Depression and spiritual awakening -- two sides of one door | Lisa Miller | TEDxTeachersCollege

  • Published on Jul 24, 2014
  • This talk was given at a local TEDx event, produced independently of the TED Conferences. Is depression, as most of us experience it, meaningless suffering? Dr. Lisa Miller presents research that lends meaning to the experience of depression and to our experience on planet Earth.
    Dr. Lisa Miller is perhaps the world’s foremost expert in the relative study of psychology and spirituality. Dr. Miller is Professor and Director of Clinical Psychology at Teachers College, Columbia University, where she founded and currently directs the Spirituality and Mind-Body Institute, to innovate, disseminate, and train healers in foundationally spiritual treatments. Dr. Miller solo-edited the Oxford University Handbook of Psychology and Spirituality (2012) and has published over seventy articles and chapters on spirituality in mental health and wellness. She has acted as Principle Investigator on several million dollars-worth of grants from corporate and family foundations as well as the National Institutes of Mental Health. Dr. Miller is Co-Founder and Co-Editor-in-Chief of the new APA publication, Spirituality in Clinical Practice, and also serves as associate editor of Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, the official journal of APA Division 36, Society for the Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, for which Dr. Miller has served as President and is now APA Council Representative. Dr. Miller has been elected to Fellow of the American Psychological Association and awarded the Virginia Sexton Mentoring Award. She is a graduate of Yale University, Columbia University, and University of Pennsylvania, where she studied under Martin Seligman, Ph. D.
    About TEDx, x = independently organized event In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)

Comments • 1 368

  • Gracy Joseph
    Gracy Joseph 8 hours ago

    We no

  • Katherine Alexander
    Katherine Alexander 4 days ago


  • Frank Feldman
    Frank Feldman 4 days ago

    Her "existential angst" re her not being able to become a breeder is more than a little nauseating. The sense of

  • Infinite Ripples
    Infinite Ripples 5 days ago +1

    This had me absolutely bawling my eyes out! Starting from the little boy on the documentary 😭 Depression was absolutely my portal into spirituality, I started to really wake up after a long period of being suicidal, being afraid to pick up a knife when putting away dishes or to drive in case I might do something that a small part of me that was still holding on didn't want to do! My life has shifted exponentially over the past 5 or so years in ways I never would have imagined possible back then. Now I have a beautiful boy and another baby on the way with an amazing partner, and I use my experiences to follow my passion of helping people find their way through depression and anxiety. 💖
    Thank you for this beautifully delivered speech 🙏

  • Elle Dooley
    Elle Dooley 5 days ago

    This has me in a good way. Lovely, lovely, lovely...and so blessed.

  • Deborah Levey
    Deborah Levey 5 days ago

    Amen n Amen

  • The name is Forever
    The name is Forever 6 days ago

    I want everyone to wiped off the face the earth

  • Anu B
    Anu B 7 days ago

    Have experienced the feeling of the world being a matrix and it’s a feeling indescribable.

  • anon anon
    anon anon 8 days ago +3

    i cry like once every two years, saved up for this video

  • Amber Steggles
    Amber Steggles 8 days ago

    This was so beautiful and inspiring! I'm crying tears of joy and connection . Thank you for sharing your story. 💖

  • Clarissa Sarabia
    Clarissa Sarabia 11 days ago +1

    I am feeling down. Woke up today and was looking for a funny video. This one was on top of my suggested watch. Not a coincidence.

  • nieceypiecey100
    nieceypiecey100 13 days ago

    Wow! ❤️🙏🏾❤️

  • Diesel
    Diesel 14 days ago

    So true!

  • Lynne Somerville
    Lynne Somerville 14 days ago +1

    I teach meditation, I knew it was true, the direct correlation between the frontal cortex and being of sound mind. But to hear it evidenced is fabulous. Thank you 👏🌈

  • Gina B.
    Gina B. 16 days ago +3

    Most beautiful story of life's miracle ❤

  • Failure Is Not An Option

    She was amazing ❤

  • Lauri C
    Lauri C 20 days ago

    Profound. Thank you, sis.

  • Lo P
    Lo P 21 day ago +2

    ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ my heart is so happy for you and your loving family.

  • Polina Daber
    Polina Daber 21 day ago +1

    everyday i thank the depression i have faced due to what it has brought me. it brought me my spiritual path

  • Hypatia
    Hypatia 22 days ago +2

    Depression as a disease is the biggest con foisted on us by the medical establishment ever. Depression is an emotional reaction.

