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Waking Up app with Sam Harris

JeroenJeroen Luminous beings are we, not this crude matterNetherlands Veteran

I just wanted to bring this to people’s attention. I’ve only been looking at it for a few days but it seems nice. Harris talks you through a series of guided meditations and he has a nice voice for this. For an experienced meditator it is a pleasant return to basics. There are also a series of theory talks, some of which are interviews with various spiritual teachers.

I’m not sure I want to subscribe to the premium app, $99 for a year seems like quite an investment and a bit of a money grab. But just the free content is quite refreshing in a nonsectarian kind of way.

Comments

  • JeroenJeroen Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter Netherlands Veteran

    It seems that you can request a free year’s account by email, which you can do from the website, and they grant 100% of these requests. Which is a nice option for those of us for who 100 dollars is a lot of money, which is the category I currently belong to. So I decided to take them up on it.

    The paid content includes Sam Harris interviewing a range of teachers, including Tara Brach, Mingyur Rinpoche, Jack Cornfield, Stephen Batchelor, Rupert Spira, Adyashanti, Richard Lang and others. They also have a lot of secular meditations in other traditions, such as the headless way, a stoic sequence, and a few more.

  • FoibleFullFoibleFull Canada Veteran

    Guided meditation is relaxation meditation. Not the mind-training that is Buddhist meditation. Nothing wrong with relaxing. It feels very good. But we don't gain compassion or wisdom or move towards enlightenment form guided meditations.

    In Buddhism, we are our own teacher. Others act as our coach .. WE have to do the work, and the truths of Buddhism are not grasped by listening, but from the insight that follows Mindfulness and/or Calm Abiding meditation.

    And $99 per year just to relax? There are ways to do that for free. Long baths, sex, relaxing music, exercise ... etc.

    BunksShoshin1lobster
  • JeroenJeroen Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter Netherlands Veteran

    Well, I wouldn’t want to say it’s all guided meditation. I’ve done the first three intro sessions, and they seem like it’s guided. The full introductory course is 28 sessions, and there are separate programs for 20-, 40- and 60-minute sits. There’s quite a lot of content, lots to explore.

    And if you feel 100 dollars a year is too much, you don’t have to pay it. I’ve just gotten my free one year membership, I will let you know when I get a bit deeper into the thing.

    Bunks
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    In Buddhism, we are our own teacher. Others act as our coach .. WE have to do the work, and the truths of Buddhism are not grasped by listening, but from the insight that follows Mindfulness and/or Calm Abiding meditation.

    Holy sugar puffs (right swearing/speech?) Responsibility … I knew it!

    A coach is a vehicle? So the guru circuit is not going to make us any more than parrots?

    Who or where to turn to? We have to find out who is driving in the right way? Roll on self driving …

    meanwhile … who is the just judge?

    BunksShoshin1WalkerFleaMarket
  • JeroenJeroen Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter Netherlands Veteran

    @FoibleFull said:
    In Buddhism, we are our own teacher. Others act as our coach .. WE have to do the work, and the truths of Buddhism are not grasped by listening, but from the insight that follows Mindfulness and/or Calm Abiding meditation.

    Fair enough. But Sam Harris and his friends have been in the meditation circuit a long time, he has been with many teachers, some Buddhist and some not. In the end he decided to be an atheist, and he ended up creating this app to put a non-religious approach to meditation.

    So if you think I want to look with a fresh pair of eyes, beginners eyes, on what meditation is shorn of all the trappings, then this might be a decent opening. It might suit a secular Buddhist very well, who doesn’t immediately have a tradition to go to.

    Bunks
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    And $99 per year just to relax? There are ways to do that for free. Long baths, sex, relaxing music, exercise ... etc.

    Indeed. Thanks for letting us know guys.

    • Chilling is the new way?
    • Relax … then dharma
    • Rug. Pull. Fall. Sit

    Think the ideal is to combine all the suggested techniques and then … choice … buy a $99 sangha

  • JeroenJeroen Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter Netherlands Veteran

    If you DONT WANT TO PAY, it is FREE

    BunksDairyLama
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    Free is still too much. I think any cult/circuit guru needs to consider paying at least $99 to the ignorant. I might be tempted …

    Normal exchange is now returned …

    Jeroen
  • DavidDavid A human residing in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Ancestral territory of the Erie, Haudenosaunee, Huron-Wendat, Mississauga and Neutral First Nations Veteran

    If I was so inclined, I would have to know what he will do with the money. Will it go to feeding monks or Sangha building?

  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the liminal space Veteran
    edited July 2021

    @David said:
    If I was so inclined, I would have to know what he will do with the money. Will it go to feeding monks or Sangha building?

    I know Sam in his discussions on ethics has made the decision to give a fair bit of his wealth away, not sure exactly how much. I pulled this from the actual, nonpartisan wikipedia page on Sam.

    David
  • ScottPenScottPen Maryland Veteran

    I was a subscriber for a little while. He has developed his own curriculum for what he considers to be the most effective approach to the practice. I don't typically like guided meditations and I found that to be the same here.
    It's inspired by Buddhist thought but isn't Buddhist in nature. Anyone can get a free year subscription, totally free of charge, no questions asked because Sam "doesn't want money being the reason" why a person wouldn't choose to participate.

    lobsterJeroenDairyLama
  • JeroenJeroen Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter Netherlands Veteran

    @ScottPen said:
    I was a subscriber for a little while. He has developed his own curriculum for what he considers to be the most effective approach to the practice. I don't typically like guided meditations and I found that to be the same here.
    It's inspired by Buddhist thought but isn't Buddhist in nature.

