You’ve got ten minutes, right? Good. That’s all you need for this one.
I’m not in the habit of pimping for other endeavors on my blog. This has always been little more than a personal safety valve to keep Him at bay. to document my trials and tribulations as I trudge the road of happy destiny, sobriety in one hand and my TBI in the other. But since I am making a go of it attempting to get my “brand” out into the world (no small feat since I haven’t released the name of that brand yet, but the answers are coming I assure you.) But as any one of my “friends” on social media will tell you, one of my big “things” is meditation. Which is why I want to tell you about the Waking Up app.
Sam Harris is my new guru (though he probably doesn’t know that.) I first got wind of him and his work via The Joe Rogan Experience podcast which I guess I’m also pimping for because it is one of the more salient (Sam uses the word “salient” all the time in his work and it means “most noticeable or important” but it’s a smart-sounding word and I just used it correctly, so, y’know, yay me) podcasts out there. I’m about to finish Sam’s book The End of Faith (I tend to assume I’m on a first-name-basis with people whose work I have developed an intimate relationship with like Kurt (Vonnegut) or Tom (Robbins) or Sam, so I apologize if that is presumptive.) I staunchly recommend The End of Faith. Sam is simply brilliant in his breaking down, wholly and completely, the sheer superfluousness of religion in this 21st century world we live in. Specifically, he chews on Islam for a large chunk of the book, but he doesn’t spare Judaism and Christianity their share of scrutiny. Though it is very much a work of rather somber non-fiction (it won the PEN/Martha Albrand Award for First Nonfiction) I found myself laughing at many points throughout as Sam has an uncanny ability to insert humor in bite-size portions in the middle of stoic dissertations about religion and the theological, philosophical and social underpinnings upon which faith in all its forms is constructed. Oh, and the book was on the New York Times Best-Seller list for 33 weeks when it came out in 2004, so that alone warrants a read. If that’s not enough for you, and so I don’t go wasting my breath on an introduction you can learn all about Sam here. Trust me, the guy’s got chops.
Back to the pimping. Sam released a new app recently called Waking Up. Waking Up breaks down into two parts. In the lessons portion, Sam presents mini-lectures on everything from reality and consciousness to drugs and pain. They are easily digestible as Sam has a quite user-friendly way addressing his audience and I found myself listening to them and thinking “Well, duh. Why didn’t I think of that?” The answer is 1) I am not a philosopher 2) Even if I were, I wouldn’t be able to articulate the same thoughts, much less translate them into language as well as Sam. I am just a lowly blogger,
working on making myself a big-time blogger.
The other portion of the Waking Up app, the one I really want to tell you about, concerns meditation. If you follow me on social media, you know that since I became a practicing Zen Buddhist (look, every dating site I’ve ever been on has Buddhism as an option, so I go with that title even though, as I’ve said many times, even the Dalai Lama said “Don’t try to be a better Buddhist. Try to be a better version of what you already are”) I’ve harped on the benefits of meditation ad nauseum. Well guess what …
Sam’s Waking Up is ideal for beginners because each meditation session is only about 10 minutes long. That’s it. Sam stresses in a lot of the meditations one need not a fancy meditation altar with a bonsai tree and candles and meditation beads and all that rigmarole.
You need a chair. That’s all you need.
Sam will get you started for free. I got this from Sam’s website wakingup.com so you can see for yourself (I don’t think Sam will mind):
Waking Up is free to download and offers access to the first 5 meditations from the 50-day introductory course, along with 5 short talks. To gain full access to the expanding course, you will need to purchase an in-app subscription for either $14.99 US/month or $119.99 US/year.
GUARANTEE: If you complete the 50-day course and don’t find it valuable, we want you to have your money back. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to receive a full refund.
Sam never wants money to be the actual reason why someone isn’t using the Waking Up app. So if you truly cannot afford a subscription, please email us at email@example.com, and we will provide you with a free account.
So really, you literally have nothing to lose in trying what I have been arrogantly spouting from the rooftops for all five of my years of practicing meditation. If you are like me and found great benefit in the app, kick him some ducats. If you can’t afford that but you find value in the app, write him an email and tell him that.
10 minutes and a chair. Like we always say in AA meetings, it’s therapy for a buck and you get free coffee. With Waking Up, 10 minutes and a chair and you too can be 10% happier.
Sorry, I did a little pimping for Dan Harris there. Sam and Dan (see, I did the first-name-basis thing again and also, no relation) were on The Joe Rogan Experience once together so I don’t think Joe or Sam or Dan will begrudge any copyright infringement.