If I could only afford to pay for one app, it would be Sam Harris’ Waking Up meditation app.
At HK$71.99 per month, it comes at a price but the lessons and content on the app make it a satisfying investment for someone wanting to make meditation a practice.
These are some of my experiences and thoughts on the app more than a year in as a subscriber.
The gift of mindfulness
Probably the biggest change from using the app regularly is the ability to be more mindful throughout the day.
For me, it’s meant catching myself when I’ve gone too far down the rabbit hole of YouTube’s recommended videos; noticing more acutely how my body responds to certain workouts so I can avoid injury; being more conscious of what I own since clutter and unused items just lead to stress.
Staying in touch with how I’m feeling, what I’m thinking helps to be more intentional with my actions.
Conversations and beyond silent meditation
What I love even more than the daily meditation are the different people and their work that Sam Harris introduces on the app. There’s no room to be bored with the regular updates to the content.
Directly or indirectly, they offer a different perspective on meditation, reflection, and life and therefore insights I can’t get from practice alone.
Some of them also have their own series of short lessons on the app that go deeper into their area of speciality. There’s a series on loving kindness, koans, stoicism – among a growing list of lessons.
Personally, I cannot thank Sam Harris enough for introducing me to David Whyte who shares words of comfort, wisdom and beauty through his poetry.
To feel abandoned is to deny the intimacy of your surroundings.In ‘Everything is waiting for you’ by David Whyte
As Sam mentioned in one of the recordings, some people seem to think that meditation must only be done in silence. David Whyte’s poetry and essays prove otherwise.
Companion for feeling, introspective individuals
I can’t speak for everyone but as an INFP myself I recommend this particularly for people who are deeply introspective.
I’ve found the practices helpful in getting a stronger handle on my thoughts rather than getting lost in them and making me feel more comfortable with them as well.
In Sam and all the guests leading the different practice sessions, there’s an undertone of kindness and generosity that you get from teachers who tell you it’s okay when you make a mistake and guide you through it. As someone who is my harshest critic, this quality is essential in a teacher or mentor in any form for someone like me.
This quote from David Whyte in his commentary of the poem ‘The Journey’ sums up the power of meditation, mindfulness and reflection.
… there is every reason to hope that with attention and discipline, we can bring ourselves and our societies, through a kind of necessary seasonal disappearance, back into the realm of choice.Commentary on poem ‘The Journey’ in ‘David Whyte: Essentials’ by David Whyte