Waking Up: Meditation & Wisdom

Health & Fitness
4.9 (39.7K)
85.5 MB
Age rating
Current version
Waking Up Course, LLC
Last update
4 weeks ago
Version OS
14.0 or later
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User Reviews for Waking Up: Meditation & Wisdom

4.93 out of 5
39.7K Ratings
4 years ago, Alana Herlands
I could cry at how much Sam Harris and this app has changed my life
I first discovered Sam Harris through his podcast, Making Sense, which is still my favorite podcast of all time. And I remember when he announced he’d be coming out with this app and at first, I didn’t use it. I was already using Headspace for over a year and didn’t feel the need. Then I tried it once and felt this immediate click, this light: “This is the kind of practice I’ve been looking for.” I’ve been using Waking Up ever since. I remember trying the first-offered longer introductory course and after each session, I swear I said “whoa.” Not because I felt like I was in another state, but I felt closer to “myself” and others, bit by bit, each session. I felt less insecure, less anxious, less angry, less anticipatory, less critical, bit by bit, each session. And this continues to be true. Sam, I wish I could look you in the eyes and tell you this in person: This app and your podcast have made me a better person. My interactions feel lighter. I am less self critical. I am less reactive. I am a better critical thinker. Your work pushes those who listen over and through the walls we put up, the walls created by childhood, by fear, by habit, by politics, by culture. I don’t know how to thank you and don’t think I ever will. I will end with this: This app is for everyone. Even if this way of thinking and practicing is totally new to you, try it. Just try it. Give it a shot. You won’t regret it.
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5 years ago, Skeetertheman
Low experience user review
Sam, this is great. I’ve done maybe a few dozen hours of pure meditation over all. Ranging from 5 minute sessions to upwards of 2 hours at a time. I’ve read probably more than the average amount of material on meditation in general with no specific method at the forefront and the way you explain the experience and how to get there is identical to the lane I found best as I was figuring it out on my own. You’ve both reassured my current understanding of at least the begging stages of meditation and it’s always comforting to hear that we’re not trying to stop our thoughts more so recognize them and experiences them while not losing track of ourselves. I have some thoughts and questions on the breath being the forefront of meditation but ultimately have my doubts that it’s the perfect tool that most practicing meditators use. I think we can do better and I have to assume you take us there in this corse because if I have to spend one more second concentrating on my breath I’m going to phyciclyy implode. Again, thank you. Just a special note: I’ve followed your career and your work over the years, I’ve read your books, and listen to your podcast religiously. I can’t help but consider you a friend in spirit. And I’d like to offer my thanks to you for being a source of reason in the times of my life that I could find none face to face. You’ve helped me tremendously...just in case you needed reminding that you are helping people.
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2 years ago, Oak Strales
Transformative & Revelatory
I don’t have the proper capacity of language to fully capture how the information contained in this app has completely transformed my life. I have been living on the outer edges of my existence, as a passenger who felt she lacked any agency to change course. I’m filled with such profound gratitude for those of you who have kept a torch lit for all who are asleep. Awakening, like everything in the universe, is twofold. Characterized by joy and gratitude as you realize the power you wield with your discerning attention and overwhelmed with compassion, helplessness and sorrow for the suffering of so many around you. All I want to do is share what I know with everyone I meet, but I’ve learned that all I can do is continue to deepen my practice, live what I know and be ready when those around me are ready to listen. I just applied to UCB get my science teaching credential. The best thing I can do right now from my current vantage point is to help teach this generation how to effectively direct their attention and to inquire about the nature of their reality. They won’t find it in the virtual or augmented reality that they are becoming increasingly entrapped in. While I know there are many who make this app possible, I must offer special thanks to David Whyte, Joseph Goldstein and you Sam. It is important now more than ever to start waking up and I’m so humbled to have made it to the other side.
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4 years ago, Billpit
Thank you! This is not a meditation App.
We live in despondent times, or so it seems. In these times more than any, there is an tendency to look inwards and when this inward seeking is constantly interrupted by our small self, which assures us there is no there-there and to get on with your life. A lot of my forays in to this enquiry had this character, leaving me more jaded for the effort. Many have wondered and tried to come up with a way of illuminating this path. There seems to me a fundamental problem with using traditional communication, for what it communicated is not for the conceptual mind. Hence when we grasp these ideas through this small mind, there is just exasperation. The aim of true teaching is to awaken the teacher in each one of us. Plant a seed of curiosity in one’ mind and be there to help guide with the subsequent unraveling. If someone suggested this can be achieved with a digital medium in the form of a smart phone app, literally everyone in the world will find it silly. Sam Harris thankfully is not one of them and for that I Thank him(I wish there is a way to express the amplitude behind that Thanks, but my grasp of English is sadly inadequate). My hope for writing this review is to see it can help to make this tool available for few or at least one other explorer, who has the character of not willing to surrender his/her intellect, but still willing to explore the idea of non-dualism which rings true to him/her.
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5 years ago, MayaMadrone
Highly recommend (for the benefit of all beings)
I have been using a free app for months and was feeling good about having finally gotten into a rhythm of daily meditation. However, each meditation being disconnected and by a different person made me eventually feel drawn to this course after hearing from a friend how helpful she was finding it to be. I’m only five days in and I already can feel how much deeper I’m getting. These practices really do layer and build together in important ways that I was missing before. I really appreciate having a specific meditation to do each morning rather than starting the day scrolling through options trying to choose between too many choices and sometimes changing my mind mid way through. I also have been benefiting a lot from the theory talks that I listen to during moments throughout my day. It helps integrate the practice with daily life and create the scaffolding for deeper understanding. It’s so nice being able to favorite and download these too for offline use. Overall feeling a lot of gratitude for all the thoughtfulness put into this course and all I am receiving from it. I truly believe that each of us doing the inner work to train our minds and respond rather than react to each other and the world around us is crucial to the meeting problems we are collectively facing. Each of us learning to train our minds for the benefit of all beings.
