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!READ KINDLE ⚇ Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion ♺ For The Millions Of Americans Who Want Spirituality Without Religion, Sam Harris S New Book Is A Guide To Meditation As A Rational Spiritual Practice Informed By Neuroscience And PsychologyFrom Multiple New York Times Bestselling Author, Neuroscientist, And New Atheist Sam Harris, Waking Up Is For The Percent Of Americans Who Follow No Religion, But Who Suspect That Jesus, Buddha, Lao Tzu, Rumi, And The Other Saints And Sages Of History Could Not Have All Been Epileptics, Schizophrenics, Or Frauds Throughout The Book, Harris Argues That There Are Important Truths To Be Found In The Experiences Of Such Contemplatives And, Therefore, That There Is To Understanding Reality Than Science And Secular Culture Generally AllowWaking Up Is Part Seeker S Memoir And Part Exploration Of The Scientific Underpinnings Of Spirituality No Other Book Marries Contemplative Wisdom And Modern Science In This Way, And No Author Other Than Sam Harris A Scientist, Philosopher, And Famous Skeptic Could Write It
I have run the gamut in my life from fundamentalist religion to New Age spirituality Once I settled into atheism and critical thinking, I became wary of meditation and all of the religious spiritual trappings that seemed to automatically go with it But I couldn t keep ignoring the science showing that meditation can be useful, once stripped of all of the metaphysical jargon and beliefs Harris explores the science as well as his own personal journey with meditation with ease, humour and depth It was an easy read, one which had me both considering meditation as a tool for stress management and as a way to understand my place in the cosmos better And I love that the book maintains Harris wit He actually did have me laughing out loud at points. This book is bound to ignite another firestorm in the skeptic community around the word spirituality, but it really shouldn t As Harris makes clear from the outset, his interests still lie squarely within the bounds of rational inquiry One need not entertain any spooky metaphysics in order to honestly interrogate the mind and its limits What he does argue, however, is that consciousness is an object of study unlike any other in science because it is both the subject of investigation and the tool we re using to investigate A healthy portion of the book is spent fending off the attacks Harris anticipates from his less experience hungry colleagues in the scientific community spirituality is a term too loaded down with religious baggage, mystics and contemplatives are all on some level lying about the depth of their experiences, and the entire enterprise is ripe for fraud Harris is quite willing to grant some ground to these objections, but having spent a serious span of his life on meditation retreats, experimenting with mind altering drugs, and exploring the possibilities of consciousness, he insists that there really is a there there And scientists would be well served not to dismiss it out of hand.By the final pages, Harris has made a strong case with his usual verbal flair All of us scientists included should be eager to openly and honestly explore consciousness because that s all that could ever really matter And unlike so many self help books, Waking Up suggests that the answer doesn t rest in learning and about the self but rather in dissolving it and noticing that the thing that thinks our thoughts cannot be identical with the thoughts themselves While the program put forward in the book and likely the online courses set to begin this September is a daunting one, it s extremely hard to argue with Harris reasoning Who doesn t want to be happier, less neurotic, and at home in one s own mind A little disappointed with this one Harris basically defines spirituality as the quest to see the ego and the self as illusions, and while that s certainly a worthy goal, it strikes me as a somewhat narrow definition for spirituality, as I personally find spirituality to also include things such as developing a sense of love and compassion towards other people.The book is subtitled A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion In practice, the guide parts consist of a few meditation instructions, some arguments from neuroscience and philosophy on why there isn t a unified self, and a brief discussion about how psychedelics can provide useful insights to the nature of consciousness The meditation instructions aren t bad, but there s also nothing particularly novel about them, and only a few of them are provided The neuroscience arguments seemed weak even to someone who believed in the claim that they were trying to establish, as did the philosophy for the most part Ken Wilber s No Boundary Eastern and Western Approaches to Personal Growth did the philosophy much better, I feel I m sure that there are people who find the content in this book interesting and novel, and there were a few useful nuggets of information, but for the most part it was either stuff that I had seen before or stuff that was novel but unconvincing.And then there is the ranting and endless religion bashing Harris seems to use every possible excuse to attack religion and superstition While I m an atheist who agrees that religions have plenty of silly beliefs, I didn t get this book to read endless rants about their evils Blah blah Christianity prevents people from correctly interpreting their meditative experiences and is generally evil blah blah blah Buddhism is better and has a lot of valuable stuff but still we shouldn t forget that it too has all kinds of silly nastiness blah blah YES I GET IT COULD WE PLEASE GET BACK TO THE TOPIC Oh, only for a few paragraphs, then you want to get back to the ranting Sigh. I received this book through a goodreads sweepstakes It came in the mail a few days ago I couldn t put it down after I opened it All finished reading it within three days I was baptized Catholic and attended a Catholic school through 8th grade I was later confirmed Catholic in high school because that was my grandmother s wish for me The woman is my life, so I do as I m told, but I never really felt like Catholicism was for me Way too strict and judgmental I went to a few other churches to try those out and none of them really fit me I decided to change from religious to spiritual This book breaks that all down for the reader It makes it easy to see why and people are