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Notes & Quotes from Sam Harris’ Waking Up: February 2020

Consciousness is the condition in which all sensory impressions appear. Where else would you experience them?

You don’t bring them into existence and you can’t suppress them. If a sound comes from the road outside, you can’t choose to not hear it. (You hear it or you don’t.) The same comes from the impression of one’s body against the chair – pressure, heat, tingling. This is the case with all sensory impressions. Even with eyes closed, your visual field is present.

That is sort of the machine-level understanding of meditation. What about higher order thinking? Do thoughts have the same characteristics? Well, they’re in consciousness. Can you generate them genuinely freely?

Today’s daily exercise (the lesson, though sometimes repetitive, changes every day. Today’s lesson considered that instead of being aware of consciousness, being aware as consciousness. There is still a subject-object duality to it. Look for the source of attention. Any sense of a center of consciousness is itself a modification of consciousness.

Today’s “final minute of the session” – be aware of the pattern of energy that is the back of your head. Feel everything that suggests you have a “back” of the head. But they are not behind “you.” “You” are not in front of the back of your head, with consciousness between the back and the face.

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