Cian Belton

Waking Up - 18th January 2024

So, What Is Waking Up?

Waking Up was created by Sam Harris so that he and others, could provide spiritual practice and theory that is free from religious baggage and dogma. It began as a meditation app, but has since expanded into the realm of practical life philosophy and more. As far as I can discern, the name "Waking Up" comes from the process of stopping, or breaking free from constant identification with thought, and waking up to the present moment. This idea can be seen in David Foster Wallace's commencement speech in 2005, titled "This is Water", with the parable of the two young fish. If we are constantly thinking thoughts, and we are unaware that we are thinking them, then we are just like the young fish in water, so blinded by the obvious that we don't see what is really here.

So what is really here? That question is what meditation concerns itself with answering, except that it doesn't answer it with a concept, as that would be just adding more thoughts to it all. No, instead meditation can give a person glimpses of experience that appear before thought. This is only one ascpect of meditation, but it will suffice here.

Structure Of The App

Currently, there are three main sections on the app: Theory, Practice and Life.

There are also other features:

Why Am I Writing About It?

Waking Up has been a resource that has given me access to tools and information that has undoubtably improved the quality of my mind and life. I have found meditation to open up my experience to more fully embrace the now, and to not be as caught up in my thoughts about the past and future. Of course I never stick to this fully, and I frequently ruminate, but the point is to gradually slide the needle towards more awareness in the here and now. I am so grateful that this resource has been created, and that I live at a time where the best spiritual tools humanity has to offer are available for the world to use in a hand held device. The crux is that with the great power that phones offer comes a great responsibility - what we take for granted now was magic 25 years ago, and the truth is that we are in the middle of a war for our attention, whether we realize it or not. From where I stand in 2024, as a collective we could benefit from more awareness in our lives, and Waking Up has helped bring awareness to mine. I hope that many other people can also become a "work in progress" like me, so here is a link to Waking Up if you want to try it out.