Sam Harris Waking Up App Review: Your In-Depth Guide for 2022

Sam Harris

Waking Up App

The Waking Up app is brought to you by Sam Harris. The Waking Up app says it will help you unlock your mind whether you are a beginner or advanced in meditating. Unlike other meditation apps, they say that their purpose is to radically transform your sense of who and what you are.

Here is Sam Harris Waking Up App Review: Your In-Depth Guide.

Welcome to our Sam Harris Waking Up app review. This is your comprehensive guide to everything the app offers, from its features and functionality to user experience.

What is Sam Harris Waking Up App?

So, what is the Sam Harris Waking Up app? Simply put, it’s an all-in-one mindfulness and meditation toolkit. It includes a wealth of content designed to help you learn about and improve your mindfulness and meditation techniques.

The app is the work of Sam Harris, a meditation and neuroscience expert who has written several best-selling books on these subjects, including Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion.

Sam Harris Waking Up App Pros:

  • Sam Harris has a perfect calming voice for the guided meditations
  • It presents a variety of research-backed topics and complex subjects in practical and understandable ways
  • Most fans of the app are adamant about this meditation app being the only one that has changed their life

Sam Harris Waking Up App Cons:

  • Overall, this app seems to require more intellectual discernment and curiosity on behalf of the user. Some beginners or those who have trouble focusing may find it discouraging.
  • The high yearly cost. Although it is one of the only apps that doesn’t auto-renew (doesn’t take your credit card upfront just to try it)

Is Sam Harris meditation app worth it?

Meditation is a practice that has the potential to transform your life radically. Waking Up is an app – quite possibly the only meditation app – that has the potential to help you achieve this.

All in all, I think Sam Harris’ Waking Up app is worth it if you want to learn about the theory behind meditation but also want access to a range of guided practices to help you get started. The app is modern and easy to use, and the content is insightful.

If you’ve tried other meditation apps before but have struggled to keep practicing, Sam Harris’s Waking Up meditation app may be the app you need in your life. If you’re wondering why this may be the case, everything we share in this Sam Harris Waking Up app review can help you arrive at that answer.

Feeling a little lost already? Don’t worry; you’ll see what we mean eventually in this Sam Harris Waking Up app review. Besides, in all honesty, I felt pretty lost when I first started with this app, so it only makes sense that I walk you through it and my journey through using it similarly.

But first, let’s talk about the person behind this tremendously insightful and transformative meditation app: Sam Harris. Because this app wouldn’t be what it is without his insights, background, and drive to make this app the meditation app to end all meditation apps. (joking, he never said that, although this could ultimately be true for you!)

How much does the Sam Harris app cost?

The Sam Harris Waking Up App Costs $99.99 USD for the year & $499.99 USD lifetime.

The Waking Up meditation app by Sam Harris is free to download in the App Store and Google Play.

You can test it out for seven days for free. Once your free trial is up, a yearly subscription to the app is $99.99 or lifetime payment for $499.99.

Something worth noting that I haven’t seen with other apps is that Waking Up donates at least 10% of their profits to charities that work to alleviate human suffering on several fronts, including the Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics (CCDD), The Good Food Institute, Inc., and the Future of Humanity Institute.

Who is Sam Harris?

If you’re not familiar with Sam Harris, he is a neuroscientist, philosopher, and author who has written extensively on the topic of meditation. He is one of the most well-known advocates for the practice in the West.

Sam holds a philosophy degree from Stanford University and a Ph.D. in neuroscience from UCLA. He has practiced meditation for over 30 years and studied with Indian, Tibetan, Burmese, and Western meditation teachers.

Sam Harris Podcast

If you’re interested in learning more about Sam Harris and his take on meditation, I would recommend listening to his Making Sense podcast. He has some great interviews with people like Eckhart Tolle and Joseph Goldstein.

Apple selected this app as one of the “iTunes Best.”

Listen to the Making Sense Podcast

Sam Harris on Twitter

If you’re on Twitter, I highly recommend you follow Sam Harris, as he is always tweeting and retweeting interesting articles and insights. Not only on meditation but a wide range of topics, including politics, terrorism, psychedelics, free will, and artificial intelligence.

Follow Sam’s twitter.

Sam Harris Books

Sam Harris is the author of five New York Times bestsellers.

Some of his books include Letter to a Christian Nation, The End of Faith, The Moral Landscape, Free Will, Lying, Waking Up, and Making Sense.

His work has also been published in over 20 languages and discussed in major publications like Rolling Stone and The New York Times.

While he covers various topics in his book and public lectures, from neuroscience to philosophy, his general message is that how we understand ourselves changes our understanding of how we should live.

What does Sam Harris say about meditation?

Sam Harris attests that there are two main approaches to meditation. You can try to modernize it or keep it traditional. By modernizing it as we often do in making meditation more accessible with other apps, he believes we “dumb down” the practice.

