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Chris Ryan
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By Sam Harris Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion (1st First Edition) [Hardcover] - Sam Harris

First chapter on Spirituality


Sam Harris wants to describe spirituality that is free of religious bullshit and woo woo.

So far, the first chapter talks about the all sort of bullshit that link to spirituality is untrue. Also, the first chapter is available online. 


Check it out. I got the first edition paperback. It is so far, better than I thought it would be. 


Second chapter


The brain and consciousness. 


I have a lot of debate on consciousness, as it is ill defined and a lot of bullshit had been said about it.

So far, this is the only one that I could consider logical. The brain is not equal of consciousness. 


If the left brain and right brain is separated. The left brain has one consciousness, with the subjective view on life, while the right brain has a separate consciousness that could be different from the left brain. The two sides of the brain do not need to agree once the connection is separated. If the brain is somehow connected to another brain, would that be one consciousness or four? 


That's an interesting question. Also, if during surgery, you are awake, the consciousness is there while the body is immobile. So, speech is not the base of consciousness. 


Chapter 3 


More on the "I" or "self" illusion of human. Is it the brain? Yes, it is from the brain but not pinpoint at a part of brain function. 


So, the I observing the thoughts and information. 


As I understand it, which maybe different from what Sam Harris trying to say, is that a person see the self as someone who is behind the thoughts and actually, self is the observer of thought, and not the thought itself.


But when self is examine close enough, thoughts is mistaken as self, instead of the products arises from consciousness. 


Finding the conciseness in the brain, using the neuroscience study of left arm study. The one that hide the left arm from view, and then place a rubber arm on the table. Stroke the left arm and the rubber arm simultaneously, and the person would think he felt the stroke of the rubber arm.


Chapter 4 


Going into details of his experience of meditation with Indian guru and Tibetan teachers. Telling us what is religious bullshit and what is good teaching. This part is pretty useful.


He also demonstrated how it could fool a person that one has "got it", when certainly, one has not really got it.


Clear the mind of thoughts is not to suppress thoughts, but to observe thoughts when it come into the consciousness.


Lost in thoughts is a waste of time. But lost of self is not.


Things happened. How this things that happened had affected a person could be deal with if one realized the thoughts that come out are just thoughts and not the self, or something like that.  


Looking at the "I" that look out in the world. Turning the consciousness back to itself. It is not that easy. But it is not mystical. One doesn't need to follow some bullshit teachings of special diet, or not sleeping, to do that. Just be more aware of the mind behind the eyes.


Also, the key is not to suppress thoughts or emotion or feeling that flow to the surface. Let it comes and be aware of it.


The analogy of looking out the window is good. Either one could look out the window or one could look at yourself in the reflection but not both. A lot of meditation teaching is too vague, and teach people to observe the wind in the tree when the real focus is much closer. 


It is like looking for blind spot. It is not deep. It is on the surface. And you get a look sometimes when your brain is not too busy coming up with thoughts. Just look you on your mind eyes and know that the thoughts is not you, but the mechanism that interpret the thoughts is more likely to be your consciousness. {or not} 


Personally, I dislike meditation. But I like the awareness that one is not the pain that one felt, and could deal with the present in a better way if this awareness is more accessible.


It also explained why it is so enjoyable sitting at a movie theater.  It is the lost of self and also the lost of being self consciousness when we do that.  


Chapter 5 


On Gurus, Death , Druggs and other Puzzzles


Last chapter.


Glad that he didn't worshiped guru like some of the stupid ex-friends who practice meditation. 


I dislike undeserved respect, or claim authority without presenting evidence. So reading that guru are usually abusive psychopaths, or spread unscientific bullshit while spreading their instruction to mindfulness make me happy. As it kind of confirmed the position that I've been taken is probably the correct one. 


Interesting story on the scumbag Tibetan guru Chogyam Trungpa. 



The more important part is how eye contacts are useful and powerful. Most people feel self conscious when being look direct in the eyes. 


Holding another person's eye contact is either a challenge, or seemingly a show of spirituality.  Sam did that for awhile, and then stop. Good for him to know when to stop.



The last bit is on his skepticism of the stories told of Near Death Experience. Sam Harris criticism of Eben Alexander is well known, as Eben had failed to present any scientific evidence to backup his claim. Eben was a Christian and the story is just his imagination combined with his religious conditioning. Nothing special about that. But he did make a lot of money by selling his story. That's book is crap because it is a lie that he told and people bought it. 


A lot of crap books are best sellers. All the more reason not to pick book by its sale volume alone. 


The use of drug. He drop MDMA, LSD and Ecstasy. I fear drug that has hallucination effect. And I don't know what to do if someone I know go on a bad trip. So, I would never take one myself, and I don't want friends to take it in my present. Sam Harris encourage drugs as a mind freeing agent. But that mean he is secure enough to know if he is on a bad trip, his friend would take care of him. I don't have the same amount of trust, and I dislike bothering other people because of a pleasure seeking action. I don't get drunk either for the same reason. So, thanks but no thanks.


He encourage all to pursue a path of spirituality free of bullshit, be it religious or otherwise. Don't fool yourself if you are not enlightened. It really is a path and it is not difficult for many. Use the same scientific method to approach this would be the best way to go.

That's 200 pages of one subject. Good one. 5 stars.