilt, and into love and boundlessness. Exploring our brain’s highly multifaceted ‘Default Mode Network’, Dr. Kaufman describes its part in helping us create models of self and situation, imagine the future, and expand compassion for others.

“It’s not a complete story to just say in the meditation world the goal is to quiet the Default Mode Network. I think there’s a time and place for that, and I also think there’s a time and place for fully activating it and really getting deeply in touch with our shared humanity with others by bringing yourself to the table.” – Scott Barry Kaufman, PhD

BetterHelp - Sharon

Happiness & Inner Peace // Self Acceptance & Actualization (33:33)

Contemplating happiness and inner peace from psychological and spiritual perspectives, Sharon and Dr. Kaufman share the transformative power of uncovering, understanding, and accepting the deepest depths of our beings in full truth. Through this lens, they discuss the strong correlation found between self-acceptance and other-acceptance.

“The more people accept more and more aspects of their being, and really go down the tunnel, the depths of their being, really understand their proclivities as they are, not as they wish them to be, the more they start to feel this ease of being.” – Scott Barry Kaufman, PhD

Jack Kornfield outlines how acceptance, trust, and faith can help us navigate life, on Ep. 132 of Heart Wisdom
Guided Meditaiton (52:50)

To close the conversation, Sharon invites Dr. Kaufman to lead a guided meditation and reflection.

   Wired to Create: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Creative Mind by [Scott Barry Kaufman, Carolyn Gregoire]   Ungifted: Intelligence Redefined by [Scott Kaufman]