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4 years ago, KingLeonidas118
This App Changed My Life
I’ve tried other meditation apps in the past, but they never really kept me practicing. I understood what I was supposed to do (focus on the breath, not attach myself to thoughts), but I didn’t understand WHY I was doing these specific things. This app is completely different. It delves fully into the theory behind meditation. Not just it’s measurable benefits, like improved focus or reduced stress, but it also goes into the higher-level purpose of the practice, like realizing the illusion of the ego and giving yourself a whole new perspective on every situation you encounter in life. If one was not interested in this kind of theory, he/she could definitely just use the app for practice alone, but the theory section of the app as well as the little bits of theory interspersed throughout the guided sessions help me TREMENDOUSLY. This really keeps me motivated, because it shows me that if I commit to spending time with the practice, my outlook on life is going to change in so many positive ways. And it has! I’ve been meditating for almost 2 months now and I feel less stressed, less reactive to negative emotions and inconvenient events in life, and more positive overall. That being said, I can tell I still have SO much more room to grow with the practice, and I hope to continue on for a lifetime. Thank you so much for waking me up, Sam Harris. I am infinitely grateful.
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2 years ago, CementHaiku
Appreciate the female teachers!
Thank you for including so many insightful female perspectives - the last three conversations - Jayasāra, Gangaji, Nikki Mirghafori - have been absolute gems. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has gained so much benefit from their conversations, and the other female teachers on this amazing app. All the courses and conversations from the men are wonderful - of course. But it’s so refreshing to see you guys bring in so many powerful women. A friendly suggestion. Maybe Annika could present a course based on her book Conscious: A Brief Guide to the Fundamental Mystery of the Mind? I gather she’d be a bit hesitant to cross pollinate in that way but it is clear her own perspective on her discoveries could benefit and intrigue so many people. Just throwing that idea out there. Either way, I’m so appreciative to everyone at Waking Up who works so hard to create the most essential “mindfulness” app there is. I’ve tried them all and this is the only one I continually use and, although I’m a starving artist, I continue to pay to support such valuable work. My skepticism has sometimes made me try and dislike this app but with Sam at the helm, I know I’m in safe hands and won’t be nudged into the woo-woo vortex and at the same time it’s not some overly sciencey clinical feeling process. You can hear the intelligence but feel the heart. Great, great stuff. Thank you.
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5 years ago, LowlyMonkey
One of a kind
It’s hard to explain how much this app has helped me “wake up”. The best way I can describe it is that I feel that I am more able to notice my thoughts and feelings in the present moment. How I suddenly find myself playing in a drama in the theater of my mind. Sam Harris is able to teach you how to notice the dramas, rather than getting lost in them for long periods of time. As I become more observant of my mind, I feel Iike I have more control over my mind. Sam Harris explains his insights in a way that challenges you. But when you come to understand it what he’s saying, you feel like you “wake up” from tendencies that we’re holding you back. Like lucid dreaming feels (gaining control during a dream) waking up has made me feel like I am gradually lucid living. I find myself enjoying the moment more, short circuiting thoughts and feelings but feeling them more powerfully, and ultimately appreciating my life so much more. I initially was skeptical of mediation but Sam Harris does such an excellent job of explaining his message in a way that you eventually understand. The effects of this practice are indescribably priceless. I’m achieving things I didn’t think I could achieve. I enjoy everything about my life more and more as I continue to wake up. Thanks for helping me grow Sam. Everyone that understands what I’m talking about and feels the same way is grateful for what you’re doing.
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6 years ago, Jenn_269
Well thought out and structured step by step course on meditation
I have tried meditating for the last 3-4 years, never being able to stick to it for longer than 2 weeks at a time, harvesting initial peace and calm and then digressing to the old ways by stumbling on different mental obstacles, getting hanged on too much or too little narration, focusing on, forcing or anticipating my breath and so on, so i would quit it and restart practice after a while. I tried apps and various teachers , monks guided meditations with the same results. I am a big fan of Sam’s work in general , his books and podcast, and feel that he brought an immense level of detail to this course. It is well thought out and structured, he gradually introduces you to various concepts and ways of thinking/perceiving the meditation. he is filing in blindness spots, that you are not yet aware of, along the way. No day is the same in the app, and each lesson challenges you in a different way. You can also deepen your experience through additional provided exercises. I’m on day 24 so far, which is the longest streak for me, and while many concepts still seem hard to grasp , i look forward to coming lessons. And it does feel incredible already to sense the time slower and your own nature and reactions differently. This is by far the most structured and easy to follow course on meditation I’ve found.
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6 years ago, unknowna1
Something real out of this virtual
It appears that many of us are beginning to notice that we increasingly are absent from our lives, even more so than we have been in the past. And this is saying a lot, considering the knee jerk reactions to daily life which nearly all of us consistently trip over, time and time again. This increase in absense mostly takes the form of our phone hypnosis, even amongst those of us who have noticed that putting our phone away while eating, or spending time with family, or friends, is “polite”, and necessary to being present. Despite this, how useful, really, is our time spent staring into the screen? And how often do we do this? I have found this meditation course one of increasing utility, wisdom, and sense making, amazingly packaged within the very device which blankets and obscures these positive aforementioned qualities. One of the few times in my day when picking up my phone increases the quality of my life, truly. And it’s quite likely because as soon as I pick my phone up, and start the next lesson, I just as quickly put it down, close my eyes, and begin browsing, or becoming mindful of the unceasing browsing in the one actual reality that actually matters most. Thanks Sam. Though I love podcasts, and opinions, and moral and political and psychological debate; talk, really, is cheap. Silence is golden.
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1 year ago, THOR694658
Mindfulness vs. a mantra-based meditation
I’d been practicing Transcendental Meditation (TM) for 20-plus years when I was introduced to Dr. Sam Harris via Hitch. Years later, after reading Sam’s books and enjoying his podcast, his meditation app appeared on the scene, and I wondered what it meant to practice Mindfulness as opposed to TM, a mantra-based meditation. Around this same time, I took a sabbatical from freelance writing in Los Angeles to attend an MFA program at Maharishi University in Fairfield, Iowa (TM’s headquarters), where I quickly discovered that the foundation of TM was being run by a group of perverted old white men who are abusing their power. (And the women and wives of the group are complicit sheep who look the other way.) These men include, but are not limited to, the upper-echelons of the TM organization, the university and its Ayurvedic spa, all located in the little town built by Maharishi and shrouded in secrecy. Thus, and here is my point, when discussing the differences between both practices, I ask you: Why would anyone want to give their money to an organization conceived by someone who groomed a group of people to be, not only sexual predators, but completely devoid of integrity. Isn’t the entire concept of meditation love and honesty and emotional intelligence. Obviously, I immediately switched to learning and practicing Sam’s technique. Mindfulness for the win!