choosing to be good people because they believe they should be instead of because a priest or deacon tells them to be My only complaint is all of the references in the back Of course I had to cross reference a lot of them for information, such a sucker for knowledge, so that took a little while.Great book Worth a buy or a rental ENJOY Much of this was about becoming consciousness and not being distracted by thought, but most of the time I was thinking of other things. My first acquaintance with Sam Harris was through one of the many YouTube snippets in which logically reasoning and science advocating people debates different religious people about the existence of god along with about a million sidetracks Being Swedish, I found this fascinating for a while very few Swedes would ever define themselves as atheists for quite similar reasons why most people do not define themselves as non elf believers I watched a bunch of these, until my fascination with the power of human self delusion was exhausted and the fascination with Harris and his team mates patiences was long gone and I will probably never have to watch another I ve also never picked up a book by any of the knowledgeables Harris, Hitchens, Nye, Dawkins much for the reason that I know beforehand that I will agree on most counts and the compelling powers of logical reasoning in themselves are not enough to keep interest up for a lengthy text or so I ve always thought Harris and Neil deGrasse Tyson did stand out from the rest of the debate willing sceptics yes I do know this is not all these guys do by discussing about how peoples different beliefs affects all of us from immediate family all the way through globally, short term, long term and impact on development, economics, humanitarian, personal freedom and many other levels Some debating atheists seem quite content with discussing the plausibility of talking snakes or likewise conversing burning bushes or the possibility of building an impossibly large wooden boat and sail on it for an extended time carrying two of every species on earth This is why I have been a bit interested and learned a bit about and from these two.And so, I was excited to happen upon this book a scientific and philosophical exploration of the self and that far it s great Chapter 2, The Mystery of Consciousness had some very interesting ideas and information, all expressed in Harris usual eloquent and impeccable style and Chapter 3 The Riddle of the Self had me largely spellbound Unfortunately, then the fun ended and a how to guide for transcendence , or the second half of this book contains, much to my chagrin, some of the same logical discrepancies or at least the missing arguments for much of the theories and practises taught that he himself has consistently accused his religious counterparts First, the author does not offer a single piece of argument much less evidence before he jumps head first into the art of meditation Long story short we don t know what thoughts are, how they come to be, how they work or why we have them But we know that they spin around in our heads every waking hour And therefore it must be right to try to turn off the flow, right Wrong You just jumped the first four questions and they should really be answered before the solution.So now, un persuaded that I should really meditate for some unclear reasons, lots of the remaining text got less interesting But that s not the worst Harris being a meditation fan can t really avoid fan boy ing the masters of this trade Problem is that the masters do seem to be lacking Being an enlightened and ridiculously wise and good person would it be too much to ask that you refrain from sexually abusing your prot g s Or show a basic understanding of what they are used to, or the codes and ways of the society they where brought up in Do we really need Sam Harris acting apologist to a bunch of men always that are by undisclosed standards above the rest of us, but that are in the cold light of reasoning obviously as clueless as most of us No, that stinks in my opinion If meditation for some yet unproven reason is what an animal brought forward by millions of years of evolution must do to keep sane is there one piece of information that leads us to believe that a Tibetan monk or an Indian outcast is the go to authority on the subject Asking an old guy, talking in riddles and surprising by obviously having it together in some respects, but sounding like a charlatan in the next instant does this remind anyone of anything If Harris meant this to be any sort of primer, he failed miserably Nowhere in this book did I find the reason to why I should strive to turn off my conscious thoughts often by focusing on physical phenomena, such as how the bench of choice feels against my buttocks or worrying very much about breathing for hours on end Breaking negative thought cycles and breaking free from disabling pondering, I m convinced is a good idea, from a psychological and personal experience viewpoint Some people like fishing, I m into equine therapy myself.Two thought provoking and great chapters, unfortunately that leaves than half of this book with a lot to be wished for. It s not long since I ve first come across the word spirituality I ve mostly heard it from people who practice meditation As a beginner I didn t quite understand it This book gave me some good ideas Consciousness is at the core of the book The hard question is this What s consciousness And where does it come from I really enjoyed Sam Harris s reasons and responses to this fundamental question and the wisdom with which he promoted his ideas His philosophical and scientific arguments regarding the benefits of a mindful life is quite thought provoking He addresses consciousness and the issue of Self in a clean way, shattering the mysteries of the latter while subscribing to an appropriate explanation of the former The feeling that we call I is an illusion There is no discrete self or ego living like a Minotaur in the labyrinth of the brain And the feeling that there is the sense of being perched somewhere behind your eyes, looking out at a world that is separate from yourself can be altered or entirely extinguished Subjectively speaking, the only thing that actually exists is consciousness and its contents And the only thing relevant to the question of personal identity is psychological continuity from one moment to the next He believes that spirituality is an altered state of consciousness that can