Below you’ll find our open letter to meditators. If you find the message compelling, you can try Waking Up for 30 days free.

The True Purpose of Mindfulness

By now, you’ve likely discovered that regular meditation practice can bring many benefits. Perhaps you’re feeling less stressed and more focused; you might have even seen your productivity increase or your sleep improve. If so, that’s wonderful.

But the purpose of mindfulness isn’t merely to reduce stress or to increase your focus (and it may or may not lead to better sleep). Rather, its true purpose is to utterly transform your way of being in the world.

At Waking Up, we take a different approach to mindfulness than most meditation apps. The point of the practice isn’t to feel better about yourself; it’s to be free from yourself. Where your mind once ricocheted from thought to thought, and probably seized upon meditation in the hopes of finding some relief, real mindfulness leaves you free to simply enjoy the miracle of consciousness in this moment… and this moment… and this...

There really is something to discover about the nature of your mind that will radically change your perspective—now.

So our goal isn’t just to teach you basic relaxation exercises. Rather, we want to show you the true freedom that lies dormant within you. And we’ve gathered some of the best teachers and scholars in the world to help. We also often hear from our members that Waking Up explains the underlying logic of mindfulness—the “why” of practice—in ways that they never encountered anywhere else. And many who have meditated for decades, and even sat multiple silent retreats, tell us that Waking Up has totally transformed their practice.

We believe it’s important to expand one’s scope of interest beyond meditation, too. Mindfulness reveals profound insights about the mind, but it doesn’t tell you how to act in the world. Ultimately, we take inspiration from the famous line attributed to Socrates: “The unexamined life is not worth living.” Throughout the app, we explore Stoicism, neuroscience, the latest research on psychedelics, free will, effective altruism, and other topics relevant to living a more fulfilling, meaningful life. And we do this in a way that's free from dogma of any kind, religious or otherwise.

It is also true, however, that some people just want to calm down and be more productive. And we occasionally hear from Waking Up members who find the deeper teachings we offer to be merely annoying, rather than inspiring or provocative of further insights. If this ends up being you, please know that we will refund your subscription, no questions asked. And there are many other apps that offer a wealth of instruction that may be more in line with what you are looking for.

Listen to Sam Harris, creator of Waking Up, explain how we’re different.


How Is Waking Up Different?

by Sam Harris

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If you’re happy with your current approach to meditation, then by all means, continue doing what works for you. But if you sense that there might still be more to discover, we invite you to explore Waking Up. It’s free to try—and, in fact, it’s free for anyone who can’t afford it. We never want money to be the reason why someone can’t benefit from the resources we’ve built.

Whether or not you become a Waking Up member, we’re grateful for your efforts to bring more mindfulness into your life. In an increasingly fractured world, where there’s no shortage of reasons to worry about our collective future, we are all in need of greater wisdom and compassion.

Wishing you the best of luck on your journey...

The Waking Up Team

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