So, with his app, he chooses to follow a different path. Sam created the Waking Up app for anyone who wants to meditate in a modern yet scientific context. So, his third approach to meditation aims to tell us that the purpose of meditation is not just to achieve measurable benefits like de-stressing or sleeping better. Instead, the real purpose of meditation is to understand yourself and realize you are not your thoughts.

Harris says that the ultimate purpose of meditation and using this app is to wake up and realize how much our thoughts control how we perceive ourselves and everything around us. The goal is to step outside of this “dream state” because when you learn to meditate, you discover that you didn’t have the problem you thought you had.

Harris doesn’t negate that guided meditation can help you achieve wonderful things like improving your relationships and reducing stress. Still, when those outcomes become our purpose, meditation becomes just another way of staying asleep. He says that the goal is to wake up from the unhealthy dream of your life, not to merely lower your blood pressure while in that dream.

Now that we know more about Sam Harris and some of his motivations for creating Waking Up, let’s move on to the app itself.

Sam Harris Waking Up App Review

The Waking Up app was created to help people learn how to meditate. It has been downloaded over 1 million times and has received great reviews.

When I first started using this app, I was a bit intimidated by the content – not in the sense of there being too much of it, but just that it seemed so different from all the other meditation apps out there.

I went into this Sam Harris Waking Up app review process expecting to see the usual sections of categorized meditations that you see in apps like Calm or 10% Happier. When I didn’t, I had no idea where to begin.

After some frustration trying to understand what I was looking at underneath all the unique and colorful artwork, I just decided to start practicing. It wasn’t long before I realized that there is a reason why this app doesn’t have a giant list of meditations sorted by its perceived benefits.

All it took was listening to the first part of the Waking Up Series titled “Fundamentals,” where Sam Harris talks about meditation itself to realize why Waking Up is not your conventional meditation app.

So, if you’re looking for perfectly curated and organized content, this app may not be for you. Because, as Sam puts it, the purpose of meditation is not to attract benefits like more sleep or less stress. The purpose of meditation is to radically transform your sense of who you are and what life is about.

That said, if you’re willing to release your expectations about meditation and what you think a meditation app should look like, this app can help you better understand your mind and how it gets in the way to see more clearly what is right in front of you.

Sam Harris’s app is an incredibly in-depth look at meditation. It is an encyclopedia of all things related to the practice itself. It is extremely thorough and provides deep insight into exactly what driving forces are behind the practice – how it affects you on a chemical level, affects your mental state, and rewires your brain map over time.

Waking Upp App Sections

Home Page

The home page of this app is sleek and simple. Here you will find a daily meditation for each day, but only once you have completed all 56 days (or sessions) of the Introductory course.

Below that, different conversations (we’ll get there) are posted each day, and beneath that is where you can see everything you have recently viewed.

This is a screenshot of the sam harris waking up app home page
This is a screenshot of the sam harris waking up app home page

Theory

Knowing what you know now about this app, it may come as no surprise that the most featured content within this app can be found under its first main tab (second to the home page), titled “Theory.”

The Theory section of this app looks at the theory behind meditation practice and examines ancient wisdom that has been pressure-tested by modern teachers, scientists, and scholars. Within the Theory tab, you will find Series (or lessons), Conversations, and Questions & Answers.

All of these are extremely insightful, and they helped me understand the practice on a much deeper level than any other app I’ve used. From learning about neuroscience (how our brains work) to finding out how meditation can help you lead your life in the best way possible, this part made me appreciate and remember why I continue doing this practice.

This is a screenshot of the sam harris waking up app theory page
This is a screenshot of the sam harris waking up app theory page

Series

Under the series tab, you will find short talks on some of life’s most thought-provoking and important questions. These topics include meditation, neuroscience, psychedelics, nonduality, enlightenment, ethics, Stoicism, and others.

Conversations

Within the Conversations tab, you will discover conversations between Sam Harris and a range of teachers, scholars, authors, and scientists who discuss mindfulness and meditation, along with relevant topics like building habits, compassion, happiness, and understanding the mind.

Some of these long-form conversations guests include James Clear, Adyashanti, Jack Kornfield, David Whyte, Tara Brach, and Judson Brewer.

Q&A's

In Q&A sessions, you’ll discover the most frequently asked meditation questions as well as in-depth discussions about some of the more advanced elements of spiritual practice.

Practice

The practice tab is where I first got a bit confused. Again, I was looking for the usual clear headings telling me what was what – how long I’d spend meditating and what I’d get out of it…

But instead, there are just a handful of sections with titles like “SOS,” “Walking Meditations,” “Morning Meditations,” and “Longer Meditations.” At least, these were the ones that were more obvious to me.