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2 years ago, Huston704786
Nurture Yourself
Waking Up was recommended to me by a friend. Although I’m very open to alternative approaches to most things, I’m usually disappointed by these sorts of tools. However, I was already a Sam Harris fan for other reasons so, with some skepticism, I tried it. I can honestly say that using Waking Up on a regular basis is one of the best decisions I’ve made in the past few years. I’m still a novice at it and am not always certain I’m doing it properly but, I derive great benefits each day I use it. It’s as if I reground myself in what’s essential, what’s important, what’s real, even if only for a short period each day. Each time I do a daily meditation, or practice while going about my day, I feel like I’ve taken a quick mental shower and washed away the incessant distractions, even if just for a while. I also like the extensive library of other teachers and modes of thought. I’ve learned, after suspecting for a long time, that Stoicism strongly resonates with me, and is the way I’ve approached my life for as long as I can remember. Now, I can learn to hone those skills on my path to a more enjoyable life. Let me end by saying that I rarely take the time to write reviews but, this is a tool that almost anyone will benefit from, and it’s there, just waiting for you to apply it.
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3 years ago, Lance Kozma
Mindfulness is my drug and Sam is my therapist.
Sam is a good friend of mine. At first, I kept him at an arm’s length, only doing a session of the waking up course once every other day. I applied his teachings to every moment I could, starting with every bite of food. On day 27, I was having a bit of a mind-blowing psychedelic experience. 8 hours in, I got a tad bit lost... in thought. Wait! I need Sam! I exclaimed. And so I did my guided meditation practice with my friend Sam, who was there for me. He instructed me to, upon his snapping, look inward at the meditator. I kept drawing a blank at this concept. “Ah I see what you’re doing Sam, I get it!” I said to him. He continued to snap, which quite literally snapped me back into reality. “C’mon Sam!” I said, reluctant to return to reality. Eventually, I accepted it, went along, and returned to the present moment, where I would rest peacefully and happily. The next day, my sister and my grandmother recognized me as an adult, and noticed that my already few symptoms of Asperger’s Syndrome stopped presenting themselves in the ways that my family recognized them. I then went on to complete the waking up course the next day, and I think I’ll keep coming back so long as there’s internet! Thanks Sam! You’re a good friend. P.S. The Stoic Path is an amazing practice, highly recommend that once you finish the course!
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2 years ago, E. Fontaine
Your Life Is Your Practice
I am not a commenter. I’ve never left a review of anything in a formal sense. This app has utterly transformed my life, even after only two months. It’s difficult to explain exactly how, similar to how it’s difficult to recall the richness of a dream or psychedelic / mystical experience. I’ve tried a half dozen other meditation and mindfulness apps. I was never quite able to find something that felt “right”, rationally or experientially. I am blown away by the massive changes I’ve already experienced in the way I move throughout my day, in my mind. I’m paying close attention to my thoughts as they arise, without judgement. I am pausing before reacting strongly to a comment from a partner or coworker. I find myself noticing what I’m noticing, and viewing things in a more conscious way, yet without great effort. I could go in and on. For skeptics like me who see the thousands of apps out there that claim they will help reduce anxiety and depression and help you sleep better— this is not really that kind of meditation app— but it will help you with those issues, and the impact will be sustainable. Just try it. I’m so eternally grateful for this gift, and I am at peace and humbled knowing this is only the beginning of my practice. Thank you, thank you, thank you, Sam.
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4 years ago, MochisMom21578
Amazing app, even better people behind the scenes
This app is an incredible app that goes a lot farther than just helping you meditate. It can change the way you think and process the world. The guided meditation courses will teach you all you need to know to meditate on your own but the conversation topics are what really blew me away and challenged my thinking the most. The things I’ve learned from Sam Harris have helped me manage my anxiety during very uncertain times. But beyond the benefits of the app itself, I was moved immensely by the kindness of the people on the Waking Up support team. When my app needed to be renewed I didn’t have extra funds at the time but the global news was incredibly bleak and I could feel my anxiety creeping back in with scary force. I reached out in hopes of getting a trial that I could use for a month or two to bring mindfulness back into my life and they responded in a matter of moments saying that they added a full year to my account for free. I have truly never had a company think about my well-being over their own profit. It blew me away and I’m still quite shocked. This isn’t just a business for them, it’s a way of life and they are walking the walk not just talking the talk. If you’re on the fence, just download it and watch how it changes your life.
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3 months ago, Adastra56
What I was missing in my practice
I really appreciate (and fully subscribe to) Sam’s approach of combining traditional mindfulness teaching (eg attention on the breath) with a more active searching and investigation of the idea of non-self. I find that this intellectual side of meditation complements and supports my ability to stay mindful both while sitting and in real life. The talks following each meditation I also find immensely helpful, the mind is much more ready for dharma study after meditation and this combination is the next best thing to having access to a teacher in front of you. I have just started to explore other app content, but have already found Sam’s conversations extremely supportive of the practice. I try to weave them into my practice often after sitting and search for content related to whatever concept I am struggling with (eg self compassion). I don’t think Sam’s approach to teaching is for everyone, and some in dharma circles will actively disagree with it. But for me, being an engineer especially with an analytical and logical mind, it is what I was missing from my previous practice - and it helps bring me back to the cushion day after day. If you have a similar mind, even non-beginners will find a lot of value in this app.
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1 year ago, djoshcne
So thankful
I just want to thank Sam from the bottom of my heart for this app. The fact that you have made it free or at a reduced cost for those who can’t afford it says a lot about the kind of person you are. This app has been so helpful and transformative for the way that I think about myself, my thoughts and gave me a new understanding of my brain. I was blown away by one thing you said which was that “thoughts just appear” I have all my life identified with my thoughts as “me”, and have suffered greatly because of that. Having the ability to notice my thoughts in the middle of an angry rumination or just pausing to be aware and notice the sensations in my body have been HUGE. I’ve only done about 20 days of meditations and even that has changed the way that I think about myself and the world. I am a huge fan of your podcast and this app. The app is so well made, so thoroughly thought out, is user friendly and is even appealing to look at. I’ve done many guided meditations before but none have explained the fundamentals as well as you have. I feel like I actually understand the point of meditation and how to do it correctly, and only want to keep learning more. Thank you again and again.
