Waking Up

Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion (2014)
Sam Harris
“Until that moment, I had viewed organized religion as merely a monument to the ignorance and superstition of our ancestors. But I now knew that Jesus, the Buddha, Lao Tzu, and the other saints and sages of history had not all been epileptics, schizophrenics, or frauds. I still considered the world's religions to be mere intellectual ruins, maintained at enormous economic and social cost, but I now understood that important psychological truths could be found in the rubble.” --Sam Harris, 'Waking Up'
I first encountered Sam Harris in his role as neuroscientist; he was being interviewed about an article he'd written on the topics of consciousness and free will. But it was his side comments on religion that caught my attention. As I mention in the "About" story, based on what I had experienced and observed of organized religions, I was no fan and Harris' well-researched and articulate critiques struck a chord. But as the quote above makes clear, an awakening brings a recognition that, at their heart, most wisdom traditions and religions have a truth to them. The same truth. This insight rang very loudly in my mind after the awakening.

Harris uses this book to tell the story of his own awakening and to share instructions for a attaining a direct spiritual experience through contemplation - and sharing interesting tidbits about the brain along the way. Even though I read this book after experiencing an awakening (spoilers!), I still found it helpful to hear his insightful interpretations of this experience.

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