    • IamtheFleecer
      IamtheFleecer 2 days ago

      Yep, big pharma are dope peddlers. Life is often depressing, it's all about how you deal with it

  • Shadow Youtube
    Shadow Youtube 22 days ago


  • Chicksue
    Chicksue 24 days ago

    I have never, in all the years on this platform called RU-clip, seen a video so powerful and so beautiful. This fed my soul in ways I couldn't have predicted. Just incredible.

  • Elle r
    Elle r 27 days ago

    Such a beautiful story, I’m in tears

  • Leonarda Scorpius
    Leonarda Scorpius 27 days ago +1

    Essentially, when you stop trying so damn hard, think and work too much at it, and instead, just let it go, let it flow with NO ego or expectations, that's when the Universe steps in and helps you along your Path. Still may not be the exact outcome you wished for, but more than likely, even better.

  • Johanet Alice Kriel
    Johanet Alice Kriel 28 days ago

    Thank you, Dr Miller and to your Guides, for sharing your story and this beautiful message. I burst into tears when you said you and your husband conceived that night. Aho to Sweat Lodge Medicine, the Tribe and Great Spirit. Many blessings on you and (y)our family.

  • Marie Brunger
    Marie Brunger 29 days ago +4

    I agree with Suzannah - the presence is always there - Faith is what got me through those darkest times and each time I came back into the light something changed. I learned to see both depression and anxiety as transitions.

  • Porsche Abraham
    Porsche Abraham Month ago +1

    This was absolutely beautiful!

  • Bron
    Bron Month ago

    Yeshua/Jesus is a spirit , Holy Spirit = heals the sick and guides and speaks to us. He connects us to the Great Creator beautiful.

  • Joe Don Lewis
    Joe Don Lewis Month ago

    I like the story but I can't really relate to the child part.

  • Sussana13
    Sussana13 Month ago +1

    It is such a beautiful story!!

  • Ascension Mojo
    Ascension Mojo Month ago +1

    Wow. So many messages within this one message. Extremely impactful and well presented. Namaste 🙏🏻

  • Dianne Williams
    Dianne Williams Month ago

    Just wonderful

  • paramedivmso4
    paramedivmso4 2 months ago

    12:30 Own it!!

  • IGS 08
    IGS 08 2 months ago

    That presence was you... your higher self.

  • Hajdu Nelli
    Hajdu Nelli 2 months ago

    Wow. No words. Wow.

  • Pip Pipster
    Pip Pipster 2 months ago +5

    Problem with depression is when one door closes another one shuts.

  • Boa Jean Register
    Boa Jean Register 2 months ago

    🙏🏻 lived it, living it. This is beautiful truth.

  • HarmonyLotus
    HarmonyLotus 2 months ago

    This was so beautiful and had me in tears by the end. Bless you and everyone else who has gone through depression- I pray you all find Light, transformation, your path and your true selves.

  • Daniel McCoy
    Daniel McCoy 2 months ago

    Yay! now your kids can suffer too!

  • Zencuda
    Zencuda 2 months ago +4

    Spiritual awakening causes things to fall away it is in that emptiness we find depression but if we sit in the discomfort we eventually see it’s purpose is to lead us to light.. 🦋💫

    SUMMER LOPEZ 2 months ago +1


  • PunkOnWhiskey *POW*
    PunkOnWhiskey *POW* 2 months ago

    The universe speaks to us in ways we can never explain. It just does. It answers us, it guides us and it consols us, you just have to accept the signs when they present themselves. My spriritual path started when I was heartbroken and humbled. I asked for help and guidance, I asked how I could be a better person to improve myself. That was over a year ago and the universe still brings me signs, a little one at least every day. I've grown. The universe showed me how. My depression was short lived but enlightment is constant. Trying to explain this is impossible. The signs, the meanings... Only you can untangle the lessons the universe is teaching you. Just let it in, accept it and cherish the lesson, no matter how painful. Peace is the other side. You have to accept your good and your bad, change the bad, do better. Trust in yourself, do right by others but the biggest thing was me was to respond with thought but not to react, even when pushed.

  • HollyDolly Andrews
    HollyDolly Andrews 2 months ago

    🙏🏼 all people will learn to master their way through depression. It’s a wonderful tool to navigate through life actually, meant to be hard in order to season us perfectly. I am thankful for you all. Let’s take care of one another. ❤️

  • Authentic Self Guide
    Authentic Self Guide 2 months ago +3

    Suffering is the highest blessing. The door way to greatness!

  • Altitude Magic
    Altitude Magic 3 months ago

    ugh, depression IS NOT A DISEASE!!
    depression is a first world problem.
    i realized that when i wanted to die and instead went with a friend and his church to build water wells in africa and realized my life in america was meaningless and that chasing thw american dream is why i was depressed.