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4 years ago, sce6330
Mostly love this app
I have one suggestion - when referring to other people, such as in a loving-kindness meditation when we are asked to imagine another person, it would be helpful to use gender neutral pronouns. Sam Harris seems to have a particular problem with transgender people and with the use of they/them and other alternative pronouns for people who are outside of the gender binary. It is very distracting when I am trying to picture someone I love to only be offered the option of imagining “him or her.” Many of my loved ones use they/them pronouns. It’s so simple to use they, or just don’t use pronouns by saying “that person” rather than “him or her.” I think I have gathered from Sam’s podcast that he seems to have an issue with this way of thinking. I am very interested in all of Sam’s conversations and his views, and have learned so much from the app and from the podcast. I have not yet found the podcast(s) where his clearly strong position on trans people and pronouns is talked about, so I don’t fully understand his perspective, but wanted to mention that for at least one person, me, it is very distracting when I hear “he or she” in a loving-kindness meditation. I can of course get over this and it doesn’t diminish the usefulness of the app or the practice. I thought this was worth mentioning in case it matters to anyone.
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5 years ago, _enso_
The most important piece of software available
Sam Harris’s refreshing take on spirituality and his novel approach to meditation are invaluable resources for beginner, novice, and advanced meditators alike. Whether you have been meditating for years or simply have a passing interest in the subject, the Waking Up app offers unparalleled instruction, which make mindfulness accessible in its most raw form. You may be a pious, religious devotee (of any faith or creed) or a secular, scientific atheist; it doesn’t matter. Sam Harris masterfully exports timeless truths and life-changing lessons which require no specific belief system or dogma to enjoy. If you have an interest in probing the nature of your own conscious experience in each moment, that is sufficient. You may even become a more attentive, comfortable, and compassionate version of yourself in the process. The value of this app surpasses its cost by orders of magnitude. In fact, I struggle to think of a more effective, meaningful way to spend $15/month. Every dollar you put towards this app will be paid back tenfold (or more) as a direct increase to your wellbeing and quality of life. It is difficult to stress enough how important the lessons of meditation and mindful living are in an increasingly distracted world. And there is no better teacher than Sam.
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9 months ago, Simion05
Life changing is no overestimation
This app truly is phenomenal. I’m 17 and began using it about a month ago. First I’d like to thank the Waking Up team for the partial scholarship I was given; the possibility of such grants demonstrate your true intentions. Remarkable. The main way this app has impacted my life thus far is during social interactions. Sam mentioned in a theory section of the introductory course that the only thing that is truly real to oneself is what one pays attention to. If you are hanging out with friends but being absent minded, for example, you might as well be anywhere. This has proven to be a profoundly applicable idea. Combined with some “last time” and “dream life” mediations I learned in the stoic course on the app (which 1000% recommend), I feel much more present when interacting with others, and I value this presence far more. It is also slowly mending a major problem I have: chronic procrastination ;). Building a better relationship with desires, future self, and presents self is beginning to help. Much progress is still to be made on this front and many others, but I can say with certainly that this app has put my life on a better trajectory. Thank you to the waking up team and Sam Harris.
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4 years ago, Bonertopia
What to do?
I’ve meditated off and on throughout my life. Nothing ever really stuck. I never developed a meaningful and lasting practice. And I’ve realized this was due to the fact that I didn’t really know what I was doing. I didn’t really understand what exactly it was I was supposed to be practicing or practicing for. I knew to focus on breath, or a sound, and many other things that don’t really give any context to what the practice is. Well I’ve been using it for about a year now, every day, and it’s something that has changed my life forever, a realization I first had only about a month in. Sam has shown me through the course, lessons, conversations, and all the content what it is I’m doing when meditating and how to apply it not only on the cushion but in my life. He focuses on a few specific kinds of meditation in the course, but this app has opened me up to meditation in general and has given me a curiosity to study its many forms and seek out the many teachings and teachers who teach it. I have started a lifelong practice, and though it’s me who put in the effort, it was this app that helped guide me in getting to this wonderful place. Thank you Sam Harris and whoever else worked to make this app what it is and continues to grow it.
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5 years ago, 0x8BADF00D
Finding Sam’s instructions confusing
My original review seems to have been deleted for some reason, so I’m re-posting it. I've been trying to build a meditation practice, on and off, for several years now. Unfortunately, I've never managed to stay consistent with it, and lately it has mostly been off. I'm fully sold on the benefits of regular meditation, but practicing on a daily basis is easier said than done, and I feel like I still haven't really progressed beyond the stage of mostly "thinking with my eyes closed." I've also been a fan of Sam's work for a long time, so I was eagerly awaiting the release of this app in the hope that it would get me "hooked" and teach me the techniques I need to progress. Unfortunately, after spending a few weeks with it, I'm a bit disappointed so far. I have to agree with Voletric's review; I find Sam's method of trying to disprove the existence of "the self" rather confusing. Many of Sam's instructions in this vein feel to me more like Zen koans than straightforward guidance, and they tend to leave me stuck in my thoughts, struggling to interpret them and understand what I'm supposed to take away from them. Perhaps I'm just too literal-minded, but this methodology does not seem to be working for me. I've had much more success with other apps like Calm and 10% Happier, even if their approaches are perhaps more surface-level.
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5 years ago, CascadeCascadeCascadeCascade
I’m a former heroin addict. I have been in recovery and remained sober for just over 6 1/2 years. Prayer and meditation have been foundational practices instilled in me since I first attended Alcoholics/Narcotics Anonymous groups. Though I’ve considered myself an Atheist/Agnostic since I first began to contemplate spirituality, prayer was defined for me as simply becoming mindful of/identifying the things that most bothered me about the present state of affairs in my life. Meditation was always presented to me as an attempt to quiet the mind or achieve a state of peace by focusing on breathing. So I have always approached it from the angle of trying to achieve that aforementioned goal of inner peace. And I’d more often than not fall short of that goal. Which in turn, would discourage me from maintaining the practice. This app helped me to realize that inner peace is not something that should be sought rigorously through meditation, because the two states of striving for a goal and inner peace are juxtaposed. This app help me identify “inner peace” as, simply, a possible byproduct of mindfulness, not something that should be sought with diligence. Which brought new meaning to, and a greater understanding of, my processes for meditation and mindfulness. Thanks Sam, I’m huge fan, by the way! Keep up the good work!
