Sam Harris’s 'Waking Up' is as much of a theoretical text, synthesizing a multi-level analysis of the spectrum of Inner vs Outer, as it is a practical manual of how to move along that continuum and achieve wellbeing...
Disclaimer: Please note that this summary is offered for educational purposes only. If you are interested in reading the complete book please purchase it from the author.
Guest post courtesy of my friend Nikolay Petrov, Psychology Research Assistant (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Inter-cultural analysis of the mindset of the West and the East illustrate the difference between Outer and Inner perfectly: While the former is focused on the Outer world in the form of rationalism and materialism, the latter concerns itself with the Inner – self-transcendence and contemplation are the norm.
Harris utilizes a careful scientific analysis of the concepts of consciousness and the self to make three strong points:
1) Consciousness is the one thing in the world that cannot be an illusion;
2) The Self is an illusion;
3) Consciousness and its contents are the only thing that matters when it comes wellbeing.
Once the points are clear on logical grounds, Harris offers the reader an experiential way to reach the same conclusions: Meditation. Whether in the form of mindfulness or eye-gazing, anything that allows you to realize your “headlessness” and return to a prior, default position, before the influx of judgements or thoughts is the path to take to a “healthy mind”. Harris also discusses the possibility of experiencing such states by using drugs. Specifically, non-addictive psychedelics, such as DMT, psilocybin or LSD, can give you a short-term glimpse to the concept of self-transcendence (but are definitely NOT long-term solutions!).
The text is mostly direct to readers in the West and presents the benefits of Eastern practices but does not come without warnings. Some practices in the East can tilt towards exploitation due to the nature of giving yourself up to your guru. To avoid that, Harris recommends watching out for the element of consent – similar to the training of the navy seals, does the guru give you a way out of your practice?
Chapter 1: Spirituality
Chapter 2: The Mystery of Consciousness
Chapter 3: The Riddle of the Self
Chapter 4: Meditation
Chapter 5: Gurus, Death, Drugs, and Other Puzzles
What is 'spirituality' for you? How do you go about optimising your spiritual wellness? Go ahead and share with a friend and ask them,
Get in touch for your free exploratory session to see how you can integrate this new information into your life.
Special thanks to my friend Nikolay once again for producing this summary.
Do you choose to read this post? Sam Harris's Free Will (Book Summary)
Martin Stefanov Petkov
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