  • The Messy Messenger - Teddi

    Beautiful messege!

  • Kohl Pierce
    Kohl Pierce 3 months ago +1

    The part about the mother duck proves there is a source, something that connects us all.

  • peter Fonnesbech
    peter Fonnesbech 3 months ago

    Well the addicts got the AA meeting to attend to, but where does the spirituel awked person go ?

  • chris kazakoff
    chris kazakoff 3 months ago

    Sheas got really good diction

  • Giada Cesareo Mondragòn

    Thank you so much! This video came to me in the moment I am dealing with depression but have also the strong feeling that this depression can lead to something miraculous. Yes, two sides of on door.

  • Ally Eren
    Ally Eren 3 months ago

    OMG WOW !!

  • Kami F
    Kami F 3 months ago

    Lisa Miller, thank you

  • Soul Life Love
    Soul Life Love 3 months ago

    My major depression and PTSD from over 20 years of my abusive upbringing by my violent psychopathic father actually led me to my "dark night of the soul" and beginning of my spiritual awakening about 2 years ago. I'm fully aware of the divine realm, when I once wasn't and it's beautiful, it's sacred, it's always loving, and you're the creator of your own universe, because you're a part of the universe as a whole that has the same energy inside of you that also creates worlds. I loved your speech, you're absolutely correct, often times it's not just a disease, it's a pathway to love and Spirituality 🥰🌈✨🦋✌️ namaste

  • Abigail Jarnigan
    Abigail Jarnigan 3 months ago

    I love this

  • Tara Bradley
    Tara Bradley 3 months ago

    This is so SO so beautiful. Thank you for sharing your story and your path. Much love.

  • Paulina Pi
    Paulina Pi 3 months ago

    I think depression itself is not a pathway to anything..........certainly not anything good.
    But to put it more simply-
    Awakening is PAIN- and often depression is a side product of that pain.
    But with no sufferig and no understanding of the meaning of that particular suffering , there is no lesson and there is no growth.
    So there you have it.

  • Minadrac
    Minadrac 3 months ago +2

    Oh my God..this is soo beautiful

  • Gaia So
    Gaia So 3 months ago

    So.... did they end up adopting? How did this lovely tale of awakening progress? Sounds good in the TED talk, for sure. Were their children spiritual siblings? How does that work in the day to day real life of parenting? Would they be able to treat those children as equally theirs? Or was the far-away child just seen as a catalyst for getting what they wanted anyway? I don't know the answers, but I am left with some unsettling questions here. Why did she end it there? Did things get more complicated?

    This IS one type of depression, but it seems like she's saying this is what depression Really Is.

    CAYLLLES 3 months ago

    omg my heart

  • Rachel Plummer
    Rachel Plummer 3 months ago

    Thank you Dr. Miller for your insights. Truly inspiring, truly empowering.

  • Nakia Deon
    Nakia Deon 4 months ago

    This is absolutely beautiful.
    I have no idea why it was suggested to me...but I love it 💘

  • Munson Dick
    Munson Dick 4 months ago

    She’s talking about God

  • Tristan Walker
    Tristan Walker 4 months ago

    *Brain/Body as Buddha?*
    What if the ancients were mistaken about what is going on in the so-called spirit-ual journey? What if the entire thing, can be explained by the sheer power and potentiality of this material brain/body mechanism? I mean all of it. Like you name it - bliss, oneness, peace, intuition, clarity, compassion, sense of Beingness, heightened capacities, inspiration, visions, rich experiences mistaken for actual (ie. astral travel, past lives etc) - what if the whole thing can be explained by this very powerful, complex, and still barely understood organic system? What if what is called spirituality, is basically nothing more than this system that we are born with, mixed in with life conditioning, trauma, practices to hack our systems, luck, drugs, beliefs, and so on? What if so-called lineage transmission, is nothing more than some systemic potentiality that has come online for someone, through chance or in trying to hack the system via various practices, that resonates with the same potentiality in others? What if all of the deities, are just aspects of the system's potentiality? What if there is nothing before this brain/body mechanism comes online, and nothing when it dies? What if the entire sense of this life, including the most sublime and subtle "spiritual" states, are entirely manufactured by the brain/body mechanism? What if the only spiritual evolution to speak of, is the evolution of this brain/body mechanism, which basically uses the form to evolve according to natural laws. And there is no vast underlying Divine plan. What if everything you assumed was a spiritual process, is basically just the brain/body mechanism moving through it's unique program according to whatever genetic code, conditioning, stressors, traumas, systemic hacking (ie. meditation, breathwork, chanting, yoga, etc) What if the ancients simply could not understand the sheer power and complexity of this system, and what it could manufacture - and just filtered it through what they did know at the time (ie. culture, religion, limits of knowledge, imagination, superstition)? Science has already caused a lot of spiritual teachers to discard many of the things that were assumed to be true by the ancients. Contemporary movements are already a mix of West meets East - with all kinds of adaptation, rejection, adding, subtracting. So is it such a giant leap to consider that scientific discoveries are going to move spirituality further in that direction? Is it such a radical notion that we could discover that the entire life experience - from the mundane to the spiritual - is all a product of the system? And that we will discover far more profound and targeted ways to manipulate and develop the system - to basically create a new super species? Which could have all of the aspects of a spiritually enlightened being - if that is what an advanced society deems as ideal? It may be that our sense of being an individual human being - with a life story, and the whole thing - is merely an illusory by-product of these complex systems slowly evolving. That these bodies are basically the container for the system to evolve.
    Any thoughts?