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5 years ago, 🤘🐥🤘
Current Day Streak
Hello, I’ve noticed that if I start a meditation at 11:55 and it ends after 12 o’clock (Into the next day) the “current day streak“ I had returns to 0. This isn’t particularly important but I know that routine can be incentivize greatly by reward. Seeing those day streaks is a form of a reward, a reminder of ones dedication to the practice and can help to get someone practicing even if they don’t feel up to it that day. I have a job that eats most of my day, usually I don’t mediate until late at night/early in the morning. Though I meditate nearly every day my streaks get broken on a regular basis. I’d like to say I’m above caring about my streaks but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit I feel a bit bummed when they get reset to 0. Maybe to avoid this reset the app can log a “day” from the start time of the practice rather then the finish time, or maybe the clock can be Individualized to each user giving the user a 24 hour window to practice their next day in relation to the previous days practice. Personally I think the first example of logging a day based on the start is a better idea. Either way I’m grateful for the app, it’s a wonderful tool and has introduced me to the practice of mediation. Keep up the great work.
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5 years ago, Shawn_144
I’m 49, have experimented with all kinds of spiritual practices to varying effect but my scientific nature always rejected the munbo-jumbo knowing there was a simpler truth and practice. I invested in this app because I love Sam Harris but upon practicing I found immediate fascination and curious results. Today on day 23 of the 50 day introduction I found myself wishing Sam would shut up because he was interrupting my peace ... I was already meditating “on my own” flawlessly !!! Thoughts came up ... I merely observed. Birds chirped outside and they were inseparable from the sensation of my own breath and heartbeat. I became hyper-aware of my being the observer and not my often ‘warring’ thoughts and judgments. It felt so good and so profound and I became so grateful emotions began to well in my heart and tears in my eyes. I opened my eyes to see a hummingbird in the bush just outside my kitchen window, mere feet away as it delicately tweeted with glee as it sipped nectar. Post meditation I calculated the time it took to have this breakthrough in consciousness ... 23 days of practice at ten minutes each is about four hours of practice ... imagine that... four hours of working out to achieve something so spectacularly beautiful and beneficial ... (level one ?) THANK YOU SAM !!
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3 years ago, Girija Thyagarajan
Beyond concepts
Two years ago, when I first started practicing meditation using the Waking Up app, I did not know anything about meditation. Now, after learning how to meditate, I am surprised by the power of meditation. When I meditate, I am able to be in the present moment, not worrying about the past or the future, not wanting anything, fully content and enjoying a sense of freedom. This experience often brings tears to my eyes. This experience is possible because I have a clear understanding of meditation now. I understand centerlessness. I have learned to be the prior condition of consciousness where everything else appears as a part of it. I understand the impermanent nature of appearances in consciousness. I have learned to accept life as it is without judgement. I am practicing awareness outside formal meditation sessions also. Being mindful helps to control how I react to life. For the first year of my practice using the Waking Up app, everything I learned and understood was just a concept. The beauty of meditation becomes evident when you start experiencing what was a concept until then. I was able to achieve this experience thanks to the Waking Up app.
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4 years ago, JaxRenee11
Exactly what I’ve been looking for
I’ve been practicing meditation on and off for quite a while. While I’ve had some wonderful experiences, I could never shake the feeling that I wasn’t on a path to deeper awareness. Most of the resources I d used have been organized by category, for example a meditation on anger or stress. While this approach can be useful and I still return to them when my feelings are particularly acute and I want to explore them more deeply, I don’t just want to learn meditation as a remedy to a stressful work day, I want to explore the nature of my mind. I’ve been searching for a more systemic approach to learning mindfulness and the theory behind it. I also want to understand more deeply the intent of a variety of types of meditation and the nuanced differences between them. This app explores all of that and more. It is a simple way to practice meditation while continually deepening my understanding. It is also updated often to add more content. It feels like a living and breathing thing that continues to be useful as I grow in my understanding and I will not outgrow its usefulness. I am so happy to have this resource and grateful for the change it brings to my life.
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11 months ago, The absence of i..
Love & Compassion at its finest…
I’m writing this simple review as tears of gratitude fall slowly down my face. A wise friend of mine suggested this app and sent me a 30 day trial to use it. As I approach the end of my trial fear started to creep in. Why? Because the app costs $ and I knew I wouldn’t be able to afford it any time soon. What has happened inside of me with the practices and sessions over the last 25+ days has been revolutionary. To be quite honest I can’t put my experience into words strong enough to truly express it. So I wrote an email to the app, Sam Harris, and all the amazing people who make Waking Up the amazing tool that it is. To my amazement, I received a response MAYBE, 10 minutes later. They granted me a FREE 6 MONTH SCHOLARSHIP to allow me to continue my growth and development, stating that my more examined life is far more important than a few dollars. I’m so beyond blessed and grateful for this kind gesture and example of true love and compassion. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. If you’re looking for a little guidance in your meditation and the reason we do it. Do not go any further…. THIS APP IS THE ONE FOR YOU. Thank you ALL!!! - The absence of I thanks you deeply.
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4 years ago, Gino G
In the 2 years i have been using this App, I feel I have transcended my previous “normal” and am enjoying the best years of my life. There are many factors that have gotten me here and I credit my practice with the Waking Up app as being central among them. I no longer feel like I am largely bouncing between competing interests vying for my attention. I find it easier to relate to others and form productive, honest and satisfying partnerships with the people in my life. I more greatly appreciate how tenuous and subjective my understanding of reality is (very useful). I no longer obsess about who I am “supposed” to be or worry so much that I will not accomplish enough in my lifetime. I find more joy in helping other people and watching them flourish. I no longer feel routinely held hostage by my own fear. I don’t stress so much about “wasting time”. I don’t feel the need to hold power over others or feel automatically and debilitatingly threatened by situations where I am powerless. Most importantly, I feel well-equipped to take care of myself when I’m feeling out of control and make reasonably good decisions to navigate through those times. Chief strategy among them: not automatically overreacting to fear.
