What is Waking Up About?
Waking Up is a book that tackles the idea that there's more to reality than science and secular culture allows. It contains topics that discuss the role of spirituality, mediation, and experiences. The author rejects the contrast between spirituality and rationality, and wants to have something in between that preserves spirituality and science but does not involve religion. This book is one of Harris' New York Times Nonfiction Best Sellers. (Waking Up Summary)
Waking Up Quotes
[Favorite Quote]: "Your mind is the basis of everything you experience and of every contribution you make to the lives of others. Given this fact, it makes sense to train it.” (Meaning)
2. “How we pay attention to the present moment largely determines the character of our experience and, therefore, the quality of our lives."
3. “Everything we do is for the purpose of altering consciousness."
4. "The benefits of training in meditation arrive long before mastery does.”
5. "If you are perpetually angry, depressed, confused, and unloving, or your attention is elsewhere, it won’t matter how successful you become or who is in your life—you won’t enjoy any of it.”
6. most of us spend our time seeking happiness and security without acknowledging the underlying purpose of our search. Each of us is looking for a path back to the present: We are trying to find good enough reasons to be satisfied now.”
7. “My mind begins to seem like a video game: I can either play it intelligently, learning more in each round, or I can be killed in the same spot by the same monster, again and again.”
8. "Every moment throughout one’s life offers an opportunity to be relaxed and responsive or to suffer unnecessarily.”
9. Having an ego is what it feels like to be thinking without knowing that you are thinking."
10. “On one level, wisdom is nothing more profound than an ability to follow one’s own advice.”
11. “if you are thinking without knowing you are thinking, you are confused about who and what you are.”
12. “if, like many people, you tend to be vaguely unhappy much of the time, it can be very helpful to manufacture a feeling of gratitude by simply contemplating all the terrible things that have not happened to you"
13. “Merely accepting that we are lazy, distracted, petty, easily provoked to anger, and inclined to waste our time in ways that we will later regret is not a path to happiness.”
14. "Many people on earth at this moment can’t even imagine the freedom that you currently take for granted.”
15. “we are all seeking fulfillment while living at the mercy of changing experience. Whatever we acquire in life gets dispersed. Our bodies age. Our relationships fall away. Even the most intense pleasures last only a few moments. "
16. “There is nothing passive about mindfulness. One might even say that it expresses a specific kind of passion—a passion for discerning what is subjectively real in every moment."
17. “The reality of your life is always now."
18. “Spirituality must be distinguished from religion—because people of every faith, and of none, have had the same sorts of spiritual experiences.”
19. “Each of us is looking for a path back to the present"
20. “A human mind is a wandering mind, and a wandering mind is an unhappy mind.”
21. "Although science may ultimately show us how to truly maximize human well-being, it may still fail to dispel the fundamental mystery of our being itself.”
22. "We can directly experience that consciousness is never improved or harmed by what it knows. Making this discovery, again and again, is the basis of spiritual life.”
23. “We grasp at transitory pleasures. We brood about the past and worry about the future. We continually seek to prop up and defend an egoic self that doesn’t exist.”
24. “Confusion and suffering may be our birthright, but wisdom and happiness are available.”
25. “Our habitual identification with thought—that is, our failure to recognize thoughts as appearances in consciousness—is a primary source of human suffering.
26. “The principal enemy of mindfulness—or of any meditative practice—is our deeply conditioned habit of being distracted by thoughts. The problem is not thoughts themselves but the state of thinking without knowing that we are thinking.”
27. “Ceaseless change is an unreliable basis for lasting fulfillment.”
28. “If your golf instructor were to insist that you shave your head, sleep no more than four hours each night, renounce sex, and subsist on a diet of raw vegetables, you would find a new golf instructor. However, when gurus make demands of this kind, many of their students simply do as directed.”
29. “Thoughts themselves are not a problem, but being identified with thought is.”
30. "It takes a certain degree of concentration to even notice how distracted you are. Even if your life depended on it, you could not spend a full minute free of thought.”
31. “Is it possible to be happy before anything happens, before one’s desires are gratified, in spite of life’s difficulties, in the very midst of physical pain, old age, disease, and death"
32. “Eventually, it begins to seem as if you are repeatedly awakening from a dream to find yourself safely in bed. No matter how terrible the dream, the relief is instantaneous.”
33. “The burn of lifting weights, for instance, would be excruciating if it were a symptom of terminal illness. But because it is associated with health and fitness, most people find it enjoyable.”
― Quotes from the book Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion by Sam Harris
Who is the Author of Waking Up?
Samuel Benjamin Harris is an American philosopher, author, and podcast host. His work touches on a wide range of topics, including rationality, religion, ethics, free will, neuroscience, meditation, psychedelics, philosophy of mind, politics, terrorism, and artificial intelligence