Waking up

Waking up

A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion

Book - 2014
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For the millions of Americans who want spirituality without religion, Waking Up is a guide to meditation as a rational practice informed by neuroscience and psychology.

From Sam Harris, neuroscientist and author of numerous New York Times bestselling books, Waking Up is for the twenty percent of Americans who follow no religion but who suspect that important truths can be found in the experiences of such figures as Jesus, the Buddha, Lao Tzu, Rumi, and the other saints and sages of history. Throughout this book, Harris argues that there is more to understanding reality than science and secular culture generally allow, and that how we pay attention to the present moment largely determines the quality of our lives.

Waking Up is part 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.
Publisher: New York ;, Toronto :, Simon & Schuster,, 2014
Edition: First Simon & Schuster hardcover edition
ISBN: 9781451636017
Branch Call Number: ANF 204 HAR
ANF 204 HAR
Characteristics: viii, 245 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm

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AL_ANNAL Mar 22, 2017

In the past couple decades research into the brain has taken off. Sam Harris, who has a Ph.D. in neuroscience and has spent decades in mindfulness practice, is well qualified to introduce the reader to the relevance of these new discoveries for her/himself. The book covers the meaning of spirituality and the fascinating implications of split brain experiments. Harris generously offers guidance on the benefits of mindfulness, how to progress in meditation and understanding the nature of consciousness and the self, and how to recognize phony or abusive gurus.

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ssandor
Dec 29, 2016

Excellent book. You learn what motivates us from a scientific point of view and a road map on how to achieve inner peace. He gives an easy to understand explanation of what are the causes of our discontent and a way to work towards reducing it to live a happier life.
Highly recommended for anyone that has an open mind and wants to explore ways to become more content using eastern philosophical practices without the the dogma that surrounds these practices.

dendem4 Jun 15, 2016

One of Harris's better books in my opinion; does a good job of explaining spirituality with snip-its of meditation exercises. It becomes a little dull occasionally but overall an easier read.

redban Oct 31, 2014

I found this book both compelling and perplexing (perhaps the perplexing parts was from my lack of experience with meditation).

Regarding his previous books and public appearances: while his critique of mass religion is admirable, he does a poor job representing his own ideas when he talks about intervention and good vs. bad. Sam Harris' philosophical ideas may be well and good in the sterile scientific laboratory of his mind, but they sometimes translate poorly in the real world given his absolute disinterest towards socioeconomic power structures and history (multinational banks and oil/weapons corporations, and the governments they bribe, depose, and prop up through the use of government militaries, intelligence agencies, private militias, and death squads). I know he has read religious texts, but has he looked into real history? A philosopher perhaps, but (sadly) misguided when it comes to world events and public policy.

Geni47 Oct 13, 2014

Highly recommended! Sam Harris shares the story of his own spiritual quest and comes out as a Buddhist. Harris is the only one of the "professional atheists" who shows any understanding of altered states of consciousness, or why religion holds so much appeal for the masses.

What spoiled the book for me was Harris's recent statement - not in this book, but on a talk show, I think - that it's morally acceptable to execute someone on the basis of dangerous beliefs, whether or not they have acted on them. Harris tried to defend himself by saying the remark was taken out of context, but it's just as bad in context. Obviously meditation isn't the cure for intolerance!

So should all the climate change deniers be taken out and shot, or just the Muslims?

MaxineML Oct 01, 2014

This is not exactly the book that the blurb says it is. This really isn't a guide to meditation, this is Harris's defence of meditation as a serious scientific practice that offers new insights into human consciousness, without becoming bogged down in "spiritualism" and other 'woo-woo' issues.

For the most part, I think that Harris succeeds at his task, however, I don't think this book is as good as it needed to be for the topic being tackled. Harris is a great writer, and easily able to discuss these issues in a knowledgeable and readable way, but this book was still missing something. Perhaps some of what was missing was a better defined scientific argument in favour of meditation, or perhaps it was simply that this is a difficult subject for many, and the use of words like "spirituality," "transcendence," and "contemplativeness," are so loaded with meaning in our society that it is difficult to read about this topic without previously conceived baggage.

If you are looking for a book on how to meditate, or the health benefits of meditation - look elsewhere. If you are looking for an unique take on the practice of meditation and how it can be tied into a humanistic or atheistic viewpoint of life then give this book a chance. And remember to read it with an open mind!

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red_cobra_535 Sep 04, 2014

red_cobra_535 thinks this title is suitable for All Ages

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