  • Lee lamb
    Lee lamb 4 months ago

    Just lovely... Love saved my life 💜

  • Mimi B
    Mimi B 4 months ago

    Maybe momma duck knew you needed more protein in your nutrition lol

  • Vibeke Ridder
    Vibeke Ridder 4 months ago

    This is so valuable and important. Thank you thank you thank you . God bless you

  • Gina Illescas
    Gina Illescas 4 months ago


  • Zach Ethington
    Zach Ethington 4 months ago

    Wow, what a beautiful talk. Not only was her story about the mama duck heartbreaking and moving, but the science behind alpha waves and meditation being the same as the earths crust was fascinating.

  • Hoodlum Technologist
    Hoodlum Technologist 4 months ago +1


  • Miss Maynard
    Miss Maynard 4 months ago +4

    This was so beautiful. It reminds me a little of my pregnancy journey but my guides and messengers came in the form of white butterflies.

  • Scott Harrington
    Scott Harrington 4 months ago

    Don’t waste your time watching this -

  • Marilyn Redmond
    Marilyn Redmond 4 months ago

    Spiritually depression is stuffed anger that someone is not getting what they want and it is not going their way. The anger is stopping the love of the universe from manifesting in your life. When you release the anger and come into gratitude about your life, the the universe is free to bring it to you. We stop our own gifts by not choosing to be happy and see that awe are living in love in us and around us "today". Depression is wanting from the past. Nothing can manifest from history it is not real any more. We only have today which is reality. In the daily awareness of now, presence of love, comes our gifts. They are there waiting for us when we are in the moment, as gift.

  • Loveseeking Neverfound
    Loveseeking Neverfound 4 months ago

    Wow! No one calls me. No one reaches out to me. No one showed up the day I lost my child. In fact people showed up 4 days after. There reasons. I can't get off work. Our family is going out of town, sorry Bridgette, but we can't sit with you. Was it for me to understand that ok these people said they loved me and my kids but they weren't my blood family. Well, I didn't get support from my own family. They all believe and said I deserve to suffer and they expressed, we just don't have the time Bridgette. Tell me what you think you would think. How would you feel. To see that you are not worth no one's time or concern because they hold against you their versional description of who they think you were to be. I never lived up to these peoples expectations of me and some of them mocked me to say. All my destruction was my fault. What adds on to me believing that if I don't walk so many steps and breathe so many breaths and how many times I must do something to assure all would be OK if I do these routines. No one checks on me. Not self pity of this. It is just clear awareness I have known. I am not of any significant part of anyone's life. I have concluded how I don't fit in here. So, I stay away because humans have showed me. I never mattered to them because I have a voice of my own and I don't conform when I do not feel safety or security in the connections of who is in my life. Lessons before I go. Lessons before I go. Lessons before I leave.

  • Cade Becker
    Cade Becker 4 months ago

    I'm supper spiritual when I smoke a lot of weed :((

  • Tommie T
    Tommie T 5 months ago

    If it’s meant to be, a child will find a way to you, no matter how.

  • pelaito2
    pelaito2 5 months ago

    As someone who has suffered from depression twice, this deeply sincere and emotional talk truly resonated with me. The one thing that helped me trudge through those swampy waters was love -the unconditional love I received from my family and my friends, the love I had to give back to them and to others. For me that was the light on the other side of the door, that light on the edge of the swamp. I can't say now I'm spiritually elevated. What I can say is I've been there, I know how much it hurts, and I don't wanna go back.
    Be there for those you love when they most need you.

