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Do you know what time of the year it is?
It’s that time when I write my annual meditation post where I specifically point out that everyone should read Waking Up by Sam Harris because it is my favorite book.
I wish I would get sponsored or paid for this but you know what? One day I just might.
As I mentioned in countless posts, I found out about Sam and the work he does when I realized there is no god and that being sceptical is just a better way to go through life.
One of the most important things he taught me is the importance of having a regular meditation practice. Not just for me but for the benefit of how I treat others as well.
I was meditating for like a decade before I declared myself an atheist but always for the wrong reasons.
This time, I was doing it for me and my health.
Reading Waking Up was an experience alright. I wish I could go back in time with no memories and discover it for the first time.
The reason it means so much to me is that there are quite literally no spiritual/self-help/mindfulness books that are written by an atheist.
Trust me, being a New Ager for almost a decade, I read every single book under the sun that falls into the category of self-help or self-improvement, and all of them have some pseudoscience in them.
Waking Up, on the other hand, was written by a neuroscientist and a sceptic who studied with the greatest Eastern meditation teachers and only took what could be put to the test.
Another thing I love about this wonderful work of art by Sam Harris? He dedicated a whole chapter to talk about gurus, anti-science claims and the danger of following and/or joining a cult.
As I said, I was a New Age follower and this was my whole life – from gurus to cults.
The truth is, to start meditating and being more mindful in your day to day life, you need not believe in a supernatural deity or in souls and reincarnation.
Sam is a true example of an atheist who wants to reclaim the word spiritual and make it useful to everyone, whether you are a sceptic or not.
Because this is a spiritual practice and it does come from people who (usually) make ridiculous claims about the nature of consciousness, world and life.
Yet it’s also something that proves that the feeling you get of oneness with every living being and true freedom from attachment, is not due to your faith, but because of your breath.
No one made you feel that, it was you who let go and focused on the one thing that sustains you: the act of breathing. When you are following your breath, in and out, you are practising being in the moment and when you are living in the moment, everything just is.
It’s not bad or good, hard or easy, painful or pleasurable. It just is.
That is freedom and oneness. This is what you get when you read Waking Up.