be induced by contemplative practice or drugs psychedelics none of which is in any way dependent to religious beliefs or rituals.There is a bit of neuroscience in the book as Harris tries to demystify consciousness He also discusses his personal transcendental experiences, first on a drug trip as a young man and then on a tour of Eastern contemplative practices He then discusses the dangers of being taught about consciousness by imperfect gurus spiritual teachers I m quite fond of the last chapter It s really good Despite all the risks, however, Mr Harris believes that experience of spiritual states can drastically improve the quality of one s life It is within our capacity to recognize the nature of thoughts, to awaken from the dream of being merely ourselves and, in this way, to become better able to contribute to the well being of others We are always and everywhere in the presence of reality Indeed, the human mind is the most complex and subtle expression of reality we have thus far encountered This should grant profundity to the humble project of noticing what it is like to be you in the present However numerous your faults, something in you at this moment is pristine and only you can recognize it Open your eyes and see I strongly recommend this book to all, whether one s a believer, non believer, questioner, rebel, upholder, abstainer, moderator, and the list goes on It s one of the best books written on the subject. After enthusiastically starting this book, I gradually became annoyed, and eventually angry, as it slid on a downward slope to the end This embarrassing work is far beneath what I would have expected from a scholar such as Harris What a surprise it was to find details on the sexual malpractices of spiritual gurus and how to find one that matches your tastes, among other awkward and simplistic information.I had been eagerly looking forward to reading Waking Up after its publication was announced in Spring 2014 Who better than Harris, the master of rationality, to offer a companion way to look at the world to sit side by side with my scientific outlook one that embraces the spiritual without the religious Who could object to experiencing another form of beauty in one s life that doesn t contradict the observed facts of the universe Maddeningly, his book does not deliver on this promise, as other reviewers have also noted What it does do is present a trivial prescription, not at all original, which is easily summarized 1 you don t exist, and 2 empty your mind of all thought.Those that have read Waking Up, should see evidence of my displeasure by noting the deliberately frequent use of I and me in this review I being the very one who read his book and subsequently wrote this text with some passion I am most certainly not an illusion, believe me You, on the other hand, are free to believe what you will concerning yourself Of course, in this demotion of self and mind, Harris only reiterates ancient well known aspects of Buddhist philosophy He does so here without adding anything new That reduces what s left of the book to its only other theme that of the meaning and origin of human consciousness Again, Harris adds nothing, this time to the relevant science, which is covered in great depth in several recent authoritative books by other scientists An excellent example is the very readable Consciousness and the Brain Deciphering How the Brain Codes Our Thoughts, by Stanislas Dehaene Published in 2014, it s quite comprehensive, covering many of the points in Harris s book, with depth and authority, and going far beyond.In the final analysis, what s left Only some surprising autobiographical material about his use of psychoactive drugs that is, it s surprising if you are a Harris fan Such use may be common by others who are not necessarily public intellectuals I acknowledge that, like Harris, Aldous Huxley used mescaline and wrote a book about it, the classic The Doors of Perception Huxley s is leagues ahead in spiritual depth, even if the science is somewhat dated What am I critical of this book Not for the link to Buddhism, I m not a believer, never will be not for the drug use, I m not a prude not even for the amateurish advice about gurus, since at least it is momentarily ironically humorous My ultimate criticism is his failure to teach us something new He should have given us some real tools with which to make our lives meaningful in the spiritual sense without resorting to religion The book s promise was forfeited Concomitant with that failure, he has damaged his image as a leader in the American culture war, whether he wants to be one or not.This book strongly deserves a 1 star I m struggling to maintain some intellectual respect in Harris He s possibly now nothing to me, despite his great previous work advocating rationality over groundless faith see The End of Faith Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason Unlike him, who seems to think that an empty consciousness is man s highest mental state, I still consider human thought to be the ultimate expression of the Universe examining itself, not the true source of pain and suffering that Harris claims in this deeply weird book. A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion sounds great I feel spiritually stunted yet dread the involvement of religion.The book started out great, thoughts on the use of spirituality with some academic references.Sam then says that to be spiritual without religion you need to lose your sense of self He then explores the psychology and brain physiology of self and thinks he shows that the self doesn t exist I followed most of the science, but when the philosophy came into it I was lost.Alright, Sam, what else do you have to offer Oh, the one true way to do this is to use a Bhuddist meditation technique cutting out the jumbo jumbo Oh, you studied it yourself with your guru for like ever Yeah, this is far from religion How do you do it Hand wavy stuff and you might want to study it yourself Why thanks Sam This really helps out.Oh and now you want to go on about how gurus are often shady characters Really holding up this argument well, Sam.I couldn t deal with any.In summary this is a pamphlet for some Bhuddist hippy shit that Sam got into in his twenties Note There are a lot of reviews here that love this book I definitely know there is a possibility that I was just too dense to get what Sam was on about But I m just a scientist who was hoping to develop his spirituality.