And we are back to the most mentioned person on my blog. Sam Harris.
If you are not familiar with Sam Harris by now, let me tell you about him. Sam Harris is a neuroscientist, philosopher, podcast host and a best-selling author of some of the best books I have read (with Waking Up being my favorite non-fiction book).
He is also the founder of the beyond incredible Waking Up app that teaches mindfulness and various meditation techniques. I wrote about the app in the past – you can read my review of it here – and I am a big advocate of meditation.
Today I want to inspire you through quotes that come from my favorite book that he wrote titled Waking Up – and hopefully give you some value that you can take with you. Are you ready to begin?
Here are 3 quotes by Sam Harris to inspire you:
“Some people are content in the midst of deprivation and danger, while others are miserable despite having all the luck in the world. This is not to say that external circumstances do not matter. But it is your mind, rather than circumstances themselves, that determines the quality of your life. Your mind is the basis of everything you experience and of every contribution you make to the lives of others. Given this fact, it makes sense to train it.”
We all suffer, no matter where on this planet we reside. But not all of us feel pain and sadness equally. There are people who have absolutely nothing yet seem to find joy in just being able to open their eyes in the morning, and there are people like you and me who have at least basic needs covered but we suffer immensely. Just opening our eyes in the morning seems like a daunting task. Why do some people with fewer privileges look at life differently and experience it with more positive emotions? The answer is that they are simply more mindful than we are. We cannot run away from suffering and loss but we can learn how to go through it with more ease and understanding. Meditation is the practice that unlocks the door to the ability to experience suffering without letting it destroy us.
“Happily, the benefits of training in meditation arrive long before mastery does.”
One of the answers people give when asked why they don’t want to meditate is that they don’t want to practice for decades before experiencing mindfulness. Thankfully, they don’t have to. I experience benefits after just a 10-minute meditation and if I skip a few days, I am reminded of that every second when I am suffering unnecessarily. The beauty of meditation is that you don’t have to reach enlightenment to be more mindful, you just have to start. It’s amazing what a few minutes of focused breathing can do for your life.
“If your golf instructor were to insist that you shave your head, sleep no more than four hours each night, renounce sex, and subsist on a diet of raw vegetables, you would find a new golf instructor. However, when gurus make demands of this kind, many of their students simply do as directed.”
As someone who used to be a part of the so-called New Age movement, I am aware of how easily we can find ourselves worshipping spiritual gurus that tell us everything we want to hear. We obey them and trust they know what is right for us. I never experienced a guru telling me that I must shave my head but I was told that god didn’t save me from being suicidal because I wasn’t positive enough. We don’t need to follow any gurus to learn how to live better lives. But so often we obey their instructions because we are convinced they are better than us, closer to god or divine love. This is not true and as someone who doesn’t believe in anything supernatural, I can tell you that you can just as easily find beauty in being alive without having a guru to worship.
Waking Up is by far my favorite non-fiction book and I read it at least once a year to go through practices Sam writes about and to remind myself that mindfulness doesn’t require worship or sacrifice of any sorts. I love both the book and the app.
I hope these three quotes inspired you enough to start practising meditation on a regular basis. I know it’s hard to begin and start a new habit, but with the Waking Up app, you can set reminders and go through an introductory course.
I have been using the app for about a year now and all the lessons and meditations are amazing. I also love that the app has meditations for children which I tried and absolutely recommend no matter your age.
This is not a promo or anything. I am writing this because Sam truly changed my life in many ways and by sharing resources through which he helped me I can perhaps give back to him.
If you would like more recommendations on what apps and books I am using and reading, please follow me on Instagram.