Waking Up by Sam Harris

Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion by Sam Harris

Sam Harris is a philosopher receiving his degree from Stanford, and a PhD in neuroscience from UCLA. Studying ancient wisdom with the technology of modern day neuroscience brings a perspective to spirituality someone cannot ignore.

Whether you agree or disagree with Sam Harris’s views, his arguments gets one to think. Harris states on page 32 the purpose for the book:

My purpose in writing this book is to encourage you to investigate certain contemplative insights for yourself, without accepting the metaphysical ideas that they inspired in ignorant and isolated peoples of the past.

page 32

Before we going further I would like to mention I haven’t studied any religion or read any holy books. During my sophomore year of high school I was learning about the benefits of meditation and was noticing that many highly successful people have some form of meditative/mindfulness habit. By that time I was full throttle into health and fitness and was learning about the mind. While learning about the mind I was introduced to meditation. Thus starting a spiritual journey.

For a while I felt meditation was useless and my mind was crazy. It wasn’t until about 2 years of on-and-off practice that I started to understand the importance of meditation and why people practice. We all have a mind where thoughts come and go. A practice of meditation helps a person become detached from the waves of thoughts.

Just like all evolution there is a learning process, spirituality not excluded. For a brief period I was deep into ancient civilizations, aliens and religions preaching to everyone that there was going to be an ascension moment that everyone must prepare for or be left behind. During that time somethings just didn’t add up, but I kept preaching. This went on for about 3 months until I hit a point of frustration. Dropping everything I went on a 24 day travel. Grateful to have traveled because it gave my mind time to put some puzzle pieces together. I continued to study and read and noticed most intellectuals were atheist.

We language speaking apes are always searching for more: more money, more love, more laughs. Ultimately we are seeking the infinite. We create stories of infinite immortal beings. The greeks had the greek gods, the east had many gods, the natives had the spirits of animals. Christianity says there is a singular god. Whether you believe in god or not is not the point. The point is to seek and continue asking questions even with societal and religious dogma screaming in your face.

The realistic goal to be attained through spiritual practice is not some permanent state of enlightenment that admits of no further efforts but a capacity to be free in this moment, in the midst of whatever is happening.

page 49

The only constant is change as Yuval Noah Harari stated in his book 21 Lessons for the 21st Century

Realizing this is a evolutionary leap that not many people have. Most people live their lives as slaves to there thoughts. We all have the capability to be free from the prison of our mind. We always have a choice and to realize this is freedom.

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Robbie Knecht

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