    Yes, after 8 days of theory and practice it’s becoming a little clearer what the whole thing includes. It borrows heavily from mindfulness and the secular mindfulness techniques, but also includes some things from Buddhist directions. In the theory Sam says “mindfulness doesn’t have to be practiced in silence, there is nothing wrong with guided meditation from a mindfulness perspective” as a justification for not having an entirely silent sitting practice.

    I’m finding the guided meditation practice to be not as bad as it usually is, because it just includes very sparse guidance. The meditations are about 10 minutes long, and they contain long sections of silence, with the ‘guidance’ varying between actual guidance (“if you get distracted, return to focus on the breath”) and hints (“when a thought arises, try to follow that thought to its origin”).

    So as you sit, these short ten-minute sessions guide you through a series of techniques. The theory includes answering questions such as “what is progress for a meditator” or “how to cope with boredom”.

    Bunks
  • JeroenJeroen Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter Netherlands Veteran

    One of the things I listened to today was a podcast with Frank Ostaseski as guest. Very interesting guy, he founded the San Francisco Zen Hospice and is very much about what death can teach us about living well.

    https://fiveinvitations.com/

  • JeroenJeroen Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter Netherlands Veteran
    edited July 2021

    I must profess to being a little disappointed with the later sections of the 28-session introductory course. It just goes on with basic mindfulness examinations of different things, I had hoped for something better.

    The conversations are a bit hit and miss, Ive listened to a few that didn’t manage to hold my attention. Some of them are good though. Sam’s “theory” section is rather dry, not very juicy, a collection of facts about different aspects of meditation and spirituality.

    In the end I think it’s a worthy effort, and fans of Sam’s way of thinking and his voice probably get a lot out of it. But for me Sam’s take on spirituality without religion is too dry, it’s lacking in juice, passion, playfulness. I find it a sharp contrast with Adyashanti or Osho.

    Im glad I didn’t spend a hundred dollars on a year’s subscription.

  • JeroenJeroen Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter Netherlands Veteran

    Still I keep coming back to it. Some conversations are good, a few of the theory sections are good, the Moments it keeps popping up are a good reminder, I am still planning to listen to some of the other meditation segments. There is a lot of content there, it will certainly keep you busy for a good while.

    Bunks
  • JeroenJeroen Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter Netherlands Veteran

    @Jeroen said:
    I must profess to being a little disappointed with the later sections of the 28-session introductory course. It just goes on with basic mindfulness examinations of different things, I had hoped for something better.

    And then it gets worse… in session 25 you are told you learn to put a positive spin on what you experience in meditation. What the… I just cannot imagine when you’ve just learnt clarity to start clouding that again with “spin”.

  • nakazcidnakazcid Somewhere in Dixie, y'all Veteran

    It was Sam Harris who first got me interested in Buddhism. He's clearly got a strong intellect and thinks through things in a rigorous manner. But some of his comments about terrorism and pacifism made me realize that he is rather...lacking in compassion I suppose is the best way to put it. I've tried reading some of his other works since The End of Faith but they just don't hold my interest any more.

    lobster
  • Yes I liked Sam Harris because he is a ninja … or at least trains in it.
    … and of course we may outgrow populist dharma stars. I have a lot of compassion for the compassionless o:)

  • JeroenJeroen Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter Netherlands Veteran
    edited January 14

    I have to say, they keep adding content, which makes it a pretty good package.

    They have redesigned the app, splitting the theory section into series, conversations and question and answer sessions. They have a series by Joseph Goldstein on traditional Buddhist approaches, a long section by William B. Irvine on the stoic path, series on the brain and series on ethics, and they recently added over 100 hours of Alan Watts audio material.

    The meditations section has the 28-part introductory course by Sam Harris, courses on metta and walking meditation, the headless way and koan contemplation, and others. A recent addition was a series of short meditations entitled Recognition by Adyashanti.

    It’s really worth asking for a free year’s membership on this and making the most of it for a while. Sam was wise not to go it alone, but to do this in partnership with other teachers, there’s something for everyone.

    I gave them a 5-star recommendation on the App Store, it’s sat on my Home Screen for six months and I got a lot out of it.

    Bunks
  • JeroenJeroen Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter Netherlands Veteran
    edited June 28

    Well, after a year it’s still on my phone’s home screen and it’s my most-used meditation app. I mostly listen to the conversations and the theory, the guided material doesn’t hold my attention so much, and the reason I keep coming back is for the other teachers, not Sam Harris.

    Recently they have added sections by Samaneri Jayasara on Advaita and Dzogchen which are readings from texts, a section by Stephen Bodian called the direct path, and a section of short inquiries by John Astin on direct experiencing. I’ve found these to be very useful, clearing up all kinds of stuff. There were conversations with Gangaji, Michael Pollan and Adyashanti which I found useful.

    I’ve also recently tried Deepak Chopra’s app, called Chopra, which has all kinds of stuff from Ayurveda, but I found it’s wellness-approach less interesting than Sam Harris’ focus on meditation. The Chopra app also doesn’t have so much free content or a free subscription option.

    I’ve asked for and received a second free year of the Waking Up app.

  • JeroenJeroen Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter Netherlands Veteran

    It of course depends whether you want a non sectarian approach to meditation. If you want something more distinctly buddhist, maybe the Plum Village app will be more your style. It’s free and jam packed full of good content.

  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the liminal space Veteran

    A cousin of mine who started meditating a couple years ago started using the app and is liking the approach it has.

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