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6 years ago, SMohammad87
A tool to sharpen your mind
This is the first time I’m truly happy to pay the subscription fee for a service. I’ve tried many meditation app and found many of their lessons/exercises helpful. However, I didn’t find any of these apps put together as a whole package that will lead me to understand meditation in its true meaning. Maybe I’m wrong but there was no indication that these apps were developed with such a purpose. I practice some of their lessons that were offered for free and thought the rest of the course will be the same so I can practice on my own. What Sam Harris does in this app is different from other apps. Meditation sessions are accompanied by lessons that illustrate the course agenda as well as offering new concepts to think about. This combination motivates you practice meditation in a more regular basis. It also makes your understand what you are going to get from meditation. So far this app has been a great influence in my life and I’m happy that made this decision-not with free of will of course-to subscribe to this app. I totally recommend it to anyone who wants to improve their lives. *Sorry if the structures of the sentences above don’t match proper English grammar. English is my second language.
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4 years ago, DivyaMe
Life altering
First of all, I would like to thank Sam for making this gem of an app available for free to those who can’t afford it. Really appreciate it. I wanted to give meditation a try because of my crippling anxiety. That was how I stumbled upon Waking Up. I wanted a guided meditation app that was properly structured and without the unnecessary religious/mystical elements. I knew that I wouldn’t be able to take the process seriously unless the content was rational. Having followed Sam’s work and career for sometime, I knew this app would be the right fit. I did not set out with high expectations though. But let me tell you, it is one of the best decisions I have taken. Sam guides you through the sessions with such easy flow and subtlety. What he says never gets in the way of the process. I noticed a change in my mood and anxiety levels almost immediately. There was a calmness in my mind, less noise. But be consistent. I made the mistake of not practicing for a couple of months in between due to my busy schedule and fell back into old habits. I was back to square one. Every time I have put it off I have regretted. Make meditation a priority. Set aside 10-15 minutes a day for this. It’s worth it.
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12 months ago, AllWelcoming
Helped me build a meditation practice
Very helpful, really appreciate the structure and all the thought and planning that went into this app. Teaches fundamental lessons for living in a new way. Meditation is the pathway toward big change. And - One of my difficulties with this whole program is that almost all the people involved are men and mostly white. Meditation is practiced around the world by all kinds of people. Women have been excluded from spiritual hierarchies for thousands of years and thus not developed as much leadership. But there are many many women teachers and people of color who have very important perspectives on meditation practice. I would love to see their perspectives and voices included here. I think the app would reach a wider range of people. I believe that the intention is to spread the word and that would really help. That's not to say that this one app has to be all things to all people. But my understanding is that the intention is to help more people discover who they really are and change how they are in the world. In some ways this app is very accessible and in other ways very exclusionary. That kind of hurts… But I am getting a lot out of it and trying to work around that limitation.
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4 years ago, triumphofthetiger
It finally stuck!
Like so many, I tried books, programs, workshops, and other DIY meditation programs. Either the tone (too cutesy or too “new agey”) or the lack of depth would eventually turn me off. Sam’s app strikes the perfect balance between providing depth of understanding and the sense that you have a trusted guide through a simple but immensely challenging practice. I found myself coming back to the app not because I had to (out of some obligation to myself) but because it was such a peaceful, fascinating place where I always learned something new. Sam has this uncanny ability to provide just the guidance needed to grasp the significance of what’s happening from moment to moment in your meditation. A lot of it has to do with his calming voice. The remarkable thing is that even though there is such depth and insight throughout his teachings (and those of the guests he interviews...fantastic content), he cuts through to the essence of the matter. It’s as though he hands you the end of a rope, tells you how to hang on, and then pulls you into the amazing world of your self (or more precisely, non self). This is more than an app, it’s a community and a way of life. Thank you for all you’ve done.
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1 year ago, markiv_
a tool to sanity and much more
It takes a certain state or point in life for someone to seek a meditation practice. Call it struggle, call it suffering, call it purposelessness. This app has helped me in myriad ways I can’t seem to encapsulate! Given me a purpose to keep plugging along and recognize that states of despair are self imposed narratives, almost so I find myself laughing at some of my minds tricks now. After using the app quite diligently over about 183 days, i sense a deepness in understanding the states of my mind. Practically one thing I’d love to see is talks about addiction and stepping past the cycle of craving, there’s a profoundly consistent narrative of awareness and of the thought of craving itself embedded into every practice almost. The practice of recognizing the impermanence of it and finding freedom from it. Although, desire and addiction to cycles of desire could be a dedicated topic worth exploring to educate the waking up audience with. Maybe it’s inherently already there and this is a personal struggle but I thought it’s a point worth bringing up and I hope someone’s reading this. Regardless, from the deepest part of my conscious existence. Thank you !
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8 months ago, Fardeen Frotan
Powerful and effective
I practiced Vipassana meditation for over three years. Upon discovering this app, I downloaded and tried it. Prior to using the app, my knowledge of Sam Harris was limited compared to his understanding of philosophy and neuroscience. While he explored Eastern philosophy and meditation, I perceived him more as an atheist consistently speaking against religion. In 2017, I read his book, "The End of the Faith," but found it less wise and rational than works by other renowned philosophers like Russell or David Hume. My initial impression was that his approach to meditation wasn't exceptional. However, my perspective changed when I tried meditation with the Waking Up app. I found Sam Harris's work to be powerful and effective. The app introduced variety and effectiveness into my meditation routine. I have a suggestion: Sam engages in numerous conversations about meditation and other related topics with scholars and instructors, yet there seems to be a gap in discussions with Islamic mysticism scholars. I hope he collaborates with esteemed Islamic thinkers, such as Abdul Karim Soroush, to explore mysticism, Sufism, and their relevance in today's context. I believe this could contribute to spiritual growth.😊
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3 years ago, wilson_kyle
The most important thing I’ve ever used
This app is an astonishing tool and a brilliant compendium of Sam’s insights into the nature of mind and the ethical implications therein. I simply cannot overstate how transformative this has been in my life. Not only have I gained a tremendous ability to “get off that ride” of negative emotions and reactions, but I have experienced deep insights into the non-duality of consciousness which has absolutely transformed my way of being in the world. To recognize everything as merely an appearance in consciousness and to be able to truly experience this centerless condition of awareness is the most important experience I’ve ever had. Sam not only masterfully points you to this understanding but his lessons and conversations help you make these insights operational in your life. I have had multiple family members and friends actually tell me (without knowing I am using this app) they notice that I am far more patient and engaged in our everyday interactions. To have an app transform my understanding of my own mind and drastically improve the manner in which I show up in the world for my loved ones is an incredible thing.