  • Sadie Jackson
    Sadie Jackson 5 months ago

    I can now say i forced myself for around 10 years to try and get pregnant and it was in this time i suffered most. I knew it wasnt what i "wanted" but what i thought i "should" do as a woman. Im so thankful that i realised that i was being very selfish. I was ignoring my own gut instincts which caused my depression. It made me realise that when im using the words "want" and "should" to question myself. In my opinion, telling yourself anything that includes any of these 2 words will cause suffering. I dont feel in this ladies story there is anything "spiritual" going on but more of the "ego" at work in my opinion. we all have our own choices to make and mine to stop trying worked for me 🙂. To anyone that is going through the rollercoaster of trying to concieve i wish you the biggest amount of love and luck possible ❤

  • Valeria Feist
    Valeria Feist 5 months ago

    Crazy, i got goosebumps all over my body as she said that she got pregnant that night

  • gaurav koranga
    gaurav koranga 5 months ago

    Guys u just dont know where i am growing through right now so much pain and suffering i am in right now.

  • Caitlyn Warner
    Caitlyn Warner 5 months ago

    I, too, feel that my spiritual awakening reconciled with my depression and that that go hand in hand.

  • Jamie J
    Jamie J 5 months ago

    I also found my spiritual path through my suffering. What an amazing presentation!

  • Marisol Sanchez
    Marisol Sanchez 5 months ago +1

    Beautiful. Thank u for sharing. I love u.

  • ThrdWldGrl Collins
    ThrdWldGrl Collins 5 months ago

    This doc is a little ducky 🤪

  • bawabhan
    bawabhan 5 months ago

    There is way too much suffering in the world to see depression as a spiritual awakening. As it is said. History is written by the victors. I have seen what mental illness can do to a person and it is but funny.

  • Indigo
    Indigo 6 months ago

    This does not make sense to me depression has lost me my child

  • heaven oo4
    heaven oo4 6 months ago +11

    I Need Wisdom and Guidance 🙏🙏
    Please pray for me 🙏

    • yzwoody
      yzwoody 11 days ago +1

      heaven oo4
      Hope you’re well. Down myself. I keep looking for answers and trying. I hope you are finding what you are looking for

  • G G
    G G 6 months ago


  • Your Magical Consciousness

    Wait, what? "Our lives our empty and meaningless without children" ??????? WTF. This planet is over-populated and there are literally tens of thousands of needy already born kids looking for homes.

  • Selena Queen
    Selena Queen 6 months ago +2

    I'm not saying this to be rude or anything but honestly I never understood why people want kids. I just have a totally different point of view I guess I don't see the point what do they do for you? I just don't understand? I'm really not trying to say that they don't matter or are not important I just don't see why everyone wants kids and what they do for you I'm confused

  • ilan zaguri
    ilan zaguri 6 months ago

    ייסמי. אלמגרבי

  • oofafoo
    oofafoo 6 months ago

    How do you heal as a 60 year old that never had that love through childhood even though both 'parents' were there. Removing the daily pain through alcohol and other means is all I can do to keep sane and somehow feel alive.

  • Grace O.
    Grace O. 6 months ago

    Thank you very much. This talk opened up my eyes to more truth. Much love

  • MaryStellaRose
    MaryStellaRose 6 months ago +2

    Oh my... I have way worse problems than having no children... I have to think where to live next month, where to get my next job... My health which is not good, pain... What should I do?? I would be happy without children, for me this is a first world problem

  • Rohit Goswami
    Rohit Goswami 6 months ago

    How are u Lisa ....welcome

  • all_sun75
    all_sun75 6 months ago

    no! cause there is no spirtshituality as such, fairy tales

  • SquarePondStories
    SquarePondStories 7 months ago

    Beautiful. The duck story made me cry. Because of its beauty.

  • Bella Lemore’
    Bella Lemore’ 7 months ago

    The past month or so I’ve been happy and feeling so great about myself then the next day or two I will terrible and thinking that my worth is a nothing... I have been trying to learn self care and love but is this a spiritual awakening, my sadness came out of no where and now suddenly I want to become vegetarian and vegan and I’m just all over the place please if you have any idea what’s going on with me reply to help I would very much appreciate it❤️🙏🏼

  • A Matthews
    A Matthews 7 months ago

    She’s a great speaker

  • magdelima
    magdelima 7 months ago

    I would say that depression is a disease but also the way you face what life is trying to teach you.

  • magdelima
    magdelima 7 months ago

    Thank you Lisa, I am not depressed or trying to have a baby but your words made me so thrilled and full of hope! I just shared this with a friend that is facing this situation and for sure will bring positive thoughts and energy