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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. Hardcover , pages. Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Nonfiction To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

To ask other readers questions about Waking Up , please sign up. Is this book is only for Americans? I want to know how could you write about spirituality without religion when most of what we know about spirituality comes from a religion? Jason Keisling If only there was a book you could read to find out.

See all 6 questions about Waking Up…. Lists with This Book. Mar 01, Dan Harris rated it it was amazing. This book is not out yet, but Sam was nice enough to let me read the galley. It will surprise a lot of people to learn that this often acerbic atheist in fact has a deep history of meditation practice.

Did you get it?

In this book - which is part polemic, part memoir, part pop-science - he makes the case for a "spirituality" he doesn't like the word, per se, but points out that there are sadly no other options divorced from religion. Whether or not, you agree with his views on faith, Sam mak This book is not out yet, but Sam was nice enough to let me read the galley.

Whether or not, you agree with his views on faith, Sam makes a compelling philosophical and scientific argument for the benefits of meditation. View all 8 comments. Jan 29, Chris rated it did not like it Shelves: After enthusiastically starting this book, I gradually became annoyed, and eventually angry, as it slid on a downward slope to the end.

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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 announ After enthusiastically starting this book, I gradually became annoyed, and eventually angry, as it slid on a downward slope to the end.

I had been eagerly looking forward to reading Waking Up after its publication was announced in Spring 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: 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: 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: 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: Published in , it's quite comprehensive, covering many of the points in Harris's book, with more 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.

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Such use may be more 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? 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. View all 25 comments. May 13, Josh rated it it was amazing.

Is your toddler waking up too early? Here are 6 ways to cope

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 t This book is bound to ignite another firestorm in the skeptic community around the word "spirituality," but it really shouldn't. 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: 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 more and more 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 more 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.

In practice, the guide parts consist of a few meditation instructions, A little disappointed with this one. 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: 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. Oh, only for a few paragraphs, then you want to get back to the ranting. Aug 30, tall penguin rated it it was amazing. I have run the gamut in my life from fundamentalist religion to New Age spirituality.

Waking Up with Sam Harris #125 - What Is Christianity? (with Bart Ehrman)

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. Jun 07, Lance rated it it was ok Shelves: Much of this was about becoming consciousness and not being distracted by thought, but most of the time I was thinking of other things. Aug 19, Amanda rated it really liked it. 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 I received this book through a goodreads sweepstakes. 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 more and more 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 more information, such a sucker for knowledge, so that took a little while. Worth a buy or a rental.

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  • 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 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. 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 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! 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 more interested and learned a bit more about and from these two. And so, I was excited to happen upon this book. 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.

    First, the author does not offer a single piece of argument - much less evidence - before he jumps head-first into the art of meditation. 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?

    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: Problem is that the "masters" do seem to be lacking.

    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 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.

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    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 more than half of this book with a lot more to be wished for. View all 3 comments. Jan 27, Sara Alaee rated it really liked it Shelves: This book gave me some good ideas. Consciousness is at the core of the book. The hard question is this: And where does it come from?

    His philosophical and scientific arguments regarding the benefits of a mindful life is quite thought-provoking. 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. And the only thing relevant to the question of personal identity is psychological continuity from one moment to the next.

    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.

    Despite all the risks, however, Mr. 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 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. 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 anymore. In summary this is a pamphlet for some Bhuddist hippy shit that Sam got into in his twenties.

    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. Jun 11, Mike Dobbins rated it did not like it. Serious ethical lapses are occurring in the marketing of this book. Still, this book is being marketed to spiritual people. I describe this problem in greater detail in an article in The Christian Post.

    Please read it and learn for yourself before purchasing a book that is being marketed as ONE type of spirituality, when it's actually about a completely different type. View all 4 comments. Nov 06, Gendou rated it did not like it Shelves: TL;DR the only benefit of meditation is investment justification. This book made me so very sad, because I like the idea of spirituality without religion. Really, this book is about Vipassana meditation and Buddhism. It's just awful, which I never would have expected from Sam Harris.

    Harris starts off with an accusation that "few scientists have developed strong skills of introspection". I've found the opposite to be true, both anecdotally in my personal life and in the biographical literature. The TL;DR the only benefit of meditation is investment justification. The thesis of this book is that we go throughout life "thinking without being aware that we're thinking" which is the "illusion of the self".

    If by "there is no self" he meant the Cartesian creature is fiction, I would agree. But Harris is a believer in the "Hard Problem" of consciousness. He says that consciousness cannot be explained in terms of information processing. He doesn't accept that neuroscience can fully explain the emergence of consciousness by correlating mind states with brain states. This is science denial. Ironically, he rejects dualism in the first chapter.

    His emphasis on consciousness is also ironic because later on he insists, "what does not survive scrutiny cannot be real. He nonetheless demands the reader accept the subjective experience of consciousness as undeniable evidence for its existence. Here are some strategies to try when your toddler is waking up too early:. If you think your toddler is getting enough sleep and might be going to bed too early, try shifting her bedtime to a later time. Or you might want to gradually shorten nap times.

    Install blinds to keep the room dark, or add a white-noise machine to mask the sounds of pre-dawn garbage trucks and particularly enthusiastic birds. Does your toddler wake up with a soaking diaper every morning?

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    You may also want to cut down the amount of liquid she has before bedtime. If he seems hungry when he wakes up, a high-protein snack, such as hummus, yogurt, or nut butter on toast, before bedtime may help to stave off hunger longer. You may be able to leave some toys in his crib or room the night before, or you might feel safer having him in your room, playing on the floor while you get a little more rest.

    Good thing, too, because with a baby to nurse in the night, his mom needs all the sleep she can get. We've sent an email with instructions to create a new password. Your existing password has not been changed. You have activated your account, please feel free to browse our exclusive contests, videos and content. To get in the mood for slumber, you can meditate, stretch, take a warm shower or bath, or read a book in a low-lit room. If you get at least 7 hours a night but you're still worn out, see the doctor.

    A health problem or a sleep disorder like sleep apnea may be to blame. American Journal of Psychiatry , April Chan School of Public Health: European Journal of Clinical Nutrition , January This tool does not provide medical advice. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site.

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