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3 years ago, Azuzena77
Bless you Sam Harris, and this app you’ve created!!
I have always been into self improvement and went as far as pursuing my Bachelors in Psychology and recently I have been accepted to a Masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program. In all the years of striving for a healthier mental state I have to say this app helped me get closer to my goals than anything else I’ve tried. Along with this I also believe it will be extremely useful to use the mindfulness tips I’ve learned in my counseling practice, because I have already seen it help me become a much more empathetic person. I have only used this app for 30 days and I know I still have a ways to go but from an honest opinion I noticed change the first day. Sam Harris does a great job explaining how to implement each of his mindfulness tips into your daily routine. I also love all the different features included in this app and am excited to share the “children’s guided meditation courses” with my younger brothers. Everyone needs this app. Especially now with all the distractions we have in our daily routines that make it easy for us to fall into a negative thinking pattern!
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11 months ago, Jedi Wannabi
Wisdom, practice, and insight for the rational mind
I came to Harris’ app after decades of exploration along this path and a long history of meditation and inquiry, but nothing quite clicked into place until now. Since the early days of development this app has grown from a well organized and clearly presented version of Harris’ own approach and interpretation to an age-old endeavor into what may now be one of the greatest modern collections of wisdom and insight from a diverse set of practitioners and explorers. I come to this as a lifelong adherent to science, proof, and rationality. While it’s true that the core insight explored here is not a directly rational thing, it in no way runs counter to it. The path and practice may not be easy or obvious from the beginning, but there is no metaphysical Woo here. The whole point is that you don’t have to take anyone’s word on it or believe unsubstantiated claims. In fact, the only way is to do it and see for yourself. This is not going to fit everyone’s temperament, but if it fits yours, you may be in for a profound journey that leads right back to where you started, profoundly changed, and yet exactly the same.
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3 years ago, court67
I never thought I would be a regular meditator
I’ve been using Waking Up for 6 months now and Sam Harris’ meditation teaching style is the best I’ve encountered. The way he explains meditation as a radical transformation of your experience is exactly what I’ve found to be true in my practice with Waking Up. I have not been able to get to practicing every day as of yet, but the way this app is designed, I don’t feel guilty after missing one or more days, and then completely fall off. As Sam says, practicing once in a while has profound effects. I NEVER imagined that I would enjoy meditation, despite listening to Sam’s podcast for years and reading of the benefits elsewhere. But through the initial 30 day course, I found myself looking forward to the next session and finding out what the next part of the exploration process was. I recommend this to everybody and I truly think that Waking Up’s technique can reach more people than other meditation apps. Thanks to Waking Up, I find myself more calm, less reactive, more able to control my negative emotions and thoughts, and generally feel more engaged in my life.
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4 years ago, Marymoth
I don’t usually review apps. But I want to say that I didn’t find this app. I think Sam found me. And he did in the perfect moment of my life. I just graduated from the waking up course :) so I am feeling like I just graduated from PK and going to first grade. I love everything. About it. Sam voice is pleasant and relaxing. But it also makes you feel like you are talking to your smart friend that has all the insights and the more he talks, the more you want to hear. I don’t know him (Or I didn’t know about him until I bumped into the app) and I have to tell you that he has blown my mind. I just started the journey into meditation this year. I suffer from a mental illness and looked into meditation as a tool to help and it helps. Most guided meditations are awesome. But waking up has something that other ones don’t. And it is the brain (mind) approach as opposed to spiritual approach. I LOVE THAT. I love everything about the mind, how it works, why it does what it does...etc. this app has given me the tools to meditate or learn how to meditate but also to get inside my mind and learn about it. I am grateful that I found you Sam :))) thank you for sharing your knowledge with me
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3 years ago, MKdiscrete
Thank you Sam & the Waking Up team.
“Occasionally, if for only a moment or two relinquish your reaction to experience, by simply noticing experience.” I heard Sam say this in one of his talks in the “Lessons” section of the app. After using WAKING UP consistently now since 2018, I find myself noticing and being more in tune to my experiences much more frequently now. Simple things like sensations in the body and noises around me are so simple and fleeting, but a lot more interesting. They are like small anchors tossed throughout the day that keep me from drifting too far away in thought. Plus, I’m aware of thoughts now (which I didn’t even know was a thing) and can remind myself that I don’t have to identify with them ALL OF THE TIME. I thoroughly enjoy all of the guest teachers and conversations Sam has with them, as well as the different meditation techniques that they also offer. I can’t recommend this app enough, whether your brand new to meditation or you have been practicing for a while now. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised to learn and re-learn some of the things you’ll come across on this app. Cheers!
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4 years ago, WordNerder
I am very grateful for this app. I started using it to get my wife and daughter into meditation to help my daughter with her ADHD, but I’ve found myself using the app much more than I anticipated. When I have tried to establish a meditation practice in the past, it has usually ended because it became too ritualistic and boring and then loses value over time. I like that Sam uses a variety of techniques and that he is willing to change the app itself over time. I also really appreciate the conversations and q&a available on the app. Those are worth the price of admission in themselves. That said, I would like to see more conversations with women. It would be interesting to hear conversations with Gangaji and Byron Katie if those could be arranged. They also fit in with the nondual traditions that are being highlighted here. I’m sure there are others. Annaka Harris would be another good guest, but perhaps in a conversation with someone other than Sam. Anyway, I appreciate the value of what’s being done here. Well worth the money. And it’s great that it is offered for free with no questions asked for those who can’t afford it. Highly recommended.
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6 years ago, Joe malooonr
Real Meditation Instruction
If you are new, or even just still trying to figure out what meditation is all about, get this app. I have tried them all, from calm to headspace, 10% happier, mindfulness, etc. It took me over 3 years of poking around with books and apps, then finally retreats to get to the heart of what meditation is really about, and I think this app goes right at it, right from the beginning, especially with the help of the lessons, which is unique to this app. Many of the apps, focus on more superficial and I would say, short sighted goals, like stress relief etc. which will come with meditation naturally, but this app really aims its sights at the deepest truths of consciousness, in a clear, direct, secular way. It is excellent. I am sure some more features to come as this app evolves. I would recommend deeper, long format meditations with guidance that you can choose the length, like 15, 20, 30 mins or more, for those times you have more time you want to practice with light guidance. Anyways, great job Sam, keep it up. It was worth the wait. Sending this one to all my meditators and those that are interested in learning about meditation.
