I Wish I Could Endorse the Waking Up App
If you’ve been reading my journal for a while, you know I’m a strong proponent of daily meditation practice. I consider meditation equally important as physical exercise. I believe strongly that people should develop a meditation practice and I’m highly skeptical of the claim that “it’s not for me”. I really can’t communicate just how important meditation is better than Sam Harris can. He has practiced meditation for over 30 years (longer than I’ve existed) and he has studied with meditation masters from all over the world. He put his knowledge into an app called Waking Up.
As a beginner meditator, it can be very difficult to stay on task. It’s common to sit there for a half hour trying to meditate only to later realize you were thinking the entire time. There’s immense value in having someone there to interrupt you when you’re going off-track. Sam explains all this in the first session of the course. Since a lot of people only know what the mainstream media has told them about meditation, I’d like to include a quote from Sam’s website to offer a more accurate perspective:
“The purpose of meditation isn’t merely to de-stress, or to sleep better, or to learn to be a little less neurotic. The purpose is to radically transform your sense of who and what you are.” - Sam Harris
I think the Waking Up app is one of the few apps where the marketing doesn’t oversell the benefits. If you stick to the program and put in the effort, you can radically transform your experience of the world. It’s not just marketing.
Now unfortunately I can’t recommend this app because it’s proprietary. I’ve tried to contact Sam several times about this problem only to be met with radio silence. But I think the audios within it deserve to be promoted, for the good of the world. Thankfully some kind soul created a torrent containing the audio files, so it’s still possible to access the audios in freedom.
If you benefit from the Waking Up audios, it would help to email Sam letting him know you find the audios useful, but are forced to torrent them rather than paying for a subscription because of the app’s freedom issues. Most likely he receives lots of emails and freeing his app won’t be high priority for him unless he gets more pressure to do so. It’s a shame that the best meditation app out there is non-free. Maybe if enough of us push him on it, he will fix the app.