December 20, 2018

Podcast

Sam Harris, Ph.D.: The transformative power of mindfulness (EP.34)

"Thought really is the obstacle one is overcoming when learning to meditate." —Sam Harris

by Peter Attia

Read Time 22 minutes

In this episode, Sam Harris, neuroscientist, author, and host of the Waking Up Podcast, walks us through the profound, yet practical, ways that meditation can transform our lives. Additionally, he helps to define the types of meditation and clarifies potential misconceptions with terms like happiness, pain, and suffering.

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We discuss:

  • The transformative moment that led to Peter reaching out to Sam [3:45];
  • Comparing the two broad types of meditation, and Peter’s favorite meditation apps [7:45];
  • The pleasure of a concentrated mind, meditating with pain, and the difference between pain and suffering [13:15];
  • What it means to be happy, and how to break out of our default state [23:15];
  • The disease of distraction, why humans suffer, the limitation of happiness, and letting go of anger with mindfulness [31:00];
  • The challenge of learning mindfulness, the benefit of silent retreats, and Sam’s first experience in solitude as a teenager [54:15];
  • Sam’s life-altering experience with MDMA [1:03:00];
  • Mettā meditation a.k.a. loving-kindness, and the concept of ‘moral luck’ [1:14:00];
  • Overcoming grief and dread with meditation [1:34:45];
  • The wrong way to practice mindfulness, and the difference between Vipassana and Dzogchen [1:44:45];
  • Sam’s commitment to never lie, honesty in politics, and Sam’s viewpoint on the Trump phenomenon [2:06:00];
  • Teaching kids to be more mindful [2:18:30];
  • Sam’s current book projects, the consequences of a politically correct environment, and the potential of neuroscience to cure psychopathy [2:25:30];
  • How you can follow Sam’s work [2:39:00]; and
  • More.

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