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This is a screenshot of the sam harris waking up app longer meditation page

Then there are other sections – mostly led by guest speakers – with titles like “Contemplative Action” and “The Spectrum of Awareness.” Right off the bat, I had no idea what any of this was, and it’s just one example of how some of the terminology used in this app at first led me to believe this app was only for advanced meditators. And while you may get that impression at certain points while using the app, I’d encourage you to keep going.

Start with the Introductory Course and do all of those first. This course will serve as your foundation for meditation and using the app.

Search

Finally, there’s the search tab, where you can see that all the app’s top searches are listed for you if you aren’t sure what you want to search for. While this is a nice and often necessary feature in any app like this, I haven’t found it all that useful in the Waking Up app.

For instance, if you type in “stress” or “experiencing stress,” the app pulls up sessions about courage and social emotions (like guilt and embarrassment). I’m sure if you did the meditations it pulls, you would find some connection. However, if you’re searching for something specific, I assume most people would want the output to be in more apparent alignment with their search.

But again, searching via benefit is not what this app is about. Therefore I recommend you start with the Introductory Course and Fundamentals series and then explore the app more freely from there.

This is a screenshot of the sam harris waking up app search page
This is a screenshot of the sam harris waking up app search stress page

Meditation Apps: Never Alone Review Guide

To help you decide between the top meditation apps out there in the market, we spent multiple weeks using each of them and breaking down our findings. Now that you have heard all Sam Harris Waking Up has to offer, read how it compares to the other meditation apps on the market and which app we think is best between them.

Waking Up vs. Headspace

Waking Up is an app that users swear by for content that they cannot find with other apps – including Headspace. Despite Waking Up’s clean interface, I could see where users (including myself) still get confused about where to start and what exactly they’re clicking on. Though they are both great apps, Headspace has a more intuitive interface and teaches you to meditate easily. 

Waking Up vs. Calm

Waking Up is a great app for those looking to take their practice to new levels. I would highly recommend Waking Up over Calm, as its users swear by it because of the impact it had on their life, which is not always seen with other popular mindfulness apps like Calm. With Waking Up, you get the benefit of self-enlightenment and guidance.

Waking Up vs. Insight Timer

Sam Harris and his community of expert teachers have a ton of knowledge and wisdom to share in the Waking Up app. But that doesn’t mean that out of the thousands of teachers worldwide who join Insight Timer, you cannot find someone who covers the same important things. Plus, you have more chance to find a teacher (and voice) you resonate with, so I vote for Insight Timer.

Waking Up vs. Ten Percent Happier

I love both apps because the people behind them teach users what meditation is and how it applies in everyday life. Sam Harris’s Waking Up is a great way to gain valuable insight. Still, I find Dan Harris’s Ten Percent Happier much more engaging with relatable stories from his own experience and teachings on various topics, including creativity, happiness, difficult emotions, and more. So, I vote Ten Percent Happier!

Waking Up vs. Buddhify

There’s so much authenticity behind both apps because of the people who came together to create them. Buddhify has some attractive features that highlight things Sam Harris does not – like the value of sharing your learnings and enlightenment with others. In this way, Buddhify’s content and community have a lasting impact. That said, I believe that the content on Waking Up has the potential to create a more profound impact.

Waking Up vs. Unplug

These two apps are like opposites regarding the practicality of the meditations and other content. Whereas Waking Up is the app that seems to go the extra mile to talk about enlightenment, Unplug cuts out the excess and delivers wisdom in its guided meditation experiences! I love that the underlying message of Unplug is that a few minutes each day is enough, which is why Unplug has my vote.

The Sam Harris Waking Up App Review Takeaway

If you’ve ever tried other meditation apps in the past, but they never really kept you practicing, this app might be a game-changer for you. While other apps may tell you what you’re supposed to do and guide you through things like focusing on the breath, this app tells you why you should.

Even if you aren’t interested in the theory aspect of this app, you can still benefit from the practices available. But you are likely to find that the more you understand why you’re doing what you’re doing, you’ll experience more interest and commitment to the practice. Because the idea of meditation is cool and everything, but what is interesting is when you see how it changes your mind and perspectives for the better.

It’s hard to put into words how much this app might help you “wake up” from your dream-like state through life because you must experience it yourself. Once you start to see yourself as the actor who’s been playing in the theater within your mind, you’ll get better at noticing the dramas rather than getting lost in them.

In other words, the more observant you become of your mind, the more control you will have. With greater control and awareness, you can approach life from a more positive and grateful place, allowing you to appreciate and enjoy life fully. Hello, more happiness!

I’ve only been using the app for a short while and already feel like my practice has significantly deepened and improved. If you’re a beginner or feel overwhelmed using this app at first, keep listening to Harris’ messages, and you’ll eventually understand.

I would recommend Waking Up to anyone interested in meditation – practice or theory, but ideally, the magic of bringing both together.

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