I’ve been using Sam Harris’ Waking Up meditation app for about a year now.
I took up mindfulness meditation almost out of frustration from hearing about it constantly in the news and scientific literature. It gets marketed as a cure-all, and whilst I am aware there is some scientific literature to back up some claims of benefits, I was (and still am) dubious that it is as powerful as many claim.
I dabbled with Smiling Mind for a while before ultimately choosing Sam Harris’ Waking Up. I am a fan of Sam’s podcast (Making Sense). I find him to be an excellent interviewer who gets interesting guests and isn’t afraid to tackle difficult issues. He talks regularly on his podcast about his extensive (30+ year) history of meditation practice and he indicated benefits that I sought in my own life: emotional stability, identification of what is important in life, reduction of suffering.
I am of the view that regardless of recommendations or research evidence, each of us has to experiment with things in our own lives to determine their value to us. I knew this to be the case with meditation also.
In the year that I have been practising, I have found the benefits of meditation in my life, thus far, to be modest but worthy of continued effort. I meditate about 20 minutes a day, 6 days a week. Benefits include a fascination with the mechanics of consciousness, moments of clear open attention and the ability to create a small bit of distance between ‘me’ and my emotional reactions. There are also the benefits of having sustained a consistent habitual practice such as greater confidence in my ability to make meaningful changes in my life.
I intend to continue using Sam’s app for a number of reasons:
- He posts daily meditations for every day of the week
- He interviews interesting guests, so you hear about the role of meditation in other people’s lives, particularly other meditation teachers
- He includes additional lessons that help you develop an understanding of meditation in the context of life, not just how to practice it
- Sam’s approach to meditation divorces it from the supernatural aspects of religion, but keeps the practice grounded in philosophy and science of consciousness
Sam’s app isn’t free. Increasingly this makes sense to me. If someone is to put their best work forwards, they need time to do so, and that time needs to be valued appropriately. Many of the highest rated meditation apps have a cost. From my perspective you aren’t paying for an app, you are paying for ongoing new and relevant teaching content. Teachers have bills to pay as well.
Like any business, Waking Up is seeking more users, so they are providing existing users with links that they can share, so that others can get a free month of using the app. A month is a suitable time to work out whether you think the value in the app is worth the $100 US a year to continue using.
My link is https://share.wakingup.com/1f8fa94939d5 Feel free to use to get your free month. I am confident that by the end of the month, you’ll know whether the app is for you.