Dr. Sam Harris: Using Meditation to Focus, View Consciousness & Expand Your Mind


Huberman Lab

My guest is Sam Harris, Ph.D. Sam earned his bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Stanford University and his doctorate (Ph.D.) in neuroscience from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). He is the author of multiple best-selling books and is a world-renowned public-facing intellectual on meditation, consciousness, free will, psychedelics and neuroscience. He is also the creator of Waking Up and the host of the "Making Sense" podcast. In this episode, we discuss meditation as a route to understanding “the self” and experiencing consciousness, not just changing one’s conscious state. Sam describes several meditation techniques and their benefits, including how meditation fundamentally changes our worldview and how it can be merged seamlessly into daily life. It can help us overcome universal challenges such as distractibility and persistent, internal dialogue (“chatter”) to allow for deep contentment and pervasive shifts in our awareness, all while acknowledging the more immediate stress-lowering and memory-improving effects of meditation. We also discuss the therapeutic use of psychedelics and the mechanistic similarities between the benefits of a psychedelic journey and long-term meditation practices. And we discuss the rationale behind Sam’s recent decision to close his social media (Twitter) account. This episode should interest anyone wanting to learn more about the higher order functions of the brain, the brain-body connection, consciousness and, of course, meditation and why and how to meditate for maximum benefit.

For the full show notes, visit hubermanlab.com.

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(00:00:00) Dr. Sam Harris

(00:04:54) Sponsor: LMNT

(00:08:54) Sense of Self & Meditation, Dualism of Self

(00:18:07) Sense of Self in Brain & Body

(00:25:28) Consciousness vs. Contents, Meditation

(00:28:25) Interrupting Sense of Self & Attentional Focus, Visual Saccade

(00:33:30) Observer & Actor, Default Mode Network & Meditation, Blind Spot

(00:36:52) Sponsor: AG1

(00:41:57) Mediation & Paths to Understanding Consciousness, Non-Dualistic Experience

(00:57:32) Sense of Self throughout Evolution

(01:07:40) Sense of Self from Human Development, Language

(01:19:46) Internal Dialogue, Distractibility & Mindfulness

(01:26:27) Time Perception & Mindfulness, Vipassana Meditation, Resistance & Pain

(01:37:13) Consciousness & Sense of Control, Free Will

(01:43:14) Authoring Thoughts: Storytelling & Ideas, Free Will

(01:52:11) Meditation & the Paradoxical Search for Self

(02:06:44) Meditation & Concentration Practice

(02:11:58) Mindfulness, “Skylike Mind” & Thoughts

(02:15:11) States of Self & Context, Dualistic Experiences

(02:32:39) Distraction & Identification of Thoughts, Meditation & “Flow” States

(02:42:58) Eyes-Open Meditations, Sense of Self, Visual Cues & Social Interactions

(02:54:59) Paths to Meditation, Mindfulness Meditation Step-Functions

(03:05:58) Psychedelics, MDMA & Experiences in Consciousness, Religion

(03:21:11) Meditation, Psychedelic Journeys & Inner Truths

(03:29:48) Psilocybin, Ego-Dissolution & Thought Expansion

(03:40:09) Process vs. Achievement of Goals, Fulfillment in Present

(03:54:29) Leaving Twitter; Conflict, Life Interruption & Politics

(04:06:14) Social Media, Attentional Disruption & Deep Work

(04:15:39) Meditation & Sense of Self

(04:19:02) Sam Harris & Waking Up App, Zero-Cost Support, YouTube Feedback, Spotify & Apple Reviews, Sponsors, Momentous, Social Media, Neural Network Newsletter


Title Card Photo Credit: Mike Blabac

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