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1 year ago, d@K1N3
Wake up!
I’ve been using this app for over 3 years now, though I’ve had a meditation practice for longer. The app has grown in that time, and now has many different teachers, discussions and lessons. The regular guided meditation by Sam Harris is diverse, and instructive. Sometimes the concepts seem esoteric at first, but once you’re able to find the intended insight, it’s incredible. There’s plenty of advanced level concepts utilized, and Sam does a great job building up the practice for beginners through the introductory program. There is an option for a free membership for those who cannot afford it, and though I’ve been in dire straits financially at times, I’ve always paid for this app because it has such a meaningful and profound impact on my everyday life. This app truly has something to offer for anyone who’s interested in developing a meditation practice. Whether you’re interested in zen, meta, vipassana, or any other form of meditation, this app has what you’re looking for with world class guidance. Cannot recommend this app strongly enough. Thank you to Sam Harris, and the Waking Up team.
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2 years ago, Hates Most Banks
Truly not just another meditation app
Thank you to Sam, the other teachers, and the whole waking up team. This app makes deep wisdom from multiple traditions accesible and approachable. It does not just teach “McMindfulness”. Not that other more superficial introductions to meditation aren’t helpful. They are. But there is much beyond the first simple instructions to follow your breath etc and Sam really tries to be providing that greater depth. It’s clearly a labor of love and a gift to the world. Looking forward to what’s to come. Would appreciate more advice on how to do longer unguided meditations (eg how to work with issues that come up in that context). Would maybe also just like more developed sections about how to deal with the obstacles in general that arise in mediation practice (I for example often find I consistently get caught up in my thoughts for extended periods despite repeated the advice Sam gives to “notice the thought itself - valuable advice that works sometimes but I just need more specific advice about this issue in my practice). Maybe that exists somewhere in the app that I’m not aware of.
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1 year ago, anna zuehlke
The app that will change your life
My brother recommended this app and I had little expectations for it because I’ve come across a lot of meditation apps that are frankly a huge let down. What I’ve experienced with other meditation apps is the content is stale, there’s not enough variety, they don’t go deep enough, etc. One week in to using waking up and I knew I would be using this app for as long as it’s around. The design of the interface is so seamless and easy to use and not to mention just beautiful! Whatever designer they have designing the art cards for each session does a fantastic job. But beyond that, the content is exactly what I’ve been looking for. It’s simple but also incredibly profound and has really deepened my practice in such a great way. I came to waking up for the daily meditation practices but have found so much benefit in the philosophy sessions and all the other wonderful surrounding content they create. This is a yearly expense I look forward to paying for because I believe in the content so much and want to keep supporting them.
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4 years ago, brisk_
Unlike any other meditation app
This is the best meditation app I’ve ever tried (eg headspace, insight timer, calm). The intro course brilliantly introduces users to the types of meditation offered on the app, keeping it simple at the start and growing incrementally in complexity. Daily meditations are cohesive and build on one another, while maintaining instruction so you never feel lost or behind. There are a variety of courses which delve deeper into different practices, such as Metta, Douglas Harding’s headlessness, mindfulness, meditation for children, and more. There is a section for Q&As and conversations (basically podcasts) with practiced meditators to provide even more information on the practice. They even offer the option to have reminders pop up on your phone throughout the day to listen to a brief note from Sam to keep you grounded and aware of your practice while not sitting. This definitely helps me carry my practice through the day. I love this app and recommend it to all my friends and family. It has truly connected me to the power of meditation. I can’t thank Sam Harris enough for its existence.
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4 years ago, C. Paul Schroeder
This app has measurably improved my quality of life
As soon as I started using the Waking Up app, I began noticing some very welcome changes in my thought patterns. I had been been spending way too much time on the internet, social media and news/infotainment. After I started meditating with the app, my interest in these diversions waned dramatically. I attribute this to the fact that paying attention to what's happening in my mind is actually far more interesting than what's "out there" on the internet. Spending less time distracted and lost in thought has given me more time and energy for my important relationships. I don't habitually reach for my phone when I'm spending time with my kids. I've also reduced my caffeine intake, not as an ascetic effort, but because I found I didn't need so much caffeine to feel focused. I've been using the app for four months, and my life is much better than when I started. It's already paid for itself in reduced outlay for coffee, and the improvements to the way I feel and the quality of my relationships is worth far more. It's the best $100 purchase I ever made.
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2 years ago, Cloudyahh
The Best App to Learn How to Meditate
I've tried a few different meditation apps and each are different and have their own benefits and I have found that meditation truly needs to be learned. Those other apps sparked my interest as to the benefits of meditation but when it came time to really dig in and learn what it is and why we do it and how to just be in a moment (I'm still learning :)), Waking Up has proven the most beneficial for me in that way. Further, I believe in the mission of the company and believe they are sincere - the scholarship program alone breathes from a place of selflessness, the very existence in which one hopes to live. I encourage any who are looking for a challenge and a desire to stretch and grow to go through the introductory course lessons in this app, then make up their mind about it. I was frantically chasing a solution to combat and control my anxiety, when all along what I needed was to redirect my focus toward sitting in a moment of selflessness every day, thereby taking the energy away from the anxiety and self-important worries. Thanks, Sam and everyone at Waking Up.
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5 years ago, Sharchen Norbu
The Most Useful Option
I’m an experienced meditator and an avid follower of Sam Harris’s podcast. This app is by far the most accessible, profound and useful option for new and experienced meditators. I recommend it as the first and best option to anyone I meet who wants to begin the practice in earnest. And Sam literally makes it impossible to come up with a good excuse for not trying it. He’ll give you a refund if you don’t find it useful (you do actually have to try it, though — no half-assing it) and if you can’t afford the app, he’ll give it to you for free. If you are finding yourself being run around by your thoughts and emotions (and you’re committed to ceasing that activity), this app is well worth the investment. The problem, you will find, is not your thoughts, but rather your attachment to them. Sam will guide you in the process of slowing down, noticing your thoughts as they arise, and letting them go. When we realize that we are not our thoughts, and are merely the space in which they arise, our worlds can shift in profound and subtle ways. Give it a shot. I believe you’ll be glad you did. Thank you, Sam!
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